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RMA History Blog

Aline Masé: From public administration to a PhD

Aline Masé: From public administration to a PhD

By Christian Klötzer


Aline is from Switzerland and joined the RMA in 2010 after having completed a Bachelor in History and English at the University of Basel. She graduated in 2012 with her thesis about the migration of Jewish students from Tsarist Russia to the universities of Bern and Zürich.

She had initially intended to go for a full-time position as a PhD candidate after completing the program, but she soon realized that she also wanted to gain experience in professional life outside academia. Having a strong interest in politics and social affairs, she looked for a position in the Swiss public administration and was able to join the Conference of Cantonal Governments (CCG) in Bern. This body facilitates the cooperation and coordination between the Swiss cantons at the national and international level. As a scientific assistant, Aline helped in the assessment of cantonal interests and the preparation of the basis for political decision-making in order to consolidate divergent cantonal positions.

In early 2015, Aline traded her job at the CCG for a position at the Parliament of the canton Basel-Landschaft. She is now the secretary of the Parliamentary Commission for Education, Culture and Sports. Alongside those positions, she also has a seat in the Commission for Equality between Men and Women of the canton of Basel-Stadt.

Aline did not, however, intend the leave the world of academia for good, and so she is now working part-time on a dissertation at the University of Bern, which builds on the work that she began for her thesis in Utrecht. Obtaining a PhD along with her experience in public administration will allow her to pursue a career at the intersection of academic research and politics. She feels that the RMA has prepared her for this by providing her with both the knowledge and the necessary skills to make sense of historical and political developments and to play an active role in shaping society today.

Aline’s advice: “Use your years of study to go in different directions and explore different kinds of jobs and activities. This will always look nice on your CV, but it will almost certainly also help you get a clearer idea of where it is you want to go.”