Winne Ko (MA '11)

January 21, 2022

Why did you choose CEU?

My undergraduate thesis was on Russia's democratic consolidation and I wanted to further specialise in post-communist politics. A tutor mentioned CEU and given its location, financial aid, strong networks, and expertise in both teaching and research, it was a perfect match to what I was looking for.

How was the MA program? What were your major struggles and how did you overcome them?

I found it quite intensive but also an eye-opening experience because we got to meet so many different people from around the world to have intellectual exchanges within 10 months. My major struggle back then was an incident at the start of the academic year which made me doubt if I was fit enough to complete the master's. Everyone at the department and beyond, from professors to fellow students offered their support after the incident and that really helped me continue the fruitful journey in Budapest.

What was your thesis about?

Haha, it was a rather unusual choice! Due to a few courses, I had taken in the area of Bioethics and the discussion on smoking legislation in Hungary in 2010-11, I wrote a thesis on mapping the basic rights of different actors within the legal framework. It was a qualitative study where I conducted interviews with stakeholders to understand the diverse perspectives regarding the protection of different rights.

What impact did CEU have in choosing your career?

Thanks to CEU, I see a lot more possibilities for what political scientists are capable of. People tend to think that we are all involved in research on studying democracies, political parties, and complex methodologies, but we can be very good generalists in applying different methodologies in other areas of science as well. The vigorous methodological training I received at CEU allowed me to receive a Marie Curie Fellowship to further pursue a PhD in Social Health Sciences in an EU-funded project. CEU taught me the importance of interdisciplinary studies and being open to different options.

Are you currently working with something related to your MA?

YES! After graduating from CEU, I had spent the last 10 years working on health-related topics, both on communications and advocacy. I had also worked briefly in a hospital on data collection and quality of care. And recently, I started a new challenge on projects in the Public Sector, so I'm returning to a traditional political science domain.

Please, give some advice to our applicants!

It's not an understatement when I say that CEU can be life-changing, so go for it by all means! My advice to applicants would be to do their research well and understand how the department and CEU's environment can be a good fit for both your academic and personal growth. Convince the Admission Committee with a compelling story about yourself. To leave a strong impression is the first step towards your success!