Kirsten Van Fossen

College: St John’s

Course: PhD in Engineering

Hometown: Moorestown, USA

Previous School: Moorestown

Previous University: Harvard University


Why Engineering?

I am investigating how entrepreneurs go about creating business models that transition towards more sustainable food systems. I’m passionate about finding ways for people to simultaneously thrive and live a bit lighter on our planet and that’s exactly what I’m learning to do!

Why Cambridge?

As an American, Cambridge is a great place to go to immerse yourself into British Culture. It is also a great spot to travel from and has amazing connections to London and Europe is also easily accessible. Cambridge also, of course, welcomes a variety of different nationalities and therefore you can learn different cultures just from staying in your college.

Beyond the boat..

Outside of my work and rowing I like to bike out to nearby villages, relax on the Greens of Cambridge or spend weekend afternoons at Cambridge Crop Share of FoodCycle.


The Boat Club brings together people who you wouldn’t necessarily normally get the chance to meet at Cambridge.

In 2015 Kirsten won the Parmigiani Spirit Award (now named the Filippi Spirit Award) for demonstrating the core values of rowing in her social, academic and sporting life and through these values, for inspiring exceptional success in other people’s lives, either in education, businesss, sport or charity. As a result of winning this prize, a racing eight boat was given to CUWBC.