Teele Palumaa


Community Bursary Award Holder

Joining us from: Tallinn, Estonia

DPhil Clinical Neurosciences (2016)

Born and raised in Estonia, I studied medicine at the University of Tartu before applying for a DPhil in Oxford. Throughout my medical studies I was fascinated by science and while most of my course mates worked part-time in various medical roles, I decided to work at research laboratories instead. This paved the way for my desire to pursue a doctoral degree after graduating. I chose to apply to St Cross because of its very diverse international community, knowing I would be entering a welcoming and open-minded cohort of inspiring individuals.

Although my studies are incredibly important to me, I thrive in getting involved with the wider community, which has added a lot to my University experiences both in Oxford and in Estonia. I’m actively involved in the University’s athletics club (OUAC), and currently hold the University record in high jump. Taking part in athletics has been a great opportunity to meet like-minded people throughout the University, as well as from other universities we compete against, including Cambridge and Ivy League universities. Uniquely to Oxford, I have been involved with the St Cross Student Committee, as I was delighted to be elected the Sports Representative 18/19 and the Student President 19/20. I thoroughly enjoyed working in these roles, facilitating new student initiatives, ensuring the student voice was heard across the board, and sustaining College spirit throughout the start of the pandemic. I am hugely grateful for having had the opportunity to represent our St Cross students.

The Community Bursary is very generous, and I feel honoured to be one of the recipients. It has benefited me immensely, allowing me to extend my studies, which were disrupted by the pandemic, by an additional term. With the help of this scholarship, I was able to fully focus on finalising my studies to get the most out of the scientific training and I am very grateful for this. After finishing my DPhil, I am due to start an ophthalmology clinical residency programme in Estonia, something I was absolutely sure would never happen–never say never!