We are delighted to share the news that we appointed a new Postgraduate Senior Tutor for Churchill College, who formally started in the role this Michaelmas Term.

Dr Mairi Kilkenny grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where she completed her undergraduate and Masters degrees at the University of Cape Town. She moved to Cambridge for her PhD in Biochemistry at Sidney Sussex College, after which she moved to London, where she spent five years as a post-doc at the Institute of Cancer Research. Mairi then moved back to Cambridge where she has worked for the last 12 years in the Department of Biochemistry – both as a Senior Research Associate investigating the mechanisms of human DNA replication, and more recently as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Teaching. In 2016 Mairi also became a Teaching Fellow in Biochemistry at St Catharine’s College, as well as an undergraduate tutor, postgraduate mentor and Director of Studies. The COVID19 pandemic made both Departmental and College roles extremely challenging, but she became even more determined to support our amazing students.

Mairi has supervised many Masters and PhD students in the lab over the years, and she loves to see postgraduate students identify what it is that truly interests them, and then embark on their future career paths. When the role of Senior Postgraduate Tutor was advertised at Churchill, it felt like the perfect opportunity to become more involved with the recruitment, admission, welfare and general support of postgraduate students at Cambridge, balancing her undergraduate-focused role in the Department.

I have only been in post for a few weeks, but the welcome I have had (and continue to have) at Churchill has been wonderful. Staff and students alike have made me feel very at home. The postgraduate Tutorial team is fantastic and I look forward to working with them on existing and new initiatives to deliver positive change for Churchill postgraduates. I have also really enjoyed getting to know the MCR Committee members, as well as my own postgraduate tutees over the last few weeks. The postgraduate student cohort at Churchill comprises a diverse, international and inspirational group of young people and I look forward to seeing what they go on to achieve!

Mairi is particularly looking forward to working with the postgraduate tutorial team and postgraduate students to ensure that every student feels included, supported, and able to reach their full potential during their time at Churchill College. In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, cycling, reading, arts and crafts, and outreach work, including running primary school science festivals in state schools around Cambridge and London.