Cambridge talent showcased by Business Insider

Jocelyn Major 24 May 2014

Business Insider has released a list of “16 Incredibly Impressive Students at Cambridge University”, showcasing some of the incredible talent that the University has to offer.

The article covers a wide range of talents, from a Narnia actor to the Blues Rowing Captain to a chess champion. It also notes the academic prestige of Cambridge, calling it “the Harvard of the U.K”.

The list is comprised of nominations from a number of student organisations, such as The Cambridge Student, the Union, the International Students Union, Cambridge Univerity Entrepreneurs, The Expeditions Society, Footlights and Cambridge University Eco Racing.

Speaking to TCS, nominees expressed both surprise and honour at being on the list, however they also pointed out the incredible level of talent on offer among the rest of the student body too.

Amber Cowburn, recognised for setting up The Invictus Trust, a charity to support mental health issues, said: "I am so incredibly honoured to be featured on the Business Insider's list of 16 impressive Cambridge students, I couldn't quite believe it when I saw my name on that list, amongst these outstanding young talents.

“I'm so proud that this amazing accolade highlights the work of my charity The Invictus Trust; it was set up in memory of my brother, and this is the ultimate tribute to him. My place on the list is also an invaluable way to put the spotlight onto mental health in Cambridge, and celebrate our mental abilities, whilst reinforcing the need for care of our mental health alongside this.

“When I think of the vast body of impressive, dynamic, high-achieving students at Cambridge, I am inspired and awed by them. To be picked out of the bunch is overwhelming! "

Speaking to TCS Isabel Adomakoh-Young, on the list for her work on the Lionboy series, noted how much talent at Cambridge also goes unrecognised. She said: “For me the most important thing is that it is not "the most impressive students" but "some". Cambridge is obviously full of overachievers, and it would be absurd to try to select some objective 'best'.

“Nor did the journalists actually make much effort to survey or research the student body – they simply went on recommendation. Some people are holding down multiple jobs, being carers, fighting mental illness or raising children alongside their degree, which is less high-profile but just as impressive: if not more so.

“It's lovely to be recognised for my efforts but I see it as no achievement in itself to have been chosen. On the other hand, I had no idea about what some students were getting up to, even my friend Joe, so it's cool that people doing unbelievable things get some credit for them.”

Mark Chonofsky, who has a minor planet named after him, also focused on the talent in Cambridge that didn’t make the list, noting: "The story makes no claim to list the most impressive students at Cambridge and I would never have agreed to be profiled if it had. There are obviously far more than 16 'incredibly impressive' students in Cambridge. It's touching to have been chosen for their list, but I've met so many kind, hard-working, high-achieving people over the last four years, and it's a shame that they weren't all featured."

Here is a rundown of the 16 students:

-Adam Crafton, Homerton
Adam is a sports writer for The Daily Mail, a job he has done since the age of 16. Last summer he worked as the Manchester Football Reporter for MailOnline and has interviewed Maccabi Tel Aviv FC coach Paulo Sousa. He has also been nominated for the Young Sports Writer of the Year Award and Feature Writer of the Year at The Guardian Student Media Awards.

-Amber Cowburn, Emmanuel
Amber set up The Invictus Trust, a charity to support mental health issues, following the tragic loss of her brother in 2010. The charity has gained national support and has raised over £50,000, produced three films that were broadcast on Sky TV and began the lobby for a £5 million mental health unit.

-Carina Tyrrell, Murray Edwards
Carina won the title of Miss Cambridgeshire last month and is now a contender in the Miss England competition. Her charity is Beauty With a Purpose, which donates to disadvantaged children globally.

-Isabel Adomakoh-Young, Trinity
Isabel has written five children’s chapter books with her mother under the pseudonym Zizou Corder. Together they wrote the Lionboy Trilogy, Lee Raven and Boy Thief.

-James Popper, Trinity
James invented a fire-detection device. The design won the Electrical and Mechanical category of the International Science and Engineering Fair, where he represented the UK. The product is now being trialled by Sinclair Fire and he is working with Fire and Rescue Services to install the device in social housing.

-Joseph Mambwe, St John’s
Joseph develops apps downloaded by users in over 130 countries and his fitness app Gymstreak was featured as the No.1 UK fitness app on iTunes.

-Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan, St John’s
Justina has won awards as a spoken-word poet and a TEDx speaker. She has campaigned about racial issues for women through her poetry and won the Benjamin Zephaniah Poetry Competition in November.

-Mark Chonofsky, Clare
Mark has a minor planet named after him as a prize for winning the 2009 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with a plant-sciences project. Planet 25662, discovered in 2000, now bears his name.

-Michael Dunn Goekjian, Trinity
Michael reached the finals of the highest level debating tournament in the world, debating on topics ranging from interest rates to doping in sports.

-Olivia Taylor, Fitzwilliam
Olivia has lead research-based student expeditions globally and is the president of Cambridge’s Expeditions Society. She has travelled to Svalbard, the Alps, and the Indian Himalaya, and organised a female expedition to northern Iceland.

-Ryan Anmar, Corpus Christi
Ryan is touring internationally with a comedy sketch show over the summer and is vice-president of the Cambridge Footlights. His adaptation of Roald Dahl's "Esio Trot” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival received four stars from The Times.

-Skandar Keynes, Pembroke
Skander played the role of Edmund in the "Chronicles of Narnia”. He is now studying Arabic, Persian (Farsi), and Middle Eastern History and told Business Insider: "Since the beginning, I’ve been captivated by the history, politics, and culture of the wider Middle East and North Africa region."

-Steve Dudek, St Edmund’s
Steve was awarded Triple Blues for rowing, the highest athletic honour for his sport. He is the president of Cambridge’s Boat Club and is the chairman of the Blues Committee.

-Will Shackleton, Robinson
Will won this year’s U.K. cyber-security challenge, a year-long competition that tests knowledge and skills in a simulated cyberattack on the U.K. financial system. He beat over 3,000 competitors.

-Yang-Fan Zhou, Churchill
Yang-Fan is an international master in chess and was once the U.K.'s youngest chess master. He was the British under-21 champion.

-Yasmin Lawal, Emmanuel
Yasmin is exposing discrimination at Cambridge and launched the “I, Too, Am Cambridge” campaign, based on the “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign. The campaign aims to prevent prejudice in top educational institutions.