Award: Fulbright Irish TechImpact Scholar Award
Institution: Soapbox Labs
Dr Amelia Kelly is an artificial intelligence engineer and scientist specialising in automatic speech recognition of children’s voices. She holds a B.Sc. in Physics and Astronomy from NUI Galway, and M. Phil and PhD in Linguistics from Trinity College Dublin. She is currently Director of Speech Technology at SoapBox Labs. As a Fulbright-TechImpact Scholar, Amelia will visit the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she will collaborate on the TalkBack platform, a natural language processing tool designed to help K-12 teachers engage their students in academically productive discourse. Her three-month project, CARNIVAL, will focus on incorporating child speech recognition into the TalkBack platform, to allow for the accurate identification of “talk moves” or specific conversational exchanges in classroom environments. CARNIVAL will be especially impactful in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, where social contextualisation has shown to increase students’ understanding and test scores, in particular for girls, and other demographics currently in the minority in STEM. Encouraging these students to choose STEM career paths can result in a positive societal effect, injecting much-needed diversity into increasingly homogeneous STEM fields.