I developed a passion for gender and political history

Leah Ellis, history degree

Leah Ellis, from Cardiff, graduated from USW's History degree in July 2017 with upper second-class Honours. She won Best History Dissertation prize and the Ursula Masson memorial prize for the Best Dissertation in Women’s History or Gender History.

"I grew up in a home that encouraged a love of history. While most children enjoyed cartoons, I watched episodes of Time Team with my dad!

This appreciation of history at home turned into an avid interest throughout high school and college. It was around this time that I developed an interest in women and gender history, particularly after reading a book about Emily Wilding Davison, the notorious suffragette.

I was pleased to see that I could develop this interest at the University of South Wales. USW’s history degree offered a wide variety of modules, which stretched my research skills, broadened my interests, and - directly or indirectly - helped me gain a deeper understanding of gender politics.

Of particular help were the Modern Wales module and The Women in Modern Britain module. It was during this second module that I decided I wanted to specialise in women and gender history, and pursue a career in university lecturing.

The module leader Dr Rachel Lock Lewis was instrumental in this decision – she delivered passionate lectures, nurtured my interest in gender politics and was a great support to me, personally and academically.

Rachel is just one example of the outstanding lecturers on the history course. Each and every one of them demonstrated a passion and knowledge for their subject that was invaluable and infectious. Thanks to their time and patience, I was able to overcome my shy and anxious nature to become more self confident in myself and my ideas.

Not only did the history degree provide me with invaluable learning, new skills and confidence, it also provided me with an amazing stepping stone towards my future academic career.

It is because of all this that I have no hesitation in recommending USW for anyone interested in pursuing a passion and career in history."