2012 Prize Winners


Dr. Anna ZimdarsDr Anna Zimdars from King's College London was awarded the 2012 Prize for her proposal entitled:

"Converging pathways? Revisiting Turner's mobility modes for the case of undergraduate admission in the UK and the U.S."

Anna joined King's Learning Institute at King's College London as a lecturer in Higher Education in 2011. Anna joined King's College after a post-doctoral position at Manchester University, a DPhil award from Oxford and her undergraduate studies at the University of Kent. Anna's research interest is in access to university and access to professions. Her work has previously been largely quantitative, meaning that she has used data sets to investigate various questions such as: how do individuals with different social background characteristics fare in the competition for scarce goods - such as highly selective education or highly selective professional entry? Anna then draws social theory to understand the empirical research findings. The SRHE funded project will allow Anna to explore the use of qualitative methods in understanding at a deeper – and hopefully more philosophical level – questions of university access and admission.

Anna's work has been covered in the national media including Radio 4, The Sunday Times and the Guardian and referred to in Parliament. She has served as an invited expert to the Alan Milburn Commission on Social Mobility and organised a conference on access to selective universities. Further information is available here.


Dr. Michael KeenanDr. Michael Keenan from Nottingham Trent University was awarded the 2012 prize for his proposal entitled:

"Coming out and fitting in: A qualitative exploration of lesbian, gay, homosexual, bisexual, trans and queer students' university experiences."

Michael joined Nottingham Trent University as a lecturer in Sociology in 2007 following the completion of his PhD which explored the identity negotiations of gay men in the Church of England clergy. Since joining NTU Michael has taught on a variety of modules, and supervised students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. His research is broadly focussed on issues of religious and/or sexual identity.

From 2009 to 2011 Michael was co-investigator on the AHRC/ESRC funded large grant study 'Religion, Youth and Sexuality: A Multi-faith Exploration' which explored the lives and experiences of religious young adults from a variety of faith background, with a specific focus on issues of sexuality. The RYS study completed in February 2011.

Michael is also currently developing a research project exploring the experiences and identities of Muslim police officers. The 'Coming out and fitting in' project builds on Michael's experiences, while also allowing for the developing of these with a specific focus on higher education. The project allows for reflection on contemporary experiences of higher education, which it is hoped will be of interest to higher education institutions, current students and policy makers.

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