Friends who were not in my graduate program noticed, over the years, that I had become sharper, more focused and driven – and I owe all of that to the environment that I found at Hull, even many years later.Dr Adam Bronstone, PhD Politics, 1995
Dr. Adam Bronstone is a senior manager for a non-profit organization in Nashville (USA), where he works with other non-profits with respect to funding, programming and communal strategies. Adam has worked in several American cities and also found time to be a part-time lecturer in the field of Political Science throughout his career. He has a wife, three children, six cats, two horses and two sheep on a farm just outside of Nashville.
Adam is currently working on personal projects related to leadership, the environment and technology with a former colleague at the University of Hull. In this article he reminisces about his time at Hull and considers how it shaped him as a person.
After a graduate degree where my focus was European Union politics, it was obvious that I needed to be in Europe to study Europe; I needed to be mentored by people who were experts in the field and surrounded by other graduate students who were interested in the same subject as I was. The Department of Politics at Hull met all those criteria for me – the right mentors, a group of like-interested students and a very warm environment that was big enough, but not too big!
I was able to find an amazing group of dedicated, hard-working and thoughtful people who helped push me along in my studies and personally – I was able to enjoy the stimulation of my academic work and be involved in several clubs and societies, sports, watch theatre and the community. While at Hull, and with the help of these mentors, friends and university support, we launched a national Model United Nations conference and several other academic activities. All of this was possible because my “most inspiring moments” were actually the people I met, some of whom I still stay in close touch with many years later!
I work in the non-profit field, so it is not directly related to my graduate studies. However, I learned about the world and developed my critical thinking at Hull in a way that was different from my past academic experiences. That worldly adventure that I had by moving to Hull from Canada, combined with the rigor of the program, has helped me throughout my professional life. I have also spent years as a part-time lecturer, and certainly that experience is because of my time at Hull.
Like most people, I am challenged by maintaining a work/life balance and trying to do too many things in not enough time. My challenge is to maintain my desire to do my work, so I constantly challenge myself with new goals. I keep surrounding myself with people who are ambitious, and these are the people who keep me sharp, as a person and intellectually. Like finding the right student environment that fits you, you need to constantly find that right post-university environment to keep you balanced and also striving.
Truthfully, the environment that I was able to enjoy at Hull – and specifically my mentors and colleagues – forced me over years to be ambitious in my thinking, mentally tough and driven in my goal as a graduate student. I think I was a naturally driven person, but my friends who were not in my graduate program noticed, over the years, that I had become sharper, more focused and driven – and I owe all of that to the environment that I found at Hull, even many years later. My continued academic work with colleagues of mine from my Hull days is very much also an outgrowth of this environment to succeed. And, I will also say that I was fortunate to have colleagues and mentors at Hull who encouraged me to be involved in non-academic projects and gave of their time to assist in those projects.
My advice for others is: find your passion and try to make that your career, so that you wake up every (or most) morning and knowing that you are doing what you enjoy. Find people who can inspire you and help push you in all ways to be a better person and in achieving your dreams – be they friends or mentors. As a student, make sure that your environment is what you need. I enjoyed my time at graduate school in Canada, but I loved my years at Hull. Hull was a lovely place to live and I was able to meet people from around the world and others who were interested in the same work as I was, and I gained from that as a person and a student in so many ways. I enjoy what I do for my career – but I do look back on those years at Hull and appreciate the environment that I was able to find there at the right time in my life. If the environment fits, revel in it.
Currently, and aside from my work, I am collaborating on a few research projects that all have the common theme of leadership. One project is on environmental issues and leadership and the second is about how leaders can help create a world where people from all walks of life can take advantage of the technology. The primary person I am working with is a colleague from my Hull days whom we always said that we should work on something together, so…we eventually found a project and now we are on project three!