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Eight new Fellows set to join Birkbeck

List includes former staff, students and others who have attained distinction in their fields.

Birkbeck's May Graduation ceremony with Professor Joanna Bourke and others on stage

Birkbeck welcomes eight new Fellows:

Ms Sue Betts, Executive Director, Linking London, Birkbeck- Sue has worked at Birkbeck since September 2006 and will retire as Executive Director of Linking London after 16 years of service. Birkbeck’s hosting of Linking London has contributed to the College’s reputation and effectiveness as a widening participation institution.

Professor Annie Coombes, Professor of Material and Visual Culture, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck- Annie has a remarkable record of exemplary career-long service across teaching and research and played an important role in developing the Peltz Gallery as a Founding Director (2013-2021). She will be retiring after more than 30 years at Birkbeck.

Professor Vanessa Harding, Emeritus Professor of London History, Birkbeck- Vanessa retired earlier this year and over nearly four decades, she has been a mentor to both early career and senior colleagues, giving wise and constructive advice while serving as a driving force behind the College’s intellectual and teaching mission. Students, too, have enthusiastically noted her inclusive and inspiring approach to teaching.

Professor Nicholas Keep, Emeritus Professor of Biomolecular Crystallography, Department of Biological Sciences and former Executive Dean, School of Science, Birkbeck- Nick joined Birkbeck in 1998 and secured funding for the purchase of new equipment at Birkbeck in 2007, which led to Cancer Research Technology basing their Structural Biology staff at Birkbeck for some years under his supervision. Retiring early in 2021, Nick is commended for his many contributions, including advocacy for the work of the School of Science.

Dr Kate Mackenzie-Davey, Department of Organizational Psychology and former College Dean, Birkbeck- Kate retired from Birkbeck after 21 years of service, following roles as the Assistant Dean for Organisational Psychology and three stints as College Dean. Kate embodies the Birkbeck mission and vision, passionately believes in widening education participation for all, and through her roles she emphasized the student experience and learning.

Mr Michael O’Neill, Chair of Citigroup, former Birkbeck student-In 2005, Michael began studying for his PhD in Comparative History of Early Modern European Society at Birkbeck. He is an experienced financial services executive who has led major financial institutions in the United States. His support and advocacy for Birkbeck demonstrates his commitment to the College, education and university research.

Mr Hetan Shah, Chief Executive of The British Academy, former Birkbeck student, MA in Contemporary History and Politics and PG Certificate Economics with Mathematical Economics- Hetan graduated from Birkbeck in 2002 and 2003. He is Vice Chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute, which focuses on how to ensure artificial intelligence and data are used for public good. Hetan, an advocate for higher education and academia, speaks very highly of his experience at Birkbeck and was involved in delivering virtual congratulations to graduates during Covid-19.

Judy Singer, Sociologist and Neurodiversity Advisor- Judy is an Australian Sociologist who conceptualized the term ‘neurodiversity’ in the late 1990s. Without her, there would be no talk now about neurodiversity, a concept which has grown exponentially in recent years influencing academia, education and work. Her work is cited in thousands of academic papers, doctoral theses, blogs, books and other publications and she has been an active supporter of the ideals which Birkbeck embodies.

Elected annually by the College Governors, the award of a Birkbeck Fellowship recognises individuals who have either given outstanding service to the College or who have attained distinction in their fields or in connection with Birkbeck. Fellows are presented by the College Orator with a formal oration at graduation events which are held twice a year – April and November.

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