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Assoc Professor Jennifer Symonds

Assoc Professor

Jennifer Symonds

Associate Professor
School of Education
+353 1 716 7995
University College Dublin, School of Education, Roebuck Offices Belfield Dublin 4


I am a positive developmental scientist of young people's engagement and wellbeing. In my Engagement in Learning, Schools and Societies Lab (, we strive to explain the development of engagement and disaffection in education, to help teachers engage at risk students, and promote young people's flourishing. The Lab is interdisciplinary, combining life-span developmental psychology, educational psychology, biological and cultural anthropology, and educational research. Biography Jennifer is the Director of Research on the Doctorate in Educational Psychology at UCD, Director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies in Ireland (, Executive Committee Member of the European Association of Research on Adolescence, Co-Chair of the Work and Career Network for the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Early Adolescence. In 2010 Jennifer graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Educational Research and a PhD in the Psychology of Education. She is a qualified middle school teacher with teaching experience in primary and secondary school sectors. Jennifer holds a BA in Biological Anthropology with a minor in the History and Philosophy of Science, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her interdisciplinary approach facilitates cross-disciplinary collaboration and gives her a culturally infused, biologically grounded perspective on child and adolescent development. Jennifer welcome applications from prospective PhD students interested in how children, adolescents and young adults engage in classrooms, schools and societies.


  • Fellow
    University College Dublin, Geary Institute for Public Policy, Dublin, Ireland20 Mar 2020
  • Associate Professor
    University College Dublin, School of Education, Dublin, Ireland1 May 2019
  • Assistant Professor
    University College Dublin, School of Education, Dublin, Ireland15 Aug 2016


  • Senior Research Fellow
    Trinity College Dublin1 Nov 2015 - 31 Jul 2016
  • Dissertation Chair in International Psychology
    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, United States1 Sep 2014 - 31 Aug 2015
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    The University of Helsinki1 Sep 2010 - 31 Jan 2012
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    The University of Bristol1 Oct 2009 - 31 Aug 2010
  • Research Assistant
    The University of Cambridge1 Mar 2008 - 31 Dec 2009
  • Regional Team Leader
    The University of Cambridge1 Mar 2008 - 31 Dec 2009
  • Statistics Instructor
    The University of Cambridge1 Sep 2008 - 31 Mar 2010
  • Research Assistant
    Nuffield Foundation, London, United Kingdom1 Sep 2009 - 1 Aug 2010
  • Principal Investigator of Changing Key
    Paul Hamlyn Foundation, London, United Kingdom1 Mar 2010 - 1 Sep 2011


  • MPhil
    University of Cambridge
  • PhD
    University of Cambridge


  • Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol)
    British Psychological Society
  • Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
    UK Teaching Council1 Jan 2004