St John's College News

  1. New intake of undergraduates triumph over pandemic adversity to join St John’s

    "My experience pushed me towards wanting to apply to university, and Cambridge in particular"
    Meet some of our new undergraduates who, after another ‘rollercoaster’ year, achieved their required grades to begin their degrees at the University of Cambridge. We spoke to three successful applicants to St John’s College about their path to University and what they are looking forward to most at Cambridge. Zoe Porter Zoe is celebrating gaining a place to study History at St John’s after…read more
  2. ‘Best lecturer’ honour from students for St John’s Law Fellow

    “I am immensely grateful for Dr Gardner’s personal and academic support throughout my time studying Law”
    A group of Cambridge Law students has awarded a ‘best lecturer’ accolade to St John’s Fellow Dr Jodi Gardner. The Cambridge Law ‘Facul-Tea’ dished out ‘The Trial by Jury Award for the Best Lecturer’ to Dr Gardner at its virtual awards night on 25 July. Dr Gardner, Director of Studies for Law (Part IA) and College Associate Lecturer in Law, was delighted to be recognised by her students,…read more
  3. St John’s launches fund to support new generation of historians

    “In Peter's memory, St John’s College is launching a fund to support a new generation of talented young academics with their research into the medieval Mediterranean world”
    A fundraising campaign in memory of a ‘legendary historian’ has been launched to financially support students at Cambridge as they uncover the secrets of the past. A historian of medieval Spain, Dr Peter Linehan, Fellow of St John’s College, died peacefully at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in July 2020 after several months of ill health. He was 76. He arrived in Cambridge in 1961 to study…read more
  4. Behind the scenes with a Cambridge University Admissions Tutor

    “I've seized opportunities as they came along”
    Former windsurfing centre manager Dr Victoria Harvey, Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions, talks about her eventful road to St John’s that included leaving university due to ill-health and returning as a single parent. Did you go straight into academia after university? No, I got chronic fatigue syndrome after I caught glandular fever during my GCSEs and flogged myself during my A-levels. I went…read more
  5. Ella’s summer lab work leads to world-class research

    “I don’t think it happens very often but my experience shows that if you want it to, then it can – it’s just about putting yourself out there and asking for the opportunity”
    Natural Sciences undergraduate Ella de Csilléry was a first year at St John’s when she became involved in research with the potential to transform the treatment of cancer and other diseases – and even reveal the origins of life on Earth. She tells Karen Clare what it was like. Ella was studying Physics, Chemistry, Biology of cells and Maths in 2019 when she decided to try to get some summer…read more
  6. Learn about student life during virtual Cambridge Open Days and new College tour

    “Explore College through our brand new 360 virtual tour, meet students and Directors of Studies on our live panels, and chat to the Admissions team”
    Year 12 students considering applying to Cambridge can get a taste of life and study at St John’s thanks to two virtual open days – and a new College tour. St John’s is taking part in this year’s online Cambridge Open Days and is holding a variety of live online panels and chats with current students, tutors and the Admissions team. The events are aimed at prospective applicants from Year 12, or…read more
  7. New initiative offers students £2,000 funding for green project

    “This is an exciting opportunity for students to get involved in making the College a more sustainable place”
    A competition has been launched to fund a project that will help reduce the carbon footprint of St John’s and improve sustainability. The College’s Climate Crisis Committee has announced that the new £2,000 Sustainability and Crisis Award will cover the costs of the project and is open to all current students of St John's. The award has been funded thanks to the generosity of a donor. Earlier…read more
  8. Blondie a highlight for rowers from St John’s

    “We came together as a team more than ever” 
    It has been a remarkable year for Cambridge University Rowing Club (CUBC) – and St John’s athletes have had front row seats right on the water. Undergraduates Gemma King and Jo Matthews spoke to Karen Clare about their love of rowing, training in a pandemic, and competing with an identical twin. Not only did the Light Blues win both the 2021 Men’s and Women’s Oxford and Cambridge Gemini Boat…read more
  9. Busy bringing order to chaos – Policing to Portering

    "I’ve always been a calm person and being in the police teaches you the importance of spreading the ethos that you are in control and every situation can be dealt with"
    From delivering babies to helping to recover bodies from a plane crash, when Steve Poppitt was in the police force no two days were the same. The Head Porter at St John’s talks to Jo Tynan about his second career leading a busy team at one of the largest Cambridge Colleges. I studied sociology at York University and when I left in 1984, there were no jobs for graduates. I applied to join the…read more
  10. Johnian helping vaccines roll-out, opera singers and Royal curator receive Queen’s Birthday Honours

    “Throughout the pandemic we have seen countless examples of everyday heroes”
    Four alumni from St John’s have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their extraordinary work in the arts and in shaping the UK’s Covid-19 vaccines strategy. The list of 1,129 people demonstrates the efforts made by individuals in all four nations of the United Kingdom during the pandemic. They include St John’s alumnus Oliver Excell, Project Manager on the Vaccine Task Force, who…read more
  11. Antiquity Prize awarded for study into Neanderthal cave skeleton

    ‘Most significant new Neanderthal remains for a generation’
    St John's Fellow Professor Graeme Barker is leading a team of archaeological scientists who have won the 2021 Antiquity Prize for their outstanding research into the remains of a Neanderthal unearthed in Iraqi Kurdistan. Professor Barker has been jointly awarded the annual prize for the paper New Neanderthal remains associated with the ‘flower burial’ at Shanidar Cave with colleagues Dr Emma…read more
  12. Ten years of ancient genome analysis has taught scientists ‘what it means to be human’

    “The last 10 years have shown us what it means to be human. We won’t ever see that depth of human experience on this planet again – people entered new areas with absolutely no idea of what was in front of them”
    A ball of 4,000-year-old hair frozen in time tangled around a whalebone comb led to the first ever reconstruction of an ancient human genome just over a decade ago. The hair, which was preserved in arctic permafrost in Greenland, was collected in the 1980s and stored at a museum in Denmark. It wasn’t until 2010 that evolutionary biologist Professor Eske Willerslev was able to use pioneering…read more
  13. Undergraduate wins Sports Personality of the Year after making a splash

    "Rebecca's positivity and bubbly personality is infectious and everyone smiles a little wider and laughs a little more whenever she is around"
    An ‘inspirational’ second-year at St John’s has been named University of Cambridge Sports Club Personality of the Year after helping to keep the women’s water polo team afloat through the pandemic. Undergraduate Rebecca ‘Becca’ Howitt has been described as ‘one of a kind’ by her team mates after she stepped up to the role of women’s water polo Captain and Social Secretary from being the youngest…read more
  14. St John’s awarded Platinum accolade for green initiatives

    “The award is a great credit to staff across all departments who have taken a lead on driving down our environmental impact”
    St John’s College has achieved the top environmental award in the University of Cambridge Green Challenge just a year after scooping Gold with its debut entry. The annual Green Impact awards, which are linked to a nationwide scheme, encourage everyone working or studying at the University to take action collectively to reduce their environmental impact and to implement a range of sustainable…read more
  15. Transforming Second Court for the 21st century

    "We wanted to create a modern, welcoming environment"
    This summer, St John’s will be undertaking the most significant building project since the Old Divinity School redevelopment – a new social area that will revolutionise Second Court. Louise Hanzlik talks to Domestic Bursar Helen Murley and Tim Waters, Head of College Buildings, about the new Community Hub. For more than 400 years Second Court has been at the centre of College life, soaking up…read more
  16. Scientists can predict which women will have serious pregnancy complications

    “This work provides new hope that a better understanding of the placenta will result in safer, healthier pregnancies for mothers and babies”
    Women who will develop potentially life-threatening disorders during pregnancy can be identified early when hormone levels in the placenta are tested, a new study has shown. Pregnancy disorders affect around one in ten pregnant women. Nearly all of the organ systems of the mother’s body need to alter their function during pregnancy so that the baby can grow. If the mother’s body cannot properly…read more
  17. National honour for St John’s scientist from Romania working at the forefront of green energy research

    "Our research may one day contribute towards a sustainable fuel economy"
    A Research Fellow from St John’s who has helped to develop artificial leaves to produce renewable energy has been recognised for representing Romanian academics overseas. Dr Virgil Andrei was named Student of the Year in the 2021 League of Romanian Students Abroad Gala for his pioneering research, and being a mentor and ambassador for Romanian expats. Announcing the winner from Bucharest via…read more
  18. Architectural historian elected as member of prestigious American Philosophical Society

    “This is a great honour, and I am proud to have joined such an illustrious body”
    The oldest learned society in the United States has named Professor Deborah Howard, Fellow of St John’s College, as one of its new members. The American Philosophical Society was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of America who helped draft the Declaration of Independence. It has played an important role in American cultural and intellectual life for more than 270…read more
  19. St John’s announces ground-breaking plan to offer free university places to country’s most disadvantaged students

    “Removing serious financial barriers for prospective students is a powerful signal that Cambridge really is for everyone”
    St John’s College has launched the UK’s most generous programme to fully-fund the education and living costs at Cambridge University for students from lower-income backgrounds. The Free Places financial support package will cover tuition fees, accommodation costs, and other day-to-day living expenses for up to 40 undergraduate students at a time. Eligible students will be able to access more…read more
  20. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert 2021

    An hour-long programme of organ works will be livestreamed
    The fifteenth annual Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert will take place on Thursday 24 June 2021. The concert will be given by James O'Donnell FRCO HonRAM at 8pm in Christ Church Cathedral, and it will be streamed live online due to the pandemic; physical attendance is not possible. Mr O'Donnell will play an hour-long programme of organ works by Bach, Handel, de Grigny, Gibbons and Byrd.  Dr…read more
  21. 'Poems are play-spaces for a special mode of connection'

    "Something happens when a book is published and the contents start to exist in a fixed way, outside and away from the author"
    Dr Alex Wong, College Associate Lecturer and Director of Studies for English Literature, will see his second book of poetry, Shadow and Refrain, hit the shelves next week. The collection is a sequel to Poems Without Irony, which was published in 2017 and shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize and The Roehampton Poetry Prize. It was also heralded as an ‘astoundingly well-crafted…read more
  22. Talented student wins speaker prize at UK-wide law conference

    “Being encouraged and aided in critically and thoughtfully engaging with ideas, rather than just learning them, has been incredibly rewarding”
    An ‘exceptional’ Law undergraduate at St John’s has won the title of Best Student Speaker at a new academic conference. Christopher Hose, a fourth-year BA Law student, won the award for what judges called ‘his ambitious presentation on good faith’ at the inaugural University College London (UCL) Private Law Conference. He was one of just five students from universities across the UK chosen to…read more
  23. St John’s researcher among ‘exceptional’ health scientists elected Fellow of prestigious Academy

    “The greatest health advances rely on the findings of many types of research, and on multidisciplinary teams and cross-sector and global collaboration”
    A cancer research pioneer from St John’s College who uses maths to better understand human biology has today been elected to The Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowship. Less than a week after becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society, Professor Benjamin Simons FRS FMedSci has been named as one of 50 leading biomedical and health scientists to be elected to the Fellowship of the prestigious Academy…read more
  24. Philosopher’s thumbs-down to social media ‘likes’ gets award thumbs-up from Royal Institute

    “Social media likes absolve us of the guilt of not responding to others’ posts but creates the bare minimum of human connection”
    The Royal Institute of Philosophy has awarded (jointly) its 2021 essay prize to a University of Cambridge researcher for the first philosophical analysis of ‘liking’ on social media. The essay, which focuses on Facebook, warns that ‘likes’ encourage communicative laziness while ‘like tallies’ fuel fake news, ‘gamify sociality’ and play to our psychological weaknesses. 'Please Like This Paper',…read more
  25. ‘This global emergency cannot be ignored’ – Master of St John’s reveals action plan to tackle climate crisis

    "There is no compromise where climate change is concerned - it is the defining issue of our time"
    St John’s has launched a series of ‘big and demanding’ climate crisis commitments to help the College reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The College’s bold manifesto has been launched by Heather Hancock, Master of St John’s, and will be embedded in every aspect of life at one of Cambridge’s largest Colleges. St John’s has also adopted a policy of divestment in all meaningful…read more