Oxford Q-Step Centre

Catharina Lewerenz

The reason why I wanted to do my undergraduate degree in Political Science was that I had a strong interest in Political Theory. I soon realised, however, that the University of Mannheim was not the right place to do so. On the contrary, the focus was on empirical analyses and statistics. It was hard but I stayed. It took me three years but slowly I started to enjoy engaging with data. And I stayed there even longer to do my Master degree in Political Science as well. As a part of a cooperation program of the University of Mannheim, I went to the University of Nottingham in my second year to do a double master’s degree in International Relations (Research Track). And again, the focus was mainly on statistics but by that time I had learned to handle and appreciate numbers. Not least because of this, I worked as ‘statistician’ before coming here to do my DPhil in International Relations. In my project, I refer primarily to statistics in order to examine the impact of pro-government militias on violent and nonviolent dissent.

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Julia du Pont de Romémont

I am a second-year DPhil candidate in Politics at Nuffield College. I completed my secondary education in a French-German school in France, before studying Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz in Germany. I then came to the University of Oxford, where I took an MSc in Politics at Trinity College in 2014. I never really consciously decided to get into political science, but once I chose this path it appeared to me like the logical choice. What I instantly enjoyed about social science is that I learned a way of thinking about facts and not only the facts themselves. I find it fascinating to uncover unexpected patterns of social behaviour through empirical research. I grew up in a bi-national family, with grandparents who had experienced the second world war on seemingly irreconcilable enemy sides. I try to remain aware that my existence and way of life is due to political decisions to cooperate, but also that our socio-political situation is always in a fragile balance. Outside of academia, I enjoy dancing, talking about dance, photography and discussing politics.

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