Esther Kentish

Esther Kentish

I cried when I received my acceptance letter for the DPhil programme. I was overjoyed to get accepted into the University of Oxford as a student. I came from a low-socioeconomic family and was a first-generation college graduate. The sky was not the limit, despite the fact that opportunities were limited. I recall having a dream about being a part of the university, and it came true. I am now at St. Hilda's College as a second-year DPhil student studying English Language. In my first year, I was the President of English Graduates Oxford (EGO) and a Junior Dean.

I travelled to the United Kingdom for the first time in 2018 as the only English Studies major present to introduce a poster at the Oxford Neuroscience Research Symposium. Later that year, as an international student, I relocated to the United Kingdom to attend King's College London. I graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor's degree in English and a minor in Philosophy. I graduated one year early from my Master's in Technical Communication at North Carolina State University because I was interested in combining communication studies, science, and poetry. I hoped to investigate the link between medicine, end-of-life care, illness narratives, and writing, so I went on to earn an MSc in Medical Humanities. I recently graduated from King's College London, where I delivered the Arts and Humanities 2020 Graduation Address.

I am the author of several books, including the award-winning The Emotional Healing Behind Words (2017), which is a poetic corpus and critical metadata analysis organised to examine emotional, psychological, and spiritual development over time.

In an AHRC-funded COVID-19 project, I worked as a Narrative Medicine researcher and also took part in a podcast. I have also been involved with developing, implementing, and monitoring faculty education strategies across university boards in order to influence policy change within the university and community. I have previously served as an English Department representative at several universities, and I've also served as President of two cohorts. I hope to continue my work in the areas of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as Safeguarding. Now, I focus on COVID-19, patient narratives and the sociological aspects of the pandemic are among my research interests. Doing a DPhil at Oxford has definitely broadened my perspective on the world around me. It has also aided in the development of my critical thinking skills.

I was previously president of Oxford's English graduates, and I enjoyed being a leader in that capacity. As a Project Consultant for Oxford's Black Academics Future Scholarship, a series of scholarship programmes that will address under-representation and help improve equality, diversity, and inclusion in our graduate student body, I helped to pioneer a new scholarship programme. I was also an English Writing Tutor in my earlier academic years at the University of Texas at Arlington, where I assisted both Undergraduate and Graduate students alongside Faculty with scholarly and creative writing needs. My hope as an English Studies graduate from Oxford is to help give others who do not have a voice, an avenue to have one. I value social justice and emotional healing and feel that writing is an open door to expressing traumatic or difficult experiences.

Travelling abroad has been life-changing, and I have gained so much insight on how to live and how to make connections to different things. Having the opportunity to take part in a DPhil at Oxford has not only challenged me, but inspired me.