A Churchill College alumna, Tegan (Tigs) Louis-Puttick (U18) has been awarded one of seven Kennedy Scholarships for postgraduate study at Harvard University, following a competitive UK-wide selection process. She will spend the 2023-24 academic year as a Special Student within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, exploring her research interests in migration from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

The Kennedy Scholarships are prestigious awards which form part of the UK’s official memorial to President John F. Kennedy, and the Kennedy Memorial Trust seeks to promote ideals of intellectual endeavour, leadership, and public service through the Scholars they support. 

Tigs graduated from Churchill College in 2021 with a Human, Social and Political Sciences degree, with a particular focus on refugee rights, NGOs and border coloniality. She now works as an academic-activist in the field of migrant solidarity and asylum rights, particularly related to sea border crossings and the associated trauma experienced by people on the move. Looking back, she recalls the vital role the College played in helping to shape her future path and work in this area.

Churchill College staff were always supportive of my volunteer work in Greece with people seeking asylum. I received a travel grant in my first year to go to Lesvos and volunteer as an emergency responder. This was a turning point in my work with and for migrants, which I will continue to pursue at Harvard and into the future. 

Tigs is currently an Operational Coordinator for Sea-Watch e.V, a German rescue ship and political organisation, and has been involved in the rescue of many people crossing the sea to seek safety. She is also the founder of her own nonprofit organisation, Reclaim the Sea, which teaches refugees with sea-related trauma how to swim and surf in order to reclaim the sea as a safe space.

Tigs is also writing a paper with Dr S Srinivasan, Co-Director of Cambridge’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights, on in/visibility at borders. Whilst at Harvard, she hopes to expand her knowledge on the technicalities of international maritime and public law, while going deeper into the sociological aspects of refugee rights and humanitarian work which will contribute to her aims to finish writing a book by the end of her year in the US.

We are delighted that Tegan will be joining the Kennedy Scholar community, and look forward to supporting her on the next step of her academic and professional career. We know she has an incredibly bright future ahead.

Dr Emily J Charnock Director, Kennedy Memorial Trust

Read more about the Kennedy Scholarship and profiles of the 2023-24 Scholars here.