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Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development

Francesca Mele

Francesca Mele

  • Doctoral Research Associate
  • Education and Human Development

Francesca Mele is currently a PhD candidate in Sociology and a doctoral researcher in the Education and Human Development research group led by Prof. Kaspar Burger at the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development, University of Zurich. Her research interests focus on understanding human development from a life course perspective, with particular attention to the role of psychological, social, and institutional factors, as well as their interplay, in shaping educational opportunities and later life chances. She is currently also a Fellow of the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE).

Previously, she completed a Master of Philosophy in Education at the University of Cambridge, submitting a thesis on micro and macro aspects of social inequality in adolescents’ occupational expectations. She worked as a predoctoral researcher at the Cattaneo Research Institute in Bologna, where she was involved in research projects on educational inequality in secondary school and adult education. She received her Bachelor and Master degrees in Political and Social Sciences from the University of Bologna.

Research interests

Life course research, Social stratification, Educational inequality, Youth development, Quantitative methods


Mele, Francesca; Buchmann, Marlis; Burger, Kaspar (2023).
Making it to the Academic Path in a Tracked Education System: The Interplay of Individual Agency and Social Origin in Early Educational Transitions.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence: Epub ahead of print.

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