Jyoti Bhojani was attracted to study at UEA by the parliamentary internships and the ability to shape the course around her interests. Graduating from the BA Politics in 2009, Jyoti is now working for Operation Black Vote and is continuing to build upon the skills she learnt whilst at UEA.
Tell us about your career to date
I started working as an intern at Operation Black Vote (OBV) after I finished at UEA and was subsequently offered the position of Voter Registration Co-ordinator. My role was to encourage Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities to play a full and positive role in the democratic process. To do this, I ran a number of workshops, visited schools to talk about the benefits of voting and organised a week long celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday, which culminated with a key note address from Rev Al Sharpton. I also worked on OBV's general election campaign, and organised the biggest Black Political Rally of the campaign, as well as carrying out research on the power of the black vote in marginal seats. I then briefly left OBV, to work at the Electoral Reform Society, doing BME outreach ahead of the AV referendum campaign. I then returned to OBV to project manage two of our schemes, the Parliamentary Shadowing Scheme and the Lewisham Civic Leadership Programme. This has involved the day to day management of the participants and others who are involved in making the schemes successful.
What was it like studying politics at UEA?
Studying politics at UEA was fantastic; the staff were great and very supportive. The way the course is structured means that you have the flexibility to focus on your particular interests, whilst also being able to experiment with other areas. I would definitely recommend the course.
Why did you decide to study at UEA?
UEA is the only institution which has a Parliamentary Internship, and this was something that had appealed to me from the very start. I also felt that the course gave me the flexibility to follow my own interests – which was excellent.
Has your course helped you in your career?
Yes, during my course I learnt a number of transferable skills. I would have never been able to get up and speak to a group of 16 year olds had I not had experience of doing seminar presentations. By far though, my report writing skills are the ones I draw on regularly, I frequently write evaluation reports for funders and am able to be concise and clear as a result of the skills and knowledge gained at UEA.
What has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?
This is a really hard question! I guess it would have to be organising a really successful press conference with Rev Jesse Jackson and then getting to spend the rest of the day with him.
What advice would you give to new students?
To take all the opportunities that are available to you. UEA provides a lot of fantastic opportunities for Political, Social and International Studies students.