Candidates for New Associates

14 May 2016 in Uncategorized

The recruitment process for new Associates will soon begin and we have 7 vacancies this year with some very strong candidates rolling over from 2015 and a number of proposals in the pipeline.

If anyone has a strong candidate to nominate for future elections, please contact:

We will also be calling for nominations for a new committee member.

Newnham Associate becomes Chartered Ecologist

29 May 2014 in Uncategorized

Rachel Hirst has become one of the first tranche of Chartered Ecologists in Britain. The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management finally received its royal charter in July 2013, thus becoming the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and in a position to create the award of “Chartered Ecologist” (CEcol). Rachel is now one of the few Chartered Ecologists in Scotland, and number 32 on the CEcol register globally; she has just completed her training as an examiner for the Register, and is excited to be promoting the work of professional ecologists in all sectors. She notes that, in a field notably dominated by men, 40% of the 64 chartered ecologists currently on the register are women.

New publication by Newnham Historian

28 February 2013 in Newnham news

I thought Associates might be interested to know that Helen Yallop (NC mid-90s; I taught her!) has just had her first book published, Age and Identity in Eighteenth Century England.  Congratulations Helen!

Job Finder now available

3 February 2013 in Site development

We now have a page on our site that lists work experience opportunities, internships and job vacancies that we know about and that might be of interest to Newnham students and recent graduates. Check it out!

Hon appointed Chair of Covent Garden Market Authority

11 January 2013 in Associates news

We are delighted that Pam Alexander, one of our Honorary Associates, has been appointed Chair of the Covent Garden Market Authority, taking over on Feb 1st, with an exciting new redevelopment project at Nine Elms. She is also now on the Mayor’s Design Advisory Group.

Newnham fields two of ‘the top influential thinkers of 2012’

13 December 2012 in Associates news

Every year HR Magazine compiles the ‘HR Most Influential ranking’: the definitive list of directors and thinkers who have the greatest influence in the field of people strategy. This year Newnham can boast two entries in the list: our Principal Dame Carol Black, in her former role as national director for Health and Work – ‘regarded as putting health and wellbeing on the Human Resources Development agenda, thanks to her dedication and political influence’ – and Associate Wendy Hirsh, who has done so much to shape the Associates’ career workshops for students. As an independent consultant, Wendy is praised as a ‘fantastic researcher…grounded in practicality and always mindful of the implications and applications of her research for HR practitioners’. Read more.


5 August 2012 in Newnham news

A Newnham alumna, Anna Watkins (NC 2001) – NatSci P has won the first Gold Medal won by a Cambridge Alum in these Olympic games in the women’s double sculls. She has been very supportive of NCBC and spent a day coaching them this year and generously came back to speak to a dinner a few years ago about her experiences training for Beijing.


5 August 2012 in Associates news

Another TV programme to watch out for (or more accurately to watch) — the episode of  ‘Accused’ coming up on 4 September, 9pm BBC1. ‘Tina’s Story’ was written by Isabelle Grey & Jimmy McGovern, directed by Ashley Pearce and stars Anna Maxwell Martin, John Bishop and Ewen Bremner.
The series (Isabelle’s episode is the last of 4) starts on 14 August.

What supervisions mean to undergraduates

9 March 2012 in Newnham news

Newnham has just released a wonderful film featuring undergraduates explaining what the supervision system means for them. What did they mean for you, when you were an undergraduate? Do you have any good stories to tell about your supervisions? If so, add them to the comments below.

Career planning

5 March 2012 in Associates news

Wendy Hirsh is the co-author of Teach Yourself Career Planning in a Week, which is now out in a completely updated version. You can buy it through Amazon, or directly from her.

Are we nearly there yet?

19 December 2011 in Interesting stuff

[Cross posted from Louise Pryor’s blog]

The title of this blog is a shameless crib from a recent blog of Athene Donald’s, in which she discusses the Equality Challenge Unit‘s annual survey of statistical information about staff and students in UK universities.

[…] overall 76% of professors are white and male. Such a lack of diversity cannot be healthy. The numbers of BME (black and minority ethnic) staff across the board, male or female, is truly dismal. A mere 5.3% of academic staff are non-white UK nationals and there are a further 6.6% of non-UK BME staff members.

More girls than boys go to university, although this gap is slowly decreasing (from 14.6 to 13.2% over the period from 2003/4). In some subjects the disparity is huge:  80.6% are girls in subjects allied to medicine, 76.6% in veterinary sciences, and even in biological sciences the percentage is 62.9%.

She concludes with the interesting question:

So, we should be asking ourselves, not only ‘are we nearly there?’, but where is the ‘there’ we are trying to reach. Is the ideal a 50:50 split between the genders at all levels and for all subjects, or do we believe that this is a) impossible or b) undesirable – or even c) irrelevant as a metric.

Meanwhile, it’s fairly obvious from other sources that we’re not nearly there, for any reasonable definition of “there”, even leaving aside the obvious matters of the gender pay gap and the dearth of women in top jobs.

Personally, I’m not a huge sports fan. Well, not really a sports fan at all, to be honest. I do participate at grass roots level (let’s hear it for parkrun), but I don’t really follow or even watch sport. But I’d like to be able to not watch women’s sport on an equal footing to men’s. From Zoe Williams:

A young female rower told me two years ago that the big scandal of the way women were treated in UK sport was best illustrated by netball: it was never covered by the media, even though we were among the best in the world.

As host nations of the Olympics, we could have nominated it as one of our four new events. Instead, we chose women’s boxing: no spectator base, no foothold in schools, no realistic chance of it catching on, but you wanted equality, ladies? Here, take a punch in the face.

There are huge numbers of sports fans, but they don’t see many women. But then, people listening to the Today Show don’t hear many women, those watching Question Time don’t see many, and people reading newspapers don’t read women’s words, according to recent research. Women are seriously under-represented in the media.

And it gets worse. As I wrote last month, there’s a lot of misogyny around, and a number of women wrote about what they encountered. A week or so ago, Nick Cohen wrote a piece on the subject, and as described by Ellie Mae O’Hagan

Almost as soon as the piece was published, “Nick Cohen” started trending on Twitter. Clicking on the topic revealed scores of men and women sharing and praising his article; congratulating him for “nailing” the subject.

Why, she asks, did Nick Cohen trend on Twitter?

After all, it didn’t trend on Twitter when women pointed it out; and if I remember rightly, a great deal of respondents told us to stop being so weak. […] How strange, then, that Cohen’s piece should be the subject of such adulation. How unfathomable it is that his opinion should be lauded more than those for whom misogyny is a lived experience. It seems, as one Twitter user put it to me, that when “feminist women call sexism they are portrayed as killjoys; when feminist men do it, they are portrayed as white knights riding to the aid of defenceless women.”

There’s some progress, though. Well, maybe. Hamley’s has stopped colour coding its floors pink and blue for girls and boys. That’s bound to make a difference. Isn’t it?


The life scientific

5 December 2011 in Newnham news

Professor Uta Frith, who is an Honorary Fellow of Newnham, is the subject of Jim Al-Khalili’s The Life Scientific broadcast on Radio 4 on Tuesday, 6 December at 9 am and again at 9.30 pm.

Behind the interview scenes

29 November 2011 in Newnham news

It’s interview time again: do you remember what questions you were asked? Mary Beard has written a thought provoking article for the BBC, explaining why she sometimes asks what Romans wore under their togas.

100 years: it’s a long wait

26 November 2011 in Interesting stuff

In the EU, only 41% of PhD graduates in science, maths, and computing are women, and only 25% in engineering. Liz Bolshaw, in the FT’s Women at the top blog, points out that:

The dearth of academically qualified female scientists at doctorate level simply fuels a downward spiral in numbers of women researchers in industry and in senior management. Of the FT’s top 50 women in global business this year, there are just two mechanical engineers: Ellen Kullman (chief executive of DuPont) and Ursula Burns (chief executive of Xerox). Li Xiaolin, chief executive of  China Power International Development, has an MSc in engineering (power systems), as does Ho Ching, chief executive of Temasek Holdings in Singapore. The lone chemist in the ranking is Olivia Lum, founder and chief executive of Hyflux, one of the world’s leading makers of membrane-based desalination and water treatment plants. There is not one European business leader in our ranking who has a science background.

There are some initiatives that aim to address the problem, as the blog describes, but it’s not a good situation to be in, 100 years after Marie Curie won the Nobel prize.

A woman right at the very top

24 November 2011 in Interesting stuff

It’s great to read pieces like this one, in the FT’s Women at the Top blog (which is consistently interesting). Heather Rarick is a flight director who works in Mission Control for the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She has led international space station expeditions and space shuttle missions.

“How we talk about engineering isn’t necessarily how things are,” she says. “When you think of engineer, you think of an old man sitting at a desk number-crunching or building software. But so much of engineering is about helping to solve problems – problems in transportation, or the medical arena. The messaging isn’t there yet.”

Follow us on twitter

23 November 2011 in Site development

We’ve now got a twitter account: you can follow us at @NewnhamAssocs. We’re unlikely to be very wordy, so it won’t take up too much of your time!

Selection of new Principal

21 November 2011 in Newnham news

The Governing Body of Newnham College, Cambridge intends to elect a new Principal to succeed Dame Patricia Hodgson, and retained Russell Reynolds Associates to support it in making this appointment. Full particulars are available on the Russell Reynolds website. The closing date for applications is 19 December 2011.

A lively meeting

18 November 2011 in Associates news

We had a really good Associates meeting at Newnham the other weekend. It took the now usual format, the AGM in the morning, lunch in College Hall, and then a workshop with students in the afternoon.

The morning’s meeting was, as usual, lively and full of discussion. We heard about various aspects of the Associates’ and College activity, discussed some ideas about what we should do in the future. The Principal gave us her usual thorough update, and we watched a video about life at Newnham. I think we all recognised aspects of our own experience in it, however long ago it had been since we were students ourselves.

Drinks in the SCR and lunch followed, with some of the students who would be taking part in the afternoon’s workshop, which was on finding a career that fits. The workshop was so popular that we’d had to move it from the Lucia Windsor room to the Jane Harrison room.

We started off with an ice-breaking exercise: what animal what you be from the list, and why? There was a huge variety: I thought I’d like to be an eagle, soaring alone in the sky, but as many of us seemed to have the same idea I’m not sure how solitary it would be.

We then got down to business, discussing what our values were and how we had discovered them, and how they could interact with our careers. As always, all participants seemed to find the discussions helpful, whatever stage their own careers were at. After two hours we were left wanting more, always a good way to finish.

Reviewing Pevsner’s life

9 November 2011 in Associates news

Something to add to your Christmas list — Nikolaus Pevsner: The Life, by Associate Susie Harries has been getting great reviews.

(If you know of more reviews, add them in the comments below).

Rosalind Franklin

9 November 2011 in Interesting stuff

There’s a great video and accompanying blog about why Rosalind Franklin, a Newnham alumna who contributed to the discovery of the structure of DNA, is one woman’s favourite scientist.