Veronica Newhart has been awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the NIH-Funded ICTS TL-1 Training Program in Translational Biomedical Research. As a Fellow, Dr. Newhart will be continuing her research on telepresence robots for chronically ill children with postdoctoral mentor Distinguished Professor of Education Jacquelynne Eccles.
As Dr. Newhart explains, “The recent development of affordable telepresence robots provides the opportunity for virtual inclusion of students who are not able to attend school due to medical conditions. Every year, large numbers of K-12 students are not able to attend class due to illness. Extended absence from the classroom has negative and overlapping educational, social, and medical consequences as students may fall behind in instruction, feel isolated from their peers, and experience difficulties in their recovery due to loneliness and depression. Telepresence robots provide a possible means for addressing this situation. Preliminary results from case studies on the use of these robots in public school systems indicate that virtual inclusion may provide significant improvements in the educational, social, and healthcare experiences of this vulnerable population.”
Dr. Newhart’s doctoral career has been devoted to the study of telepresence, child health and human development, virtual inclusion, human-computer interaction (HCI), human-robot interaction (HRI), and emerging technologies that facilitate improved learning, health, human development, and social connectedness. Her path to her doctorate has included numerous awards for her scholarship and contributions: UCI Graduate Opportunity Fellow, Faculty Mentor Program Fellow, Public Impact Distinguished Fellow, and UC President's Dissertation Year Fellow.