A final year student in the Department of Computer Science won the Best Final Year Undergraduate Poster prize at the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium 2016, organised by the British Computer Society. Jessica Lettall won the prize for her poster titled “Who Cares for the Carers?”
The colloquium was hosted at Sheffield Hallam University and included speakers from industry and academia, plus a panel session on careers in computing.
The event is named in honour of Ada Lovelace, who is often regarded as the first computer programmer. The centerpiece of the event is a student poster contest involving 80 of the best undergraduate and postgraduate women from across the UK.
Jessica is studying for a BSc degree in Computer Science and presented her poster on the topic of her final year project, which is concerned with the development and evaluation of an app to determine whether a software program can be utilised to promote resilience in home carers, using persuasive technologies and motivational methods in the software.
The focus of the study is on carers of people with dementia. The majority of the aid elderly people receive is from their families, however there are still a surprisingly small number of tools available to carers to support this shift in care giving, especially tools designed to aid the carer’s psychological wellbeing.
As the carer’s life changes dramatically, their quality of life and social relationships seem to become inferior to that of the care receiver, thus making it hard for the carer to adapt. The app Jessica is developing on her project will assess an individual on an ongoing basis, seeking to improve their resilience by setting, encouraging and tracking a user’s progress towards achievable goals.
Jessica said: “I was delighted to be chosen to make my presentation at the event. The day itself was extremely enjoyable. I met many interesting and helpful people from industry and listened to informative and inspirational speeches from them.
“Not only was it beneficial to be able to make my presentation of my poster to the judges (which I was very nervous about!), it was also instructive to see the presentations of my fellow competitors. The icing on the cake was to win the competition; my initial reaction was one of shock and disbelief, quickly followed by delight. I received a bag of goodies from big companies such as Google, a cash prize and also had prospective employees approach me and ask for my CV.”
Professor Katie Atkinson, Head of the Department of Computer Science, said: “We are delighted that 200 years after the birth of Ada Lovelace we have skilled and enthusiastic women like Jessica shaping new developments in the field of computing. We were very proud to have Jessica represent the University at this event and see her talents recognised through the award of the best final year undergraduate poster prize.”