Cherrie Kwok

Cherrie Kwok

Undergraduate Humanities student Cherrie Kwok has been Editor-in-Chief of the University of Exeter’s interdisciplinary academic journal, The Undergraduate, since its launch in 2013. Starting as a group of ten, the journal’s team has increased to 27 in order to keep up with their growing readership, and Cherrie describes its development as “extraordinary”. Whilst leading the journal, her own research has flourished and last year she was awarded a High Commendation by The Undergraduate Awards, going on to represent the University at the prestigious Undergraduate Awards Global Summit in Dublin.

Despite normally eschewing autobiographies, Cherrie has found an enduring inspiration in the work of author and doctor Adeline Yen Mah. She explains: “Perhaps it has something to do with Adeline’s experiences growing up as a Chinese girl at a time when that particular racial and gender combination was considered inferior by both the world and her own family. Her harrowing struggles in colonized Hong Kong and in colonial Britain, and her eventual triumph against all the odds by excelling in her studies, continue to inspire my on-going commitment to my work. She’s proof that even in an unbalanced world, if you work hard and stick to your principles, you might someday reap the rewards you deserve.”

Cherrie found the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – ‘equality for women is progress for all’ – particularly striking and in keeping with her own views. “Gender equality doesn’t only mean recognising women and men as equals,” she comments, “Gender equality means reaching a point where gender becomes obsolete in that it’s no longer a factor that unfairly restricts access to basic rights, or economic and social opportunities. That’s a really powerful idea that aids self-determination. I can only hope gender equality will be fully realised around the world during my lifetime.”

When back in Hong Kong, Cherrie derives great pleasure from the simple task of walking her dog, Tin Tin. “He’s already four years old, but his walks are never dull,” she said, adding: “Other neighbourhood dogs are quite docile, but mine gallops out the door and charges along the sidewalk, leaping eagerly from paw to paw as though it’s the first time he’s seen the sun. He’s really inspiring – he never takes his walks for granted, and he reminds me to adopt the same attitude towards my own life.”