B.A. (Hons Class I) M.A. (University of Cambridge)
MPhil (Distinction) (University of Cambridge)
PhD (Lego Foundation Cambridge Trust scholar) (University of Cambridge)
I am Vicky or you can call me Yīrán (it means happiness at peace in Chinese). I am a researcher specialised in developmental and educational psychology, and international development. I have extensive research, teaching and industry experiences working for the University of Cambridge, New York University, RTI International, and world-leading digital therapeutics platforms for children with neurodevelopmental conditions.
I conduct empirical research on
How to facilitate neurotypical and neurodivergent children's learning and mental health outcomes by using AI-powered technologies?
How to help neurotypical and neurodivergent children's generalise and transfer skills to real-life contexts?
How to make education and medical system more equal for both neurotypical and neurodivergent children across the globe?
I welcome any inquiries on my research and potential collaborations. Researchers, teachers, practitioners, policy advisors, parents, students, children (aka young scientists), anyone who is interested in knowing more about my work, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Selected media coverage of my research
Pre-school play with friends lowers risk of mental health problems later
Improved mental health for children who play well with peers by age three
Young children may be at greater risk of mental health problems after pandemic isolation
Play aids mental health
Young children who play with others their age ‘have better mental health’
Why Getting Along in Preschool Is So Important
Overview of my research
Play improves children's mathematical competence
Learning algebra through guided play and story telling
Play improves autistic children's language skills
Play improves children's mental health
Learning gain in English universities varied across subjects
Programme that improves university access in England
Outreach activities that inspire students to apply for higher education
Equality within vocational education in England
Post-secondary education brings social benefits in Ethiopia
Early childhood education centres reduce gaps in learning in India
Social capitals improve social mobility in China
My learning and teaching journey
I was born and brought up in Beijing, China. I graduated from the High School Affiliated to Renmin University (the most selective state school in China) in 2014 as a Mizuho Bank International Scholar. In the same year, I came to the University of Cambridge to pursue my undergraduate degree in Education with Physical Sciences. I graduated with First Class and was ranked 2nd in my cohort (Horobin Prize) in 2017. I continued my MPhil in Educational Research and graduated with Distinction (Best Dissertation Award) in 2018. I started my PhD project titled "play more and play better: how play can improve learning and mental health" at PEDAL research centre in 2018 and have been kindly supported by the LEGO Foundation Cambridge Trust scholarship.
I am a passionate lifelong learner. Owing to my interest in Economics, I completed Econometrics Methods and Applications led by Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2018. I started pursuing a part-time MicroMasters in Data, Economics, and Development Policy taught by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2018. To date, I have completed three out of five courses. I am also very interested in neuroscience and linguistics, thus currently pursuing Neurolinguistics led by Saint Petersburg State University. Due to my background in Physics and my interest in Mathematics and Statistics, I have been continuously sharpening and upgrading my data analytical skills by learning and applying new softwares and advanced techniques.
I am also very passionate about STEM teaching. Throughout my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. I have been heavily involved in STIMULUS, a community service programme that connected students from Cambridge and local primary and secondary schools to facilitate STEM learning, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in statistics in social sciences. I also completed training at the Teach First Insight Programme, during which I interned as a secondary Physics teacher at an academy school in London. I hope to pursue a part-time PGCE in Secondary School Mathematics in the very near future alongside with doing my research work.
My ultimate goal is to become an interdisciplinary researcher and teacher who can offer valuable and practical insights on child development and education by integrating evidence from education, psychology, economics, international development, sociology, linguistics, public health, neuroscience and data science.