Tag Archives: Birkbeck Effects

200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Sundeep Donthamshetty, Co-founder of WEGoT Utility Solutions

Following his MA in Intelligent Information Systems from Birkbeck, Sundeep Donthamshetty used his newfound skills gained on the course to found technology start-up WEGoT Utility Solutions, pioneering ways of conserving water in his native India and creating new solutions to the problem of water conservation.

WEGoT designed and developed a ‘smart’ water meter that sends relevant data to the consumer in almost real-time, allowing them to monitor and take responsibility for how much, where and for what purpose they are using water in areas where water conservation presents real challenges. To date, WEGoT has saved over three billion litres of water.

Sundeep studied his Master’s degree part-time while raising his children and credits the course with giving him both the knowledge and confidence to become an entrepreneur.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Tasneem Abdur-Rashid, Author

Creative Writing master’s graduate Tasneem Abdur-Rashid had her novel manuscript rejected by several publishers before she’d even applied to the degree programme. She had no idea why that was the case until she spoke with her Birkbeck tutor, who helped her to cut down the word count and tighten up the subplots and characters. She then had no trouble securing a two-book publishing deal.

Representation in fiction is important to Tasneem. In her debut novel, Finding Mr Perfectly Fine, the protagonist is a British Bengali Muslim. “I want people like me to pick up my book and find characters they can relate to. I think the story transcends culture because finding a partner is a universal challenge.”

Tasneem was the recipient of an Aziz Foundation scholarship, aimed at supporting British Muslims through postgraduate degrees in a range of subjects, which allowed her to succeed at Birkbeck.


200th Birkbeck Effect: Tony Atcherley – WWII veteran and Legion d’Honneur

A wireless operator in the Royal Corps of Signals during the liberation of France in WWII, Tony Atcherley was awarded the Légion d‘Honneur in 2015, the highest accolade of military recognition.

He graduated with a Certificate of Philosophy at Birkbeck’s then Faculty of Continuing Education in the 1950s. Back then, it was difficult to go to university if you didn’t have the normal background of completing a grammar school education and so on. The only chance anyone had was Birkbeck. It had a fine reputation, and some famous historians were there. It was full of very distinguished scholars.

Tony became a secondary school teacher of English and Religious Studies and then a lecturer at the University of Brighton. After retiring he co-wrote  Hitler’s Gay Traitor: The Story of Ernst Roehm, Chief of Staff of the S.A with Mark Carey. He died in 2017.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Lecturer in organizational psychology

Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya is a Senior Lecturer in Birkbeck’s School of Business and previously served as an Assistant Dean for Equalities and Diversity.

She has a doctorate and is the assistant dean for equalities and diversity at the School of Business, Economics, and Informatics (BEI) and senior lecturer and programme director of MSc HR management in the department of organisational psychology at Birkbeck, University of London.

Chatrakul Na Ayudhya is co-editing a special issue on “Conceptualising the nexus between macro-level ‘turbulence’ and the worker experience in human resource management” in the journal Human Resource Management Journal (due in 2023).

Her latest article, “The rhetorics of ‘agile’ and the practices of ‘Agile Working’: Consequences for the worker experience and uncertain implications for HR practice” (with Ian Roper and Rea Prouska), was published in the International Journal of Human Resource Management.

Chatrakul Na Ayudhya writes and speaks about unequal working lives and careers, with a particular focus on workers’ lived experience at the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, immigration status, and nationality.

She draws on critical approaches to concepts of diversity and inclusion.

Chatrakul Na Ayudhya is committed to advancing meaningful diversity and inclusion in the workplace through solidarity and collective action. She is proud to have been named Birkbeck’s Colleague of the Year in 2022.


200th Birkbeck Effect: Vanessa King, Lecturer in History

Vanessa  has been teaching history in higher and adult education since 1999 for Birkbeck and Goldsmiths Colleges, the Mary Ward Centre and the Workers Education Association. She is a Fellow of the  Society of Antiquaries.

A committed enthusiast for adult education, her specialisms include the history of minority groups in the middle ages and medieval travel. Her published work has dealt with Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical history, and she is currently writing a study of Anglo-Saxon queens.

One of her students says: “Vanessa King was my lecturer on my first two short course modules, studied between January – June 2020. I didn’t feel particularly confident when I commenced on my first course and felt self-doubt as to how well I would be able to cope with studying at undergraduate level, working towards a certificate in History/Archaeology. I shouldn’t have worried as I found Vanessa’s love of the subject matter infectious. The classroom round table set up also enabled everyone who wished to participate, ample opportunity to contribute. I was really pleased with the result of my first term’s assignment and used it as a springboard to improve and develop in my second term. I feel that her teaching style brought out the best in me and helped to foster my love and interest in history and to give me the confidence to continue my learning journey.”


200th Anniversay Birkbeck Effect: William Temple, President of Birkbeck and Archbishop of Canterbury  

Temple campaigned on behalf of Jews during World War II. Temple responded to the crisis by co-founding the Council of Christians and Jews, dedicated both to helping the persecuted Jews in Nazi Germany and to fighting anti-Semitism in whatever guise.

In one of his 1943 speeches in the House of Lords, Temple spoke about the “extermination of the Jews” in Nazi Germany. He reminded listeners of the parable of the good Samaritan who came to the aid of a wounded traveller by the roadside. “My chief protest”, he began, “is against procrastination of any kind…. The Jews are being slaughtered at the rate of tens of thousands a day…. We at this moment have upon us a tremendous responsibility. We stand at the bar of history, of humanity and of God”.

It was a statement that gives a lie to the view that Britons during the early 1940s did not know about what we now called the Holocaust.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Yakama Manty Jones, Economist, lecturer, entrepreneur and philanthropist

With her finance and economics PhD from Birkbeck, Yakama Manty Jones works in Sierra Leone as an economist, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

She co-founded the Peninsular Innovative Group, an indigenous company operating in the shipping, manufacturing and agri-business industries in Sierra Leone, working mainly with youths and female owned businesses. Yakama has held several consulting positions, including for the President’s Office in Sierra Leone, and she has worked as director of research and delivery in the Ministry of Finance since 2019. She has been invited to speak about her work by the Blavatnik School of Government, the University of Oxford and the World Bank.

She was awarded Amujae Leader 2021 – an initiative to promote female leadership in Africa – and has featured as one of the 50 Most Influential Young Sierra Leoneans as well as on the 100 Women West Africa list.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Yousuf Joondan, CEO of Birkbeck Students’ Union

Yousuf serves as CEO of the Students’ Union at Birkbeck and was initially brought in to turn the Union around after a difficult few years, which had seen the Union fall into financial hardship and troubles with governance.

He has been hugely successful in transforming the Union back into an organisation with which students can feel proud to be involved and which has a real impact on the student experience at Birkbeck.

Yousuf works hard to facilitate the work of officers and Union staff, and to ensure that the Union stays true to its charitable aims and provides students with value added to their university experience. Many have commended Yousuf’s approach to managing his staff with respect, patience and flexibility, especially during the difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Stewart Sutherland, House of lords and philosopher of religion

Stewart Sutherland, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood is one of the most distinguished figures of his time in the field of education and in public life and was made a Fellow of Birkbeck in 2004.

He was appointed as a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University College of North Wales in Bangor in 1965, moving after three years to the University of Stirling. It was here that he began the series of philosophical investigations which would establish his reputation as a theological thinker of versatility, reach and imagination. In works such as Atheism and the Rejection of God (1977), Faith and Ambiguity (1984) and God, Jesus and Belief (1984).

He explored the problems of maintaining moral responsibility in a world of competing faiths and values. He responded to and stimulated the broadening mood in theological thinking with his influential edited volumes World Religions (1988) and The Study of Religion: Traditional and New Religions (1991). In 1977, he was appointed to a Chair in the History and Philosophy of Religion at King’s College, London, but the demands of university service had already begun to assert themselves in 1981, when he became Vice-Principal of King’s, taking over as Principal of the college in 1985.

During his period as Principal of King’s, he served also, from 1988 to 1991, as Governor of Birkbeck.


200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effect: Steven Connor, Professor of English and cultural phenomenology

Steven Connor was appointed as a Lecturer in English at Birkbeck in 1979. He became Senior Lecturer in 1990, Reader in Modern English Literature in 1991 and Professor of Modern Literature and Theory in 1994.

He has served the college in many capacities, including as Pro-Vice-Master for International and Research Students from 1998 to 2001 and as College Orator from 2001 to 2012. From 2003 to 2012, he was Academic Director of the London Consortium Programme in Humanities and Cultural Studies. Not only through his many books and essays, on a huge variety of topics, but also in his extensive work for radio, he has enlarged the scope of English studies and opened up new methods and subjects in cultural history.