Sally Newton

Executive Principal, Laidlaw Schools Trust
Paul Burgum

CEO/Founder & PhD Researcher, BCT Aspire CIC /Durham University

I have spent the last 10 years working on the concept of mental fitness, as counter to the old stigmatized concept of mental health. I am hugely interested in how people can develop resilience and endurance. This has led me to studying applied psychology. My Laidlaw scholarship research project has been looking into the effects of emotion on the performance of Ultramarathon runners at distances of both 60 miles and 110 miles. This is the first sports psychology study that has attempted to measure this actually within-race rather than just pre and post race. Since suffering a nervous breakdown in 2009, and finally admitting to himself his own mental health and alcohol problems. A period of his life that is now looked upon as the positive beginning of a new chapter. Paul has gone on to build an awarding social enterprise BCT Aspire CIC, completed numerous high-profile endurance challenges and applied his learning to helping others and now supporting his academic journey as a mature student. BCT Aspire CIC has over the last decade delivered thousands of successful youth sessions and activity programmes for local children & young people on Teesside. Currently BCT Aspire delivers five youth sessions every week in Billingham including; Youth clubs, fitness sessions, music lessons, Duke of Edinburgh Awards and community events all with a voluntary team. A former talented Rugby player who represented England North at his peak, Paul’s attempt to get to grips with his problems led him to begin walking. This resulted in a 3000 miles adventure spanning the length of Europe, from the Southern Tip of Italy to the edge of the Orkney Islands, also passing through France, England & Scotland. All completed without support and relying on the human kindness of strangers. This has been followed up by running single stage ultramarathons up to 160 miles and last year completed the Wainwrights Coast to Coast completely barefoot to raise funds for his work and supporting his belief in positive thinking. Paul’s first two EBooks from the “Jumping the Cliff” series have topped the Amazon EBook charts for both Depression, Anxiety & Mental Health sections, with his next book from his six-week journey across Italy now out in paperback. Paul started his speaking career talking to pupils at a school with children who had behavioural problems, a place where Paul gained the courage to talk about his own way of trying to reset his own learnt behaviours. Since then he has given talks to a cross section of people including business people, professional sportsmen, youth groups, colleges & universities. Paul has also won numerous Business & Community Awards for his diverse range of work including; Entrepreneurs Forum Emerging Talent 2012; Evening Gazette’s Community Champion for Children & Young People 2012; Gazette Community Awards Finalist twice (Ambassador & Fundraising), Teesside Philanthropic Charity – Teesside Hero Paul is a qualified outdoor leader with BCT Aspire CIC who enjoys sharing these skills with people aiming to build confidence and also relaxing on the hills with his dog Molly and now his young son Pavel. Paul currently mixes his role as Managing Director of BCT Aspire, with speaking work, and studying applied psychology at Durham University. This also includes holding a prestigious Laidlaw scholarship for emerging global research talent, currently researching the mental approaches of endurance athletes. Furthermore, a trustee of Catalyst Stockton on Tees the VCSE infrastructure body for the area.
Lia Da Giau

Student, University of St Andrews

Sustainable Development student at the University of St Andrews (Class of 2024) and UWC Alumna. My research focuses on exploring pathways to sustainability in the fashion industry, assessing the potential of circular economy models and thinking to address the unsustainability of current production and consumption patterns. 
Youness Robert-Tahiri

Student, University of Toronto

Hello! I am a third-year undergraduate student in the Psychology Research Specialist program at the University of Toronto. I am passionate about children's mental health and the many ways that youth can overcome adversity. I am especially interested in developing interventions that promote resilience and healing for survivors of childhood adversity. To this end, my Laidlaw Scholar research involves examining the origins of childhood kindness. I want to explore how adversity such as poverty, family conflict, and community violence, affect pathways of kindness. Specifically, I want to identify protective factors from those who experience childhood adversity but remain kind to themselves and others. By doing this, I hope to develop interventions that promote prosocial behaviour among survivors of childhood adversity. I balance this emotionally heavy passion with a deep appreciation of the world of comedy. This entails performing comedic improvisations at various venues in the city. As such, I am also fascinated by the relationship between comedy and mental health.
Alex West

Student, University of Cambridge

Heya! I am a first-year philosophy undergraduate at Cambridge University. Within my course, my main interests are Political Philosophy, Moral Psychology, Applied Ethics, Free Will, and Philosophy of the Mind. I am particularly interested in our practices of praise and blame and think more emphasis should be placed on the lack of freedom we have as individuals in an attempt to cultivate greater empathy for one another. I strongly feel that our systems of supposed justice need critical examination and, most likely, complete deconstruction. I think that those in need are (obviously) best at judging what they need and so any support offered through donation should be monetary and never with any expectations attached. I recommend giving via  Although I ultimately oppose artificial borders, I believe the principle of equality demands the opening of borders to enable free migration. I don't think that anyone has more or less of a right to something on the mere grounds that they happen to have been born in some given place and at some given time.  I've been vegetarian from 7 years of age and vegan from 12. I feel very strongly about nonhuman-animal welfare and the environmental impact of our farming practices. I have been very excited to see the rapid growth of veganism over the last few years! In the future, I would be interested in pursuing a career in both investigative and documentary journalism. I enjoy photography and art, so would like to work in an area where creativity is both possible and valued.  I support calls for Universal Basic Income and a shorter working week because I think we all need to slow down and rekindle some of the essential elements (such as community, cooperation, and care) that are deep-rooted in human nature yet seem to have been left behind in the name of progress. My project centred on investigating whether changing the dominant narrative surrounding human nature has the potential to encourage prosocial behaviour.  Get in touch with me via the network, LinkedIn, or feel free to email me: 
Marcus Hill

Owner, Marcus Hill Consulting

I am the leadership developer for the University of Leeds. I am passionate about learning and ways in which we can all bring more of our true selves to work. I am keen to open dialogues about how leadership can be both effective and human in the 21st Century. My influences include a quote I learnt whilst studying to be a teacher at university "there is no liberating influence than the knowledge that things have not always been as they are and need not remain so." (Simon. B.) So, you can see that as leaders of the future Laidlaw Scholars can bring about positive and lasting change - and how great that is! My qualifications include: BEd Hons,, MSc, CIPD Dip, ILM L5 Coaching & Mentoring, PG Cert Counselling, FHEA. I am accredited to run Quintax personality profile, PPA, TMSDI Team Profile, EQi 2.0 Emotional Intelligence.
Hi! I'm Laetisha, a medical student at UCL, currently studying global health for my intercalating year. In specific, I take interest in understanding how healthcare gets from labs to communities and what becomes the barrier between people and access to this care. Healthcare should be a human right shared by all, but, unfortunately, this isn't the case in many communities, whether it be in a developed country or a developing one. I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved in the Kasiisi Project (KP) in Uganda this summer, which also helped me understand what it is that these communities need in order to establish a path towards healthcare.
Supakorn (Nikko) Juengsophonvitavas

Astrophysics Student, University of St Andrews

Hello Everyone! My name is Supakorn, but I normally go by Nikko, I am a fourth-year undergraduate Astrophysics Student at the University of St Andrews. My research this summer is to produce a catalogue of active galactic nuclei for a future space telescope mission to help further our understanding of the origin of our Universe. As a student from Thailand, I have worked with the National Astronomical Research Institution of Thailand during most of my breaks since the summer of 2018. I find the observational and computational side of Astrophysics to be the most fascinating, and I intend to specialise in either Extragalactic or Stellar Evolution in the radio wavelength in the future. I am trained for both AZ and Equatorial mounts for manual refractor and reflector telescopes, as well as basic landscape astrophotography. I am currently the president of the University of St Andrews Astronomical Society. Apart from being at the observatory, I enjoy a good walk/hike and spending time outside. I don't play the piano as much as I should, but I do enjoy participating in musical activities, ceilidh included. I also do magic which seems to surprise most people (Not the conjuring kind).
Phoebe Cook

Student , Durham University

Hey everyone, I'm Phoebe !  I am an undergrad for Durham in the 2021 cohort.  My field of research is sociology looking at access to higher education programmes and widening participation. 
Susanna Kempe

CEO, Laidlaw Foundation

A graduate of Cambridge University, Susanna’s professional experience includes over 15 years in senior leadership roles in international B2B and learning businesses. Susanna began her career at the Institute for International Research (IIR) where she first worked with Lord Laidlaw, rising to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). When IIR, which was the world’s largest organiser of commercial conferences, was acquired by Informa plc in 2005 Susanna was appointed CMO of the enlarged group and also led the public company’s investor relations programmes. She subsequently joined Emap Ltd as Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer and CEO of Emap Networks, that group’s conferences business. Later she became CEO of the fashion industry forecaster WGSN and was latterly Group Content and Marketing Partner of the leading strategy consultancy Brunswick Group. A German-American raised and educated in the UK and a committed internationalist, Susanna has been involved in globally trading businesses throughout her career, directing activity in the Americas, across continental Europe, and the Asia Pacific. Susanna has been extensively involved with education and professional development over many years. She was Head of Group Training and led the commercial acquisition and integration of a portfolio of corporate training businesses whilst at IIR; and created learning academies at both Informa and Emap. She believes experiencing and appreciating different cultures promotes better global understanding, creativity and leadership. She is passionate about the power of education to transform lives; and believes that we need to develop a new generation of diverse leaders who are curious, bold and devoted to decency, truthfulness, and innovation. Susanna is committed to diversity not only as a societal imperative but as a critical component of commercial success. As an advisor to the trustees of the Foundation, Susanna first learnt about its purpose and programmes before becoming its Chief Executive responsible for the Laidlaw Schools Trust, the Laidlaw Scholars and its other education programmes. Susanna read English and Philosophy at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. She has five half blues in swimming and water polo; and played netball and rowed for Newnham.