Global Studies Major 10th anniversary site | College of IR | Ritsumeikan UniversityGlobal Studies Major 10th anniversary site | College of IR | Ritsumeikan University


Alumni discuss the value of studying in the Global Studies Major

Ellen Brookes

Ellen Brookes

Technical Support Specialist at K&L Gates

graduated in March 2016

In March 2016, she graduated from the Global Studies program, Faculty of International Relations at Ritsumeikan in 3 years of the accelerated track option. After her graduation, she accepted an offer to study a Mater of Arts in Political Science at the University of British Columbia in Canada and completed her Master’s Degree in early 2018. Then she became a PhD candidate for the Global Studies major at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, studying international security and migration in East Asia. She was due to finish her PhD in 2021, but due to COVID-19, her PhD has had to be postponed indefinitely. In early 2021 she studied for six months to achieve a postgraduate certificate in Cyber Security. During her study, she accepted a job offer from K&L Gates, an international law firm. Currently she provides international IT support to over 5000 legal employees in over 55 offices across five continents.

Supporting cyber security at an international law firm, utilizing the theory learned in the Global Studies in the daily work.

Plan changed due to corona disaster, to the world of cyber security

I studied security studies in the Global Studies and proceeded to the master's and doctoral programs based on it, but sadly, as COVID-19 halted my PhD plans, I decided to upgrade my security skills to gain more practical application, and fell into a Cyber Security postgraduate certificate course offered by my state university.
During the course, we were encouraged to create an industry standard resume and begin applying for entry level positions in order to gain experience in the interview process for IT. I have also tried and the first job I seriously applied for decided to hire me. It was unfortunate that my experiencing-getting was cut short, but I do adore my job and the people I get to work with from around the world.
My company is a law firm that was created by William Gates Sr., the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates’ father, and we handle numerous legal cases in multiple jurisdictions around the world. We even have an office in Tokyo that maybe one day I will be able to visit for work.

Based on the security theory learned at university

My job is mostly to keep the information about the clients, cases, and lawyers safe from usage for nefarious purposes. I would like to say that most of my day involves reading complex code and looking at screens with funny graphs on it and making big decisions about how to make it even harder to log in to your computer.., but really most of my day is resetting passwords for people who forgot them, telling people to try “turning it off, and turning it on again”, and cursing the software deployment team under my breath when yet another issue arises with a new package of software that was released without patches.
I use a version of security theory which I learned at the university daily, in that all processes I must go through to even do something as “small” as reset a password have levels that I must understand the risks and mitigations I am undertaking to perform my job.
I also spend an inordinate amount of time teaching lawyers to use computers properly, in a very similar manner to what we learnt in our first-year Computer Literacy classes.

The future dream is the Prime Minister of Australia

Having learned at the universities, I not only have access to the theoretical discussions of security, but I have a better understanding of more modern applications to practical security which makes me very competitive in the job market in my field.
For the next twelve months I am studying towards my Security+ IT qualification, which could then mean that I am able to advance within my current company into a more localized and solely security-focused role.
In five years, I hope to have the opportunity to revisit my PhD and complete it. And in ten years, I hope to still be working in the IT field, either actively as part of a security team for government or something, if not teaching about security and cybersecurity at a university.
My end goal - well, I still want to be the Prime Minister of Australia, but if I can run our equivalent to the CIA instead, why not?

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