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Skye Oudemans

Skye Oudemans

Graduated in 2017

MSc in Food Security

Nationality: American

First Degree: International Relations

First job after graduating: Corporate Affairs Executive for the Food and Drink Federation

Current job: Sustainability Executive for the Food and Drink Federation

I’m American and I was living and working in Singapore when I applied to Warwick. I had done my undergraduate degree in International Relations in the US and had always hoped to do a Master’s degree but wasn’t sure what in, so I spent a few years working in communications and sustainability consulting. Eventually, I developed an interest in the food system and particularly the international structure that supports it. I felt like a degree would be a good way to mark a desire to transition to a new field of work and a new country of residence.

I chose Warwick because it gave me the opportunity to combine the scientific and social aspects of food security. It also seemed relatively close to London and had an international student body.

My very first impression of the University was that it was out in the middle of nowhere! I hadn’t visited the campus before applying and when I had looked on Google Maps, I had gotten the impression that the campus was on the edge of the city but still a part of it. Then when I first came to campus on a bus from London, I was surprised to see it surrounded by greenery. Over the next couple of days, I quickly got the feeling of a small community who were planning to have a fun, busy year together.

The course gave me a strong background for the new field I wanted to build a career in but also gave me a lot of flexibility to focus my projects and my thesis on topics that were interesting to me. I also really enjoyed the experience of being on a campus, joining different sorts of activities, and I made good friends I’m still close with today. I also benefitted from the support available for students, like the Post-Graduate Hub and mental health services.

My degree gave me the experience and confidence to transfer into my field of interest. I got a job in the food industry that combined what I learned in my degree with my previous work experience and was based in London, which is exactly what I was hoping to find.

I participated in a few clubs, like the Salsa dancing club and the Model UN club, and was involved in student government as Class Representative. I was a regular at the Post-Graduate Hub and its activities. I was also involved in a multi-university initiative called IFSTAL that focused on food systems and involved lectures and opportunities to get involved with students with similar interests across universities and disciplines.

After graduation, I was lucky enough to find a job that was exactly what I hoped to find. I spent 3 years working as a Corporate Affairs Executive for the Food and Drink Federation, the trade association for UK food and drink manufacturing. I then moved within the organisation to be a Sustainability Executive, where I’m able to be more focused on my topics of interest and really be involved in shaping policy and action in sustainability in the food and drink sector. The scientific grounding from my Master’s degree provided a strong basis from which to expand my knowledge.