Human Security profile – Marcella Myers: Filling the knowledge gap by studying “the essence of what it means to be human”

By Lasse Underbjerg 

Marcella Myers has a Ph.D. and has been teaching for more than a decade in the US. So why has she now decided to go back to school and become a part of the 2020 Human Security cohort? The answer is simple. 

– For me, this concept of Human Security is so important because it addresses the essence of what it means to be human – how we promote freedom from fear and freedom from want where our first consideration is humanity, not politics, economics, or private gain. 

Marcella Myers

The idea about Human Security first made its way to Marcella 1½ year ago, when an aid agency asked one of her colleagues if she would run some seminars for their employees. Among the requested seminar subject was Human Security. The only problem was that Marcella didn’t have a clear idea what that was. 

– I did some research and realized how important this concept is for people working in development and how little I knew. The only way to fill the knowledge gap was to go back to school.

Marcella is an American. Her father was a teacher, and the family moved a lot, but she considers Washington state her home. 

She started university as a music major but decided to stop. When she later returned to study, she completed a History BA and then went straight to a master’s degrees in History as well. But after a semester she switched programs and chose to pursue a master’s degree in political science. She went on to complete her Ph.D. in 2009.

Right up until she started at the Human Security, she was teaching: Political Science for 12 years and Community and International Development students for two years. 

She ended up in Denmark because she was actively looking for a program focusing specifically on Human Security. She experienced that all of the programs she looked into in the US were focused primarily on international relations and diplomacy. 

– Then I found the program here at AU and it was exactly what I was looking for. The holistic nature of the program is really important to me, Marcella explains. 

During her first semester, Marcella has enjoyed Core Concepts Contextualized the most. The natural science oriented Tropical Ecosystem Management course has presented some challenges. 

–  I know how important it is given my teaching experience, but I just have the attention span of a flea, Marcella admits. 

But so far, the program seems like the right choice for Marcella.

– I really love being here. I am learning so much, and I enjoy being in the classroom as a student again. My fellow students are great, and our professors are really good. It is a lot of fun, says Marcella. 

Although her background has provided her with a broad knowledge base, she feels this program has added an important new dimension to her way of approaching her scientific field. 

– The program has really expanded how I think about development and changed how I think about developed countries.

Marcella originally planned to go back to her teaching job after completing the programme, but that may not be possible, and she is starting to consider other options. 

– I would like to work for an intergovernmental organization or look for a different teaching job. 

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