Nerys Young is a Lecturer in American History at the Ulster University and is currently the IAAS’s Treasurer

imageHow did you end up where you are now?

I completed my DPhil in American History at the University of Ulster in 2003. I then taught part-time for quite a few years at both Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast. While working on my DPhil and then teaching part-time, I also worked in the Culture and Arts division of Queen’s University Belfast for ten years and was involved with both the Belfast Festival at Queens and the Queens Film Theatre. I joined Ulster in 2009 as a full-time Lecturer in American History.

Tell us a little bit about your current research interests?

Currently I am researching Virginia Hill Hauser, bag lady for the mob – she’s been described as “dumb like a fox”. She knew and kept some very scary people’s secrets. She was an expert manipulator, not just of the mob but the media and Hollywood too. I think it’s time that there was a history of organised crime article that had a strong female protagonist.

Favourite book/film/album?

Book: A Town Like Alice (Shute)
Film: Ice Cold in Alex
Album: Very Best of Al Green
For completely different answers ask me again tomorrow.

Universities don’t exist. What job would you have instead?

Short-order cook. Small menu but done well, with a different blue-plate special every day. Thursdays is meatloaf. Don’t miss Thursdays.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?

I’d like to say Rebel Wilson but for realism it’s definitely Hattie Jacques.

How did you get involved with the IAAS?

I gave a paper at an IAAS conference pre-millennium and was a member for a while but disappeared for a bit. My mentor, Tony Emmerson, then harassed me for a long-time to join again so I did in a low-profile way. Then when he passed I felt it was my duty to get more involved. I attended the AGM in April 2016, blinked and found I had gone from a spectator to an ordinary committee member to the new Treasurer.

In an alternate universe to question 4, you have somehow ended up establishing your own university. What’s the motto?

Per aspera ad astra (Through difficulties to the stars)

We’re all going to call around this evening. What’s for dinner?

Well, if it’s Thursday then it’s meatloaf – are you not paying attention? On other days it might be a nice lamb curry or more probably marmite toast. But there’ll be brownies, I promise.

Who is your hero, academic or otherwise?

First person who came into my head was Grizzly Adams but apparently he’s not “real” or a hero. Then I thought of Guy Gibson, a brilliant and courageous WWII bomber pilot, grounded by his superiors due to his propaganda value, and finally struck down on a sneaky night mission by friendly-fire. But I’m going to have to go with my hometown hero, newly crowned double Olympic gold medal winner, Max Whitlock. I find a forward roly-poly quite challenging so Max is definitely a hero to me!

Free space! You have about 200 words to plug something dear to your heart/announce plans to take over the universe/tell us about the grand plans you have as a member of the committee…

I am the current IAAS Treasurer and I like to spend money, especially when it is not mine. The IAAS has numerous prizes, early career bursaries, and travel grants, especially for post-graduates, so get entering for these and help me send you the Association’s money!