On Monday 26th June, four Year 13 students travelled to Cambridge to take part in the Corpus Christi College Northern Ireland Initiative. Eoin Aicken, Matthew Killough, Oran McNally and Alan Watters took part in a range of activities over three days. These included a tour of Cambridge, talks by academics from Corpus Christi, workshops, and advice sessions on interviews and personal statements. The students were accompanied by Dr Roberts, who took part in teacher sessions which were designed to help students write their personal statements for UCAS, as well as providing invaluable tips about how to prepare for interviews at Cambridge. The mock interview session was taken by a former student of St Malachy’s, Colm McGrath, who is a Research Fellow in Medical Law and Ethics at Trinity Hall. He also gave our students a guided tour before answering their questions over lunch at Trinity Hall.
The itinerary promised “Afternoon tea and cake in the Master’s Garden” in Corpus Christi, but due to heavy rain, we enjoyed this indoors. In response to the weather conditions, white umbrellas appeared in the Porters’ Lodge, as if by magic! On Tuesday evening, all the students and teachers were invited to Pre-Dinner Drinks with some undergrads, followed by an Informal Formal Dinner in the Hall (formal dress was not required). The students then had some free time, and the organisers announced that the teachers had a very important meeting to attend in The Eagle pub, where Watson and Crick famously announced that they had “discovered the secret of life” in 1953.
This was an enjoyable and invaluable experience for everyone involved, and we appreciate the wonderful hospitality shown by the organisers at Corpus Christi. Students from Northern Ireland currently make up only one per cent of the applicants to the University of Cambridge, and the aim of this initiative is to increase this in the future. Corpus Christi College fully funds the trip, and I would strongly encourage next year’s Year 13 students to consider taking part in 2018.
Alan, Oran, Eoin and Matthew carrying out an experiment which involved algae that were genetically modified to produce fuel. Our own Mr Jardine worked in this laboratory when he studied at Cambridge: this practical session was taken by his former supervisor!