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Living in the Grad Lane

Grad students are the lifeblood – and future – of the University. So what attracts the world’s very best to Cambridge?

  • Interview
    Pamela Evans
  • Photography
    Megan Taylor
- 2 minute read

Talk to graduate students about their impressions of Cambridge life and one word keeps coming up: global. “There are 27 students in my class and 23 nationalities,” says Francis Heil (Hughes Hall, MPhil, Engineering for Sustainable Development). “We really benefit from the experience and knowledge people bring in from their home countries, and from their work.”

Born in the US and raised in Nigeria, Carol Ibe (Newnham, PhD, Plant Sciences) is studying the impact of fungi on rice at the University. As a Gates Scholar, she is encouraged to use her skills in the real world. “I’ve had a lot of opportunity to do extracurricular work, which the scholarship really encourages,” she says. “I’ve started a life science company, providing biotechnology and life science education and training, and lab capacity building programmes for students, educators and scientists in Africa.”

“I want my research and the Foundation to tackle food insecurity and poverty, which affects millions of lives, every day.”

Carole Ibe

Casey Millward (St Edmund’s, MPhil, Public Policy) has spent the past 12 years working in Australian public service, specialising in education and employment policy. Millward is an Indigenous Australian and came to Cambridge as the holder of the Charlie Perkins Scholarship (honouring the first Indigenous Australian man to graduate). “I visited universities in the US and UK,” she says. “After that, it had to be Cambridge. I just got a good vibe from it. It felt like somewhere I could fit in.” Francis Heil is a Patrick Moore Cambridge Australia Scholar (funded in partnership with the Cambridge Trust) and says simply: “The scholarship made Cambridge possible.”

All three are hoping to using their learning to make the world a better place. Heil wants to use his new skillset to enable more sustainable infrastructure and systems in Australia and Asia, while Millward says her time studying has enabled her to reflect on a variety of public policy topics. And characteristically, Ibe is also thinking big. “I want to align my research and the Foundation to my vision of helping African nations to address and tackle food insecurity and poverty, which affects millions of lives, every day.”

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