I’m Ros Smith and I studied Natural Sciences at New Hall (now Murray Edwards) in the 1980s. No-one from my family had attended university, and so coming to Cambridge (from a small town in Yorkshire) was both a challenging and a life-enhancing experience. I remember both the excitement and the apprehension that this generated – and the kindness and warmth of the people I met including the ever-friendly and ever-patient College porters.
On leaving Cambridge I undertook a PhD in electrophysiology at Leicester University and then joined the computer industry working my way up to a position as operations director and major company shareholder.
What I learned was the importance of education to what you can achieve. Education can be both personally fulfilling and inspirationally transformative. It allowed me to succeed in ways that I had never anticipated and I am wholeheartedly committed to the principle of educational progression based on academic ability rather than on class, background, colour or religion.
Success in the computer industry has meant that my husband and I have been able to actively support initiatives and institutions which help to further educational opportunities for all. We have founded bestCourse4me, a website to help students to make informed University choices; supported IntoUniversity, helping children from deprived backgrounds to gain the aspiration and achievements needed to access a University education; and supported Red Balloon, recovering bullied and traumatised children who are out of school, returning them to education.
In addition, we were able to make a significant donation to the College to help secure its future and its capacity to offer the sort of transformative educational experience from which I have benefitted so much myself.
Looking back over this blog now I am delighted to see how others have been able to make use of this opportunity. I am especially excited by the experiences of students within the Gateway programme and the gap year scholarships. Students have used their Gateway opportunities to travel, work in voluntary projects, research projects, study jazz music and script-writing; and I have loved reading about the independence and skills developed by students on the gap year scholarships, working in different languages, teaching, shadowing a neurologist at the famous teaching hospital la Pitié-Salpêtriére. I wish I could have my student days again!
This to me is what education is all about and it remains a great pleasure to me to be associated with all that the College has done and continues to do.
My name is Husna-Tara (Nanda) Prakash and I spent 3 wonderful years at Murray Edward College in the early nineties. I studied Natural Sciences, initially thinking I would specialize in Zoology and Botany but ending up with Pharmacology as my Part II subject, with a sudden interest in pursuing Medicine as a Graduate. However a visit back to Cambridge and a career-changing interview with a very inspiring teacher led me back there to complete a one-year PGCE Teaching Degree in Biology.
I grew up between the UK and India, and I moved back to India when I was 25 to marry Anshuman – a fourth generation tea planter based in Calcutta. We met during my gap year when I was backpacking around the world. Soon after we got married, a 2-year sojourn on a South Indian Tea Estate had us dreaming up the idea of a project in Tea Tourism, where people could learn about the incredible process and the vibrant community behind a “cup of tea”.
The Glenburn Tea Estate Boutique Hotel was conceived 12 years ago, high up in the tea growing region of Darjeeling in the Indian Himalayas, overlooking Mount Kanchenjunga, the 3rd highest mountain in the world. Conde Naste traveller calls it “A little piece of heaven….and almost as remote!”. We have had visitors from all round the world, and accolades from the press and many of our guests. We started off with only 4 rooms, and added another bungalow when we realized how much people were loving what we had created, and I soon found myself immersed neck-deep in the luxury travel industry. We call it “experiential travel” and every year we see how a travel “experience” can change people’s lives. …continue reading…
Hello! I’m Steff Gaulter, and I’m proud to say that I studied at Murray Edwards College. I studied Natural Science, specialising in Physics. I had been in mixed education throughout my school life, but the atmosphere at Murray Edwards College was relaxed and friendly; I can honestly say that I never regretted my choice.
I manage the Weather Department at Al Jazeera English. I arrived just two weeks before the channel first went on air, and had to set up the weather department from scratch. Given the time period, this was quite a daunting task. Not only did I have to present all the weather broadcasts, I also had to organise studio time, arrange transmission, design the graphics, recruit staff… the list seemed endless!
Part of the challenge of my new position was adjusting to life in Doha, in the Middle East. It’s hot, it’s dusty, but it’s also also a bit of a crazy place. I like to call it ‘The Land That Logic Forgot’. Nothing is quite straightforward, from the numbering of houses (don’t expect them to be chronological), to the maniacs on the roads (driving in London is now a pleasure). …continue reading…
As we grow up, some people are born with an innate sense of direction. I was not one of these! I loved many things and still find it hard to decide what I should do when I grow up, apart from earn enough money to pay bills and have a bit of fun around the edges.
It was with sheer amazement and joy that I got a place at Murray Edwards to study Natural Sciences. I loved my time there but it was hectic. I didn’t set aside time to deeply consider my future. Naively, we might think a Cambridge degree is enough to propel us into the working world, but that just helps to open the door.
I specialized in chemistry. The natural science progression would be to do a Ph.D. However, at precisely the same time, I was given the opportunity to work in the weather department of Sky News. Torn, I opted for Sky News as I didn’t think I would ever get that chance again. I realized at this point I was saying goodbye to ‘proper’ science and I was also losing a handle on a solid career path. TV is never a safe world. TV can be a field where how you look matters as much (at least) as what you think or say. Indeed we all know people who build entire careers on how they look! A terrible truth. Plus it is still ageist against women, but not men. Hopefully these stereotypes will begin to shift in the next few decades. …continue reading…
Little did I know when I was pedalling down the hill from College towards my first year undergraduate lectures that I would still be a student of Murray Edwards College seven years on. Although this may not seem like a long time in Cambridge history, now that we are celebrating the 60th Anniversary, it amounts to more than a tenth of the College’s lifetime. It is a great privilege to be part of a young college that is making history rather than following it.