Meet the Uni of York alumni competing in Christmas University Challenge

YouTuber and former YUSU president, Tom Scott, will captain York’s team

Christmas University Challenge is returning to BBC Two on Monday, featuring a team from the University of York for the first time since 2017. The University Challenge spin-off features teams of alumni hoping to prove they have retained what their alma mater taught them.

Alongside the four alumni competing for York, who will go up against Durham University on Wednesday, two current Uni of York professors will also be taking part on different teams.

Here are the Uni of York Alumni, and current staff, who will be competing in this year’s competition.

David Conn, sports journalist

Image from YouTube

Sports journalist and author, David Conn, studied BA English Literature and Politics at York and currently writes for The Guardian.

Conn has won multiple awards for his sports reporting, including Sports Journalist of the Year in 2013. His investigative work on the Hillsborough disaster landed him on the shortlist for an Orwell Prize this year. He has also written multiple books focusing on the commercial transformation of English football and corruption in football’s global governing body.

Vanessa Kind, head of the School of Education, University of Leeds

Professor of Education, Vanessa Kind, completed a PhD in Education at York.

Having studied BSc Biochemistry at the University of London, Kind became a Chemistry teacher after working in molecular biology. She began her PhD at York having gained an interest, through her time as a teacher, in the impact of teacher knowledge on student learning. Kind worked at Durham University for 17 years before taking up her current position at Uni of Leeds this year.

Sophie Woodward, professor at The University of Manchester

Professor of Sociology, Sophie Woodward, studied an MA in Research Methods at York.

Woodward had previously studied BA Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, and later went on to complete a PhD at UCL. She researches material culture, everyday life and consumption, having a particular interest in fashion and feminism.

Tom Scott, YouTuber and presenter

Image from YouTube

YouTuber Tom Scott will captain the York team, having studied a BA in Linguistics and an MA in Education at the university. His channel, on which he posts mainly educational videos across a range of topics, currently has over five million subscribers.

While at York, Scott became the UK organiser of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and was then nominated to run for YUSU president in 2008 as his Pirate Day persona, “Mad Cap’n Tom Scott”. Though he ran as a joke, he actually won the election and became YUSU’s 48th president.

Martin O’Neill, professor of political philosophy at York

The University of York Philosophy professor will be competing for Balliol College, Oxford, having completed both his BA degree and PhD there.

Helen Smith, professor of English at York

Head of the Department of English and Related Literature, Helen Smith, will also be taking part in the competition, competing for Glasgow Uni.

York’s match against Durham will be on BBC2 on Wednesday 21st of December at 7:30pm.

Featured image via BBC 

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