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Volume 8 Issue 2 | Hilary Term 2019


IN THIS ISSUE 2 3 4-6 7 8 8-9 10 11

A Note from the Editor A Message from the Presidents The Clarendon Council 2018 Experience: Hackathon, AI & Social Impact Review: Eugene Onegin Student Photography Social Report Noticeboard: Clarendon achievements

Cover image by Cosima Gillhammer, Iridescent Photography. On instagram:

A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR For the second year in a row Hilary term started with snow, and so again contained the best of both worlds as spring broke through later. Clarendon scholars, of course, were not stopped by either in their wide and varied academic and cultural life. This issues introduces the members of the 2019 Clarendon Council, starting with a message from the presidents, Serte Donderwinkel and Alessandro Lodi, outlining their vision and plan for this year. Former Council President Amy Kao writes about her hackathon experiences and Toni Scharle reviews the performance of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin by the Oxford Alternative Orchestra. This issue further includes highlights from the Hilary term social calendar, and shows off scholars’ recent achievements. We hope you enjoy looking back at Hilary and forward to Trinity term as much as we do. If you would like to contribute to future issues of the Chronicle, please feel free to contact me at Yours, Matthias Aengenheyster


THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE | Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENTS Dear Clarendon Scholars, On behalf of the entire Clarendon Council, we are delighted to welcome you back to a new academic term at Oxford. Every year, the Clarendon Community is increased by over 130 students from nearly 30 countries around the world, studying everything from poetry to machine learning. The new council, starting in Hilary 2019, represents a group of new and returning Clarendon scholars, and even includes some veteran council members as well. We are motivated to organize events and activities that cater to the diversity of the Clarendon scholars at the same time as bringing us together around our common interests, desires, and experiences. Following in the tradition of previous councils, we started the 2019 Hilary Term with a wine and cheese reception at Green Templeton College, followed by formal dinners at Balliol, Nuffield, and Worcester. The gloominess of February was brightened by a spontaneous pizza night, while our winter bones were generally warmed by an array of classical concerts, movie nights, and group drinks in pubs. We danced the Scottish Ceilidh, sparred over board games in Thirsty Meeples, and fantastically attempted ice-skating. We are excited for events and experiences to come in Trinity. Following the great success of last year, a fantastic organizing committee has planned this year’s garden ball, themed “Wonderland”, at the Isis Farmhouse. We are looking forward to an afternoon of boating down the river, enjoying drinks and BBQ on the lawn, and dancing the night away. Your time at Oxford ought to be a challenging and rewarding experience, and the Council is here to help you get the most out of it. We hope to offer events throughout the course of the year that honour your hard work, and that provide space and time for relaxation and Clarendon camaraderie. Our best wishes for Trinity term, and we hope to see you soon at a Clarendon event, Serte Donderwinkel and Alessandro Lodi, President and Vice President,
Clarendon Council Volume 8 Issue 2 | Hilary Term 2019


MEET THE 2019 CLARENDON SCHOLARS’ COUNCIL PRESIDENT | Serte Donderwinkel Serte is a Dutch mathematics student and is the president of the Clarendon Council. She is doing a DPhil in probability theory and is specifically interested in random networks. In her spare time she enjoys running and cooking for friends. She looks forward to seeing you at the many events organized by the great council.

VICE-PRESIDENT | Alessandro Lodi Coming from the beautiful city of Modena (Pavarotti, balsamic Vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano, Ferrari, and so on), Alessandro spent his undergrad years between studying a BSc in Chemistry, doing CrossFit workouts, and serving Italian pasta over the weekends in local restaurants. Sincere, laidback, curious, geek, architecture, belieber, with a finest touch of italian humor, appassionate of the Great Beauty and the Great Gatsby, my life, old sport, my life.. has to be like this... it has to keep going up. To be continued...

TREASURER | Ruoyi Wang Ruoyi is currently in the second year of her DPhil in Mathematics and a member of Balliol college. She is excited to be the treasurer of the Clarendon Council in 2019. Outside mathematics, she enjoys going to classical music concerts, and walking around beautiful places – ideally in the Highlands on a good day and ending up with a shot of good whisky.

ADMINISTRATIVE AND IT SECRETARY | Emma Bluemke Emma is a medical physics student from Ontario, Canada. Here in Oxford, she is a DPhil student in Medical Imaging at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. Emma appreciates a good book, music, and time outdoors. Most of all, Emma loves enjoying food with friends, and was the Clarendon Dining Secretary in 2018. She looks forward to serving the Clarendon scholars group again as IT Secretary in 2019.

ADMINISTRATIVE AND IT SECRETARY | Evan Hann Evan is pursuing a DPhil in Medical Sciences at OCMR in the John Radcliffe Hospital. Prior to studying at Oxford, he obtained a degree in Computer Science and developed an interest of applying computing to medicine. With his knowledge and passion in machine learning, he is now researching and developing automated software to analyse large-scale clinical imaging databanks reliably and efficiently. Outside the research lab, he is often seen at seminars learning about innovation and entrepreneurship, or casually playing pool with friends at a college bar. Evan is delighted to be the IT and Administrative Secretary, and looks forward to sending you the latest announcements from the Clarendon Scholars’ Council. 4

THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE | Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

DINING SECRETARY | Victoria Pipas Victoria Pipas is a candidate for the MSt in English Literature 1550-1700. She is thrilled to be serving as the 2019 Clarendon Council Dining Secretary, in which position she has enjoyed the opportunity to bring scholars together over meals in a host of stunning college dining hall settings. Victoria grew up in New Hampshire and is a graduate of Middlebury College. In her spare time she loves cross-country skiing, hiking, running around with her dog, and making salad and drinking wine with friends.

ACADEMIC SECRETARY | Ali Hazel Ali is the Academic Secretary of next year’s council. Originally from Philadelphia, she did her undergraduate degree in political and social theory. Ali is currently at Exeter studying for a Master’s in the English faculty; her research interests include aesthetics, social epistemology, and hermeneutics. She likes most good things, like music, the outdoors, and quality food and time with curious people.

EXTERNAL SECRETARY | Katherine Krauss Katherine holds a BA in Classics from Columbia University, an MPhil in Classics from the University of Cambridge, and is currently a first-year DPhil student in the Classics Faculty at Oxford. She has previously been on the Access and Outreach Committee in the Classics Faculty at Cambridge, and has held outreach positions for an NGO tackling issues surrounding antiquities trafficking. She is excited to be this year’s External Secretary.

CULTURAL SECRETARY | Irene Yang Irene is a South African/Australian currently pursuing her Masters in Musculoskeletal Science (Res). She is a biomedical engineer with a keen interest in surgical implant design to improve healthcare. Her current research is on the Oxford Unicompartmental Knee Replacement implant based at the Oxford Orthopaedic Engineering Centre (OOEC). Together with Vanessa, she will be your Cultural Secretary.

CULTURAL SECRETARY | Vanessa Picker Vanessa is a 2nd year DPhil student, from Australia. She is currently undertaking the DPhil in Social Intervention. Prior to this, she completed the MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention & Policy Evaluation. Her current research focuses on assessing the effectiveness of outcome-based contracting models (such as Social Impact Bonds), which are designed to achieve both social and financial outcomes. In her spare time, she loves playing cricket. She is working with Irene, to bring you lots of fun cultural events!

Volume 8 Issue 2 | Hilary Term 2019


SOCIAL SECRETARY | Toni Scharle Toni is a third year DPhil student in mathematics and is conducting research in the area of Numerical Analysis of Partial Differential Equations. Before coming to Oxford, he has moved around in Germany quite a bit (B.Sc. in Physics in Potsdam near Berlin, MSc in Mathematical Physics in Munich, some research in Osnabrück). During those years, he developed his love for music, dancing, and theatre and engaged in access projects to spread the love for opera and to reduce the impression of it being posh and elitist. He also enjoys long, sometimes controversial discussions while having a nice glass of wine, which may explain that he also served as president of the Munich Debating Association.

SOCIAL SECRETARY | Beata Gafka Beata was born in Warsaw, Poland. Her passion for economics and financial markets developed at Warsaw School of Economics and brought her through the Bocconi University in Milan to the City of London. Firm believer in the ability of university education to empower individuals and to eradicate social inequalities, Beata opted for taking a chance on a career in academia and decided to pursue a DPhil in Financial Economics at Said Business School. In her free time she enjoys rowing, traveling, photography, and learning foreign languages. Beata is delighted to be part of the Clarendon Scholars’ community.

DIVERSITY SECRETARY | Shiyan Tang Shiyan is a first year DPhil student in Women’s and Reproductive Health at Lincoln College. She completed her five-year MBBS in Medicine in China, and her MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Biology at Imperial College London. Her primary research project is about helping pre-puberty boys who have cancer to preserve their fertility. She is going to use nanoparticles and exosomes to improve the culture of testicular tissue in vitro. When she is free from the lab, she enjoys Chinese calligraphy, travelling and reading. She feels privileged to be part of the Clarendon community and is very much looking forward to serving the council as diversity secretary. She believes that diversity is important to a healthy academic environment, and she will do her best to promote gender, social and cultural diversity.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH SECRETARY | Andreas Haensele After also having done his undergraduate degree at Oxford, Andreas is now a third year DPhil student in Pathology (Lincoln College). He was Dining Secretary on the 2017 Clarendon Council and is excited to now serve as the 2019 Outreach Officer. Originally from Germany, Andreas loves playing and watching football, listening to music (especially J. S. Bach), reading history books, travelling and spending time with friends and family.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CLARENDON CHRONICLE | Matthias Aengenheyster Matthias is a second year DPhil student in Climate Physics, working to understand how the world’s oceans are warming due to climate change. He has previously studied in Bremen (Germany), Utrecht (The Netherlands), and for shorter periods in the US, Canada and Norway. Matthias likes singing in the Chapel Choir of Wadham College, and enjoys history, photography and bikeing. He hopes to use his role in the Clarendon Council to work for the community of scholars, provide interesting stimuli and connect, between them and to the outside world. 6

THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE | Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association


Hackathon, AI & social impact.

Hackathons have a reputation of a software heavy coding event welcoming only those with specific skill sets and domain knowledge in computer science. However, as diversity continues to emerge as a pivotal aspect of project and industry success, the Act in Space (AIS) hackathon invited anyone from any background to come and think of realistic ideas that uses space technology in innovative ways. The entire experience was incredibly memorable. In the beginning stages of the competition, within a 24hr period, my team and I proposed a satellite-based artificial intelligence application to address the social problem of street harassment. Perhaps our advantage originated from our youthful energy to stay up and work the entire night or it was our intrinsic motivation that we could be building a technology that can truly make the world a better place, nonetheless, we enthusiastically pitched our product in seven minutes, and won the hearts of the UK judges. This gave us the unique opportunity to represent the UK at the international semi-finals in Toulouse! This was an enormous event gathering teams from over thirty countries, all with exciting and novel technologies. The semi-finals stratified all countries into six subsections where the finals would comprise of the winning team in each division. Although Singapore was put through to the finals in our division, we still had so much fun and learned so much. The finals competition in Toulouse successfully coalesced different people from various parts of the world sharing a passion for technology and innovation, however, it inevitably also highlights the lack of diversity and representation that remains. The AIS 2018 had 23% female participation, where only one team among the six finalists had a female team member. There has been considerable movement in increasing this number, however, it is our social obligation to do our part and encourage our peers to take part and pursue events that they didn’t think they could. The best part of the team was truly our diversity where we were five students from five different countries, coming to Oxford to study five extremely different disciplines (i.e., computer science, economics, medicine, physics, psychiatry) ranging from fresh undergraduates to seasoned DPhils. The hackathon really was a problem-solving event, not a software-heavy event at all. It provided the opportunity of working with astute individuals to propose a holistic solution using space technology and creative business models. The burst of productivity over one 24hr period can be extremely refreshing for those ambitious souls who feel beleaguered in the natural vicissitudes of their studies. I would encourage others to take part in, particularly if you’re not in any mainstream programming fields. My bachelors was in cell and molecular biology and post-graduate research degrees were in pharmaceutical science/neuroscience; perhaps as far removed from space technology as you can get, let alone participating in a hackathon! The mentality of industries are shifting from the archaic and limiting idea of entering a career based entirely on what you studied in school to a dynamic stage that embraces diversity and different approaches to solving a problem. Domain knowledge can be quickly accumulated, but the courage to pursue something outside your normal comfort zone and the confidence that you have meaningful contributions requires deliberate time and context to be developed. Just give it a try! —Amy Kao (Clarendon Alumna, currently at Merck Innovations). Original article at Oxford Science Blog. Volume 8 Issue 2 | Hilary Term 2019 7

Tchaikovsky’s EUGENE ONEGIN at the Oxford Alternative Orchestra A review of Sean Kelly’s production for the Oxford Alternative Orchestra, conducted by Hannah Schneider. One of the best things about the “Oxford experience” is that you are surrounded by a lot of incredibly talented people. You can go to a student performance in opera and you can be quite sure that it will be great, just because you can feel the passion for music in everyone who is involved. The cast led by the amazing Alexandria Wreggelsworth as a very intimate, young Tatijana and Jack Holton as a great Onegin gave wonderful and fresh performances. Unfortunately Gremin’s aria had to be cut, but finding a proper basso profondo among students seems as hard as finding a proper Siegfried or Tristan. Of course, the instrumentation also has to be cut as the large student orchestras usually focus on the symphonic repertoire, but together with the rather small and dark stage, this creates a level of intimacy that is usually only achieved in Lieder recitals, but not in operas. This leads to the topic of stage direction. Those who have read my Carmen review in a previous issue of the Chronicle know that I am all in for non-conventional approaches to explore old stories and their meaning. I have to admit that I am no fan of the idea to put people in historical costumes into an abstract dark space without using the space in another way than as a background. The old story of Onegin lives from changes of places, from the contrast of the country and the big city. So having people in historical costumes acting as if there were a historical setting rather estranged me from those characters instead of making the story understandable. Onegin as a story works in modern days (who hasn't sent drunk texts to crushes), but stripping historical characters of the historical background while not exploring modern or new meaning doesn't work that well for me. But as much as I disagree with the general concept of the direction, the work in the details was great to see and well rounded. All in all, one can only say thank you to cast, crew, and orchestra for bringing opera to Oxford. —Toni Scharle


THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE | Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

Student Photography Clarendon scholars have been roaming with their cameras. The three images below were taken by Matthias Aengenheyster, our editor, showing Aston’s Eyot in spring (page 8), and his Sundayevening-home, Wadham College Chapel. As the two images above can attest, spring has come not only to Oxford, but Wadi Qelt (Judean Desert, West Bank) basks in the new green as well. These and the two top images on the following page were taken by Cosima Gillhammer, a 3rd year DPhil student in Medieval English (instagram:

Volume 8 Issue 2 | Hilary Term 2019


Social Report

Highlights of the year so far

Hilary term 2019 saw plenty of social activity in the Clarendon community. Scholars attended major cultural events, such as the performance of Tchaikovsky's first opera Eugene Onegin by the Oxford Alternative Orchestra and the Chinese New Year Festival show at the Oxford Playhouse. They dined together at formal dinners at Balliol, Nuffield and Worcester, laughed at Comedy Nights, met for pizza, board games and Ceilidh, and went ice skating together. Overall, they got to know each other better as a community. After the snow of early Hilary, a fantastic line of events is waiting in the sun and warmth of Trinity term!


THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE | Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association


Clarendon Achievements across the board

Christian Norton, a first-year student in the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Doctoral Training Programme (DTP), was the Canadian flag bearer at the 2019 Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey. The Canadian High Commission in London chose Christian for the role after Christian’s husband, Jason, nominated him for the position. Over 2000 guests attended the service, and over one million people watched it live via BBC One. Notable attendees included Her Majesty The Queen and the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Christian is from Annandale, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Priscilla Guo, an MSc student in the Social Science of the Internet, was awarded the Schwarzman Scholarship, which has a 3% acceptance rate, to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. At Tsinghua, she will pursue a Masters of Global Affairs with a focus on public policy and technology. Her dissertation at Oxford has been focused on investigating the phenomenon of deepfakes, hyper-realistic fake videos generated via machine learning, and proposing regulatory recommendations to address its harms to personality rights. Previously, at Harvard, she conducted extensive research into articulating a technological due process right for algorithms in the criminal justice system in order to ensure accountability and fairness. Alyssa White (DPhil in Archaeology), won the student presentation cash prize at the 88th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Cleveland, Ohio in March 2019. Her talk titled “From flesh to mesh: Bodies as maps in 3D GIS”, showed how to use geographic information system software to study features of spatial patterns of human remains. Beata Gafka (DPhil in Financial Economics) was a member of Green Templeton College’s Torpids W1 crew. With 4 bumps in 4 days, GTC W1 climbed up to the 7th place in Div 1 (highest ever) and won Blades. They also continued their years-long “tradition” of never having been bumped! Michael Garstka, studying in his 2nd year towards a DPhil in Engineering, was invited by Prof. Juan-Pablo Vielma (MIT) to present his research project at the yearly JuMP-dev workshop in Santiago, Chile. JuMP is a popular modelling package written in the programming language Julia. The tool allows users to formulate optimisation problems in a simple and intuitive way. It can be used in combination with solver algorithms to find the optimal path of a quadcopter around an obstacle, to simulate smart electric grids or to bound the risk of a stock portfolio. Michael’s solver package COSMO.jl can be used via JuMP and provides fast and efficient algorithms that can solve very large optimisation problems with millions of variables. The open source package can be found online at COSMO.jl. The conference was followed by a two-week trip exploring the Chilean Lake District and Patagonia. Timothy Kwok, a 3rd year DPhil student in Organic Chemistry, recently reached second place with his team in the SCI/RSC Retrosynthesis Competition. The competition involved proposing routes to produce a complicated chemical compound. Timothy’s team of four included future Clarendon scholar Daniya Aynetdinova (DPhil in Synthesis for Biology and Medicine). Welcome, Daniya! Volume 8 Issue 2 | Hilary Term 2019



Clarendon Scholars’ Association 2019 THE CLARENDON CHRONICLE | Newsletter of the Clarendon Scholars’ Association

Profile for The Clarendon Chronicle

Clarendon Chronicle Hilary Term 2019  

This term’s edition of the Clarendon Chronicle includes profiles of the new council members and all our usual features, including the Social...

Clarendon Chronicle Hilary Term 2019  

This term’s edition of the Clarendon Chronicle includes profiles of the new council members and all our usual features, including the Social...