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Michelle Brown, 42, is a native of Cambridge and has just commenced study for MPhil at the Institute of Criminology. Her £12,000 fees for the year are funded through the Newton College Master Studentship Scheme, which is a combined project between Churchill College and the Sir Isaac Newton Trust. In addition, Michelle is in receipt of a £3,000 Churchill bursary towards her living costs for the year.
A single parent with two children, Michelle left school at 16 and worked as a part-time school secretary for a number of Cambridge schools before deciding remarkably to re-enter education with the intention of gaining a PhD, her ultimate if initially impossible-seeming goal. Add dyslexia to the mix and the necessary determination to achieve this strikes any observer. In addition, Michelle's tutor nominated her for the Ede and Ravenscroft 2014 prize which is awarded to a student for academic excellence in the face of adversity, which she went on to win. This was following her year two grades when at the time she was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment for this. It was at this time Michelle was advised to apply for an MPhil. After studying for further secondary qualifications, Michelle went on to gain a BA in Criminology at Anglia Ruskin University and subsequently received, by email, the offer of a place to study at Churchill for her MPhil. Michelle's project is to investigate how partners and families can be encouraged to play a role in desistance and what are the challenges they face.
Although finding the money to continue to raise her children for the year of her MPhil is a struggle and a perpetual worry, Michelle simply would not have been able to continue her education past BA Level without the financial support she has received. The tuition costs alone would have been prohibitive. For the future, Michelle's dream is to become a lecturer and she hopes to fulfil this dream if she is able to secure funding for a doctorate.
Michelle was asked about Churchill:
“What I like most about Churchill College is the warm friendly atmosphere, it is a beautiful building with extensive grounds. The restaurant is also amazing, and serves the most delicious variety of food….The main difference I have found is that I feel like my academic standing has risen dramatically, which has done wonders for my self-esteem!
What I have found unique about Churchill College is that from the moment I step into the building every member of staff makes me feel special and supported all the time. I am not sure this is the case with all colleges. The staff cannot do enough for you, I do not live on site but it very much feels like my second home. I feel proud to be a part of Churchill College.”