‘We were next-door neighbours in the Brian Pippard Building’
We’re delighted to share this career and life update from Dr Matthew Grosvenor and Dr Evianne Grosvenor, Life Members who met here at the College and made a significant impact as GSB officers
We have fond memories of the lively student community at Clare Hall.
It was fascinating meeting so many students from different parts of the world, and discussing their lives and work at formal dinners and student social events. We served in different roles in the Graduate Student Body committee (GSB). Matthew was GSB President and later GSB Secretary. His former career in computer network engineering proved useful. As GSB President, Matthew worked with the IT committee to resolve the poor Wi-Fi service at West Site, and moved the College to centrally managed Wi-Fi, improving the service for all (students and Fellows). Evianne was Student Welfare Officer and later Fellow-Student Interaction (FSI) Officer. It wasn’t easy to unite such divergent populations of senior and early-career academics in College. Evianne was the first to run Fellow-Student interaction talks: a series of events in which Fellows, Life Members, and in one case three(!) former Presidents of Clare Hall gave lectures on topics of broad interest to the College’s population, followed by a formal dinner. A version of these talks is still running several years later.
We were next-door neighbours in the Brian Pippard Building.
We often joke that the College must have participated in a big social experiment, reading our profiles and match-making us as neighbours. We’re thankful to the College — it was a successful experiment :-). We’ve been happily married for 6 years, and have a beautiful baby son, Samuel.
We both felt a sense that the university was ‘bigger’ than Clare Hall, and that there was more that we could do for the University and for graduate students in particular.
We stood for (and were elected into) positions at the Graduate Union: Evianne as GU President and Matthew as GU Secretary. We also learned a lot, including how to deal with the press. Matthew went on to a public-facing role in his next job, while Evianne’s experience taught her about hiring and managing staff, handing financial forecasting and audits, and the challenges of running a charity. It also gave her deep insight into the operations of the University which she has used in many of her roles since. As GU President, Evianne was also a University Council member. She used this knowledge and experience to later successfully run for a Council member position at Macquarie University.
Evianne was the first to run Fellow-Student interaction talks
By early 2016, it was our plan to make the UK home for the foreseeable future.
But in mid-2016 the Brexit vote changed that for us. To us, one of the great attractions of Britain was that it was part of the EU. As this was set to change, it caused us to reassess. Matthew had an opportunity to work in Australia at his former firm, so we followed our noses to the sea, sand and sun in Sydney. Evianne was offered a position as a postdoctoral researcher on a team looking at children’s memory of traumatic events, and the implications for legal professionals and proceedings. The work was part of the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and received nationwide media attention. Evianne went on to work in various roles at Macquarie University, and is currently on maternity leave.
Matthew re-joined his former firm, Zomojo, which was then operating as a networking equipment start-up called Exablaze. He eventually rose to Senior Vice-President of Technology. It was very special to be part of nurturing a small start-up company into a fully fledged business. In late 2019, Cisco Systems announced a full acquisition of Exablaze. Matthew stayed with Cisco as a Principle Engineer for about a year, but found the shift from a very small start-up to a large multinational company too much. He moved back to his roots in high frequency trading (HFT), joining Jump Trading as a Software Engineer, a role which he continues to enjoy.
The arrival of Samuel was the happiest moment for us!
He brings so much joy to our lives. It’s a true delight to be his parents. Hopefully we’ll be able to show him off in-person at the College one day.
Something few people know about us…?
Matthew was a competitive swimmer at high school. When he first met Evianne she was swimming regularly in the Clare Hall pool. Evianne challenged Matthew to a race. He reluctantly accepted, assuming he would win easily. This did not happen: despite using a wheelchair, Evianne is incredibly quick. To this day she’s the fastest one in the pool. (Or so she claims…)