1994-2001: Victoria College Belfast; 2002-2008: Queen’s University Belfast
BSc Psychology; PhD Psychology
Heriot Watt University, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Leicester, University of Ulster
Lecturer in Psychology
University of Ulster
Favourite thing to do in science: Create cool experiments, carry out studies with children and work with other scientists!
My Work: As a developmental psychologist I carry out experiments to work how kids think and learn.
Most people think that a psychologist is someone who talks to people about their problems. Of course, some of us do that but there are lots of other things psychologists do. One very important thing is research. My research involves creating interesting and fun games for children to play that help us understand how they think about things and learn. I am really interesting in how young children learn about maths, how children’s memory gets better with age and also following up children who were born very early (preterm) to see how they do in school. My work is very varied! I get to work with other scientists in different universities and also work with research students. I love my job!
My Typical Day: Having meetings with other scientists, talking to students about their work, doing maths, playing games and teaching classes.
A typical day doesn’t really exist in my job! Some days I will be out at lots of meetings talking to other scientists about our projects. Some days I teach classes on psychology to university students. Some days I am out in nursery schools or primary schools working with children, mainly playing games that I have made for the computer. Most days I meet with students to talk about the work they are doing. I also spend a lot of time doing maths on some of the information that I have from children to work out how they think. Once this is done I write it up and it is published in a journal (a sort of book).
What I'd do with the money: Use it to host a mega Psychology day!
I would use the money to have a fantastic day about Psychology for local school kids. They would be invited along to carry out lots of cool experiments so that they can find out about all the great things we do in Psychology! They would get to use lots of the equipment we use to find how amazing our minds and brains are!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Enthusiastic, energetic and honest!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I really love First Aid Kit, they are my favourite band (at the minute!).
What's your favourite food?
A spicy Thai curry.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Going camping in the Outer Hebrides (Scottish Islands)- it was VERY windy, but VERY beautiful.
What did you want to be after you left school?
A psychologist, but one that talks to people about their problems not a scientist!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not often, but if I was it was because I talked too much.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Biology (and P.E.)
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Found out why sometimes children who are born very early might find maths difficult in school.
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
Mr Bell, my brilliant Biology teacher.
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Oooohhh… a gardener or run a B&B somewhere beautiful.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To keep doing good science, to be a fun and engaging teacher and to travel to Asia!
Tell us a joke.
Q: Why was the mathematician late for his meeting? A: Because he took the Rhom-bus! (Get it??)