Magdalene students win and are highly commended in Cambridge awards
Three of Magdalene students, Hope Bretscher (2016), Elly Walters (2016) and Edwin Balani (2016), have been named as winners or have been highly commended in this year’s Cambridge Outstanding Student Contribution to Education Awards.
Run by the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning, the awards recognise the outstanding contribution students make to enhancing educational practices at the University of Cambridge, to improve the learning and teaching experiences of their peers, and to celebrate their contributions to enhancing the excellence of Cambridge education through their voluntary or extracurricular activities.
Hope Bretscher was named as joint winner of the Inclusive Practice Award.
Hope Bretscher and Akhila Jayaram were both nominated for their outstanding work for Cavendish Inspiring Womxn. Hope was unknowingly nominated herself by a member of the Physics Department, and the panel took the decision to present a joint award for their combined efforts.
“Hope leads Cavendish Inspiring Womxn (CiW), which is a student-led group... dedicated to promoting and supporting the success of women and non-binary people pursuing studies and careers in physics. Her leadership is enthusiastic and highly successful. She directly addresses many problems womxn face studying physics, for example by setting up dedicated supervision sessions for undergraduates and a network of support with the CiW mentoring scheme. Hope has also organised excellent seminars by external speakers and regular social events which have been very well received.
Since joining [the Cavendish Community Forum in 2019], Hope has dazzled us with her openness and abilities... She has been crucial in our efforts to understand incidents of bad behaviour within the department and has spearheaded the department's involvement with the Race Equality Charter. Hope is changing student and staff experiences in the Physics Department - not just for women, but for all. She always carefully listens to the views of others and is not afraid to push important issues others may not yet have recognised. Her efforts are leading us to create and adopt best practices that may have taken years to achieve without her.”
Elly Walters received a highly commended place in the Inclusive Practice award.
The award citation states: “Elly is the most impressive student I have met in my 25 years at Cambridge, at College AND Faculty level, in terms of her activities towards inclusiveness. Since day one at Cambridge, Elly has been involved in our Magdalene Feminist society, fighting for a better representation of female and queer students in College, as well as implementing and consolidating better parity with male students at Magdalene.
Elly started working in 2018 for refugee centres in Paris, at the CEDRE refugee centre, helping hundreds of asylum seekers in a very deprived part of Paris, using her languages to help translate documents and provide information to migrants aged 15 - 75... often living on the strets without food or shelter, under the threat of deportation. Elly volunteered [at CEDRE] for nearly a whole year, during her academic studies at ENS Paris, finding time to go to this peripheral and sometimes dangerous part of Paris, at a time when a small group of volunteers... had to face up to 250 migrants per day, all desperate to get information, have documents read or translated, etc. I was told that Elly was simply outstanding.
Edwin Balani was named as joint winner of the Innovative Practice Award.
Edwin Balani and Matias Silva were nominated for their efforts to rapidly deploy an entirely new platform in response to some of the educational needs suddenly created by the lockdown.
“Edwin and Matias, as volunteers for the Student-Run Computing Facility (SRCF), quickly built a videoconferencing, teaching and collaboration platform, "SRCF Timeout", to serve the University's needs during the pandemic. The SRCF's small team of volunteers provides free computing services to all in the University, used by over 10,000 students, faculty and staff.
Early in the pandemic the SRCF identified a need for a platform for supervisions... and myriad other gatherings which were suddenly forced online. Together, from their respective homes, [Edwin and Matias] managed to remotely build, test and deploy a new platform - the largest and most technically-demanding deployment in the SRCF's 21-year history - successfully launched at the end of May 2020 despite the challenges of a global lockdown.
Not "just" a highly capable videoconferening platform, SRCF Timeout offers teaching-specific features such as collaborative whiteboards, lecture recording and breakout rooms. Timeout has already been popular with supervisors, research group meetings, society AGMs and informal social gatherings, allowing people to keep teaching and to keep in touch with their friends virtually despite physical isolation.”
The College wishes to extend its congratulations to all award winners.
Find out more on the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning website.
This article in part first appeared on the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning website and has been shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.