Hello! I'm Emily-Rose - an aspiring scientist, singer and hula-hoop dancer. Earlier this year, I made a successful application to Wadham College, Oxford, to read for an MSc in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology. This is a course which explores in more depth the areas of research that I found most fascinating during my undergraduate degree in Human Sciences, which I read at Magdalen College, Oxford.
Unfortunately, I have no money, and have been unable to secure any grant - funding opportunities for graduates are extremely limited these days. I don't feel I can borrow any more money - I'm already over £20K in debt from my undergraduate degree.
Here is a break-down of costs (click the figures to see where they come from):
Tuition fees - £11,250
College fees - £2,765
Living expenses - £11,343 (that's the lower of two estimates given on the OU website - I plan to live modestly!)
PayPal fees (3.5%, applied to successful projects) - £920.70
I have to confirm that I'll be taking up my place, and pay my tuition and college fees up front, by August 1st. So my "minimum needed" is £14,523, which is the combination of these costs plus 3.5% to cover PayPal fees.
Ultimately, my goal is to follow up the masters with a phD, which I would love to do in the States, possibly at the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition with Douglas Hofstadter's research group at Indiana University.
I run a science and scepticism page on Facebook, with a boy from the USA, who just happened to start a page with exactly the same name within a couple of minutes of my having done so, on February 1st of last year. The coincidence set up a glitch whereby his invitees ended up at my UK page, so we decided to merge and have been working as a close-knit team ever since. Here's an article (from our fairly new blog) explaining why the page has the name that it does, and why we do what we do.
At the time of writing, we are approaching 74,000 "likers", and growing rapidly. The page keeps me engrossed in reading and writing on different subjects every day. Some topics covered by posts and articles we write for the page include cognitive biases, religion and the human penchant for mysticism and superstition (these all being highly relevant to the CEA masters course), the antivaccination movement, genetic modification, HIV/AIDS denialism, fake cancer "cures", (and quackery in general), the scientific method, identifying rhetological fallacies, "complementary and alternative medicine" and its ethical implications, conspiracy theories, dubious marketing tactics, and the unreliable nature of human memory. The page, as you can imagine, attracts a great deal of debate, which exerts continuous pressure on me to sharpen my skills, tighten my logic, and organise my thoughts.
The CEA course is dissertation-based. Having won the finals dissertation prize as an undergraduate, for my paper called "Human Incest and its Evolutionary Logic: decoding the data and demystifying the taboo", and with all the writing practice the page has afforded me since then, my ambition is now to win the masters dissertation prize too!
Hoop is of my greatest passions. I am also currently learning street dance, some of the principles and movements of which I am starting to integrate with my hoop style, which I call "Swirlesque". Here are some photos. The highlight of my hoop career so far was being invited to perform on stage with Andy C at Beautiful Days festival. I also featured on stage in Bestival 2012's closing party, hosted by the Cuban Brothers, which was another highlight.
Here is a link to my Soundcloud page, where you can hear some of my singing. Over the last year, I've taken up piano again (I gave up when I was about 13), focussing on chords and harmony, and am just starting to venture into writing my own music.
Away from the piano, I've written and performed vocals for two tracks in a collaboration with WARSNARE, an electronic music producer. The tracks (one of which now has a music video, directed by Lorraine Nolan, which I feaure in) are going to be released later this year.
Why I need help
Although I am a very well-occupied person, unfortunately none of the three prongs of my existence (science, singing and dancing) really earn me any money.
When I graduated from Oxford in 2010, I thought, naïvely, that people would be queuing up to employ me. But alas, after applying for nearing on 200 jobs through online jobhunting platforms, all I got were two completely generic emails from recruitment companies, inviting me for interviews with them, not with actual employers - a real disappointment. Since then, my only source of income has been occasional biology tutoring, which has enabled me to do a bit of grocery shopping here and there. But I’m still very much reliant on being able to live rent-free at my mum’s house.
All donations, even the smallest ones, would be hugely appreciated. I am so excited by the prospect of doing this degree, and if enough people were to give a little something, I might actually be able to.
Thank you in advance for anything you feel you can contribute. I will be eternally grateful!