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Postgraduate researcher discusses PhD Student of the Year award and USA placement


Rose Tempowski, PhD student of the year, is currently in America

Before enrolling at Birmingham City University, Rose Tempowski wasn’t sure PhD study was the right avenue for her. Two years later, she has recently won the PhD Student of the Year award at our BLSS Deans Awards and is currently in America as the Emerging Scholar in Residence at the Law Library of Congress.

The path into PhD study

Rose was inspired to embark upon PhD study after attending a training weekend where Birmingham City University lecturers were speaking. “I remember commenting on how interesting Sarah Cooper’s research field was,” Rose says. “I was guilty of having the view that academia wasn’t for people like me, but here were academics like Sarah and Alice Storey who were both young women from the regions. It made me think twice about the path I’d like to take once I’d completed my LLM.”

Education opportunities

After spending 2017 in a US law office, dealing with death penalty litigation, Rose saw a PhD studentship opportunity available at Birmingham City University and knew it was the right fit. “The law firm I worked at had a growing client base regarding juvenile life without parole cases, and saw that the studentship related to the cases I’d been learning about,” Rose explains.

Since then, there have been a number of exciting opportunities. “I have been able to broaden my academic portfolio and take on a variety of extra experiences,” she says. “Sarah Cooper invited me to work alongside her on a collaborative project with the School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Jill Molloy has nurtured my interest in teaching, guiding me to become a visiting lecturer on the Criminal Law modules.”

PhD student of the year

So far, 2019 has been an incredibly rewarding year for Rose. Recently, she collected the coveted PhD Student of the Year at the annual BLSS Deans Awards. “I was overjoyed,” she says. “The award recognises that I’m part of the community at the University. Often, PhD students can feel isolated – we spend a lot of our time working from home, so it can be difficult to feel like a student in the same way you do when you’re an undergraduate or Master’s student. This award was an acknowledgement that people beyond my supervisory team know who I am and recognise I’m trying hard.”

Law in the USA

Alas, Rose was unable to collect her award in person, but she had a reasonable excuse – she’s been in the United States of America at the Law Library of Congress. “I have been the Emerging Scholar in Residence there,” she explains. “It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which has allowed me to spend four weeks being instructed and trained by some of the most knowledgeable law librarians in the world. I’ve had access to a catalogue of resources unavailable anywhere else.

“My research heavily involves US legislation, so to be able to research this topic just a stone’s throw from the US Capitol Building has been an absolute joy.”