IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Dr Anna Melissa Romualdez

Dr Anna Melissa Romualdez is a Lecturer in Psychology in the Department of Psychology and Human Development, and a member of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE).

What attracted you to take up your position at IOE? 

I was a student at IOE for both my Master’s (a joint programme between IOE and City, University of London) and my doctoral degrees. It was clear to me from the beginning that IOE was an outstanding place to be an academic, since the research being conducted here is world-leading. I was overjoyed to be part of that, especially being based at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) doing exactly what I love: conducting autism research and teaching about autism. 

How long have you been at IOE? 

I’ve only been at IOE as a staff member for about a year and a half, but if you count my years as a student then IOE has been my home for over five years now!

What do you most enjoy about your position and why?

Teaching and research are my two passions, and I get to do both in my capacities as a lecturer and as an academic staff member at IOE! I love being in a classroom with Master’s students who are so willing to learn about how we can make the world a more inclusive place for autistic people. 

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of? 

At this very early stage in my career, it’s hard to top the achievement of being asked to stay on at IOE as a lecturer. I think it’s such an honour, and I’m so grateful to be here. 

What is the focus of your research and what benefits do you hope your discoveries and/or insights will bring?

My research is focused on employment for autistic people, particularly on identifying the barriers to employment that autistic people face. Of course, the ultimate goal of my research would be to improve employment outcomes for autistic people, and that will only happen if we get employers and work cultures to change and become more inclusive. 

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students about the subjects you teach?

My students have taught me so much! Perhaps, the biggest thing I’ve learned from them is that teaching is a form of advocacy. Some of them have come out of the other end of our modules discussing how they’ll apply what they’ve learned in their own practice. It makes me so happy to hear that because it feels like I am making a real difference for autistic students, for example, by teaching the people who’ll teach them.

Do you think being in London and at UCL benefits your work and why?

Absolutely, I love London! I don’t think I could be happy working in a city or place I didn’t love. I’ve always wanted to live here, and it just so happens that UCL is here and is one of the best centres for autism research in the world. I've been so lucky, and I feel that every day. It makes me happy to go to work and to get to do what I love in a city that’s so special to me. That inspires me to do my best work. 

What other subject outside of your area of specialism interests you?

I’m a bit of a history nerd and living in the UK has completely amplified this. I love going to museums on the weekends, or when I get a bit more time off, I like to explore historical sites (castles, stately homes etc.) around the country. I also love art, languages and music. 

What might it surprise people to know about you?

I used to be a performer! A singer and guitarist, to be specific. I used to perform in venues around New York City. Sadly, those days are behind me, but if you ever see me at karaoke, watch out! 

Is there anything else you would like to add about your experiences at UCL or IOE?

UCL and IOE feel like home to me. I hope to continue my career here because I can’t think of a better place! 

Last updated 13 March 2023.