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Cambridge Gates Scholar joins Hughes Hall

Hughes Hall is delighted to welcome Alejandra Vijil Morin, one of the outstanding recipients in the 2024 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars.

Alejandra will be working towards a PhD in Education, where her background in psychology supports her research in the relationship between wellbeing and learning, and how resilience and learning can be fostered in the midst of crises and multi-emergencies.

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established through a US$210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 with the mission to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. Since the first class in 2001, Gates Cambridge has awarded 2,183 scholarships to scholars from 114 countries who represent nearly 800 universities globally, and more than 80 academic departments and all 31 Colleges at Cambridge. This year 75 Gates Cambridge Scholars from across the world will join the community when they start their studies in the autumn.

Hughes Hall 2024 Gates Cambridge Scholar, Alejandra Vijil Morin

“We are proud to welcome Gates Scholar Alejandra Vijil Morin, who will be joining Hughes Hall later this year. Gates Cambridge Scholars are chosen for their outstanding intellectual ability, commitment to improving the lives of others and future leadership potential, which fits in well with the Hughes Hall ethos of bringing about positive change in society through the transformative power of education. We look forward to meeting Alejandra soon!” – Dr Carol Sargent, Deputy Senior Tutor (Admissions)

Alejandra studied Psychology at UCA, Nicaragua and later completed an MPhil in Psychology and Education at the University of Cambridge with a Chevening scholarship.

“It is clear to me that what drives me is the direct connection I can build with people. I have worked on remote education programmes for children displaced due to hurricanes; on radio-based learning programmes during the pandemic; on teachers’ circles to increase well-being in the context of political violence; with policymakers to create climate change-sensitive educational policies; and with NGOs to use GIS data to improve decision-making and transparency. ”

We look forward to welcoming Alejandra and following her research with great interest.

Alejandra Vijil Morin (Italy, Nicaragua), 2024 PhD Education

  • I am a researcher, psychologist, and educator passionate about fostering safe, sensitive and playful conditions for learning. I studied Psychology in UCA, Nicaragua and later an MPhil in Psychology and Education at the University of Cambridge with a Chevening scholarship. I have worked as a teacher, therapist, researcher and implementer of educational projects in Latin America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. Coming from the Nicaraguan permanent state of emergency, I am confident in the transformative power of education and play to promote collective wellbeing and lasting peace. Instead of a deficit narrative regarding children in emergencies, my research proposal aims to acknowledge the creative ways in which children facing adversity use play. In the midst of pain, play sneaks in to offer not only a moment of joy, but agency over the narrative, control over the uncontrollable. Play offers the possibility to practice the strategies that allow children to overcome the adversity from which we have unjustly failed to protect them.