A year of silence on a mountain and other stories

  • November 8, 2013
A year of silence on a mountain and other stories

Next week's Scholars' Stories session will see four Scholars open up about parts of their non-academic life that made a big impact on them and shaped their ideas.

Want to know about medicine in rural India or life as a red-haired Minnesotan in South Korea? Maybe you’d be more interested in sustainable beer brewing in Burkina Faso or spending a year of silence on a mountain top?

Next week’s Scholars’ Stories session will see four Scholars open up about parts of their non-academic life that made a big impact on them and shaped their ideas.

Victor Roy [2009], who is doing a PhD in Sociology, will be reflecting on his grandfather’s life as a doctor in rural West Bengal where he has seen patients since 1954, and the lessons his experience holds for Victor and possibly for others. He will share a few key stories from his grandfather’s life, as well as his experience of working alongside him as a medical student. He says: “I’m hoping to leave the audience with a sense of part of my heritage and background as a Bengali, as well as a personal connection to my family and how it has influenced my values and vocation.”

Andrew Gruen [2008], who is doing a PhD in Social and Political Science, will speak about his first trip to any place on the continent of Asia when he moved to Seoul, South Korea for a year.  He says: “On one hand, this is the story of what happens when you put a nice, Jewish, red-haired Minnesotan, who speaks no Korean, in the centre of Seoul.  On the other, it’s a story about former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s most famous gaffe: that there are unknown unknowns. And the value of throwing yourself in.”

Marlen de la Chaux [2013], who is doing a  PhD Management Studies, spent three months last summer visiting hundreds of female beer brewers in Burkina Faso. Marlen says that while the breweries are some of the most profitable micro-enterprises in the country, they also account for roughly 50 per cent of the country’s firewood consumption. She will talk about her work with the German Development Agency to try and figure out how to help make the local beer production more environmentally sustainable.

Kevin Grove [2011], who is doing a PhD in Divinity, will speak about how he deliberately spent one year of his post-graduate life in silence on a mountain in Colorado.  He says: “This was perhaps the most interesting year I will have ever spent.  My talk will give the highlights and a few challenges of that experience, suggesting how some of them still shape my research, views of community, and outlook on life.”

*The session takes place in the Gates Common Room on Tuesday at 7pm.

Picture credit: Marcus and www.freedigitalphotos.net.

Latest News

Affecting change for the Māori community

Self-determination lies at the centre of Māori culture. “It’s a way of life,” says Chris Tooley. That idea is also at the heart of his PhD studies at Cambridge and his subsequent work in Parliament and in the community. Chris grew up with a strong sense of being part of the Māori community. He has ancestral […]

On the COVID frontline

Three Gates Cambridge scholars who have been on the medical frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic will be speaking about their experiences at a virtual event next weekend. The event, organised by the Gates Cambridge Alumni Association, will be moderated by Elizabeth Dzeng, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco in the […]

New game tackles Covid conspiracies

A new online game that puts players in the shoes of a purveyor of fake pandemic news is the latest tactic in the UK Government’s efforts to tackle the deluge of coronavirus misinformation that is misleading many and costing lives across the world. Launched to the public today, the Go Viral! game has been developed by the […]

“Democracy does not work on a ‘trust me’ basis”

When Jennifer Gibson started her MPhil at Cambridge in 2001 as part of the inaugural class of Gates Scholars, no-one knew what it meant to be a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Twenty years later, Jennifer is now a human rights lawyer focused on national security issues, something she never could have anticipated, but which she credits in no small part […]