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Case Study: Rosie Maxton

Personal details
Degree:Arabic and Medieval History Profile picture
School(s): School of History, School of Modern Languages
Year of Graduation:Jun-2014
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: University of St Andrews
Job title: Researcher for Analytical Database of Arabic Poetry
Occupational Sector: Academia
What has been your route to getting your current position?
Studying classical Arabic literature in my honours years, and then going on to specialise in classical poetry at Masters level. My experience of teaching Arabic language and grammar at university level also prepared me a lot for the role.
What does your job involve ?
Conducting research into Arabic language and philology. - Developing a publicly accessible analytical database of Arabic poetry. - Analysing poetical vocabulary to contribute to a digital lexicon. - Proofreading database poetry and vocabulary entries.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Selecting Arabic poetry to upload to the database and analysing how the poet uses language to achieve the desired effect.
Why were you successful?
Yes, having a particular specialization in Arabic poetry, and retaining contact with the university department through my previous role as a tutor.
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Everything! The database is centred on analysing the use of vocabulary and grammar in Arabic poetry, so my entire degree in Arabic is relevant to the role. I think the honours years, where we studied literature quite extensively, have proved especially useful. The Medieval history element of my degree is also hugely helpful in teaching me how to analyse sources and, of course, for understanding the historical context of the particular literary period I am focussing on.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
If you are really passionate about your subject and would like a job in which it is the key element, I would say that academic research projects (or even academia in general) are an excellent way of fulfilling that. I have worked other jobs in which my language skills are relevant, but this truly allows you to engage with your particular specialisation. Fortunately, this work can also be done remotely, so it has given me some opportunity to travel and generally be more flexible with the hours.