AI for Good Foundation Fellowship Program
Each Summer AI for Good Foundation invites Undergraduate, Graduate and Post-Doctoral applicants for our competitive Summer Fellowship Program.
This week, we hear from Sustainable Development Policy Fellow Bessie O’Dell:
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF, AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO STUDYING/WORKING IN AI AND THE SDGs.
I’m originally from Wales in the UK, but currently live in Oxford where I’m studying towards a DPhil (PhD) in Psychiatry in the Precision Psychiatry Lab. Before Oxford, I studied a few different subjects at university – history, law, criminology, neuroscience.
The common thread between these degrees was a fascination with science, and an interest in helping others. Whilst studying criminology at the University of Cambridge, I chose a thesis which focused on neurocriminology (and specifically, applying neuroscience to the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility), and then subsequently decided that I wanted to study a very scientific subject, so that I could learn a new set of skills.
This led me to UCL and Yale University, where I carried out research in the Anticevic Lab examining spatial working memory deficits in patients with schizophrenia using fMRI. After this, I knew I wanted to complete a PhD – I figured that I love carrying out research, so this felt like a logical next step.
It felt very serendipitous when I came across an advertisement for a fully funded position (a rarity in the UK!) for my current DPhil project. The project itself combines many of my interests – bioethics, mental health and technology, and examines the ethics of using Artificial Intelligence tools to treat Major Depressive Disorder in primary care settings.
This was my first real introduction to AI. Alongside my DPhil I became an inaugural fellow of the Oxford SDG Impact Lab, and spent 17 weeks on an SDG-focused training programme, before carrying out a 4-week field lab in Mallorca, Spain. This really sparked my interest in the SDGs, and made me want to carry out further work linking back to my DPhil. Finally, I was incredibly excited when I came across AI 4 Good (which combines work around AI with the SDGs) right around the time when they were recruiting for their 2022 summer fellows!
IF YOU WERE NOT IN YOUR STUDY PROGRAMME/JOB CURRENTLY, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING?
I’d probably have studied Human Sciences at undergraduate level, and then gone on to study graduate medicine. I would love to work in wilderness medicine.
WHAT IS CURRENTLY AT THE TOP OF YOUR TO-DO LIST?
Completing my DPhil program!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
I spend a lot of my spare time training. Over the past year, I’ve been rowing with the Oxford University Women’s Lightweight Rowing Club (OUWLRC), and we train around 2 times a day, 6 days a week. Other than that, I spend a lot of time reading, and traveling when I can.
Our fellows have a critical impact in the work we do at AI for Good Foundation. Stay tuned for next week interview.