Leanne Rasmussen received her BA and MA in Political Science from the University of Toronto. As an under-graduate, Leanne majored in International Relations (IR) and served as co-President of the University of Toronto’s Oxfam chapter. As a graduate student, Leanne extended her research interests in IR through the inclusion of political economy and international development. Under the stewardship of Victor Falkenheim (Political Science) and Albert Berry (Economics), Leanne explored the agricultural policies of Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe to complete her MA in Political Science. Her research topic regarding the economic benefits of good agricultural policy would go on to play a key role in shaping her future.
Leanne graduated from the MA program in the Fall of 2012, but spent the previous months before graduation feeling concerned and uncertain about her prospects of finding a job. This is where Leanne’s story speaks to many students; reminding them that it is possible to find work in your field of study and to do something that you’re passionate about.
In the last few months of completing her Master’s thesis, Leanne spoke to her advisors about what other graduates had done with their degrees. Professor Berry recommended that Leanne contact a former student working for Engineers Without Borders. Leanne looked into it, applied, and three interviews later, was hired as a Market Development Strategist for the Agriculture Value Chains Team in Kampala, Uganda. Leanne’s research and training in political economy proved to be an invaluable asset in her understanding and assessing the type of candidate Engineers Without Borders was looking for. Although the job market is competitive, transitioning out of academia does not mean that you have to abandon your scholarly interests.