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Dr Miranda Brawn Award launched to empower underrepresented students

The newly created Dr. Miranda Brawn Award, launching in Trinity term, will fund recipients’ career development projects during summer vacation, the University announced on March 31. The award is open to students who are Crankstart Scholars or Oxford Bursary recipients and is designed to “help talented Black, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and mixed heritage students enhance their Oxford experience,” according to the University’s news release.

The award will enable students to undertake experiences that are otherwise not covered by college or University financial support programmes, such as beginning a social enterprise or producing a short film. Student awardees will also have access to one-on-one mentoring sessions with Dr. Miranda Brawn — businesswoman, diversity advocate, and founder of the Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation.

The Miranda Brawn Diversity Leadership Foundation is a UK-registered charity in England and Wales, first founded in 2016 and dedicated to eliminating diversity, equity and inclusion gaps in the workplace through a focus on education. The new award serves to further that mission.

“The Dr. Miranda Brawn Award aims to inspire, educate and empower our next generation of diverse leaders from the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black African, Caribbean and mixed heritage communities by supporting them to study at the number one university in the world,” Brawn said. “The end goal is to support their educational and career dreams in order to have more c-suite leaders, CEOs, board directors and business owners from these specific communities.”

Prior to founding the Leadership Foundation in 2016, Brawn had a career as a lawyer, investment banker and hedge fund sales trader and was one of the first women of colour on London’s trading floor.

Brawn spoke to the personal significance of the award, as it reflects her own mixed heritage. “The Dr. Miranda Brawn Award is in loving memory of the great women in my family: my late great-granny Philomena and late granny Victoria, both born in Dominica, and my late grandmother Maryam, born in India, who all stressed the importance of a great education, which was re-emphasised by my parents while growing up,” she said.

Oxford University Careers Service will manage and administer the award annually over a period of five years, prioritising funds for students from low-income households. 

Head of the Internship Office at the Careers Service Dr. Fiona Whitehouse expressed her delight at Brawn’s choice to establish this award at Oxford. “Taking part in extra-curricular activities can be so valuable to students during their time at university, helping them to grow in confidence and develop new skills alongside their studies,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what those selected for the award decide to use it for and the positive impact it will no doubt have on their Oxford experience.”

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