Name: Anna Sanders
Profession: Lecturer in British Politics at the University of York
Primary school: St Paul’s Primary School
Attended Millthorpe/Nunthorpe: Millthorpe 2006-2011
Post 16 attended University or college? Queen Mary, University of London (BA); University of Manchester (MA, PhD)
Favourite subject at school: History
What I thought I wanted to do: I’ve always been passionate about tackling inequality and social injustice. My history lessons at Millthorpe really sparked my interest in this and helped me to see the world differently, and I particularly enjoyed learning about the history of the suffragette movement (I’ve also happened to stay in touch with my history teacher, and we share books occasionally!). Originally, I wanted to have a career in politics where I could help to make change happen.
What I ended up doing: While studying at university, I soon realised I wanted to influence change through researching politics, rather than having a career in it. I’m now a Lecturer at the University of York, where I teach and write about gender and politics. In particular, I’m interested in the different ways that women and men vote in British elections.
How I got here: I took an A Level in Politics, which led to an undergraduate degree, then a Masters degree, and then a PhD in Politics. In short: I didn’t want to stop learning!
In my second year of university, I undertook a summer internship in the constituency office of the MP for York Central (Hugh Bayley MP at the time). Later on, I worked in the House of Commons as a researcher, and then as a researcher in local government for Andy Burnham. All of this helped me to gain a better understanding of our political system and an insight into way our democracy works.
Most useful skill or character trait for my job: One of the most useful skills in my role is presenting. This ranges from lecturing students, to media interviews, to presenting my research to policymakers. Often, I have to think about how I can turn complicated information into something that’s accessible, engaging and easy for people to understand. This can be a lot harder than it sounds!
Top tip! Pay it forward! My career wouldn’t have been possible without the kindness and encouragement I had from my teachers at school and university. I try to model this in my own career by encouraging my students to take opportunities where they can.