SARAH has spent over twenty years working to effect change within the higher education sector through research that focuses on the access and participation of students from identified equity groups. Her institutional and nationally funded research studies advance understanding of how under-represented student cohorts enact success within university, navigate transition into this environment, manage competing identities and negotiate aspirations for self and others. This work is highly regarded for applying diverse conceptual and theoretical lenses to tertiary participation, which incorporate theories of social class, identity work, gender studies and poverty. Sarah’s Category 1 nationally competitive grants include two ARC Discovery Projects (2014, 2017), the latter of which she is leading; a multi-institutional OLT grant (2015) and an Australian National Teaching Fellowship (2016) – her latest project will explore the employment options of first in family students after graduation in a one-year research fellowship with the National Centre for Student Equity in HE (NCSEHE, 2019).

Sarah’s work is also recognised as being very applied and she has successfully implemented a range of highly effective support strategies and guidelines, all of which are informed by student-centred research. This scholarly activity has resulted in sector-wide innovations in teaching practise as well as the development of practical interventions and resources, used to underpin HE outreach interventions.

Internationally, Sarah is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) and also, in 2017 received a Churchill Fellowship to explore global best practise in supporting first in family learners. The complete Churchill Fellowship report can be downloaded via the link. A shorter version containing the findings and recommendations will be published soon.