A graduating junior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, O’Connell studies brain and cognitive science. She is currently working as the Director of Education at EyeWire, which she co-founded in January of 2012. During the 2013 BIOVISION World Life Sciences Forum, O’Connell and her EyeWire colleagues won the organization’s Catalyzer Award for work in neurosciences, genomics, cell therapy and aging. O’Connell says she plans to spend her life studying the profound connection between education and cognition, and using her findings to change global education.
Born in England, O'Connell lived in France until the age of 8, when she moved to Palo Alto, Calif., where she lived until leaving for MIT. A dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Canada, she now calls Shanghai her “home base,” after her parents moved to China in 2010. In her spare time, she loves running (she is a member of the MIT cross-country and track teams) and traveling. And she loves smiley faces. A lot. :)