Downing Outreach Blog

Hello from Lauren!

4 Sep 2015 | Lauren Payne | Uncategorised

Hello everyone!

I’m Lauren, the new School and College Liaison Officer (SCLO) here at Downing College. I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself and where I’m from in my very first blog post for Discover Downing.

I grew up in a town called Benfleet in Essex and studied at my local mixed comprehensive before progressing to the nearby FE college. With over a 1000 students in each year, it was more like a mini-campus than a sixth-form, buzzing with lots of activity; I know there are quite a few FE colleges in the South West and I am looking forward to experiencing the hubbub once more!

At A Level I studied English Literature, History, and Religious Studies (plus Philosophy at AS) and then went on to Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 2012 to study English. During my time at the University I specialised in Old English, Science Fiction, and Comic Books – non-traditional choices to say the least, but it was great fun to be able to write on some slightly quirkier texts and tailor the course to match my interests.

Spent many hours here in the Cambridge English Faculty!
Spent many hours here in the Cambridge English Faculty!

During my time as an undergraduate I was an Access Officer (kind of like a volunteer undergraduate version of the SCLO) and did a lot of work with both my own schools as well as others in Essex and Sheffield, Emmanuel College’s area links. I really enjoyed being able to work with students and do my bit to give back, so when the SCLO job at Downing came across my desk I knew it would be a great opportunity to continue participating in outreach, something I feel particularly strongly about given that I greatly benefitted from the Access events offered by the University.

Emmanuel College Front Court - can't believe I was lucky enough to call this home!
Emmanuel College Front Court – can’t believe I was lucky enough to call this home!

As a Year 12 I attended the annual Subject Masterclass in English, which confirmed in my mind it was the subject I really loved and made me decide that the English course at Cambridge was definitely the place for me! With a sample lecture in Medieval Literature and one in Tragedy, I was able to get a feel for what I would be studying if I came here and received great advice about the admissions process, alongside talks from current students. That day changed my entire life and was a great way to further engage with an academic field I was incredibly passionate about.

Five years later and I have just graduated, starting pretty much immediately here at Downing in my first full-time job!

I am really excited to carry on our work with schools in the South West and hope to continue building on existing, as well as new, projects over the coming months and years. Keep coming back to Discover Downing for frequent updates on what we’re doing, details of how you can be involved in our events, and opportunities to #ExploreYourSubject through our ‘Resources’ section.

Be seeing you soon!



Lauren Payne

I studied English at Emmanuel College from 2012-2015, before moving over to Downing to start as the full-time School and College 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.