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Student news

Dental student volunteers at Syrian refugee camp

Matthew Billington, a first-year King’s dental student, has recently completed a volunteer programme working with refugees in Lebanon. The week-long initiative is run as part of the King’s College London Sanctuary Programme – the collective response of the King’s community of staff and students to the greatest humanitarian crisis the world has witnessed since the Second World War: the 60 million refugees fleeing from Syria and other conflict zones.

Find out more on Spotlight.

Shaping the future of the creative industries

For Ottilie Thornhill, an English undergraduate studying at King’s, the journey to a career in the arts and the impetus to continue her studies with a Master’s degree began by participating in the annual King’s Cultural Challenge.

Find out more on Spotlight

Providing English lessons to refugees

A new educational project set up by students is helping refugees to integrate into Britain.

‘The Learning Station Project’, set up by Lola Siran and Emma Yagour, who are both studying English Law and French law at King’s,  offers English and French classes to asylum seekers and refugees in a relaxed and welcoming environment

Find out more on Spotlight

Mission discovery: launching next generation of young scientists

Each year King’s College London hosts the Mission Discovery programme aimed at encouraging young people’s interest in science, research and space.

The week-long educational programme is run by the International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) in partnership with the Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences (CHAPS) at King’s and involves NASA astronauts. Dr Julie Keeble from CHAPS supervises the students who are between 14-18 years old during the programme, and oversees the experiments.

Find out more on Spotlight.

#FightFistula: The role of diaspora in global surgery

Hosted by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) on Monday 23 February, the diaspora-led NGO Selfless launched its latest campaign #FightFistula at the inaugural 'Global Surgery and Diaspora' event. The initiative aims to support women in Bangladesh affected by obstetric fistula, a condition caused by complications during childbirth, by helping to develop the long-term capacity of local surgical providers in the region.

Founded by King’s alumni, the project also offers medical students and doctors from the UK a unique opportunity to gain an insight into both the clinical and social issues associated with the severely debilitating disorder, and to experience healthcare in a rural setting.

Former Academic President of the GKT Medical Students’ Association Faheem Ahmed, who has spearheaded the campaign, addressed an audience of prominent healthcare specialists at the launch, highlighting the growing inequalities in surgical care worldwide. Drawing from his experiences at Harvard, Mr Ahmed argued the case for surgery as a cost-effective public health intervention. Discussing the #FightFistula campaign which provides students with structured training and guidance to ensure that the highest clinical and ethical standards are maintained, and to develop the future generation of safe surgeons dedicated to global public health, Mr Ahmed also emphasised how the initiative ‘offers students and trainees more opportunities to experience healthcare overseas in an era of globalisation.’

Dr Richard Smith, former Editor-In-Chief and CEO of the British Medical Journal, delivered the keynote address. He discussed his work with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, and the importance of learning from the developing world through reverse innovation. RCS council member Shafi Ahmed also took to the stage to underline the importance of uniting to challenge the prevalent healthcare discrepancies in the developing world, sharing his experiences of growing up in Bangladesh.
Obstetric fistula is a result of prolonged obstructed labour, and according to the World Health Organisation, there are more than two million women who suffer from the condition worldwide, with and an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 new cases each year. The majority of these come from developing countries owing to the poor quality and coverage of maternal and perinatal health services. In Bangladesh, there are over 70,000 women in need of fistula repair surgery.

For more information about #FightFistula and ways to support Selfless, visit www.beselfless.org.uk/ and take the pledge online.

Branding: Invention and Reinvention

As part of the successful Enterprise Connect Series, King’s Student Entrepreneurship Institute (KSEI) latest event featured high-profile speakers including the CEO of River Island, Ben Lewis and Harriet Minter, Founder and Head of Women in Leadership at The Guardian.

 The event, held at the Greenwood Lecture Theatre and hosted by Alice Holden, co- founder of Attollo Lingerie and Best Pitch winner at the King’s Lion’s Den Challenge Start-Up in 2014, focused on ‘Branding: Invention and Reinvention’. Guest speakers shared their experiences in setting up a business and differentiating it to survive and thrive in a competitive market.

Ben Lewis talked about his venture into retail and why reinvention and invention is very important in business. He discussed the changes and challenges River Island has faced since it opened in the 1940s, and advised entrepreneurs not to be afraid of failure and rebranding their business if necessary. Ben also highlighted the impact technology has had on River Island and how the online presence is as important as owning shops worldwide. River Island is essentially a business of products, shops and technology, and is perpetually changing and evolving.

In her talk, Harriet Minter emphasised the importance of personal branding, arguing that there are three things people should think about when branding themselves: who, what and where. ‘Who’ covers how you define yourself and your values, ‘what’ is about how you present yourself on social media and ‘where’ focuses on your personal brand and how to own it. Harriet’s presentation on personal branding highlighted the importance of being confident and bold in order to thrive not only in business but in life.

Jay Radia, Founder and CEO of Yieldify, a predictive marketing software helping brands to personalise their customer experience, also spoke at the event. Yieldify has over 1,000 clients including French Connection and retail giant Marks & Spencer and has offices in Berlin, New York, Sydney and London. Jay was recently named by the Financial Times as one of the top 10 entrepreneurs under 30 in Europe. Jay advised the audience not to be afraid to take risks and do their research before starting a business.

Law graduate Carmarley Dennis, Founder of Hubbly Bubbly (a premium vaping company) advised students on how to successfully balance a start-up and their degree. He discussed how he differentiated himself from other companies by redefining the flavoured tobacco industry by creating different flavours and designs to get the attention of customers.

Speaking after the event, Ben Lewis commented on why he thinks it is important that he attends events such as Enterprise Connect: ‘First of all, I work in a young industry and it requires fresh talent coming in all of the time. It is important that as someone who is one of the leaders in the industry I’m inspiring others to come into the retail industry in order to make sure that it has a tremendous future going forwards.’

The KSEI regularly organise events to engage, empower and excel King’s student’s entrepreneurs. To help King’s students with their business ideas they offer initiatives such as the King’s Incubator, Lion’s Den Challenge, King’s Mini Accelerator Weekend and the King’s Experience Enterprise Award. 

For further information about KSEI visit the website.

Faisel Alam: Why professionalism matters

Graduate student Faisel Alam, GKT School of Medical Education at King’s, has written a blog for the General Medical Council (GMC) which looks at the professional responsibility medical students are charged with, both in and out of the workplace. 

Highlighting the results of the GMC’s 2014 survey which sought to gauge the professional values of more than 2500 of the UK’s medical students, Faisel draws upon his own experiences of working in a clinical environment and interacting with a diverse range of patients. 

The King’s student starts by discussing how the 40,000-strong community of medical students are not only the future doctors of tomorrow, but also the eyes and ears of the NHS today. This unique role in society brings with it a high level of responsibility, not only in terms of patient safety, protection and anonymity, but also with regard to the public’s perception of the profession itself. 

Discussing the significance of the position held by doctors, Faisel writes: ‘Doctors hold a position of power and responsibility that demands trust when carrying out professional duties. While doctors are often rated by the public as the most trusted profession, we have seen in the past the irrevocable damage that is caused to the entire profession – and the danger to patient safety – when medical professionals have been dishonest.’

Social media is also noted as a ‘pertinent area where the boundaries of professionalism can blur’. As a relatively new phenomenon yet one that can have severe repercussions if misused by medical professionals, Faisel discusses how the GMC should invest in innovative ways to engage and educate students on best practice guidelines. 

He concludes: ‘Sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes we just need to be advised. Or perhaps sometimes we err too much on the side of caution. Ultimately, we try our best to act with honesty and integrity, in the provision of safe, effective, high quality, compassionate patient-centred care.’

To read the full blog, visit the GMC website.

Interview: Lauren Holden, King's Cultural Challenge winner 2014

With the 2015 King’s Cultural Challenge entering its final stages, Oliver Stannard, Culture at King’s, caught up with one of last year’s winners, Lauren Holden. 
In answer to last year’s challenge, ‘How can these four organisations (the Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre, V&A and Royal Shakespeare Company) work together to build audiences whilst still maintaining their own identities?’, Lauren came up with the idea for the ‘DISloyalty app’ – a mobile app that encourages audiences to visit a variety of cultural institutions in return for unique rewards and perks. The idea and her pitch to industry leaders won her a paid internship at the Royal Opera House and her app has recently received funding for development.

Lauren, I get the impression you’re one to watch out for. Can you tell me a little about your background, what you studied at King’s and where you’re from?
I grew up in a little market town called Ashbourne in Derbyshire and moved to London to study music three years ago. I've been interested in music from a young age, taking singing lessons from the age of four, setting up a wedding singing business at the age of 16 and a choir for local children a year later. Whilst at King’s I've continued my music-making by being involved in opera productions and taking on the roles of president and conductor of King’s College Chorus (a non-auditioned King’s choir).

Why did you apply for the King’s Cultural Challenge in 2014?
I've got to admit that it was really the chance to work with one of the UK’s leading arts institutions. I'm so glad I did apply!

Can you tell us a little about your winning idea – the DISloyalty app – and how you came up with it?
I actually came up with the idea in the shower. I had a 5,000 word essay due in on the subject of Wagner and the essay wasn't going all too well. I received an email from the Cultural Challenge reminding me that submissions were due the next day. I really wanted to apply but all I could think of was a loyalty card, which has been done to death. So I thought I'd take a break from the Wagner essay and think over some ideas whilst talking a shower. I began thinking from my own perspective – I often go to the Royal Opera House but rarely make a trip to the Royal Shakespeare Company, V&A or Southbank Centre, not because I don't want to but because going to the Opera House takes up most of my free time. So I thought, ‘what would make me inclined to go to these other three institutions?’, and that's when I came up with the DISloyalty concept – if I were to be rewarded by the Royal Opera House by engaging with the other three organisations I would definitely be more inclined to pay a visit to the Royal Shakespeare Company, V&A or Southbank Centre. 

The core principle of the app is that the organisation you have initially been loyal to will then encourage you to be disloyal, by engaging with the other three institutions, and will reward this disloyalty with exclusive perks. 

So how did the idea become a reality (unless you’re a super app designing wizard yourself, I’m assuming you had some help)?
Indeed! Culture at King’s has helped me to fund the development of the app and work with the four cultural organisations involved. The plan is that the app will be developed by some very talented King’s students from the Technology Society at King’s. 
I am meeting with the Technology Society soon about logistics and they’ve shown real excitement about working together to develop it. It would be amazing if the development of the app could be done with the help of King’s students.

What was it like working with the Royal Opera House team?
Working in the Digital Media department at the Royal Opera House was an incredible experience and has opened my eyes to the wealth of arts jobs available. The Digital Media team were all so welcoming and supportive, making me feel like a colleague, not an intern. There is such a ‘buzz’ at the Royal Opera House – just walking around the corridors. I’m really looking forward to going back to discuss the development of the app.

What was your favourite part of doing the internship?
Probably being given the chance to interview staff and artists who had worked at the Royal Opera House for over twenty five years for a series of news pieces for their website. Everyone I interviewed was so lovely and had such inspiring stories about their work. Interviewing these people gave me an understanding and an insight into the different departments at the Royal Opera House and highlighted the sheer number of people and amount of expertise it takes to put on world-class opera and ballet night after night. 

The app sounds like it could be a real game changer for marketing professionals and cultural organisations alike. How has the app been received by audiences and other organisations?
The app is in the process of being developed, but there has been a lot of positive feedback from both audiences and organisations. It’s in everyone's interests – the cultural organisations want to expand their audiences and audiences want to be rewarded with exclusive ‘money-can't-buy’ opportunities such as signings with their favourite artists. The DISloyalty app can build wilder audiences for cultural organisations whilst rewarding audiences with wider cultural engagement. It’s win-win!

The DISloyalty app will be piloted with 50 students from each organisation, totalling 200 students. There have been studies done that show how young audience members are more open to experience new art forms, whereas when audiences get a bit older they are less likely to try something new. We therefore chose to aim the DISloyalty app at students, as it allows young people to experience and find out what art forms they like for themselves before they perhaps chose a particular art form that they prefer. 

Where will it end?! Do you see other applications for your app?
If the DISloyalty app goes well I would like to roll the app out to other areas and cities. The DISloyalty app could encourage audiences worldwide to engage with a range of art forms they may not usually engage with, as they are incentivised by the exclusive rewards offered by the organisation they have originally been ‘loyal’ to. Though I see the app as primarily an app for the arts, there’s no telling how far it could be adapted to suit all sorts of markets and sectors!

Now that you’ve finished your internship and degree, what’s next for you and for the app?
The goal is to launch the app this year. After that, who knows – both for the app and me! I hope the app will be a big success but even if it isn't the success we hope, I know it will have been an invaluable experience, as both the King’s Cultural Challenge and my internship at the Royal Opera House have been. I hope that the app will lead to something more or will aid me in getting a full-time job, post-graduation. I also have a passion for opera singing and hope to pursue that in the years to come.

Do you have any other revolutionary ideas in the pipeline?
You’ll have to wait and see!

Okay – I’m sold. When can I get my hands on the app?
Hopefully around mid-September. Keep an eye out for publicity in the meantime and I’m sure we’ll give you more details soon on the Culture at King’s website.

And finally, what message would you give to this year’s King’s Cultural Challenge contenders?
Think simple but outside the box. This may sound a bit like an oxymoron, but we live in a post-modern society where everything has been done before. So look at successful existing models and see how you can adapt that idea or concept to suit the arts and the challenge question. I simply turned a loyalty scheme on its head and now I am actually developing the app – it’s mad! Whether you're a challenge winner or not, taking part in the challenge is a great experience and the lucky finalists will all have the opportunity to participate in a pitching skills workshop. I still draw upon the skills I learned through this workshop when pitching the DISloyalty app to arts organisations and in general presentations for university. I would advise anyone who’s even vaguely interested in the arts to apply!


King's graduate accepted onto competitive tech start-up programme

King’s Business Management graduate and aspiring entrepreneur, Mark Chaffey, has been accepted onto the competitive Techstars accelerator programme for Autumn 2015 with his start-up ‘Hackajob’ which helps match technical talent directly with employers.

Hackajob is an online marketplace that differentiates itself from other recruitment companies by allowing employers and users to directly contact each other through its practical application process. The platform already has 12,000 users with key early clients including high profile names such as the BBC, Boots and Argos.

Users can apply by completing job-specific challenges set by the employer. Once they have successfully completed the challenges, users may then receive a job or interview offer. Hackajob has helped to facilitate over 300 interviews in the last four months and continues to grow at a significant rate as more users and employers sign up.

Techstars is one of the leading global accelerators, which allow entrepreneurs to bring new technologies into the market through support programmes which are run by fellow entrepreneurs to provide advice that helps grow their business. Techstars provides funding, intensive mentorship, introductions to new clients and a vast network of alumni, in return for seven to 10 per cent equity in a company. Less than one per cent of applicants are accepted to join the Techstars programme and this year only 11 start-ups – including Mark’s & Razvan’s – from over 1,000 applicants were successful in their application.

Chaffey and his business partner, Razvan Creanga, a fellow King’s graduate with an MSc in International Marketing, successfully went through four rigorous interview stages before they were accepted onto the programme. They both had to emphasise the impact their business has had on their users and how they have effectively worked together as a team to build Hackajob.

Chaffey graduated this year with a BSc in Business Management having won the National Student Apprentice competition in his first year at King’s and launched Hackajob with Creanga in November 2014. Chaffey, Creanga and their team of six then joined the King’s Pop-Up Incubating Space in March 2015. The Pop-Up, which is in the Hodgkin Building at Guy’s Campus, gives students who have a business idea space to work with their team and colleagues. They also have access to business advice, mentorship and networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs.

Mark said: ‘Without the Incubating Space, it would have been very difficult to expand our team and grow the business as we were temporarily based at the Waterloo campus library and the Waterloo canteen. We are grateful to King’s for actively supporting Hackajob by sponsoring our monthly event at which we talk to the community about our business and for introducing us to relevant contacts in the industry.’

Chaffey recently spoke to aspiring entrepreneurs at King’s as part of the King’s Student Entrepreneurship Institute Enterprise Connect series to promote his business and share his experiences with other King’s students. He is keen to expand and develop Hackajob into a global business: ‘We want to take Hackajob to several European cities by the end of this year and to be present in the US next summer. We believe our innovative approach to technical recruitment can become the global market leader by connecting top digital talent with exciting tech companies.’

King's student awarded Sir John Ellis Student Prize 2015

King’s student Rajiv Sethi has been announced as the sole recipient of the Sir John Ellis Student Prize 2015, in recognition of his work which looked at the transition of final-year medical students to foundation doctors. The prize, awarded by the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME), is an established and highly regarded national award for student work on a medical education topic. 

The project, centred on preparing students for the transition to doctors also known as ‘preparation for practice’, found that bringing final examinations forward in the year had little bearing on results, and would in fact allow medical students more time to benefit from the clinical experience, as well as allowing them the opportunity to re-sit. 

Forming part of the student selected component for the Medical Programme, Rajiv gathered data on current and proposed plans for final examinations across UK medical schools, co-hosted Twitter chats and conducted a literature review. The findings outlined in his report have influenced the curriculum for the 2020 MBBS Programme at King’s which will soon see finals being sat in December and January as opposed to May, and a ‘preparation for practice’ module set up to prepare students prior to embarking on their foundation placements.
Commenting on the award, Rajiv said: ‘I am grateful to the Association for the Study of Medical Education for selecting our self-designed student selected component for this prestigious award. The project has strengthened my desire to pursue medical education and leadership in the future, and contributing to the future of medical education at GKT has been a challenging but exciting journey. I would like to thank Professor Stuart Carney, Mr Bill Edwards, Dr Kun Liu, Dr Despo Papachristodoulou, Dr John Halliday and Dr Sonji Clarke for their support.’ 
Professor Stuart Carney, Dean of Medical Education, said: ‘This is an important project. Rajiv’s work has informed the development of the new Curriculum and helped us shape our plans for supporting medical students make the transition to employment. I am delighted that ASME has recognised the high quality of this project and that Rajiv will have the opportunity to share his findings in Edinburgh this July.’

For more information on ASME, visit their webpages

King's student to attempt the Atlantic Challenge

First year student Jack Galsworthy is set to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean for the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge in December 2015, as part of the two-man team Atlantic Castaways. 

Jack, who studies Biomedical Science at King’s College London, is attempting, alongside teammate and friend Freddie Wright, to break the World Record for the youngest pair to make the difficult crossing between the Canary Island of La Gomera and Antigua in the Caribbean. 
On Blue Steel, their chosen boat that has successfully undertaken three Atlantic crossings in the past, the team will embark on the challenge of rowing a constant shift of two hours on, two hours off, for what could be between 45-95 days, and in unpredictable weather conditions. To take on the crossing, Jack and Freddie have enlisted the help of last year’s winning pair to prepare them for the event in eleven months’ time. 

Atlantic Castaways must raise £83,000 in order to make it to the start line of the race, which they hope to do with a series of fundraising events over the coming year. However, they have also set themselves the challenge of raising an additional £150,000, with all proceeds going to the Brain Research Trust. The charity funds ground-breaking neurological research into conditions including Alzheimer’s and other Dementias, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neurone Disease.

Discussing the reasons behind their decision to undertake the Challenge, Jack said: ‘We liked the fact that it is a relatively untrodden path, with more people summiting Mount Everest each year than rowing the 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. We have wanted to attempt this for some time now, and we thought the time had finally come to get out there and do it. The added incentive would be being able to break the World Record for the youngest pair to make the crossing.’ 

For further information on Atlantic Castaways and on the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, visit their website.

King's team wins international law and diplomacy competition for the second year in a row

A team of five LLM students from The Dickson Poon School of Law have won a prestigious international law and diplomacy competition hosted by the Université Paris X Nanterre under the direction of Professor Jean-Marc Thouvenin and sponsored by international law firm Simmons & Simmons. A team from King's also won the competition in 2014.

The international ‘Day of Crisis’ competition requires teams to respond to a series of ‘real life’ real-time events during an intense 24 hour period.  This year the team had to advise on a fictional outbreak of raccoon flu originating in China and spreading to Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. The crisis involved China using a US patent without permission, triggering a trade war. At the same time, the team was faced with a crisis in Syria, a cyber attack on India from a privately-owned weaponised satellite, and bombings in Qatar and Pakistan.

The King’s team worked non-stop for 24 hours, culminating in a mock session of the Security Council. They had to produce over a dozen pieces of written legal advice, conduct multiple negotiations, engage in a press interview and make a final presentation.

The Jury for the competition included Mr Gian Luca Burci, Director of the Legal Department of the World Health Organization, Mr Nicola Bonucci, Director of the Legal Department of the OECD, and Ms Caroline Sitbon, Director of the Legal Department of GlaxoSmithKline.
In addition to winning the entire competition, the King’s team was awarded second place for the Security Council Intervention Speech (Omar Nwoko), the Joint Jury Prize for Audience Questions (Sophia Schroeder), and second place for negotiations.

The Dickson Poon School of Law was invited by Université Paris X Nanterre to represent the UK in the competition. Teams representing France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Russia also competed.

The King’s team comprised: Francois Doumont, Abdullah El Maghraby, Amy Liu, Omar Nwoko, and Sophia Schroeder. As with last year’s winning team, the King’s team was coached by Dr Philippa Webb, Lecturer in Public International Law, and Kirsten Roberts, Dickson Poon Scholar and PhD candidate.

Meet Dina Asher-Smith

First-year History student and British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith discusses how she balances her degree at King’s with her career in athletics.

How do you feel looking back on your successes over the past year at the World Junior and European Indoor Championships? 
I’m really happy looking back. It was a bit unexpected as I tore my hamstring last summer and so my coach and I were debating whether I should even compete indoors. He told me to just have a go and see how it felt. So to go from that to then go and get silver in the European Indoor Championships, it felt pretty weird. I’m really happy as I’ve achieved far more than I wanted to achieve this season and it bodes well for outdoors.  

When did you first become interested in athletics?
I’ve been doing athletics properly since I was thirteen. I went to my local athletics club and met my current coach to find out what I was good at. I did a bit of long jump but we found out that I was better on the runway than with the jumping itself so I just started sprinting and it’s really taken off from there. 

Do you have an overall goal that you’re working towards?
I really want to go to the Olympics. That’s the main goal for me. Since a young age, I’ve always had an interest in sport and I remember watching Athens and thinking that it was so cool and that I really wanted to go. Even though it’s next summer which is a bit scary, I’m just touching wood and hoping everything goes to plan. 

How do you manage to balance the demands of training with your degree at King’s? 
With a lot of organisation and planning and reading whenever I can. At the beginning of term it was a bit of a shock as I had so much work and had just upped my training volume as well so I had to balance the two and fit it around my new schedule. But I’ve settled in now so it’s ok and I manage to get my essays in on time and do all of the reading. 

How would you say your university experience compares to that of other students?
I haven’t had the typical university experience. I don’t go out every night and I don’t drink that much because I can’t afford to. Heels for me are a big danger zone. Some people can fall off them and nick their ankle and it’s swollen for a day, but if I nick it, then suddenly I can’t run the next day and it puts me behind if it stays swollen. It’s just not worth it. I probably don’t have as much of a university experience as I would like to, but at the same time I’m really enjoying life at King’s and so many of my friends get it.  

What made you choose to study History at King’s?
I liked King’s because, on top of the fact that it has a great academic reputation, it is also really friendly and when you walk into the building it feels like a family environment. That’s what made me put King’s as my first choice above other London universities. For me, it’s more important to enjoy your university time and make friends for life. 

In terms of deciding to study History, I find it really interesting and think that the skills the degree gives you are really important – reading, analysing, coming to conclusions, articulating an argument using evidence and just general knowledge too. The general knowledge I’ve acquired in the last year is ridiculous. 

What are you currently studying?
At the moment I’m studying European History from late antiquity to the late middle ages and taking the modules Power, Culture & Belief in Europe between 1500-1800, so the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and The Worlds of the British Empire, c. 1700-1960. 

What do you see yourself doing after graduating?
By the time I finish it will nearly be 2018 which is the year when the Commonwealth Games go to the Gold Coast and I really want to go to Australia. However I would definitely consider doing a Masters because I enjoy education and learning, and you can easily couple that with sport – that’s probably going to be the most viable option. I can’t see myself going out and getting a job because I don’t have the time and running is kind of like a job anyway. 

Do you have any interests other than athletics?
I like food! I’m also really into cooking. My favourite thing to bake is cakes but I can’t eat them when I’m training so I bake them for my friends. If I’m not reading, I’m cooking or finding something new to cook. 

Robotic receptionist design competition

The Department of Informatics at King’s is running a competition to design the face of Kinba - the new robotic receptionist at the Strand Campus. This new robot will succeed the current robotic receptionist, Inkha, who has been placed at the Strand Reception for more than 10 years.

Inkha was developed in 2002 by students Matthew Walker and Peter Longyear, under the supervision of Professor Kaspar Althoefer, Centre for Robotics Research at King's. The robot has been installed as a permanent robotic receptionist at King's since December 2003, and can demonstrate, through speech and movement, a range of behaviours from fright, nonchalance and skittishness to intrigue and boredom. In March 2015, Inkha officially retired after serving King's for a decade.  

Competition entrants should provide designs for the front and side view of the robot head according to the design templates that can be found here. The templates give some directions on the design, such as the location of the robot’s eyes and mouth, and the design must fit within the maximum size constraints, indicated by a red box on the template. Other than this, entrants are encouraged to be as creative in their designs as possible. The Department of Informatics is looking for exciting and futuristic designs that will help Kinba get noticed by visitors to the Strand Campus.

The competition is open to the public as well as King’s students, staff and alumni. The entries will be shortlisted by a public vote, with the overall winner chosen by a panel of judges. The competition winner will then have the opportunity to convert their design to a 3D CAD model, with the help of members of the Centre for Robotics Research group in the Department of Informatics, and have their design 3D printed and fitted to the robot.

The closing date for the competition is Friday 26 June 2015.  

If you have any questions about the competition, please contact Dr Matthew Howard or Dr Hongbin Liu

Student successes from The Dickson Poon School of Law

Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship awarded to King's PhD student
Pelin Ekmen, a PhD student in The Dickson Poon School of Law, has been awarded a Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship by Humanity in Action. The 2015 Fellowship will bring together American and European graduate students together for an intense and intellectually challenging program on international relations and global diversity in Washington, DC, Berlin, Paris and The Hague from May 29 to June 28, 2015. 

International Fiscal Association Research Associate 2015/2016
Henrique De Alencar, a King’s International Tax Law LLM candidate from Brazil has been appointed as an IFA Research Associate for 2015/16. The position is based at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation in Amsterdam where Henrique will assist the IFA Permanent Scientific Committee in its work.

Final year student receives Gray’s Inn scholarship 
Final year student Nia Frobisher has been successful in being awarded a Major Scholarship from Gray’s Inn for her Bar Professional Training Course next year. She has been awarded the Prince of Wales Scholarship of £16,000 which is the second largest available at the Inn and is based on merit. 

Team selected for finals of International Moot Court Competition – Law & Religion
Four students from The Dickson Poon School of Law were selected to compete in the finals of a prestigious international moot court competition in Venice. Peter Laverack, Ayah Elmaazi, Dayan Farias Picon and Fahrid Chishty represented King’s at the competition.  Their selection made the King’s team one of only two UK teams selected on the basis of their written briefs to compete in the finals, which took place between 9-11 March in Venice, Italy.  

Third year BA English student wins Create: Art for Autism award

Jonathan Andrews, a third year BA English Language and Literature student, won the People’s Choice Award and was highly commended by judges at Create: Art for Autism 2014, for his poem Creativity.

He was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at the age of nine and much of his poetry is based around his experience of autism. 'I'm very politically active regarding disability and autism,' said Jonathan. 'I serve on three advisory boards - the graduate employment site Great with Disability, UK charity Ambitious About Autism, and the SHAPE project run by the National Autistic Society and the University of York.'

Jonathan commented on how he views poetry as an extension of his activism, providing another way to spread his message, raise awareness and ‘form afresh/new truths from old malignant lies’ (a quote from his prizewinning poem): 'I also love poetry for its lyrical genius, obscure (and at times obtuse!) technical rules, and its imagist qualities. My poems recount a lived experience of autism – short, evocative snippets of this experience are the most powerful and  the poetic form is the perfect medium to convey them.'

Although he writes on a variety of topics, Jonathan discussed how his autism poetry is closest to him and that his time at King's has helped him to explore his poetic interests. 'I’d like to thank Ruth Padel, whose module Creative Writing Poetry I took last year - her tutelage greatly increased my confidence as a poet and ultimately lead to me writing these poems,' he said. 

'Thanks also to Helena Longair - a National Autistic Society mentor I met in my first year at King's, to Marianne Dyer - the KCL Disability Officer and to Hannah Crawforth and Elizabeth Scott-Baumann - both of whom have included creative writing tasks in their Reading Paradise Lost and Sonnets Renaissance to Modern modules. Finally, many thanks to my personal tutor Rowan Boyson, who took my first ever Reading Poetry class at King’s and who also encouraged me to put pen to page.'

Virtual repatriation of Mexican historical documents

Ernesto Miranda, a former student on the MA in Digital Humanities, has just published a digital edition of the Codex Mendoza - a 16th-century manuscript that is now one of the most important sources on Mexico’s pre-Hispanic culture. 

Mexican codices are pictorial documents produced primarily on deerskin and bark that cultures such as the Mayas used to preserve and share their knowledge. The Codex Mendoza was created under the orders of Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza in 1542. It has 72 illustrated pages written in an ancient Aztec language and 63 correspondent pages in Spanish. 

The project began life as an assignment for one of Ernesto’s modules, Material Culture of the Book, where students had to plan how they would digitise a book. After graduating, he took his plan to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the Bodleian Library in Oxford, University of California Press, and King’s College London, who all helped him to complete it. 

The edition allows you to access and view the pages of the manuscript, which depicts the economic, political and social climate around the time of its production. You can see transcriptions, translations and supplementary material, by scrolling over or clicking on images and text. 

The Digital Codex Mendoza is part of INAH’s effort to highlight the importance of Mexican Codices for national history and is the first in a series that will virtually repatriate significant Mexican documents. It is now freely available both online and as an app on the iTunes store, and it has been featured in the New York Times.



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