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Johnian magazine issue 52, spring 2024

Top stories

2 min read

Reverend Canon Dr Victoria Johnson appointed as Dean of Chapel

The Reverend Canon Dr Victoria Johnson, who is currently The Canon Precentor of York Minster, has been appointed as Dean of Chapel at St John’s College. Dr Johnson will succeed The Reverend Canon Dr Mark Oakley who left St John’s to become the Dean of Southwark in December. Dr Johnson will take up her role at St John’s in Easter Term.

Dr Johnson’s role at York Minster includes overseeing the musical and liturgical life of the church, including its governance, strategic leadership and day-to-day management as an Executive Director. Previously a Residentiary Canon at Ely Cathedral, Dr Johnson is currently on an extended period of study leave from York Minster and is Acting Chaplain at Merton College, Oxford. Prior to ordination, she worked as a cancer research scientist at the University of Manchester. She holds degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Leicester.

The Reverend Canon Dr Victoria Johnson

Johnian wins Cambridge Misinformation Hackathon

Josie and her teammates pose with their certificates in front of a whiteboard. Josie wears a burgungy baseball cap.
Josie (right) and her teammates

Josephine Rey (2023), a Master’s student at St John’s, won the Cambridge Misinformation Hackathon with two friends, Gregor Feierabend (Trinity Hall) and Luca Powell (Wolfson College). For the competition they developed a method to address misleading numerical claims in the media by suggesting a web-based plug-in that can identify erroneous claims in online news articles and report
them back to the reader. On the day of the competition the team had to develop a prototype, report and presentation to deliver to a judging panel of experts.

Nursery rhymes and songs help babies learn language

A baby with a 'sensor hat' on his head. He has a dummy in his mouth.

Johnian Fellow Professor Usha Goswami is one of a number of researchers on a new study that has found that babies learn languages from rhythmic information, not phonetic information, in their first months. For this reason, parents should speak to their babies using sing-song speech and nursery rhymes as early as possible. Rhythmic speech emphasises the boundaries between words and is
effective even in a child’s first year.

This study is part of the BabyRhythm project, which is led by Professor Goswami. The project is investigating how language is learned and how this is related to dyslexia and developmental language disorder.

Honoured alumni

Four Johnians were recognised in King Charles III’s New Year Honours List 2024.

Dr Charles Woodburn (1989) is Chief Executive Officer of BAE Systems. He was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to International Trade and Skills Development.

Dr Nicholas Merriman (1979), formerly Chief Executive of Horniman Museum and Gardens, is Chief Executive Officer of English Heritage. He was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the Arts and to Heritage.

Dickon Rutherford Love (1988) is Performance and Planning Director of Capita. He was made Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to Bell- Ringing in London and Kent.

Dr Robert ‘Robin’ Davies (1960) is a doctor in the neuro-development team at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. He was made a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to the NHS.

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