Pembroke Postcards

Welcome to Pembroke Postcards, where we celebrate and showcase our amazing community in our first ever “virtual” term.   

Pembroke is all about its people, so while we face many challenges right now, not being in the same place doesn’t stop the College from being a supportive and dynamic community.

We hope you enjoy seeing how members of Pembroke are adjusting to virtual College life, and finding out about their work and other interests. 

If you are a current student or staff member please get involved (send us a photo and short piece of content).

Kathryn White, DPhil History

I’m Kathryn, a second year DPhil history student. I usually do most of my work in the MCR or the Bodleian, so in lockdown it’s been an adjustment to studying on my own without others around. Since being back at my parents’ house, I now mostly study at this desk which once belonged to my grandfather, who was a draughtsman. I’ve also made the most of the recent good weather to do my reading in the garden. 

I am fortunate that several First World War archives have been digitised so I still have plenty of work to be getting on with, although I look forward to returning to Pembroke as soon as we can. 

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Bernardo Gutierrez Granja, DPhil Zoology

As a DPhil student working with emerging viruses, it’s been "all hands on deck" for our research group since the start of the pandemic. Staying productive while adapting to working from home is challenging, but being able to collaborate with great people across the globe has kept me motivated. I’m currently analysing epidemiological data from Ecuador, where I’m originally from, and helping our collaborators there to maintain their capacity to sequence viral genomes. This work is done alongside our contributions to the COVID-19 Data Working Group and HealthMap. It’s an exhausting time to be a virus researcher, but also full of opportunities to learn and feel useful. 

 

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Warren Stanislaus, DPhil History

Yōkoso (welcome) to my Tokyo apartment. I’m a third year DPhil history candidate. My research is a transnational history of laughter and political satire in 19th century Japan. In Hilary I left Oxford for what I expected to be a short research trip to Tokyo. Plans changed and I'm still here. I’m now a researcher with Rikkyo University where I will be writing my dissertation and delivering a course as a lecturer. Japan is in “lockdown lite”. Although I can’t access the libraries, the options to sing in a karaoke booth or visit a pachinko parlour are still available. Choosing not to gamble with my own life or that of others, I am staying home and practicing a new karaoke number in the shower. 

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Belinda Dow, BA Biological Sciences

Hello! I’m Belinda, a second year Biology undergrad and one of the JCR welfare reps. It might not look like it, but my current set up is in a (admittedly fancy looking) shed. There are a quite a lot of rat holes though (looks can be deceiving...). I have filled the Pembroke-shaped hole in my heart with these three little chicks (Trudy, Donald & Yolko). I count chick-time as quality degree enhancement. I have also started a Pembroke podcast, Pembcast, with the help of our wonderful publications rep Rufus. It seems to be going well and is hopefully giving everyone a good weekly dose of Pembroke life!

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Cillian Brophy, DPhil Biochemistry

My name’s Cillian and I’m a 3rd year DPhil candidate in Biochemistry. Usually I would be spending most of day in my department, in either the lab or at my work desk just next to it. Like most other people now though, I am working from home. This week that means participating in remote lab group meetings, reading through papers to try to stay up to date, and performing analysis on some of my existing data. While I would much prefer to be working in my department, one thing that I love now is being able to cook meals for lunch rather than just another sandwich! 

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Dr Elisabeth Kendall, Fellow and Tutor in Arabic

It’s pretty much business as usual in my lockdown lair, just without a Middle East backdrop! I’m thrilled to finally spend time on writing my book “Rock Stars of Jihad”, which traces the highs and lows of terrorist poets who stir the masses with their Arabic verbal acrobatics. I’m also working with the UN for three months to think through the challenges impeding a peace process for Yemen. This is also the perfect time to plan ahead for a small NGO I chair in east Yemen. Right now we’re preparing a peacebuilding curriculum for kids and helping local women publish their own newspaper. I’m still commentating in the media, so am keeping my work space a lot tidier than its natural state! See you all soon.

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Benjamin Breant, Interdisciplinary Bioscience

I’m Ben, a 1st year graduate student in the doctoral training centre, and Pembroke MCR Social Secretary. I have exiled myself in France, but I’ve never stopped being connected to Pembroke. Maybe livestreaming the recreation of the MCR in a life-simulation video game doesn't qualify as work I am doing this week, but I’m sure it provided needed support. Lockdown did change some habits, but not for the worse. It allows me to focus on literature about paradoxical sleep, a key element for my DPhil. In the meantime, I’m running MCR online events and recording a podcast. Writing and telling bedtime stories was a skill I’ve never thought I’d develop! I hope you are all fine, See you after this! 

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Dr Nicholas Cole, Quill Project founder and director

If anything, research work has been busier than ever during lockdown. Though in-person archival work is not currently possible, we are busy processing materials alongside colleagues in Arizona and Utah — progressing work on American state and federal constitutional development.  A meeting about editing standards that was due to take place in Germany recently was simply moved online. As a more unusual work: we have been revising some of our software to work better for classroom use, and have been working with colleagues from the Turing Institute to contribute to the Covid response. We are adapting — but there’s no doubt that being in College is better.

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Alison Walsh, Pembroke Library

I'm Alison, the Graduate Trainee Librarian - currently without a library! Working from home has been dominated by trying to find as many ways as possible for students to access materials they could normally just borrow from the library, now that the building is closed. I've become a whizz at checking through reading lists, we have our first ORLO list up and running, and in a way it's nice to have some time to work on longer term projects and planning as well as the usual day-to-day. I'm also enjoying having my two border collies, Piper and Jess, at home to keep me company. That said, I do miss interacting with people face-to-face, and I'm dreading the amount of shelving I'll have to go back to!

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Silvia Shen, Mathematics and Philosophy

Hi everyone! My name is Silvia, and I am a third year studying maths and philosophy at undergraduate level. I am currently quarantining in a rented house in Cumbria with two friends, both of whom study maths as well. Currently, we are all studying for our exams in two weeks, which will be online. Our role model is Isaac Newton, who made many mathematical discoveries during his quarantine from the bubonic plague. I myself hope to discover how to prove profound set theory questions like "2+2=4" in time for my exams. We don't like tidying up, but we do love ordering useless things from amazon and cooking extra spicy food everyday!"

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Dr Rebekah White, Tutor in Experimental Psychology

My name is Rebekah. I am Pembroke's Welfare and Wellbeing Coordinator and a tutor in Experimental Psychology. Although I miss seeing students face-to-face, it is great that we can continue to support students remotely. Recently I had my first virtual psychology tutorial with students in four different timezones. I feel excited about navigating an 'online course' with such motivated and enthusiastic students. I am enjoying the extra time at home with family. My husband ran a full marathon as laps around our house and I ran a half marathon in our garden. I miss seeing everyone, but love keeping up with the Pembroke Community through emails, online tutorials, and social media. 

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford
Immy Brown, BA English Language and Literature

Hi, I’m Immy, an English finalist. It’s been really tough revising without the support of my peers but thankfully my family has been so supportive in helping me through my finals. I’m so glad it’s all over and although it’s not quite the Oxford trashing I expected, I still feel so happy to be finished!! I miss Pembroke so much and hopefully I will be back one day to celebrate finishing!!

All Pembrokians
Pembroke College
University of Oxford