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Earlier this term we opened applications for the UCL 2021 University Challenge Team. Hundreds applied, and after several gruelling selection rounds, we’re pleased to introduce you to; Koshiro, Humaira, Hugo, and Max.

Next spring they’ll travel to Manchester to compete, hoping to outdo our 2018 team who beat Kings in the first round before being knocked out by Edinburgh in round two.

Koshiro Kiso, team captain, 2nd Year MRC Cell Biology PhD student

Hi, I’m Koshiro and currently a second-year MRC Cell Biology PhD student at the LMCB, working on nuclear architecture in cancer cells. I was an undergrad in Natural Sciences at Cambridge but having lived in London most of my life, I wanted to come back to somewhere less quiet! In terms of University Challenge, binging past episodes has kept me sane during lockdown and inspired me to try out for the team. Some of my friends have already appeared on the show, so I look forward to hopefully carrying on their streak of wrongly answering questions on national television!

Humaira Maka, 2nd Year Medic

I’m Humaira and I’m a 2nd year medical student. I’ve been watching university challenge for as long as I can remember and when I saw the notice from the student union newsletter about the UC trials, I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t expect to make it through the first round, let alone on to the team, but now that I’m here, I’m excited and proud to represent UCL. 

Hugo Fleming, 4th Year PhD student on the Wellcome programme in Neuroscience

Hello! I’m Hugo and I’m a 4th year PhD student on the Wellcome programme in Neuroscience. I’ve watched University Challenge for a long time, but the moment that really pushed me to sign up for the trials was in my first year at UCL, when one of my friends was on the UCL team and a group of us used to go to the student union bar to watch his matches which were being televised there. I attended the UCL trials the following year and was lucky enough to be selected for the team. Although we didn’t make it onto the TV that time, I and a few others have been building up a bit of a ‘quiz team’ at UCL since then and we hope we’re going to see that bear fruit this year. Obviously, we’re out to win, but at the very least I’ll be happy if I receive a really withering put down from Paxman.

Max Traeger, 3rd Year History and Politics of the Americas

My name is Max Traeger, and I study BA History and Politics of the Americas. I have benefited from modules at other departments such as SSEES, SELCS, EISPS and Anthropology. Before moving to Schafer House in my first year, I lived in East Molesey in Surrey. I am an avid podcast listener, poetry reader, Wikipedia scroller and practised lockdown zoom pub quizzer. I have watched University Challenge since I was a child beside my parents. Years of watching the show have left me excited to take part, and I am proud to represent UCL as part of such a talented team.

Lucas Bertholdi-Saad, 2nd Year PGDE at the Institute of Education

Hi, I’m Lucas. I’m in the second year of my PGDE at the UCL Institute of Education, which I am doing through Teachfirst. As part of the Teachfirst Programme, I’ve been teaching the last two years as a History teacher in Harris Academy Orpington. I’m really glad with this placement because I’ve lived near Orpington most of my life! Before I started teaching, I studied History and Economics at undergrad at Wadham College Oxford. I was the reserve on my undergrad College’s University Challenge team three times - so I guess it is becoming a tradition!

The 2021 series will be broadcast in July next year, and we’ll keep you up to date with our team’s progress.