GetInAndGetOn - Eireann's PhD

My name is Eireann Attridge and I’ve been given an offer to study for a Doctorate in Education (DPhil or PhD) at the University of Oxford from this October. Unfortunately, I wasn’t put forward for funding and being from a working-class background, I have no alternative funds to take up my place.
I applied to study for a PhD with the aim of conducting research into the experiences of working-class students within highly selective universities such as Oxbridge. My research aims to understand the experiences of these students and learn how universities can adopt policy and practice to best support students from marginalised backgrounds. I hope that through my research, I can work towards developing and outlining clear recommendations that universities and similar institutions can adopt in order to make themselves more accessible and inclusive to students who may be marginalised along the lines of social class and race.

Having grown up in a working-class single-parent household in South London, university, let alone Oxbridge, was an alien concept. However, as I entered Sixth Form, I benefitted from a range of Widening Participation Programmes such as KCL’s K+ and Oxbridge Prospects. Both staff and students on these schemes helped me better understand the benefits of university and encouraged me to follow my academic interests. It was understanding the need for these schemes, as well as being taught by an amazing Sociology teacher, that made me interested in the study of Education and the way educational success differs based on background.
A year or so later, I ended up studying Education and English Literature at the University of Cambridge. During my time at university, and in the last two years since graduating, I dedicated all my time to access and widening participation (work which aims to encourage and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply to university). After these two years of work, I began an MSc in Education at the University of Oxford, where I further developed my knowledge of Higher Education, Policy, Access and Inequality.

Research shows that students from working-class backgrounds face additional barriers both in both accessing and successfully completing their university education, leading to differential outcomes. My research hopes to explore and analyse these experiences and consider how institutions can tackle these issues of inequality beyond admission.

I intend to make my findings open access and create clear recommendations that universities can implement in order to increase the chances of success on a range of levels for these students. I hope to continue to tackle these issues after graduation either through taking up a role in academia or university policy.I’m looking to gain experience in a range of sectors in order to build up skills around strategy design and policy implementation, so if you're an employer who may be able to help me develop these skills – please feel free to contact me.

The estimated costs for each year at Oxford is £26,160. This is split as follows: 
Tuition fee: £11,160
Living costs: £15,000
These costs are as given on the Oxford Graduate Studies website:
Course costs 
Living costs  (In between the lower and upper range, and similar to the stipend I would have been awarded had I received funding)

*A 2.5% charge is applied to GoFundMe, therefore the target is set at £26,814

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LinkedIn  Eireann Attridge
Twitter  @EireannAttridge
Instagram  @EireannAttridge

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  • Supraja Russell 
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Eireann Attridge 
London, Greater London, United Kingdom
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