Hannah Bradwell

ALUMNI: HND Applied Psychology and BA (Hons) Human Behavioural Studies

Truro College alumni Hannah Bradwell is using psychology and advanced robotic technology to create interactive pets that are bringing comfort to dementia sufferers in care homes across the country.

Currently working on her Ph.D. alongside eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (EPIC), a collaborative project seeking to improve people’s health and wellbeing with technology. Hannah, from Camborne, has been researching the effects of robotic animals on the symptoms of older people in various stages of dementia, as an alternative to costly pharmaceutical options currently available. Working with Cornish product designers, Hannah is working to create more affordable and effective pet companions that can stimulate a dramatic response.

Talking about her experience, Hannah said:

“You’re seeing the real impact when you know you’re reducing a dementia sufferers agitation and sadness and even reducing their use of medication. We’ve had an older lady who was non-verbal, she’d been non-verbal for about eight months. After eight weeks with our robot, she was speaking full sentences to her family members.”

Beginning her path into academia, Hannah started studying psychology for A Level at Truro College, but extenuating circumstances found her deferring from university, eventually choosing to continue her studies at Truro College. Enrolling on the HND in Applied Psychology before graduating with a BA (Hons) in Human Behavioural studies in 2016, Hannah has fond memories of the education she received at the College, recalling a nervous start to Higher Education.

“I remember being terrified on the first day of the HND” she said. “Thinking ‘I’m not going to be able to do this, I’m not going to be able to do a degree.’ Those feelings disappeared quickly because of the quality of the teaching and the support you get on the HND and the BA is just, exceptional.”

Hannah has nothing but praise for the teaching team behind one of the College’s most popular Higher Education courses, saying: “I have so much to be thankful to them and this College for, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support that they gave me. They’re so good. They really are.” Hannah went on to explain that the knowledge she gained at Truro College was a perfect springboard from which to continue academically into her Masters and Doctorate.

Keen to express how important it was for her to be able to remain in Cornwall to support her family, Hannah said: “To be able to stay in Cornwall, for whatever reason it is, but to still be able to get a top-quality education that you can genuinely start an academic career with is fantastic.”

Staying in Cornwall has also meant Hannah remains close to the friends she made at Truro College whom she frequently meets up with for ‘Wolfpack Walks’ with their dogs on various beaches in the county.

As for the future, Hannah is intending to stay in Cornwall and continue with academic research and is enthusiastic as to how far her work can go in the future to improve people's lives.