Meet the team

Louise Thomson

Programme Manager

Louise joined the Chevening team in 2013. She grew up near Brighton and graduated from the University of Sussex in 2009 with a BA in American Studies and Film Studies, and spent a year studying at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia as part of her course. She also completed a Master’s degree in Film Studies in 2013. Louise previously worked as an administrator in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy at Birkbeck College before returning to the University of Sussex to work as a departmental coordinator for the School of Life Sciences, where she also helped visiting and exchange students within the school. Louise enjoys watching films (especially because she doesn’t have to analyse them anymore), reading, and exploring London.

Frankie Clarke

Senior Programme Officer

Frankie is originally from Newcastle upon Tyne but has lived in London for the past 5 years. Before joining Chevening she worked at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), organising academic events for one of LSE’s research centres and working closely with PhD students reading finance and economics. Prior to LSE, Frankie worked in alumni relations for the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where she spent her days helping to raise ‘friends and funds’ for the university. In her spare time Frankie can be found cycling through the Essex countryside or training for her next half marathon. 

Morna Firth

Senior Programme Officer

Originally from Glasgow, Morna moved to Edinburgh to complete her MA (hons) English Literature at the University of Edinburgh.  She moved to London in 2015 to work in a policy and qualifications research role at King's College London. Prior to this, she worked at the University of Edinburgh for five years in roles involving international admissions, recruitment and student support for study abroad students. A year abroad after university sparked Morna's wanderlust and so her spare time is typically spent reading travel magazines and adding even more places to her 'must visit' list. Being relatively new to London, Morna is still enjoying playing the tourist and exploring the city’s many museums, galleries and exhibitions.

Ceri Waddington

Senior Programme Officer

Ceri is originally from Llandudno in North Wales and studied her Bachelor’s degree in Theatre, Film and Television at Aberystwyth University.

Ceri previously worked at Bangor University for two and a half years where she encouraged students to become involved with the Students' Union. She then worked at Llandrillo College in Colwyn Bay, where she interacted exclusively with international students.
In her spare time Ceri likes to travel, knit and spend time with friends and family. In April 2013 she ran her first London Marathon. 

Helen Robinson

Programme Officer

Helen joined the ACU from Hospice UK, the national charity for hospice care, where she worked on the charity’s corporate partnerships. Before this, she worked at Newcastle University on the Realising Opportunities programme: a widening participation scheme working for fairer access to higher education. She studied English at the University of Leeds, where she participated in lots of volunteer work with refugees and asylum seekers. Helen also spent a year abroad in Spain where she learned Spanish, and tries to keep up with her learning now! She sings in a choir and enjoys reading, attempting to cook, and exploring new places.

James Farren

Programme Officer

James is originally from Cambridge and studied Modern History at the University of Essex. Before joining Chevening in 2013, James worked at Leeds Metropolitan University in the Arts, Environment and Technology Faculty.
James enjoys cricket, tennis and football, and is a Newcastle United supporter. He is also a film and music fan. Woody Allen is James’s favourite director and hip-hop is his favourite genre of music.


Jenny Johnson

Programme Officer

Jenny was born and brought up in Bristol, before studying for a BA in History and Politics at the University of Essex in Colchester. During her studies, she worked as a student adviser and for the student volunteering team, and spent a year studying in London, Ontario in Canada as part of her degree. Before joining Chevening, Jenny worked as a visa adviser at Newcastle University, providing immigration advice and support to international students. Jenny enjoys reading, baking, and exploring new places. Being new to London, she is keen to discover all the city has to offer.

Jim Dale

Programme Officer

Jim is originally from Upminster at the eastern most end of the district line. He completed a degree in Contemporary Military and International History at the University of Salford, which also included an exchange year to study at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. At Salford, Jim was very involved with the Students’ Union, and was also Chairman of the Cricket Club and on the committee of the Mountaineering Club. After he graduated, he was twice elected as Vice President of the Students’ Union and prior to working for Chevening, he worked at the University of East London Students’ Union as Senior Academic Caseworker. Jim loves cricket and football, and has a season ticket at Leyton Orient FC.

Luis Granja

Programme Officer

Luis grew up in Oxford before going to the University of Warwick to study a BA in Law and Business Studies. He moved to London in 2006 to complete his Legal Practice Course at BPP University Law School, prompting him to move into immigration compliance at St Giles International soon after. Before joining Chevening, Luis spent two years in higher education at Ravensbourne in the International Development department specialising in immigration compliance and international student recruitment. Luis is an avid supporter of Oxford United and a keen footballer himself. Having recently captained his local team to a league cup victory, he’s decided to hang up his boots and turn his attention to coaching. He also enjoys travelling, reading and trying to cook.

Marzana Khanom

Programme Officer

Marzana hails from East London. She studied Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Before joining Chevening, Marzana worked at Queen Mary University of London within student services and the Muslim Council of Britain in events management and administration. Most recently she worked at The National Deaf Children’s Society where she came to appreciate the issues that deaf children face.

In her spare time Marzana likes to read, travel and explore new cultures.

Matthew Kon

Programme Officer

Matthew is excited to join the Chevening Secretariat as a Programme Officer, following student advisor roles at Essex Students' Union and then at London South Bank Students' Union. He has good knowledge of higher education support services and administration functionalities. Matthew was born in Malaysia, he also grew up in Sunderland – although you won't hear a strong northern accent. He's looking to develop his Mandarin speaking further, and loves the London art scene.

Noeme Santana

Programme Officer

Noeme joined Chevening Secretariat as a Programme Officer in the Programme Team. Originally from South Africa, Noeme moved to Portugal at the age of ten. In 2007, she moved to the UK where she completed an undergraduate degree in photography and video and a master's degree in photographic history at De Montfort University, Leicester. In 2013, Noeme joined the Science Museum as a collaborative doctoral researcher working on a photographic research project in collaboration with the Science Museum and Royal Holloway, University of London. Previously, she worked as a programme administrative assistant at the School of Education, University of Leicester and was a short term AHRC-Huntington Library research fellow in Los Angeles, California. In her free time Noeme enjoys visiting exhibitions, walking in the countryside, swimming and exploring what London has to offer.

Sabiha Teladia

Programme Officer

Sabiha is originally from the West Midlands and moved to London in 2013. Prior to joining the Chevening Secretariat as Programme Officer, Sabiha worked at the London School of Economics within student marketing and recruitment. Her professional Higher Education career began after being elected as Vice President of Coventry University Students' Union and her roles within HE have developed her experience of working closely with international students. In her free time, Sabiha is learning Arabic, travels as often as possible and enjoys trying out the many varied culinary delights that London offers. She has recently started cycling to work from her home in South London.

Samantha Mercadante

Programme Officer

Sam is from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the Chevening Secretariat after completing an MA in International Relations at King’s College London, and a BA in Latin American Studies & Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She has work experience ranging from a cookie bakery in St. Louis to the U.S. Embassy in Paris, and most recently worked as a freelance writer for an international relations blog. She speaks decent French and gets by with gringo Spanish, can code a very basic web page, and spends her free time exploring London’s parks and bookshops with a coffee in hand.

Sophie Willson

Programme Officer

Sophie grew up in Reading before moving to Canterbury to complete a BA in History and Anthropology. After a brief spell in Oxford, and some time spent travelling throughout South America, she moved to London and began working at the Association of Commonwealth Universities in 2014. Sophie is moving to this new role in the Chevening team from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission where she worked as a programme assistant.

Her interests including exploring new countries, cooking and playing squash (very badly!)

Susie Pike

Programme Officer

Susie is originally from Eastbourne in East Sussex, but owing to her father's job spent much of her early childhood living in Spain and Japan. This instilled a love of travelling in her. She completed a BSc in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham and a postgraduate diploma in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Chester. She then spent the majority of her twenties travelling, working and volunteering abroad in Malaysia, New Zealand, France, Tanzania, and Japan. Immediately prior to joining Chevening as a programme officer, Susie spent a year in Australia where, having never previously owned a bike, she cycled 5031km solo from Perth to Sydney in aid of UK and Australian mental health charities. Her main passions in life are meeting people, travelling, adventure, photography, snowboarding, yoga, drinking tea, and eating cake.