I'm a PhD student at Cardiff University in the psychology department researching the applications of smart technology to enhance quality of life, increase social connectedness and reduce the digital divide. I'm particularly interested in smart speakers as an intuitive, accessible route for digital connectedness. Alongside this, I'm co-developing a proactive smart speaker/companion robot to trial with older adults in care settings. I'm also interested in the role digital skills play in explaining the relationship between demographic factors, like age, and psychosocial factors, like loneliness.
In addition to my doctoral research, I'm also the Lead Graduate Teaching Assistant for Cardiff University's MSc Psychology Conversion course. As part of this, I lead multiple seminar groups, design and assess course content, organise a team of other teaching assistants and conduct regular reviews of the course to inform improvements.
I've co-supervised placement students and intercalated medical students on projects related to sensory sensitivities across conditions. I've also supervised a team of computer science undergraduates in their final year project to design a proactive companion device. I'm also the president of the 93% Club Cardiff branch and have chaired the Speaking of Science conference committee.
Presenting some of my PhD work at the Health by Tech conference in Groningen!
Every University of Birmingham graduate has the obligatory photo with "Old Joe" (the clock tower). After 5 years of work (and 1 year of COVID delays) I was very happy to take mine.
The University of Birmingham
2015-2020: MSci in Psychological Research
I spent the first five years of my academic life studying with the University of Birmingham. During my first two years, I was particularly interested in research methods and designs, including a range of statistical analyses for quantitative data and discourse analyses and thematic analyses for qualitative data.
During my third year, I seized the opportunity to study abroad and selected the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Whilst there, I enjoyed taking postgraduate modules on broader aspects of psychology not offered by the the University of Birmingham, such as gender psychology and health psychology. I finished the year with a 4.0 GPA.
In the final year of my undergraduate degree, I focussed my research on the relationship between chronotype and mental health with my dissertation entitled "Sleep and Mental Health: Investigating a Relationship Between Sleep Quality and Symptoms of Depression, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in a Non-Clinical Population."
During my integrated master's year, I developed my research methods with skills such as coding in Python, database searches and literature reviews and imaging analysis. I continued my independent research on mental health and sleep with my master's dissertation entitled "A Potential Relationship Between a P Factor and Late Chronotype: Does Late Chronotype Predict Broad Mental Health Outcomes?".
I graduated from the University of Birmingham in July 2020 with a 1st Class MSCi Psychology and Psychological Research with a Year Abroad with Honours.
2020 - 2024 (expected): Psychology PhD
In October of 2020, I began my doctoral research with Cardiff University. Under the supervision of Dr. Georgina Powell, my research focuses on the applications of smart technology in social care. I'm particularly interested in how smart speakers, with their speech-based interfaces, can offer an accessible and intuitive means of reducing digital exclusion amongst older adults and allow them to reap the benefits of digital connectivity.
So far, my work has involved conducting a large scale scoping review on the uses, benefits and limitations of smart speakers in the home environment. This review offers a summary of 51 papers in the literature and is currently under submission. I have also sent out a mixed-methods survey to 3300 respondents across South Wales to understand how technology use relates to social and wellbeing factors. I am currently in the process of analysing this rich dataset. Moving forwards, I will be testing "off the shelf" smart speaker devices against a specially designed "companion robot" device in local social housing associations to understand the social and wellbeing effects on the residents. I jointly oversaw a team of computer science undergraduates in the development of the companion robot with a focus on proactive social interactions. Our hope is that the device will allow older adults to benefit from digital connectedness, as with standard smart speakers, but also offer more social benefits and support a greater level of independence. I'm excited to begin this research.
My constant companion throughout all my research during lockdown.