Supporting first-generation and low-income students to succeed at University

EDI open lunchtime meeting

Supporting first-generation and low-income students to succeed at University

  • Event time: 1:00pm until 2:00pm
  • Event date: 26th October 2023
  • Speaker: (Imperial College London)

Event details

Abstract: When considering diversity and underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), socioeconomic status is often overlooked. Targeted recruitment strategies, contextualised admissions schemes, and outreach programmes attempt to improve equality of opportunity and access to higher education (HE) in underrepresented students. To an extent they are a success. However, many HE institutions remain ill-equipped to support widening participation students once they arrive at university. Lack of support during transition from school to university, can lead to lower retention, progression, and attainment in first-generation students and those from low-income households, ultimately impacting diversity across the wider STEM sector. 

Designing a social programme to support student’s sense of belonging and develop their academic identity, Dr Jackie Bell shares her understanding of the challenges facing ‘widening participation’ students – both from her personal experience as a first-gen student and as the principal investigator of a Royal Academy of Engineering funded programme to support student retention and progression in Engineering at Imperial College London.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Jackie Bell is an award-winning Senior Teaching Fellow for Equality, Diversity, Outreach and Public Engagement at Imperial College London and Honorary Fellow of the University of Liverpool’s Mathematics Department. A previous theoretical physicist, her current research interests now lie in engaging underrepresented groups in STEM, methods of informal science learning and education, and effective ways of communicating science to the public.

About EDI open lunchtime meetings

Physics & Astronomy Equality, Diversity & Inclusion lunchtime meetings - everyone in the School is welcome - both students and staff. Most meetings are at lunchtime. Our aim is to discuss and learn on how to be the best physicists we can be. We host a range of speakers - from our own students and staff to Nobel prize winners - on topics including physics education, outreach, gender & physics, race & physics, decolonising physics, as well as discussing current physics & astronomy research!.

Find out more about EDI open lunchtime meetings.