Following this summer’s successful crowdfunding appeal in partnership with alumna Imani Jeffers (U15) the College is delighted to announce the first five ISLA Award Cambridge at Churchill College winners! Each winner will be receiving a financial award of £200 as well as optional access to mentoring and careers advice from experienced alumni. The scheme will continue to be rolled out in February 2022 when applications will be opened to Churchill offer-holders.

The ISLA Award initiative is designed to support and encourage current and future Churchill students of Black Caribbean and/or Black African descent. You can find out more about some of the first award winners below. They were each asked to give their reaction to winning one of the awards as well as their thoughts on Churchill College and their hopes and plans for the future.

Meet ISLA Award winner Lily Archer (U21 MML)

I think that the ISLA Award is an incredible scheme, as it is very important that Cambridge continues to combat its underrepresentation of Black students. This award is a great way of doing this, as it supports and encourages both offer-holders and undergraduates of Black descent. I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity to win this award, as I think it is a wonderful initiative and can really benefit the Black community.

I am going to be studying MML (French and Spanish) at Churchill, so I would like to use these skills in my work after university. I am also very interested in politics, so would really enjoy working somewhere where I could combine these two passions of mine. I am really looking forward to studying at Churchill because it seems like such a lovely College with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Everyone with whom I have so far interacted from the College has been so friendly, so I am definitely looking forward to meeting more people and getting to know the College community.

Meet ISLA Award winner Jed Asemota (U19 History & Politics)

I’m really happy to win this prize and think it’s a great initiative. It’s something refreshing, especially in the way that it isn’t solely focused on academic achievement and rewards a range of different types of contributions to College and Cambridge life. I am sure that it will go some way to help Black students feel welcome and appreciated at the College.

I love how relaxed Churchill is and how it allows you to be yourself and not have to worry about archaic rules and customs. Another huge part of this is the amazing grounds, being able to go for walks, play sports and just chill – it’s great for the overall college experience. I am still deciding on my plans for the future, but I am leaning towards doing another year of study so maybe Cambridge hasn’t seen the last of me!

Meet ISLA Award winner Elysia Bulbrook (U21 HSPS)

I’m very grateful and excited to be one of the first recipients of this award. I think the ISLA Award is a great scheme to help encourage diversity at Churchill by supporting students from minority backgrounds. I’ve heard Churchill has a very friendly atmosphere which I think is important in making a rewarding university experience. In the future I hope to make a positive change to people’s lives by researching and helping to implement ways in which we can help combat demanding global issues. I feel by studying HSPS at Churchill I will gain a depth of understanding into social issues and means of handling them.

Meet ISLA Award winner Adora Chidolue (U21 Medicine)

I’m very excited to have been a part of something that appreciates my efforts as a person with an underrepresented background. I think it will be very inspiring and beneficial to people with similar experiences and aspirations to me. The project also cemented the idea that Churchill College is an inclusive and accepting environment as this showed me how progressive the College is willing to be.

I wanted to choose Churchill as I had seen that its main demographic was young people of a similar academic background to me due to a large proportion of the College being state-educated. It meant that I would feel less out of place and I would be able to relate to other students more easily. I also liked the size of the College and its modernity as I felt it would be an environment that I’d easily be able to adjust to.

I’m currently studying medicine and hope to work within the field in the future, however, I’m not certain what area I want to specialise in. Hopefully, as I gain more of an understanding of what’s available to me during my course, I’ll be able to find what area of medicine suits me best.

Next steps

The project was crowdfunded by over 50 donors including alumni, current students and friends of the College and friends and supporters of alumna Imani Jeffers (U15) who conceived the project. The fantastic response has meant there are ample funds to launch and run the project for at least three years. The crowdfunding appeal may now be closed but it is not too late to support the initiative with a gift via the College’s online donation page by selecting ‘ISLA Gift’ from the drop-down list of funds. Any additional support we can secure will help to build and strengthen the impact of the award, particularly with regard to the opportunities available for those in this underrepresented group involved with our outreach/widening participation work in Croydon.

Support the ISLA Award