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.
Meet the team
Dannielle ElsterProgramme Manager – UK
Dannielle grew up in London and went to Leicester University where she completed a BA in Law.
After obtaining a Masters (LLM) in European Law, and working at the European Commission in London and Brussels, Dannielle continued her European journey by teaching at the British Council in Greece.
She returned to the UK to continue her career in international education working in the international student recruitment team at Royal Holloway, University of London and then moved to Bournemouth University as Head of International Marketing and Student Recruitment.
More recently, Dannielle has worked as a Continuous Improvement (CI) Facilitator and Project Manager in the third sector, including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) where she helped set up a Project Management Office.
Dannielle is pleased to return to international education with Chevening and as a big fan of musical theatre, is enjoying the many theatrical opportunities that London brings.
Elissa PerreauSenior Programme Officer – Welfare and Immigration
Originally from the US, Elissa completed a BA in English at the University of Puget Sound before moving to London 11 years ago. Over the years she has worked at a variety of arts organisations and universities, including the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, King’s College, and the London College of Fashion. Elissa spends her time going to the theatre, exploring London, and standing by the side of the road in Europe watching professional bike races.
Jim DaleProgramme Officer – Welfare and Immigration
Jim is from Upminster and has lived in east London for all his life, except for his years studying history at the University of Salford and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. Jim has worked in student advice and support since 2009 and joined Chevening in 2015 starting as a Programme Officer where, for the first 2 years, he enjoyed working with Chevening scholars and organising events and volunteering opportunities.
Jim enjoys sports and is a season ticket holder at his beloved Leyton Orient FC and he has played cricket for the same cricket club since 1995. He is an avid cruciverbalist, quizzer, reader of Anglo-Saxon history, and fan, and casual singer, of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. Jim consumes an average of 12 cups of tea a day.
Becky DuffySenior Programme Officer – UK
Originally from Lancashire, Becky moved to London after completing her Masters in ‘Health and Society in South Asia’ in Heidelberg, Germany, completing her research in Mysore. Prior to this she completed her undergraduate degree in ‘Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology’ at The University of Manchester, spending one semester at The University of Missouri in the US. She has a lot of experience of working with and supporting both home and international students having worked at The University of Manchester, UCL, and Kings College London.
In her free time, Becky loves to travel, bake, and spend time hanging out with her friends and family.
Noeme SantanaSenior Programme Officer – UK
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.
Sophie FennerSenior Programme Officer – UK
Sophie is originally from Wolverhampton (but managed to avoid a ‘Brummie’ accent!) and studied for her Master's in Chemistry at the University of Sheffield. It was whilst at Sheffield that she found her interest in working with international students. She has since held roles with Wolverhampton Students’ Union and joins us from the University of Warwick where she worked in international postgraduate recruitment.
On the weekend, you’ll find her getting involved in the local park run and keeping up with the Formula 1. She also loves marmite and recommends that you try it at least once while you are in the UK!
Kadri PajuProgramme Officer – UK
Kadri is originally from Tallinn, Estonia. She did part of her undergraduate degree in Palermo, Italy, and has an MSc in International Public Policy from Queen Mary University of London. Before joining Chevening, she worked for a study-abroad provider organising academic courses and events. Kadri has also worked for the British Red Cross helping refugees settle in London, and she has spent a year supporting international volunteers in Italy. She enjoys discussing current affairs and spends her free time trying to improve her photography skills.
Katie BaldockProgramme Officer – UK
Originally from Bristol, Katie's background is in coordinating programmes and funding schemes across higher education, research, and for arts organisations. Prior to making the move to London she lived in Canada for a couple of years, working for the University of Toronto and in the film industry.
Katie worked for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for many years, across a number of funding initiatives for researchers and postgraduate students. She also previously worked for the University of Bristol, supporting academic researchers and a research assessment exercise. Katie has an undergraduate degree in humanities and a postgraduate certificate in arts policy and management. She can usually be found at the cinema, reading or writing, and she also loves to travel as often as possible.
Libby ScottProgramme Officer – UK
Originally from a village in the Cotswolds, Libby ventured the hour or so down the M5 to the University of Bristol to study French and Spanish in 2012. Since then she has ventured further, studying abroad in Aix in the south of France and working in Colombia as an English teacher, journalist, and most recently as a UNICEF translator. Libby's wider professional background has been in events marketing and coordination and in September 2018 she completed her Masters in Globalisation and Latin American Development at UCL, returning to Colombia to study the effects of the migration on border towns.
In her spare time Libby enjoys eating Bourbons, learning new recipes, and cycling to counteract the previous two past-times. She loves visiting new places both at home and away- Mexico City, Brazil, and India are high on her list, as are the Lake District, Belfast, and Leeds!
Lizzie SwindellsProgramme Officer – UK
Originally from Lancashire, Lizzie studied French and History at the University of Warwick, completing a year abroad as a language assistant at a school in south-western France. Following her degree, she spent a year teaching in Barcelona and also several summers in Bournemouth as a residential activity leader for junior learners. She moved to London to work in student services at an English language school for international students and feels very lucky to be able to experience all the city has to offer; particularly film, theatre, and history which are her great loves.
Lydia WoodProgramme Officer – UK
Lydia is excited to join the team as a Programme Officer. She is from the beautiful Cumbrian countryside and attended the University of Sheffield and completed a BSc in Biomedical Science then an MSc in Science Communication.
Her work experience has been varied and includes being a full time elf, explaining to Science Museum visitors how the internet works and organising a safe cracking competition (in the name of physics).
Lydia enjoys walking from climbing Mount Fuji to walking in loops round London with friends!
Marzana KhanomProgramme Officer – UK
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 KonProgramme Officer – UK
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.
Rachel RaymerProgramme Officer – UK
Rachel is originally from Hampshire and completed her BA in Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Manchester in 2013.
After graduating from university, Rachel spent time teaching English in Thailand with the British Council. This experience made her want to pursue a career in international education.
Rachel has previously worked at a language school where she helped organise activities for students studying English in Brighton. She then worked in international student recruitment and admissions for a group of sixth form colleges prior to joining the Chevening Secretariat.
In her spare time Rachel enjoys watching and playing tennis, travelling to new countries, and going out for coffee with her friends in London.
Sally HauProgramme Officer – UK
Sally is originally from a small village near the Chiltern hills and studied her BA in Graphic Design at Kingston University. She has previously worked at the University of London and the National Association of College & University Entrepreneurs. In her most recent role at The Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education, she supported students during their journey to becoming mental health professionals.
In her free time, Sally enjoys taking extremely long walks and dabbling in DIY projects. She is also a keen baker and strongly recommends trying scones with clotted cream and jam as a quintessential British treat.
Sophie ThomsettProgramme Officer – UK
Originally from a tiny seaside town in Cornwall, Sophie graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English and French in 2013. Since then she has organised events for international students at the University of Leeds’s Language Centre, spent 2 years teaching in rural Japan on the JET Programme, and worked for King’s College London in admissions. Her favourite things are going to gigs and music festivals and learning languages (she speaks rusty French, can get by in Japanese and would love to pick up another soon).
Suraj DarbarProgramme Officer – UK
Suraj grew up in the north-east of England and graduated from the University of Durham with a BA (Hons) in European Studies with French.
Since moving to London, his work experience has varied from working with buyers and suppliers at Harrods’ Head Office to assisting with organising surgical training courses at The Royal College of Surgeons. Suraj has a strong background in higher education and student support. Before joining the Chevening Secretariat, he acted as the first point of contact to students studying BSc Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London.
Suraj is an avid linguist and speaks French, Spanish, Gujarati and Hindi well. He is also trying his hand at learning Arabic, Italian and German. He enjoys travelling and learning about different cultures. During his free time, he likes meeting up with friends and family, exploring London, watching movies, bhangra dancing and eating pizza.
Susie PikeProgramme Officer – UK
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.