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Lauren Fell

Space startup founder

Lauren Fell uses psychology and STEM skills to explain human decision making, make apps for health professionals and help students understand the role of tech in society

Once upon a time, Lauren thought that studying psychology could only lead to a job as a psychologist. Now, she’s forging a unique career that combines psychology with…quantum physics!

Lauren is part of a QUT research group looking at quantum cognition. “This involves borrowing concepts from quantum physics and using them to explain how we as humans make decisions,” she explains. “In quantum physics, tiny particles behave weirdly and irrationally, and humans tend to behave weirdly and irrationally as well!”

Specific areas she applies this research to are human trust judgements, including first impressions, and interactions with information and technology. If that doesn’t keep her busy enough, Lauren is also an associate lecturer in QUT’s Master of IT program. Here, she uses her psychology background to help students understand why we have technology and how we use it. 

Lauren has had a super varied career, having also worked in user experience consulting and on projects looking at the use of virtual reality for neurodiverse people. She’s even taken part in NASA design challenges (and won), founded a space startup, and co-designed an app to help mental health professionals streamline their reporting.

Her advice to high school students considering a tech career is to follow your passions – they’ll lead you to a job that probably doesn’t even exist yet – and to not tie yourself down to one idea of what a career should be.  

“I never would have thought that I’d be involved in engineering or a detailed scientific field because I didn’t like maths in high school,” she says. “But you might just not like something now because you haven’t been able to apply it to something that you’re really interested in.”

Lauren’s study and career path to becoming a space startup founder and QUT lecturer:

  • Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) (Honours), Macquarie University
  • Co-founder, PsytAssist
  • Research assistant, QUT
  • Associate lecturer, QUT
  • Director, Lunaria One
  • PhD in quantum cognition (ongoing)

This article was brought to you in partnership with QUT and first appeared in Careers with STEM: Technology 2023.

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