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Celebrating academic excellence with student scholarships and prizes

Group picture of Senior College Fellows: Life Fellow, Dr Dorothy Thompson; Vice-Mistress Dr Hilary Marlow; The Mistress, Dr Elisabeth Kendall; Praelector and Fellow, Dr Seb Falk.

Students at Girton College who excel in their studies have the chance to win prestigious prizes. 

In 2022-23, 6 awards were made to students placing in the top 25% of firsts and 10 Achievement Awards for exceptional performance in the top 10% of 2:1s. 

We are proud to have 5 undergraduate students who achieved firsts continuing their academic journey as postgraduates, demonstrating our commitment to nurturing talent and supporting students who pursue academic pathways. 

We have also awarded 88 undergraduate scholarships, representing an impressive 17% of undergraduate students who achieved a first in their exams. Four of our graduating clinical medics achieved part distinctions in their MB exams. One of our current clinical veterinary students achieved a top-of-tripos result in pathology.

Two students in Modern and Medieval Languages received special excellence awards from their faculty. Prizes were also awarded to students in Natural Sciences, Geography and Law. 

Across a range of subjects such as Classics, Economics, Engineering, History and more, our students continue to excel with remarkable results. In Classics, all finalists achieved firsts; in Economics, two second-year students ranked in the top 25% of firsts on their course; in Engineering, two-thirds of our students were ranked in the top ten of their Manufacturing Engineering cohort; and in History, five out of eight students achieved first-class honours.

Senior College Prizes (2022-23)

Harry Goolnik (Geography) was awarded the Thérèse Montefiore Prize.

This Senior College Prize is awarded each year to the undergraduate who, in the College's opinion, has not only excelled academically but has also made a major contribution to College life in general. 

Founded in 1891 by Claude G Montefiore in memory of his first wife, T A Schorstein who was a student at Girton, 1882 - 85 (Moral Sciences). With her husband, Therese Schorstein was associated with philanthropic and educational work. Her publication, ‘The ethical teaching of Froebel’ appeared in 1890, a year after her death. The recommendation for this prize is made by the Mistress and Vice-Mistress and the regulations are very similar to those originally formulated in 1891.

Will Gilchrist (Economics) was awarded the Laurie Hart Prize.

This Senior College Prize is awarded each year to the undergraduate who, in the College's opinion, has achieved work of the highest academic and intellectual excellence. 

Laurie Hart Memorial Prizes were first awarded in Summer 1982. The prize was endowed in 1966 with a gift from Iris Hart, in memory of her mother. Iris Hart was not a Girtonian. She taught at Cheltenham Ladies’ College and had been a pupil of Edith Major’s at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham. Edith Major was Mistress of the College 1926-31 and taught at King Edward’s 1911-25.

Special Regulation Prizes (2022-23)

Zac Copeland-Greene (Classics) awarded the Tutors’ Prize (2022-23).

The Tutors’ Prize shall be awarded to a graduating student who has not necessarily gained first-class marks in a Tripos examination, but who has exemplified the College ethos, either within the College or at University or national level.

Nina Wittmann (Veterinary Science) awarded the Directors of Studies’ Prize for outstanding achievement (2022-23).

The Directors of Studies’ Prize for outstanding achievement are awarded to an undergraduate student who gains the top first in the overall class list, (but is not awarded either of the Thérèse Montefiore or the Laurie Hart Prize).

Nicole Go (Medicine) was awarded the Appleton Cup (IB, 2022-23). 

The Cup was first awarded in 1984.

Eray Bulut (Law) awarded the Mary Arden prize (2022-23).

The Mary Arden prize was established in 2014 and shall normally be awarded to the student having achieved the best overall performance in three years of the Tripos examinations.

The Right Honourable Lady Justice Arden came to Girton to read Law in 1965. She is Head of International Judicial Relations for England and Wales. Called to the Bar in 1971, she was appointed a Justice of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales in 1993, being the first woman judge to be assigned to the Chancery Division. She chaired the Law Commission of England and Wales from 1996-1999. In 2000 she was appointed a Lady Justice of Appeal. Lady Justice Arden is also a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Xikun Zhang (Economics) awarded the Anita Banerji Prize (IB, 2022-23).

The prize will usually be awarded annually for outstanding achievement during the course of study, either for a single piece of work (e.g. a dissertation) or for Tripos results. The Prize for Economics was founded in 2002 by Mr Banerji in memory of his wife, who died in 2001. 

Anita Banerji came up to Girton as an affiliated student in 1952 to read Economics. She had previously gained a BA Hons. in Economics from Scottish Church College, Calcutta University. She returned to Girton in 1962-3 as J.E. Cairnes Graduate Research Student; and in 1992 and 1994 came to Britain again, first as Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and then Visiting Professor at SOAS.

In India she married Milon K. Banerji (Clare, LLB 1953, and the future Attorney General of India), a friend from her time in Cambridge, and her first son Debal was born. The following year (1956) she was appointed a Lecturer in the newly founded Jadavpur University – the only woman on the teaching staff. Despite considerable resistance she finally achieved the recognition she deserved when, following the birth of her second son Gourab, she was appointed a Reader. National recognition followed, although it took an order from the High Court to ensure her promotion to Professor in 1980.

Harry Goolnik (Geography) was also awarded the Janet Chamberlain Prize. 

The prize is for distinction in the fieldwork required for Part II of the Geography Tripos.

The Janet Chamberlain Prize was founded in 1964 by Mr and Mrs Chamberlain in memory of their daughter, who died in a climbing accident in Switzerland in 1963. Janet Chamberlain came up to Girton in 1962 to read Geography. She was educated at the Cambridgeshire County High School for Girls. 

Miranda Crawford (English) awarded the Charlton Award (2022-23).

The Charlton Award is given to a student who consistently produced good work, in Medieval and Renaissance Literature (before 1700), throughout their second year.

Pedro Toro Freire (MML) awarded the Elizabeth Hill Prize (1B, 2022-23).

The Elizabeth Hill Prize was founded in 1997 with a legacy from the late Professor Hill and is awarded for First Class results in a Slavonic language in Part 1 of the Modern Languages Tripos. 

Elizabeth Hill (or Elizaveta Feodorvna) was born in St Petersburg in October 1900. Her family was English (although long settled in Russia) on her father’s side and Russianised Prussian on her mother’s; Elizabeth and her siblings grew up bilingual in English and Russian, and fluent also in French and German.

The family was wealthy, but they left Russia in November 1917 (expecting to return shortly); not only could they not return to Russia, but they had lost their wealth. The once privileged seventeen-year-old immediately demonstrated her exceptional capacities and strength of character by setting to and earning her living as a language teacher at Penrhos College, in North Wales. A few years later she obtained a government grant, which enabled her to do a Russian degree at University College London.

She followed this with a Ph.D., completed in 1928. Until 1936, when she was appointed as the first Lecturer in Slavonic Studies at Cambridge, she supported herself by coaching, giving evening classes, reviewing, translating and interpreting.

In 1948 she became the first Professor of Slavonic Studies at Cambridge and a Professorial Fellow of Girton (of which she had been a member since 1936). The idea of her as ‘an inspirational force’ carries conviction, for Professor Dame Elizabeth Hill (as she became when appointed DBE in 1976), still handsome in extreme old age, was a powerful as well as an entertaining presence. She died on 17 December 1996.

Krish Shah (Engineering) awarded the Satyanarayana Madabhushi Prize (IIA, 2022-23).

The prize is awarded to the best performing Girton student in the Part IB Engineering Tripos each year.

The Satyanarayana Madabhushi Prize was established in 2014 by Professor Gopal Madabhushi in memory of his father. Gopal Madabhushi is a University Professor of Civil Engineering specialising in Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering. He has been a Fellow of Girton College since 1997 and Director of Studies in engineering.

Ayushman Mukherjee (Economics) awarded the J V Robinson Prize (2022-23).

The prize for Economics, is given for distinction in the Part II dissertation. In the 1970s, undergraduates reading Economics demonstrated in favour of examination by dissertation in Part II. It was founded in memory of Joan Robinson.

Joan Robinson supported this development by taking part in the demonstrations. Joan Maurice read economics at Girton 1922-25. She was a Gilchrist Scholar. She went on to become a University lecturer in Economics and was elected as a Professor in 1965. She was a Fellow of Newnham, an Honorary Fellow of Girton and the first woman Honorary Fellow of King’s. She married Austin Robinson in 1926. 

Her contribution to economics was enormous; for more than 50 years she played a central role in the development of economics, exposing illogicality and irrelevances of much orthodox theory. She was one of a small group of intellectual advisors to Keynes when he was working on what became the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.

In addition to her involvement with the evolution of Keynsian economics, she wrote on the growth of the economy, on economic philosophy and on Marx. Her work was original over many fields. She died in 1983.

Find out more about the academic prizes and awards available at Girton College:

Photograph: Senior College Fellows: Dr Dorothy Thompson (Life Fellow), Dr Hilary Marlow (Vice-Mistress), Dr Elisabeth Kendall (The Mistress) and Dr Seb Falk (Praelector and Fellow).