From folk punk to county jail

  • February 10, 2014

Four Gates Cambridge Scholars will talk about events which have influenced their lives and careers - from touring with a folk punk bank to doing the night shift at a county jail - at an event on Tuesday.

Four Gates Cambridge Scholars will tell their stories about building for earthquake and typhoon resistance in the Philippines, walking the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, touring with a folk-punk band and working in a county jail at an event this week.

Scholar’s Stories event takes place from 7-9pm in the Gates Cambridge Scholars Common Room tomorrow [Tuesday].

Daniel Jimenez [2013], who is doing a MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development, will talk about his Fulbright experience last year in the Philippines researching alternative construction technologies for typhoon and earthquake resistance. By building a bamboo house in the islands he reflected on how personal values and cultural lifestyles influence the choices we make both in times of peace and suffering. He will also talk about what it means to shape one’s own identity and to call a place home.

Zoe Stewart [2013], who is doing a PhD in Clinical Biochemistry, walked the 96km Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea [pictured] in 2013 as a fundraiser for an organisation that supports young people living with cancer. The trail is the most famous in Papua New Guinea and is known for being the location of the World War II battle between Japanese and Australian forces in 1942. Zoe says: “It was the most physically strenuous task I have ever completed, and along the way I gained some insight into Australia’s recent history, the ongoing relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea and also what it it can be like to live with cancer.”  She adds: “The Trail represents an important part of modern Australia’s cultural heritage. Many consider the World War II battles that occurred there to represent the first time in Australia’s history that threat of invasion was real. After the war, the arduous and unforgiving trail has been considered a symbol of Australian mateship, hard work and determination, and many Australians visit the track each year – some as an intense physical challenge, others to learn about the history of the area or to pay their respects.”

Ethan Rubin [2013], who is doing an MPhil in Education, will speak about his life on the road with a Boston-based folk-punk band. Between 2011 and 2012, he spent almost a year touring the continental US with the Swaggerin’ Growlers, circling the country from Maine to Texas five times. He says his talk will confirm and dispel some myths about the touring band lifestyle. He says “Travelling and performing had its moments of glamour, but it was not without moments of boredom, misery, and just plain weirdness.” He will also talk about some of the people and places the band encountered on tour: Christian anarcho-punks in Indianapolis, elderly cowboys in Kansas, train-hopping hobo bands in Florida, and a long line of punk rock legends stretching from Choking Victim to the World/Inferno Friendship Society.

Wesley Hazen [2013], who is doing an MPhil in Criminology, will speak about the six months he spent working the night shift at a county jail in Farmington, New Mexico. The jail could hold 1,100 inmates but usually had between 700-800 while he was there. He says: “Most nights I found myself in the main camera control which depending on the night could be very interesting and fun or very boring and make for a very long night. Either way there was always some sort of activity going on in the jail that kept things somewhat interesting which was always easily accessible through the numerous cameras or intercoms placed throughout the facility.”

The talks are open to Gates Cambridge Scholars and their guests.

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