“My cousin and I were the first in our family to attend university, and I am the first to pursue a PhD. I cannot thank Churchill enough for giving me this opportunity!”
Lisa Kazianka (G17) completed her PhD programme in Education in 2021. Her research focused on representations of masculinities in literature for adolescents. In particular, she examined how re-imaginations of medieval(ist) masculinities and the portrayal of male maturation are embedded in late twentieth – and early twenty-first-century ‘boy crisis’ and men’s movement discourses.
Originally from Austria, where she studied English and American Language, Literature, and Culture to graduate level, Lisa also worked as a lecturer and academic writing coach before coming to Cambridge to study for an MPhil in Education at Girton College in 2016.
Lisa dreamed of continuing her postgraduate studies at Cambridge and originally applied to another college where funding seemed promising, but it was only when Churchill offered to co-fund a Studentship with the AHRC that she was able to take up her place:
Receiving the Churchill studentship meant that I could take up my PhD place and follow my dream of continuing my postgraduate studies at Cambridge. Because of the funding, I can focus on my project, improve my skills, and work towards building an academic career. Knowing that Churchill is more geared towards the sciences, receiving the funding also gave me a little confidence boost – they value and want to support my literary and educational research and want to welcome me into their community! My cousin and I were the first in our family to attend university, and I am the first to pursue a PhD. I cannot thank Churchill enough for giving me this opportunity!
Lisa’s fees were paid by the AHRC, and Churchill took care of her monthly maintenance payments. Lisa is also grateful to have received financial help from the College via the hardship fund, to help cover unexpected living costs for two months. She also received some money towards attending a language course, and, importantly, Churchill extended Lisa’s funding beyond the third year, when COVID-19 circumstances caused disruptions for students across the Cambridge community and, indeed, globally. ‘Churchill funding really has helped me out in so many ways!’
For Lisa, the best thing about Churchill has been the incredibly supportive and friendly staff. She particularly credits her tutor and the postgraduate office for going above and beyond on numerous occasions and making her life in Cambridge so much easier.
Lisa originally lived out of College for the first two years, but finally moved into onsite Churchill accommodation in her third year. She was delighted to be living in the heart of College’s graduate student community:
The accommodation Churchill provided me with was amazing – comfortable, affordable, and with space to work on my project! I also like the Churchill guest night formals – they are very well organised and you get to meet people from different colleges and bring friends from other colleges.
Looking beyond her PhD, Lisa hopes to stay in academia. She has some ideas on how to extend her current project and hopes to apply for post-doc positions in the UK and Europe. Alternatively, she would like to work in higher education admin, in outreach or student services. Most importantly she would like to do something she is passionate about, which also makes a positive impact.
For the present time she is hugely grateful to the College that helped her fulfil her dream of completing a PhD at Cambridge and couldn’t be happier to be part of the Churchill community.
Churchill is a truly supportive, open-minded, and modern College that puts student’s success, experience, and well-being first – there’s really nothing more a Cambridge student could ask for!