Meet your eternal BNOCs: Dr Sam May

Part 2: The lady, the lecturer, the legend

The nutorious Dr May is the most popular IR member of staff on campus.

She began her studies at the University of Reading before joining the fabulous establishment that is University of Aberdeen.

sam may

“As a student I was a bit of a geek. Picked up every book I could find. I was shy.”

Societies on the other hand, were not on the reading list.

“No, no, I was in the library! I was shy! I didn’t talk to people.”

“My favourite thing about being an undergrad was just having access to so many books and the opportunity to explore disciplines I hadn’t even heard of before.

“I also enjoyed being near a 24 hour garage – I grew up in the country so this was real “urban” living for me!”

But before deciding that her passion was for IR, she looked into both English and Music:

“I also was offered an unconditional place at Glasgow School of Art for Fine Art but then decided to do English at the University of Reading.

“I never took a single English course. My PhD was technically in IR but via the Religious Studies Dept. with a supervisor in Anthropology and one in IR.

“I guess I am interdisciplinary.”


After students have graduated from earlier mentioned fab institution, Sam has some advice – work towards your dream, whatever it might be:

“If your “dream” option is not immediately available then do what you can to work towards it.

“Don’t give up and don’t be too snooty about what you do as an intermediate option.”

And she has something very important in common with Dr. Murphy, there is no other place where she would rather be:

“There is always a choice of where you want to teach and I made mine.

“I am already teaching exactly where I want to!”

This is proven to be very true when Sam says that not even a lottery win would make her stop working, it would only increase the size of her library:

“If I won a LOT of money then I would have a LOT more books.

“Also my dog Lyra has also requested a tiara.”

Final words of wisdom for the younglings?

“Embrace the opportunities around you – use the resources, read widely and deeply, attend lectures, even if they are not your own, and make as many connections now as you can.

“The person who sat next you may become the next President of Sweden, or they might become an excellent father, and everyone needs nappy changing advice at some point.”