I was born and raised in small-town Saskatchewan, but if you’re expecting some sort of stereotypical, Pilsner-drinking, Roughrider-loving, farmer’s wife, I’m sorry to disappoint.
As a wine-loving, WCBL baseball fan and self-employed Lethbridge, Alberta resident, you’ll find me passionately discussing everything from the latest technology to the most recent findings in neuroscience (usually while wearing my University of Lethbridge bunny hug). Why? Because I love finding answers to that very question.
Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease Drove a Dream
Many years ago, while working in a manufacturing plant, I was chatting to one of the ladies I worked with about her autistic sons. They would never be able to live independently, and while this wasn’t a huge problem at the time, she was terrified about what would happen to them once she could no longer care for them. And they both very much wanted their autonomy. Understandable.
Soon after, I watched my grandparents suffer from dementia while my mother struggled to care for them. The transition was hard, and so many of the problems she faced could have been fixed easily. Frustrated, I began to look for answers.
Using Psychology and Technology to Solve Real-Life Issues
By the time I started my own marketing business in 2006, I was already using my spare time to find ways that technology and software could help individuals with autism and Alzheimer’s disease. Eventually, I realized none of the solutions available took into account cognitive errors or the unique needs that come with the many life transitions these people have to go through. And almost none of them took into account the autonomy of the individuals. The approach was much more about finding cures and treatments rather than improving lives. It didn’t make sense to me. And if nobody else was going to look at these things, I was going to. To do this, I went back to school.
I fell in love with psychology from the first moment I was exposed to it, and even added computer science to my degree. Today, I’m continuing that same work in the hopes of eventually giving people with Alzheimer’s and autism some real options. Along the way, I hope to eventually earn an engineering Ph.D. in human-computer interaction.
Currently, my research examines how individuals with these cognitive conditions interact with software and how we can use mobile devices to improve the lives of all. I won Best Undergrad Research Poster from I-CYS in 2017 for my work, so it’s off to a fantastic start, and I couldn’t be more excited.
7 Weird Facts About Me
- 1. I was a classically-trained musician, instructor, and clinician for almost 20 years. I started at the age of 11.
- 2. I have an uncanny knack for recognizing songs and recalling lyrics. I may or may not have used this superpower to get revenge and win a few trivia nights.
- 3. Dr. Temple Grandin is my hero. I would give my entire frog collection for a chance to meet and talk to her. I’m fascinated by Oliver Sacks, Don Norman, Jennifer Eberhardt, Daniel T. Gilbert and Simon Baron-Cohen.
- 4. I hate cake. I am not a big fan of chocolate. I don’t accept bribes unless they come in the form of blue whales or Skittles.
- 5. I have a cat (Cleocatra). She told me to tell you that she is a very good cat, but I do not give her enough treats.
- 6. I love dragons, castles, knights, and damsels. When I’m not working on one of my projects, I’m probably flying dragons. (Ask me, and I will probably explain.)
- 7. I occasionally escape. I geocache and like camping, fishing, and hiking.