Downing Outreach Blog

Hello from Jess!

19 Jul 2017 | Jess Lister | Uncategorised

Hi everyone!

I’m Jess, taking over from Lauren as Schools and College Liaison Officer (SCLO) at Downing. I spent the last three years doing history at Emmanuel College, just across the road, so thought I’d update you all after my big (~five minute) move and tell you a bit about myself. You can also read my previous student profile on the Emmanuel College Access Blog

I grew up in Howden, rural East Yorkshire and did my GCSEs at a local school in Howden before moving to York College for sixth form. I studied English Literature, History, Psychology and German at A-Level, eventually deciding to do my degree in History rather than English after attending a Sutton Trust Summer School at Churchill College, Cambridge way back in 2013.

From celebrating Holi in first term 2014….

I’ve been able to study such a wide range of places and time periods that I never really ‘specialised’ over the three years. In my first two years I wrote about a huge range of topics, from the history of Russian monarchs to studying changes in British agriculture, and did a research project about lexicography and collections of vulgar language dictionaries (which you can read more about here!). In my final year I wrote my dissertation on human exhibitions in London in the nineteenth century and also enjoyed a paper on the history of medicine, where I got to focus on early modern Europe (1500-1700).

…to graduating in 2017!

Though I was initially nervous about starting at Cambridge, I’ve really loved the friends, connections and experiences I’ve gained here. I’ve got involved in lots of new extra-curricular things I started playing rugby and hockey for the first time as a fresher, and went on to be captain of the Emmanuel College Women’s Rugby team, as well as getting to play a little for the university. I also helped run the student bar and ‘May Ball’, the annual end of year party at most Cambridge colleges. One of my favourite things about Cambridge is how much there is to get involved in outside academic work- it’s safe to say I’ve rarely been bored.


Just before my first ever Cambridge Women’s Rugby match

I decided to apply for the Downing SCLO job after really enjoying the Access work I’d done with Emmanuel’s link areas of Essex and Sheffield- it’s always great to work with such keen students and help show what Cambridge is really all about. The highlight for me so far has been hearing that a student I worked with on a residential in my first year has just been offered a place to study history at Emmanuel too.

I’m excited to make my first ever trip to the South West (!) and build on the great work Lauren has been doing at Downing! You can keep updated on the Discover Downing websites- get involved in our events and in our #exploreyoursubject initiatives. You can also follow what I’m doing on twitter, @DiscoverDowning , or email me on – I’d love to hear from you.

See you soon!


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Jess Lister

Former history student at Emmanuel College, and Downing College Schools Liaison Officer My role involves organising outreach work primarily in the South West, advising both students and teachers in all things related to Cambridge and Higher Education more generally