Inaugural Gwynne-Vaughan Medal winner announced at the BGRS Summer Party

Dr Sarah Lee announcing the winner of the inaugural Gwynne-Vaughan Medal at the BGRS Summer Party, 1 July 2019.

Celebrating Birkbeck PhD student successes

On Monday 1 July the BGRS held a Summer Party in the Keynes Library which was attended by around 50 Birkbeck PhD students from across the College. During the event the winner of the inaugural Gwynne-Vaughan Medal was announced. This medal was awarded to the student best able to demonstrate the most notable contribution to their field while undertaking their PhD.

Entries were judged by members of the Research Student Sub-Committee who agreed that the quality was extremely high and demonstrated successes for a diverse range of researchers who had entered the competition. The winners were announced by Dr Sarah Lee..

Gwynne-Vaughan medal awarded to Aren Roukema

Aren Roukema was announced as the winner of the inaugural Gwynne-Vaughan medal. Aren is a full time PhD student in the Department of English & Humanities, School of Arts. Judges agreed that Aren had made a significant contribution to his field through his monograph, “Esotericism and Narrative: The Occult Fiction of Charles Williams (Brill, 2018)” and his chapter “Naturalists in Ghost Land: Victorian Occultism and Science Fiction,” which is included in The Occult Imagination in Britain, 1875–1947 (Routledge, 2018).

While carrying out his PhD Aren has also acted as Editor of Correspondences: Journal for the Study of Esotericism and had contributed to published research from leading scholars in the field as well as providing opportunities for researchers who were at an earlier stage in their careers.

Aren co-founded the London Science Fiction Research Community (LSFRC) in 2014. This community which is based at Birkbeck has been successful in hosting conferences and events including evening lectures and reading groups. The most recent conference drew 40 speakers and 100 delegates from 11 different countries. Aren wasn’t able to attend in person and the medal was received in his absence by Dr Joe Brooker, Assistant Dean for PGR in the School of Arts.

Our congratulations and thanks to Aren who receives the Gwynne-Vaughan Medal, a certificate and a prize of £200.

Runner Up: Ilaria Bucci

The runner up prize was awarded to Ilaria Bucci, a first year PhD student from the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology (School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy).

During the first year of her PhD studies Ilaria had begun working on a publication with Marco Moriggi, professor in Semitic Philology at the University of Catania . The resulting work “Aramaic Graffiti from Hatra”, was published in May 2019 and is the first study on Hatra’s textual graffiti. The publication provides insight into the linguistic, social and cultural environment of the city and how it was experienced by its inhabitants and visitors. Ilaria receives a certificate and a prize of £100.

Highly commended: Alex Cook and Natalie Phillips (Lancer)

A further 2 PhD students, both from the School of Science, were highly commended.

Alex Cook is a PhD student within the Department of Biological Sciences whose research objective has been to characterise a component of the cell division machinery of Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly species of malaria. Alex has been an invited speaker at 2 international conferences and an author on 3 publications. His mechanistic insights and methodologies have made notable contributions to the field.

Natalie Lancer (Phillips) is a PhD Psychology student who has foregrounded undergraduate professional one-to-one coaching as part of a pre-emptive strategy for mental health provision for university students. Natalie has published a highly cited textbook for coaching (as first author) as well as presenting her research at conferences and acting as a committee representative and secretary for the British Psychological Society’s Special Group in Coaching Psychology.