We did it
On 29th August 2017 we successfully raised £6,245 with 81 supporters in 21 days

We're aiming to raise £11,000 for a computer, health insurance, and living expenses for my first 2 years at Columbia University in NYC.

by Liberty Martin in Croydon, England, United Kingdom

Welcome to my Crowdfunder Campaign #Croydon2Columbia!


Special thanks to Francine, Charlene and Emmanuel for helping me get this campaign up and running

Hello! My name is Liberty Martin, and I am an 18 year-old student from Thornton Heath, Croydon. Recently I accepted an offer to study at Columbia University in the City of New York as a Kluge Scholar and I will be starting my first year there on August 27 2017!

What is #Croydon2Columbia?

This is a campaign to subsidise funds for my first two years at Columbia. I am from a working class background, so despite a generous grant from the university and my own savings from working, my family and I will struggle to pay for my time there. Plus, as an international student my employment options are limited to work on campus. The money raised here will go towards funding the costs of my health insurance, a computer and living expenses. I am also a cancer survivor and therefore my health insurance costs will be considerably high, so I am seeking funding to assist me with meeting these costs.

Why I want to go to Columbia

The American education system gives the fantastic opportunity to widen your academic interests because students don’t specialise until their third year. Originally I applied to do a joint English Literature and Spanish degree in the UK, but I loved the idea of idea of exploring my other interests at an academic level, such as Creative Writing, Film, Gender Studies and Politics, as well as English and Spanish. What’s more, Columbia specifically offers a Core Curriculum course, which aims to develop your understanding of Western thought, literature, science, art and music. Then, of course, there is the huge advantage of living as a student in New York. Part of the reason I applied for university in the USA was to develop myself personally as well as academically. I want to challenge myself, and throwing myself in the deep end of a city like New York will definitely do that, as well as introduce me to an amazing myriad of people. As someone who wants to work in media, networking and doing internships in New York will be invaluable for me, and Columbia even often leaves Fridays free of classes to encourage their students to do work experience in one of the most exciting and connected cities in the world.

Coming from a state school background and being the first person in my sixth form to apply to an Ivy League university, the application process was intense and required a lot of self-organisation, especially since I didn’t have any third-party assistance. Nonetheless, I endeavoured to find out as much as I could about Columbia and the American college application system and taught myself for SATs to apply in a short time frame. Considering this, the chances of me being offered a place at Columbia were very small. Nonetheless, I have been accepted and I have also been chosen to be on the Kluge Scholar Programme, meaning that I am considered one of the most talented in my class. I am therefore determined to make the most of this very rare and unique opportunity.

What do I want to do during my degree and with my degree in the future?

My passion in life is writing. As said before, I would love to work in media as a journalist and a writer. I’ve been writing creatively since I was little, and at 15 years old I won the Local Guardian’s Young Reporter of the Year. Since then I’ve been pursuing journalism by writing  and doing work experience at local and national publications, including the Croydon Citizen, the Local Guardian, the Roundhouse and the Economist Educational Foundation. During my time at Columbia I want to continue writing by interning at the renowned news desks and writing rooms in New York to establish my career outside of university. As a young black woman I am very enthusiastic about social justice and diversity, so as an aspiring writer I am determined to diversify what we read and see on screen to better represent the world around us.

More about me

  • In 2014 I also won the Regional Round of the Jack Petchey Speak Out! Challenge and went on to their Grand Final as one of the last 14 contestants out of 18,000 young people. Like most people, public speaking was something that I was terrified to do, but after stepping out of my comfort zone I’ve gone on to speak at the Race for Opportunity Awards and the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Black History Month Gala in Year 11.
  • From Year 7 I’ve been privileged to sing in my amazing school choir at Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College for Girls (NMBEC for short). With the choir I’ve toured to France, Belgium and Germany, and in Year 10 I started singing in the school’s audition only choir, Celeste. Both Celeste and the NMBEC choir count Grammy-nominated singer Lianne La Havas as their alumni, who invited Celeste to sing with her at the Royal Albert Hall and Bexhill-on-Sea.
  • Throughout my school career I’ve strived and worked hard to excel academically, even after missing a year out of school when I was diagnosed with cancer in Year 9. I achieved the best GCSE grades in my year (9 A*s and 2 As) and in Year 12 I received an Academic Achievement Award for maintaining the best grades in my year.





This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£5 or more

£5 Reward

Select this amount if you would not like to receive a reward

£10 or more

£10 Reward

A public thank you on Twitter

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Receive a 'Thank You' E Card

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Exclusive access to a yearly review of my time at Columbia where I'll share my experiences, progress and what I want to do in the following year.

£100 or more

£100 Reward

A copy of my Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) on 'What Does It Mean to Be British?' which received full marks.

£250 or more

£250 Reward

A 'thank you' e card, a yearly review, my EPQ and Columbia merchandise (a pen and notepad)

£500 or more

£500 Reward

A 'thank you' e card, a yearly review, my EPQ and Columbia merchandise (a mug and a pen)

£1,000 or more

£1,000 Reward

A 'thank you' e card, a yearly review, my EPQ, Columbia merchandise (a mug and a sweatshirt) and I write an article for your publication/blog

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