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 carrying out 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.
I have always been interested in Human Computer Interaction, and my work before the PhD was centered on the use of interactive interfaces, tangible interactions and tabletops, as well as easing the configuration of smart environments for non-technical users (you can see some of my previous work here).
But recently, we discovered Mancini’s work and a whole new world of possibilities and ways to help animals opened up. 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 more details here or check this book chapter 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, during 2015 I was vice-chair of a local ACM Student Chapter in my university (ACM UPV Chapter), and currently I am part of the management board. We aim to help students during their academic lives by strengthening their technical skills, providing advice and connecting them to the professional world.
We also host the first ACM-Women Student Chapter in Spain, which I currently run as chair since February 2016, from where we want to increase the number of female students interested in technology and engineering. 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, and counting!), Star Wars fan, and recently an archer apprentice 🙂 (I have been doing archery and participating in local/regional championships for the last two years)