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Melissa Moncrieffe

PhD Education graduate Dr Melissa Moncrieffe founded a global education business that provides programmes and services for youth and young professionals.

Name Melissa Moncrieffe
Degree  PhD Education
Year of graduation 2016

Your time at the University  

Melissa Moncrieffe

Growing up in the United States with a family from Jamaica, I’ve always been aware of the Caribbean’s historical and present-day ties to the United Kingdom and knew several Jamaicans who studied in Scotland and England, as a result, choosing Scotland felt very natural. I also wanted to attend the University of Edinburgh because it’s a prestigious institution that strives to provide quality education. Ultimately, my choice came down to the University of Edinburgh and a renowned university in London, and I’m very happy I chose Edinburgh.

During my studies, I also worked at Edinburgh University Students' Association (EUSA) as a Global Assistant and enjoyed organizing and coordinating events for international students. This included Welcome Week, Black History Month, and Tandem [a language exchange programme]. At EUSA, we also engaged with offices and clubs across campus. So, it was a great opportunity to meet many students, administrators, and staff and learn about the programs and events that the University is involved in throughout the year. While working at EUSA, I also interacted with the wider Edinburgh community, and this was definitely a plus.

My PhD research was a comparative analysis of US and Scottish national programs. I purposefully chose to study Scotland because I wanted to learn more about Scottish institutions and government. My research enabled me to interview government officials and travel throughout the country to meet with youth workers, key workers, and young people. I’ll always remember taking the train, sometimes in the very early morning hours, to do fieldwork. I went to cities and towns that included Dundee, Kirkcaldy, Dunfermline, and Glasgow. Through my research and personal travels, I learned even more about Scotland first-hand.

Overall, my experience at the University of Edinburgh was charmed. Scotland is a fantastic place to live. It’s a beautiful country, and the people are genuine. I will always consider Scotland as one of my “homes away from home”.

Your experiences since leaving the University

Book cover: Phoebe Douse: Secret Society for Special Abilities and Artefacts
Dr Melissa Moncrieffe writes for young readers using the pen name L. Samuels.

After graduating, I presented a portion of my PhD research at the World Education Research Association conference in Hong Kong. There, I also chaired a session and networked with professionals from around the world.

Subsequently, I founded and have been operating a global education business, called Valued Educational Services, LLC (VES). VES is a culmination of my passion and experiences and provides programs and services for youth and young professionals. VES's activities included conducting a workshop, in March, at the University Chaplaincy.

My research and work experience at EUSA was influential in developing my business model as well as my previous work and higher educational experiences at, for example, The Graduate Institute in Geneva and UNESCO in Geneva and Paris.

I’m also excited to be writing and illustrating books for young readers. I use the pen name, L. Samuels, to represent my creative side. This summer, I’ll be releasing the first book of a trilogy called, 'Phoebe Douse: Secret Society for Special Abilities and Artefacts (Phoebe Douse: S3A2)'.  And it’s partly inspired by my time in Scotland!

My research and work experience at EUSA was influential in developing my business model as well as my previous work and higher educational experiences at, for example, The Graduate Institute in Geneva and UNESCO in Geneva and Paris.

Dr Melissa MoncrieffeFounder, Valued Educational Services, LLC

Alumni wisdom

Seek opportunities to be engaged not only at the University but also with the wider community. This can include volunteering, working, or recreational activities. I found that being involved with groups and individuals on and off campus made me feel even more a part of Edinburgh and the student body.

Related links

Valued Educational Services, LLC website (external link)

L. Samuels website (external link)

PhD Horizons Careers Conference - 17 June 2019