This year's scholars

This year we have eleven outstanding scholars studying and serving in and around Oxford and Bath Universities.

Rachael Chan

Rachael is a first-year DPhil candidate in Geography and the Environment. Her academic interests are at the intersection of political and cultural geography, specifically scrutinising how ontologies of nature shape cultural and political practices. Prior to this, she was an avid cellist and arts administrator in Singapore. In 2016, she became a Christian and a chance conversation with a friend in church sparked her passion for creation care whilst encouraging the church in Singapore to think about environmental ethics amidst climate change. This also prompted her to read geography, where she moved to Oxford in 2018 and has been a part of St Aldates Church since. In her spare time, Rachael loves orchestral music (Mahler!) and she draws inspiration from the singer-actress IU.

Noel Cheong

Noel first arrived in Oxford as an undergraduate in 2016 reading Theology & Religion, having previously spent most of his life in Singapore. Much to his own surprise, he then stuck around to do a Masters, and is now pursuing a DPhil in the New Testament. Noel is especially interested in cross-cultural ministry. He has worked with Christian organisations in Singapore, Nepal, Israel-Palestine, and the UK, and he finds great joy in equipping believers to share the Gospel with those who seem culturally different. When he isn’t burying his nose in books, Noel enjoys drumming, playing football, and rambling around Oxfordshire.

Elizabeth Clayton

Elizabeth first came to Oxford as an undergraduate to study theology, then decided to keep studying theology and is now on her way to a DPhil in New Testament. Her research focuses on food and eating in earliest Christianity, and how embodied practices illuminate Christian origins. This nicely complements her love for cooking and throwing elaborate dinner parties. She is an active and enthusiastic member of Oxford Community Church, and worships at Keble Chapel on festivals. She loves Christian Wiman’s poetry, making and drinking coffee, and running in Whytham Woods.

Andrew Cowan

Andrew moved to Oxford with his family in 2017 to begin graduate study while preparing for ordained ministry, and is currently mid-way through a doctorate in New Testament. His academic study is sustained by a passion for faithful gospel ministry in the local church, following a decade spent working amongst students in London and witnessing God’s powerfully transformative grace at work in their lives as well as his own. Andrew is married to Heather and they have three small children together. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys playing acoustic guitar, home-roasting coffee, and traditional book-binding (and being a cliché).

Herald Gandi

Herald moved to Oxford in 2021 from Los Angeles after earning a Master’s in Divinity. He is a third year DPhil student researching on the book of Jonah, which he believes has an enduring message to the church and the world. When he is not reading and writing about the Hebrew Bible, you will find him dabbling in Cricket, English Literature, Philosophy, and New Testament use of the Old. Herald is married to Deborah and has a four-year-old daughter

Helane Hambling

Helen moved to Oxford in 2018 to work with undergraduate students at St Ebbe’s church. After 5 years of working with Oxford students, she’s excited to become one! She’s joining Wycliffe Hall to study a BA in Theology and Religion as a CofE ordinand. When not studying, you’ll either find her training for her latest triathlon challenge, knitting, or enjoying a good cup of coffee!

Stephen Lidbetter

Stephen first came to Oxford in 2018 to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics as an undergraduate at Worcester College, and then spent a further two years working for St Ebbe’s Church, primarily supporting their ministry to undergraduates. Having picked the best college first time round, Stephen is now excited to be returning to Worcester to begin an MPhil in Economics. When not trying to complete an economics problem sheet, Stephen enjoys reading books, visiting good old-fashioned pubs, and anything to do with football.

Josh May

Josh has just finished his BA in Theology and Religion at Keble and, ever loyal to the red-brick lasagne college, is continuing on to do an MPhil in New Testament Studies. In 2019, having been born and raised in West London, Josh decided to spend 6 months in Tanzania with Youth With A Mission until his time out there was unceremoniously interrupted by Covid. When not in the Bodleian, Josh enjoys pedalling around Oxfordshire, drinking coffee, getting involved in various church activities, and even wild swimming!

Carolyn Morris

Carolyn has moved to Oxford to pursue an MSc in Migration Studies, housed jointly in the international development and anthropology departments. Her academic interest in researching the intersection of religion and development originated from her experience working with Rohingya and Afghan refugee communities in Malaysia and the US. She and her husband, Forrest, have been married for almost two years and have lived in Switzerland and London during this time. Carolyn enjoys long walks, discussing books with Forrest and friends, and eating dessert for dinner when she can. 

Alberto Solano Zatarain

Before moving to Oxford in 2020, Alberto and his family lived in Mexico where they served as missionaries. He is a DPhil student in New Testament at Keble College and works part-time at Oxford Presbyterian Church. He is passionate about serving both the church and the academia from the position of a pastor-theologian. Alberto is married to Kathy and they have three small children. When not working, you will probably find him having a cup of coffee and talking about anything related to Latin America, especially history, politics, and art.

Tom Underhill

Tom has lived in Bath since 2009 and been involved in student ministry in the city since he arrived. After several years as a full-time software developer, he began part-time theological studies alongside his work which have progressed through several stages. He is now a undertaking a doctorate in systematic theology with Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, while working part-time for a local network of churches who collaborate on training for ministry and ongoing support for church leaders. Tom is married to Katy and they have four children, and are members of Emmanuel Church Bath, where Tom preaches regularly and leads a weekly Bible study for students.