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UA Alumni - Patrick Quinn

Patrick was a Highly Commended Entrant in the Politics & International Relations category in 2020.

Since the awards, Patrick has gone on to graduate with a double undergraduate degree in International Relations and History from the University of Adelaide. He has also recently graduated with first-class honours from his Masters of International Relations at the University of Melbourne.

After completing his postgraduate studies, he has since accepted a job working in Threat Intelligence for Control Risks in their Sydney office.

What are you doing now and what has happened since the award?

Since being Highly Commended by the Global Undergraduate Awards in 2020, my studies and career have taken me to places I would never have anticipated. After the award, I went on to complete my double undergraduate degree in International Relations and History at the University of Adelaide.

Like many others over the last couple of years, I graduated in the middle of the pandemic. At the time, I had never even considered further study, however, following the Undergraduate Awards I decided to take a leap of faith and move to Melbourne to pursue postgraduate studies. I have since recently graduated with first-class honours from my Masters of International Relations at the University of Melbourne. During my postgraduate studies, I also received a High Distinction for my major thesis, the focus of which explored the practical and theoretical dimensions of contested legitimacy and power within multilateral institutions and global decision-making structures.

At the same time, I have endeavoured to undertake a number of internships, including a four-month placement with Dryad Global, where I worked to provide actionable intelligence and analysis in some of the world’s busiest and most risk-prone regions for maritime traffic. I also kept myself busy holding a simultaneous position as a research assistant for the University of Melbourne’s recently founded Initiative for Peacebuilding, which provides nationally-based and regionally grounded research dedicated to engaging and promoting policy discussion in the fields of security, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.

I have since recently accepted a job in Threat Intelligence, working for Control Risks in their Sydney office. In this role, I am fortunate enough to do meaningful work engaging open-source intelligence to analyse both traditional and non-traditional security risks in support of the innately complex and fast-paced threat environment.

Where do your interests lie?

It was not until my first semester of University that I became interested in international politics. I have since developed a piercing interest in issues relating to the international dimensions of global security decision–making and the growing importance of multilateralism in the face of global challenges.

It is my belief that the existential challenges to global order, including nuclear weapons, climate change, and geopolitical competition in outer space, present an ongoing challenge for international order that I believe will only become more relevant in coming decades. The need to step up to these challenges in a positive way is why I am also a huge advocate for increasing the engagement of younger people in these conversations, especially the work done by university students across all disciplines.

Now, in my current position, I am fortunate enough to do meaningful work that contributes to real-time and face-paced security dynamics around the world. Ultimately, I get to work on something that I believe is both challenging but also meaningful, where I can utilise and continue to develop my skills and knowledge.

What are your plans for the future?

My goals for the future involve continuing to work towards a career in international security and foreign affairs, where I believe deeper and more attuned insight into innately global challenges will only become more crucial in the coming decades. In addition to professional goals in my current career, I continue to spend some of my spare time working towards getting my thesis published. After spending almost a year of my life working on these questions while being stuck in constant lockdowns, I believe it can add something to the conversation. Again, the challenge of getting published is something I have no experience with but is a challenge I feel is worth the work.

Has receiving an award for your hard work helped?

Absolutely. Being Highly Commended by the Undergraduate Awards in 2020 was definitely a turning point that gave me the confidence and conviction to continue to pursue my chosen career. I have always sought to challenge myself, but for an undergraduate student to be recognised by an international panel of experts in their field was a truly humbling experience to say the least.

When thinking about how the award has impacted my journey it is funny to see how it has come full circle so to speak. My undergraduate paper was my first work in the area of terrorism and global security. At the time I was submitting my paper I never expected that just two years later, I would be working in a role where such knowledge is directly relevant. My Master’s thesis, moreover, was very much an evolution of my undergraduate paper that was Highly Commended in 2020. It is very clear to me that being a highly commended entrant was in large part what gave me the confidence to pursue a career more aligned with issues that I continue to be deeply passionate about.

Why should students submit their work?

Without a doubt, taking the time to submit to the Global Undergraduate Awards was a decision that has had a huge impact on the direction of my career. To the best of my knowledge, there is no other organisation that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to have their hard work and ideas judged by a panel of international leaders in their field.

Engaging the voice of young people passionate about their fields is something I feel is extremely important. Not only was it an amazing feeling to have my work recognised at a global level, but the opportunity to hear from and speak to other winners from around the world was a truly unique opportunity and gave me the confidence to pursue goals that at the time seemed very distant. The recognition and self-confidence that came with the award gave me the belief to follow my own path, which has now led me to a career that I feel truly passionate about.

If you have a piece of work you believe in, you have absolutely nothing to lose by submitting it. There is only something to gain, and I cannot encourage it enough!