Francesca Mele

LIFE Zurich

LIFE Fellow since 2023, University of Zurich

I am a PhD candidate in Sociology and a doctoral research associate in the Education and Human Development research group of the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development, led by Kaspar Burger. My dissertation project seeks to understand how psychological characteristics (e.g. effort, aspirations, self-direction), family and school characteristics, and the societal and institutional context interplay in shaping individual trajectories at different life stages, educational, and life outcomes. To this aim, I apply longitudinal research methods drawing on different cohort studies, such as COCON (Switzerland), and Youth Development Study (St. Paul, Minnesota, US). I received my Bachelor and Master degrees in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Bologna. I worked as a predoctoral researcher at the Cattaneo Research Institute in Bologna, where I was involved in a research project on educational inequality in secondary school and adult education. Before joining the Jacobs Center, I completed a Master of Research in Education at the University of Cambridge, where I examined micro and macro aspects of social inequality in adolescents’ occupational expectations across 54 countries. Broadly, my main areas of interest include life-course sociology, lifespan developmental psychology, educational inequality, early stages of individual development, and quantitative methods.

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