Hi! My name is Patricia Pons, I am a PhD student at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. I have a bachelor in Computer Science and a MSc in Software Engineering and Information Systems. Since 2009 I have been collaborating and working with the ISSI research group, where I am now finishing my PhD research funded with an FPU National Grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. In 2016 I also did a research stay at the Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI (The University of Melbourne) thanks to an Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Government.
My PhD is focused on the development of suitable and engaging digital experiences for animals which could help to improve their wellbeing in many ways (see my publications here or check the talks I gave at TEDx or Women Techmakers about our work). The research area of Animal Computer Interaction has allowed me to combine two of my passions: animals and technology. I am really interested in understanding how animals comprehend their interactions with the digital world, and how we could adapt technology to them to improve their quality of life. I also believe that technologically-enhanced playful experiences can help us to strengthen our relationships with our animals and improve our comprehension of their world.
Besides the PhD, since 2016 I have been chair of the first ACM-Women Student Chapter in Spain, from where we want to increase the number of female students interested in technology and engineering. In this regard, I have been also coorganizing the Spanish ACM-W Celebration of Women in Computing in order to create a national network of female computer scientists and celebrate advancements of women in technology. We have had three editions of this celebration, and I have been elected chair of the 2019 edition. Personally, I believe that young girls are not aware of the possibilities technology could bring them to, for example, improve other people’s lives. Stereotypes and prejudices, lack of more technical/computer science courses during early academic stages or simply lack of information are some of the reasons that possibly cause the low number of female students in STEM. Both in my personal life and from the ACM-W Chapter, I would like to do my best to change this trend.
And finally, some personal facts: passionate about traveling (see below map of visited countries, 40 and counting!), animals, Star Wars fan, and former archer 🙂