St John's College Oxford
Katherine Fender

Katherine Fender

Access and Outreach Officer



I have been a member of St John's since 2012 when I joined the College as a doctoral student in English Literature.  Having submitted my thesis in 2016, I then worked as part of the College's admissions team before joining the Access and Outreach Office in 2017.  As well as supporting the University's widening participation and public engagement activities, I have also taught several courses in English Literature to undergraduates at a number of colleges across the University of Oxford - as well as at the University of Warwick - over the past few years.

Having been both a student and a tutor at a number of different universities, I incorporate my experiences from all of these roles into my access and outreach activities, especially when conducting academic taster sessions for pupils of varying ages and from a wide range of schools.  I also draw upon my previous experience as a tutor for the UNIQ Humanities Summer School, as well as my collaborative role in public engagement with the Ashmolean Museum and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

As a first-generation university student, I have always been keenly committed to access and outreach projects.  I attended a large comprehensive school in South Wales between 2001-2008.  At the age of 17, I was lucky enough to be selected as a participant in a Sutton Trust summer school at the University of Cambridge.  From there, I went on to study English at the University of Warwick (BA Hons), the University of Cambridge (MPhil.) and the University of Oxford (DPhil.).  I am  now a member of the Sutton Trust Network, and a steadfast supporter of the Seren Network, which helps Wales’ brightest sixth-form students to achieve their academic potential and to gain access to leading universities.

Our Access and Outreach Officer speaking to a visiting group from the Brilliant Club.

As the Access and Outreach Officer at St John's, I am the first point of contact for all school and college events.  My role includes: 

  • organising visits from school groups to Oxford (this can range from a quick tour to a full taster day, according to the preferences and availability of the school group in question);
  • visiting schools or sixth-form colleges in order to provide information, advice and guidance;
  • working with the College's Academic Dean in order to launch and to develop our new Inspire Programme;
  • working with College tutors on subject-specific study days and competitions;
  • delivering academic workshops focused upon English Literature to pupils of a wide variety of ages;
  • organising academic workshops across all subjects for visiting school groups;
  • planning and running our annual Study Week for Teachers at the College;
  • training and managing our team of undergraduate and graduate Student Ambassadors;
  • liaising with schools and Student Ambassadors in order to facilitate our annual Student Roadshow;
  • co-operating with Access and Outreach Officers at other colleges and academic departments, as well as with counterparts at the University of Cambridge, in order to offer collaborative events and activities;
  • hosting Oxford Pathways taster days as well as events run by educational organisations such as the Brilliant Club and Into University, who also conduct widening participation activities;
  • attending school and college higher education fairs and UCAS exhibitions.

In addition, I am the convenor of the Oxford Early Career Academic Outreach Network which aims to connect early career academics (DPhil. students, postdoctoral researchers or fixed-term lecturers from any subject area) with opportunities to conduct access and outreach activities, both in Oxford and further afield, as well as to provide them with appropriate training opportunities and recognition for their work at an institutional level.  If you would like to find out more about the Network, please contact me by e-mail.

I am always happy to discuss ways in which we can support individuals, teachers, parents, carers, tutors, schools, colleges, regions and educational organisations through access and outreach activities.  Please contact me by email ( or by telephone on (01865) 277350 in order to book an event, or if you require any further information.

E-mail Address:

Telephone Number: (01865) 277350

Postal Address: Access and Outreach Officer,
                            St John's College,
                            St Giles',
                            OX1 3JP