Parade Profile: Matthew Punter (BSc Psychology 2022; MA Psychology 2023; PhD Psychology 2027)

Posted in: Humanities & Social Sciences, Parade profiles

As a neurodiverse student, Matthew wanted to shed light on what made him different. After discovering the Centre for Applied Autism Research (CAAR) at Bath, he went on to study both his undergraduate and postgraduate psychology degrees at the University – supported by a Gold Scholarship

He is currently completing his PhD at Bath, investigating digital solutions to solve employment inequalities for neurodiverse job seekers. Matthew has also registered a tech start-up to support neuro-inclusive employers hiring people with autism and ADHD. 

Image of young man in graduation gown and cap looking off camera to the right.


What appealed to you about studying Psychology at undergraduate, postgraduate, and now PhD levels? 

My interest in studying psychology was driven by a desire to understand the nuances of neurodiversity particularly how autism and ADHD impact individuals. The undergraduate course provided a foundational understanding, while the postgraduate and PhD levels offered opportunities to delve deeper into research specifically looking at employment inequalities for neurodiverse job seekers.  

CAAR was a significant factor in choosing to study here as it offered a direct path to explore my personal experiences and professional interests in psychology. 

Can you tell us about your PhD research? 

My PhD research focuses on developing digital solutions to address employment inequalities faced by neurodiverse job seekers. This involves creating technological tools and resources that support both the job seekers and potential employers, aiming to make the employment process more inclusive and equitable. By leveraging my personal experiences and academic knowledge, I aim to contribute meaningful insights and practical solutions to the challenges within the neurodiverse community. 

What impact did the Gold Scholarship have on you?  

The Gold Scholarship had a profound impact on me, offering financial security and competitive skill training which bolstered my employability. It also reassured me that university was accessible and supportive, even for those who traditionally might not consider it an option.  

A highlight of being part of the programme was the sense of community and support from fellow scholars and staff which helped alleviate anxieties about fitting into university life. The volunteering component of the scholarship also played a crucial role in gaining momentum and opening new doors professionally. 

What motivated you to volunteer as a Gold Mentor? 

Volunteering as a Gold Mentor was motivated by a desire to give back to the community that supported me. Sharing my journey and experiences with new scholars helped contribute to their transition into university life with the hope of inspiring and reassuring them just as I had been. The experience was enriching allowing me to develop mentoring skills and further my commitment to supporting neurodiverse individuals. 

Can you tell us about your experience of studying here?  

Studying at the University of Bath has been an incredible journey marked by a supportive academic and social environment. Favourite memories include engaging discussions with peers and professors, and the supportive network within the CAAR. The campus itself offers many tranquil spots for reflection and study, while the city of Bath, with its rich history and beautiful architecture, provides a picturesque backdrop to student life. 

How have your studies helped you to develop?  

My studies have significantly contributed to both my professional and personal development. Academically, they have equipped me with a deep understanding of psychology and neurodiversity, while personally, they have fostered resilience, empathy and a drive to make a difference. The volunteering experiences and research assistant roles undertaken have been invaluable, offering practical experience and enhancing my professional network. 

What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about studying your course at Bath?  

To prospective students, I would suggest keeping an open mind and embracing the wealth of opportunities available at Bath. Engage fully with the academic and extracurricular activities, seek support when needed and take advantage of the unique resources available, such as CAAR.  

Remember, your unique perspective and experiences can contribute significantly to your academic journey and beyond. I grew up around the stigma that university was meant for other people but not for those like me.  

Having been permanently excluded from school at the age of seven, I drifted aimlessly outside the gates of education until 17 when I started to read and write. As I’d achieved the literacy level of an adult, I then completed my GCSEs and, before embarking on A-Levels, I questioned whether university was even an option irrespective of my grades and qualifications.  

As I was the first to apply to university in my family, I was unaware of how to decide which university was right for you, so I Googled ‘best universities for psychology’ and found the University of Bath sitting at the top of the list.   

Posted in: Humanities & Social Sciences, Parade profiles

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