In this presentation I will talk about my research interests in how social background shapes students' experiences of higher education, and the possible selves and opportunities they pursue when they graduate. This presentation draws on focus group and interview data gathered as part of the Graduate Futures project, but also incorporates reflexive comments from second year student research projects, which investigated how students decide what they want to do in the future. These projects all drew on Markus and Nurius (1986) concept of 'possible selves', which encapsulates 'the cognitive manifestation of enduring goals, aspirations, motives, fears and threats' pertaining to how students think about their potential and their future.
Andrew Bengry-Howell is a senior lecturer in Psychology at Bath Spa University. He has worked as an academic and researcher in higher education for over twenty years and held positions at the University of Bath, University of Southampton, National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) and University of Birmingham. His research interests are in young people and identity, particularly the processes involved in youth social identification and identity construction. He co-developed the NERUPI evaluation framework for evaluating the impact of Higher Education widening participation interventions, which has been adopted by over sixty HEIs in the UK. His more recent research has investigated how students’ sociocultural background shapes their experiences of higher education and the pathways they pursue when they graduate. His research has covered a wide range of topics, including innovation in qualitative research methodology; parental perspectives on children’s sexual socialisation and sex and relationship education; young people and music festivals; alcohol marketing and young people’s drinking practices and young masculinities and motorcars. He has co-authored publications in academic journals, including the London Review of Education, Annals of Tourism, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, Qualitative Research, Journal of Youth Studies, Sociology, Feminism & Psychology, Sex Education, European Journal of Marketing, International Journal of Drug Policy and Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. He has also published chapters in edited volumes including The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection, The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Psychology, Innovations in Youth Research, Festivalisation of Culture, and, Identity in the 21st Century: New Trends in Changing Times.