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Carer, Care Experience and Estranged Students panel biographies

Prof Mary Larkin - Professor of Care, Carers and Caring, The Open Universtiy 

Professor Mary Larkin has considerable experience of carer research and knowledge exchange, publishing widely;  regularly leading funded projects;  undertaking (national and international), consultancies, PhD supervision and examination, Advisory posts, and Commission Panel and national and international (professional, government and public) body membership. She is committed to maximising the potential of the carer-related knowledge and evidence base to inform policy, services and interventions to support carers. To this end she set up an international carers research network; co-founded the International Journal of Care and Caring, co-produced the Social Care Institute for Excellence ‘Carers’ hub’, and set up a Carer-related knowledge Exchange Network.

Within the OU, she established and chairs the Care and Caring network @OU. This network  spearheads  institutional changes for student  and staff carers e.g.  the Carer scholarship scheme and  the extension  of the OU’s research portfolio to include research and  scholarship that informs support and retention of student carers.

Dr Stephanie McKendry - Head of Access, Equality and Inclusion, University of Strathclyde

Dr Stephanie McKendry has over 18 years’ experience in various teaching, learning and research roles in higher education. Since 2014, she has led the Widening Access Team at the University of Strathclyde, with responsibility for increasing opportunities and removing barriers to study and success for those from widening access backgrounds. From 2019 onwards, she has led the Access, Equality and Inclusion Service at the University, bringing together widening access and equality and diversity policy and activity. She has supported the Scottish Commissioner for Fair Access as Researcher/Implementation Advisor through a part-time secondment to the Scottish Government since 2016, leading on the development of the Scottish Framework for Fair Access. She has been a member of two National Expert Think Tanks on fair admissions, sits on the Universities Scotland Admissions Working Group, the Scottish Funding Council’s Persistent Inequalities Data Group and the Scottish Government’s Access Delivery Group. Stephanie is an editor of the Journal for Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning and an Executive Member of the Forum for Access and Continuing Education. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Her research interests span widening participation; under-representation and the intersection between access and equality; and the experience of young adult carers and students from looked after/care backgrounds. Most recently, she led the award winning TransEDU research project exploring the experiences of trans and gender diverse applicants, students and staff in Scotland’s colleges and universities.

Sam Macrae - Student and researcher, Glasgow University

I am a fourth year Social and Public Policy student at the University of Glasgow. Having experienced the challenges and realities of studying as an estranged student, I have been a committed activist for improving awareness and promoting the rights of estranged students throughout my time at university. This has included attending conferences at the Scottish Parliament, writing articles and blogs and sharing my experiences with government ministers to improve the outcomes and experiences for students in the future.

I have recently completed my undergraduate dissertation that investigates the challenges faced by estranged students in Scotland.

Cinnomen McGuigan - OU Students Association: Vice President Education 2020-22, The Open University

I'm Cin McGuigan and I'm the current Vice President Education for the OU Students Association.  I've done three OU degrees over the last 20+ years, recently completing an MA in Creative Writing.  I've been a carer for my partner since 2011, and I have previously had a range of care experiences as a teenager.

Callen Martin - Publisher, and Former Masters Student

As a child, Callen spent fourteen years in foster care. He now works in publishing as the Submissions Coordinator for The Good Literary Agency. In 2019, he graduated from Bath Spa's MA in Writing for Young People, becoming the university's first care experienced student to study at postgraduate level. When not working, he writes children’s fiction about growing up in care and hopes to get it published. All so that care experienced children can see themselves and their stories reflected within the page. Something he wishes he had.

Phil Taverner - Public health and social care research in UK and New Zealand (now retired)

Phil has recently retired, having spent nearly 50 years working in both social care and public health research in the UK and New Zealand. He was Chair of the National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE) advisory committee on Support for Adult Carers and is a standing member of the NICE Quality Standards committee. NICE's formal guideline on support for carers was published in January 2020.  He has recently been appointed as Chair of Trustees for Carers in Bedfordshire, a not-for-profit registered charity providing support for carers of family members and friends throughout Bedfordshire.  He has personal experience of caring within his family over many years. When he retired, he and his wife moved to Bedford to be closer to their daughter and two granddaughters. 

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