Bronwen Willoughby-Richards graduated with a BA degree in Criminology and Social Policy from Kent in 2020. She’s currently completing a Master’s in International Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London and working part-time for a charity called Mudlarks which supports young adults with learning difficulties.
Can you tell us why you chose to study Criminology and Social Policy for your degree?
After completing my A Level Sociology, I instantly knew that the crime and punishment elements of this was where my key interest lay and that I wanted to continue studying in this field. I took some time out after finishing sixth form and became increasingly interested in not just politics but the more practical elements of how policies were made and the importance of this and the course at the University of Kent appealed to this.
What attracted you to study Criminology and Social Policy at Kent?
When deciding on where to go to university, Kent really appealed to me partly due to the variation of module choices. I found that, as I was applying for a Joint Honours course, often this left limited scope of variation and ability to ‘mix up’ what I wanted to study. The wide range of module choices really appealed to me – as well as new and upcoming modules such as Cybercrime, which I had never seen listed before and later went on to study in my final year at Kent.
Did your course live up to your expectations?
My time at Kent really helped to shape my interests now. When beginning the course I was pretty sure I knew where my key interests, strengths and weaknesses lay but throughout the course, I realised that there were other elements and particulars that I was previously unaware of that I excelled in and arguably have led me to continue my studies closer to home. For this, the course has exceeded my expectations as I feel that it really pushed me to explore other interests within both Criminology and Social Policy as well as helping me to realise where I wanted to focus my interests.
What were the highlights of your programme?
I was fortunate enough during my time at Kent to take part in the ‘Social Sciences in the Classroom’ module, allowing me to share some experiences of University life and what I was learning with some A Level Criminology students in a local secondary school. I felt this was such an amazing opportunity for both myself, but also something that I would have benefited from when I was in school.
What impressed you most about our academic staff?
I was impressed to learn about the experience and knowledge of the academic staff. For example, learning that my social policy lecturers had worked within governmental departments and advised on policy, or that the authors of our core texts within Criminology were also our seminar leaders and lecturers. It meant that we were comfortable in the knowledge we were being taught by those at the forefront of what we were learning about.
What extra-curricular opportunities did you take advantage of at Kent?
As a keen dancer before starting university, I was thrilled to discover Kent Dance. I spent three years competing in all kinds of dance styles at some of the biggest inter-university dance competitions in the country (often bringing home lots of trophies!) and taking part in lots of performances and shows. I was fortunate enough to be elected as the Society’s ‘Competition Co-ordinator’ in my final year which was such an incredible experience to really challenge myself as well as making some amazing friends and being a part of an incredible society!
Tell us about your experience of studying the Research Dissertation Module?
For my Research Dissertation, I researched the impact of Euroscepticism in the EU Referendum and looked at to what extent this, in conjunction with policy proposals leading up to the referendum, was important. I found this an amazing opportunity to explore the ways in which I enjoyed working and researching which helped me to better understand my strengths and weaknesses with regards to completing a project from start to finish. I also found that, my dissertation became a ‘labour of love’ and while at times, was extremely challenging (especially when Covid hit and I still had interviews to conduct – meaning I had to revise my research gathering), the satisfaction of completing a project of that scale was so rewarding! I found that this gave me a huge confidence boost when it came to what I was capable of and a massive sense of achievement.
How did you change during your time at Kent, in terms of your knowledge, skills and characteristics?
I felt that my time at Kent really helped to shape me as a person. I have made lifelong friends and discovered my true passion with regards to my future career. It has led me to the path that I am now on with my Master’s which I am loving and never thought I would be capable of!
What are your future plans/aspirations? How do you see your career progressing?
I would love to go on to work in the public sector, in particular reviewing policy and looking for new and innovative ways to improve policy. I hope that this will enable me to work around the world and love the idea of travelling and living in new places.
What is your favourite memory of Kent?
For me, one of my favourite memories is competing in Canterbury Varsity with the Dance Society and coming away with three wins over my three years at Kent. The whole atmosphere during the Varsity period is electric and I quickly found myself becoming so invested in Kent taking the win!
I really enjoyed having the opportunity to study the Sociology of Cybercrime module in my third year as I felt that this is so cutting edge and arguably so critical in the direction that much of criminological studies are heading and so to have the opportunity to learn more about this was amazing.
What advice would you give to somebody thinking of coming to Kent?
It sounds cliché, but make the most of it. Canterbury is the most beautiful place to live and, due to my time being cut short because of Covid, I feel I still have so many things and places that I want to go and see that I have not yet the chance to do! Also, break out of your comfort zone and push yourself. Seize every opportunity that you are offered – from nights out to the pub, to joining societies and extra-curricular activities – that’s what made my experience at Kent so amazing.
How would you describe your time at Kent in three words?
Unforgettable, influential and exciting!
Study BA (Hons) Criminology and Social Policy and Social Change at Kent: Why do people commit crime? What causes crime rates to rise or fall? How do societies promote the welfare of individuals and families? Our joint honours programme Criminology and Social Policy and Social Change provides a comprehensive approach to these pressing questions.