This week we meet Dafne Zuleima - Research Associate at the Interaction Centre and a researcher in Assistive Technology at the Global Disability Innovation Hub. Here, she chats to us about founding the Neurodivergent Staff Network at UCL and her latest projects.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am a Research Associate at the Interaction Centre and a researcher in Assistive Technology at the Global Disability Innovation Hub. My core work at the moment is on upper limb prosthetics in low-resource settings. I have other strands of research across human computer interaction, disability, neurodiversity and computer science.
My role at UCL has various dimensions that reflect the academic framework. I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate student projects, am a member of the UCL Disability Equality Steering Group and the UCL Science Policy Exchange Network; I am a UCL Fair Recruitment Specialist and a member of the Institute of Making.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL since February 2014. Before joining UCL, I finished my PhD in 2013. And before that, I did a one-year MSc in Biomedical Engineering and worked as a Clinical Engineer for two-and-a-half years.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I have many achievements I am proud of, so it is difficult to choose but I can mention a few here.
The research I have been able to do in collaboration with the Global Disability Innovation Hub - doing research that matters and has a real impact is my dream come true.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
So - important projects I am working on. The most important are.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Music: I have 6,236 songs in my classic iPod from which I choose based on my mood, energy level and the type of work I am currently performing (or not).
Films: Ghibli movies excluding the ones with the fireflies and Marnie, The Boy and the Beast, Wolf Children, several science fiction films and various art films that very few people would know about.
Regarding novels: The House of the Spirits, Love in the Time of Cholera, Gulliver’s Travels, Jane Austen’s collection, Brick Lane, Harry Potter, some research papers that are like novels, and many others. I cannot choose one, sorry.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
First, I had to look up what "pre-watershed" meant. Then I realised that it did not matter anyway because I know no jokes!
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Anyone with interesting topics of conversation beyond work and weather - no gossip. They must bring their pet dog too; No children - unless I like you very much - and bring a home-made dish each. And I favour an early dinner on a summer’s day, preferably when my garden and house DIY refurbish is finished. Pointless in thinking of an impossible dream dinner with The Notorious B.I.G and AOC.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You will be fine - keep doing what you are doing. And please do not stop doing exercise! Finally, no, you are not irrational, the world is!
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I do not know because I am not them, but I can try.
If I did not do what I do, I would probably be a veterinary technician or a painter or a potter or a joiner or a farmer with many varied animals (including dogs).
What is your favourite place?
A warm (>27°C) sunny sandy beach with clear clean shallow water in various tones of blue, gentle waves and shells scattered everywhere in the company of someone I love and a freshly cut coconut. Or just about anywhere with someone I love. Or just about anywhere with the lovely company of a sweet, attention-seeking dog.