Tamzin Byrne (2003)

I’m a Research Associate (Social Innovation), at the Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits at the University of Cambridge.

I understand how the university works and how you make changes in the place. I think a lot of that comes from my time in Queen’s. Being a part of a collegiate university and being in a College, having the opportunity to sit next to the Master at lunch and hear about council, getting the opportunity to meet the Vice Chancellor when he came for dinner one time, it all meant that I felt like I was an integral part of university life when I was at Queen’s.

Why should I not be able to talk to the Master, why should I not be able to ask about what happened at the committee meeting, why should I not be able to run for election myself? So, when I came to Cambridge, it’s the same as it’s just a collegiate university. Sitting at dinner at Cambridge last year, with an accountant, an anthropologist and an astronomer, where else do you get to do that? This only happens in Colleges. You get a bunch of clever people who are there to think and you make them eat together and this is what you get. I didn’t want to leave Queen’s.

After uni, I didn’t think journalism was where I was going to be able to make it in the world, I worked for my Dad for an organisation that helps scientists talk about their work, enabling science to make it into the news. I helped announce the discovery of the Higgs boson which was pretty cool. Through that I got to do a bit of work for the U.N., on my global projects in particular. I met this extraordinary group of young people who are building a youth network to progress towards a sustainable development goal which at the time was still being negotiated.

In 2014 I went to Kenya. It was a one-year secondment funded by the Australian Government- the Australian Volunteers for International Development Programme. We were one of the last from the programme allowed to go to Kenya as it was considered too unstable and not a strategic priority. It was about six months after the shopping mall attack, there was a lot of terrorism. I was there for about six weeks and we were instructed by Julie Bishop who was the Foreign Minister to get out of Nairobi, yesterday! I was sent to a field station by Lake Victoria in a fishing village and it was absolutely lovely, I spent the rest of my year there and with two others we were the only white people in town. There were people from Cambridge coming to our campus all the time. The whole time I’ve been at Cambridge I have seen people I met at the fishing village, it’s so cool. My job there was doing comms and donor relations. I got to meet Barack Obama’s grandmother, she was a farmer advocate, she lived locally. I met the Vice President of Kenya who is now the President. Then I came to Cambridge in 2015 and haven’t left.

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