Catherine's particular research interest is in fair access to universities and to leading professions, with a particular interest in the accounting profession and the role of subjects and qualifications taken age 16-19. She became interested in this topic through contact with students during her time running the undergraduate degree programmes, and through commissioned work for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales on the recruitment of graduate women to the profession. Her PhD title is 'Navigating choices to a professional career: the role of subject choice in widening access to universities and the professions' supervised by Alissa Goodman and Lindsey Macmillan at UCL.
She has devised a typology of A levels according to their efficacy in access to high status universities and uses administrative datasets and anonymised professional firm applications data, working with major graduate employers, in her analysis. She has collaborated with Dr Vikki Boliver at Durham University on A level subject choice and access, and with Professor Simon Burgess at CMPO Bristol on an RCT providing financial advice and tutoring to students from schools which are under-represented in Higher Education.
Her next project is jointly with Lindsey Macmillan and Gill Wyness, investigating the relationship between 16-19 subjects and qualifications and adverse university outcomes, with emphasis on the gaps between students from different social backgrounds. The project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
Research group membership
Centre for Diversity Research and Practice
Research grants and awards
£19,484 Making career choices: what influences female final year students as they consider an accountancy career? Funded by ICAEW (2012/13) (with Karen Handley and Jill Millar)
£56,600 ESRC Bloomsbury Doctoral Training Centre studentship (2013/2018).
£118,543 The relationship between 16-19 subject and qualification choices and university outcomes. Funded by Nuffield Foundation (2019/21) (PI, with Co-Is Lindsey Macmillan and Gill Wyness at UCL Institute of Education).
Her current project is jointly with Lindsey Macmillan and Gill Wyness, investigating the relationship between 16-19 subjects and qualifications and adverse university outcomes, with emphasis on the gaps between students from different social backgrounds. The project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation.