Oxford Q-Step Centre

Arun Frey

I started my BSc in Media Studies and Sociology with the intention of becoming a filmmaker. I quickly realised that I (a) was much more fascinated by the field of sociology and (b) did not know a thing about film-making. Career prospects changed soon after. During my Masters at Oxford, I studied protests to understand why some people engage in collective or violent action to bring about social change while others choose not to. Survey data on social movements are sparse and rarely comprehensive, so researchers have to be innovative to find sources that are at once accurate, reliable and interesting. Through statistics and quantitative methods, social scientists can increasingly capitalise on the rise of the Internet and its ever-growing amount of valuable and untapped data. This prospect is what brought me back to Oxford after my first excursions into work life at the United Nations and the European Parliament. As part of my DPhil in Sociology, I will analyse the relationship between political language and collective action – focusing specifically on violence and extremism. In my free time I enjoy hikes, art galleries and films (watching, not making them).


Cecilia Potente

I am a DPhil student in Sociology at Nuffield College. Before joining the University of Oxford and Nuffield College, I completed Master and Bachelor degrees in Economics and Social Sciences at Bocconi University, Milan. I became passionate about demography during my Masters,  trying to combine my expertise in quantitative methods with understanding health inequalities. My current research​ lies at the intersection between social demography, family sociology and social determinants of health. The goal of my doctoral research is to advance the understanding of the socioeconomic gradient in health and mortality over the life-course and over time periods. I master advanced quantitative research skills which I apply in my research. I really enjoy teaching, I find it as an incredible rewarding and enriching activity. I always do my best to pass on my passion for quantitative methods to my students.


Jacob Nyrup

My way to becoming a political scientist was almost over before it got started. After my first year of undergraduate studies at the University of Copenhagen I was frustrated and I was considering changing subject. I was thinking to myself, "Why don’t we also learn to study the world?"  Thankfully, my first methods class was an awakening. Since then I have been hooked on using data to analyse the questions we face in the social sciences. After graduating with a MSc in Political Science and Political Economy from the London School of Economics, I went on to do another MSc in Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. Wanting to take a break from studying, I worked as a management consultant for Deloitte Consulting, where I used statistical methods to solve some of the biggest problems facing the public sector in Denmark. Having started a DPhil in Politics at Oxford in 2016, I study why some authoritarian countries are better at promoting economic development than others.


Nicholas Martindale

I am a second year DPhil candidate in Sociology at Nuffield College. My main areas of interest are in the organization of work and the possibilities for collective action. My current research focuses on the impact of privatization on public sector workers and unions. I completed my undergraduate degree in Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge before studying for a year in Japan as a Tsuzuki scholar. I later completed an MSc in Political Sociology at LSE after training as Maths teacher in the Teach First programme and working in south London schools for five years. I am originally from Merseyside in the north west of England.


Tanushree Goyal

In this last decade, I have held jobs as a computer scientist and a banker. Though, it took me a while to figure out that my true interests lie in the study of political and economics problems, both these previous work experiences make me a unique political scientist. I completed my first degree in Computer Science and Engineering in New Delhi, India, and a second (research) master's degree in Politics at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. In my DPhil research, I examine how within-party dynamics influence allocation of bureaucratic capacity, and shape public goods provision across regions within India. In another ongoing project, I examine how new parties organise by studying the unusual and fast paced rise of an urban anti-corruption party in India; this research is based on my master's thesis. And in several other papers, I examine problems of democratic accountability, such as, vote buying, corruption, and political selection, with a geographical interest in South Asia. In all these projects, I combine evidence from quantitative analysis with in-depth fieldwork. 


Vuk Vukovic

I started as an economist. Then I went to LSE to study political economy. Now at Oxford I’m doing a DPhil in politics. Why? Because I came to realize that one cannot understand economics if one does not understand politics. What am I now? A political economist. I like stats too. They were an integral part of my undergrad, my Masters, and now my DPhil. I’ve done it all, you name it. I even published some papers already.

I also have a start-up data company called Oraclum Intelligence System that uses social networks to predict election outcomes and consumer behaviour. We designed a science-based prediction method that successfully predicted both Brexit and Trump. This, btw, has nothing to do with my thesis. My thesis studies the impact of elite networks – the collusion of political and special interests – on inequality.

Most important of all, I am happily married and a father of two boys.