Zoe is a PhD student in the Departments for Health and Computer Science, and is running a crowdfunding campaign to empower and help young girls to lead active and healthy lifestyles. Her research focuses on health inequity, particularly in terms of gender, and the barriers that girls face when learning to become active.

There is a significant gender gap in physical activity participation with boys tending to participate regularly in sports inside and outside of school, more so than girls. The project will explore girls' subjective experience of being active at school and will focus on the PE kit as a barrier and contributor of negative body perceptions. Investigations into alternative ways to engage girls in a school physical education class will be conducted using collaborative design methods and virtual reality gaming technology.

Zoe says of the project: “This project is something I care deeply about, being a mother of an 8 year old girl and aunt to teenage nieces I see how much, body image and identity construction mean to girls and this can be a barrier for some to want to be active. Through my study I am aiming to create a positive solution to the gender gap in physical activity through fashion design and virtual reality. Being a self-funded PhD student, the money raised from the crowdfunding campaign will be used towards funding workshops that will take place in a secondary school to develop a virtual reality game”.

Zoe is in the first year of her PhD programme and has worked at the University for Professor Steve Egan the Vice President (Implementation) since 2015.