I attended Blue Coat C of E Secondary School and Sixth Form in Coventry. I then went to University of Westminster to study Psychology, and completed an MSc in Educational Neuroscience at Birkbeck/UCL in August last year.
I have worked in a range of voluntary roles since I was a teenager, from mentoring at playschemes for autistic children, to volunteering at local centres for young people, to research assistant at Kings College. After my degree and before applying for the studentship, I also worked as a Support Worker and Care Coordinator at a home case services for people with brain injuries and neurological conditions.
I am supervised by Prof Emily Farran and Dr Marie Smith. I’m based UCL Institute of Education, funded by Economic and Social Research Council.
My Mega Moderating Moment:
I think the conversations between researchers and teachers in the live chats can be really exciting! Its great to see that researchers are learning a lot from teachers – inside knowledge that we otherwise wouldn’t be aware of. I’m very hopeful that these conversations can be the start of future collaborations!
What topics do you work on?
I am studying the development of mental imagery in typical and atypical development, and how that might interact with other cognitive abilities. Mental imagery is also known as “seeing with the mind’s eye”, and is defined as how we create and manipulate visual images in our minds. Research has shown that mental imagery has a vital role in problem-solving, particularly in maths as children have to shift from physical interactions, like counting with blocks, to more abstract tools for problem solving, such as mental maths. I will be studying how these abilities develop, and how we might be able to encourage the use of imagery in learning.
What methods do you use?
I am very early on in my PhD, but I will be using cognitive measures and neuroimaging methods.
Who was your favourite teacher?
My favourite teacher has to be Mrs Brown, one of my primary school teachers. I have lovely memories of her reading The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo to us, and I’m sure thats what inspired my love of reading! Its amazing what you remember years later!
Me and my work
I’m currently planning my first study – I’m really enjoying working out the details and applying theoretical frameworks to the development of tasks and methods.
My typical day involves reading and writing at the moment – reading up on previous studies, and writing, planning, designing an experiment based on, and hopefully extending, previous findings. I also often go to seminars and talks that are on around campus.