Stephanie Segura

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--   Interview with Stephanie Segura    --


S: Tell us a bit about your background!

S: I am from Peru. It is well known for Machupicchu, the Inca city. I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Systems Engineer, and after having worked 8 years in some industries as an information security specialist, I pursued to study an MBA. I got a scholarship from the University of Sheffield and studied there in 2018. Then, I went back to Peru to continue working as an Information security manager. After having the amazing experience to study in the UK, I started thinking to do a PhD in information science.

S: How did you find out about DoSSIER and what made you decide to apply?

S: I found it through an email, and I searched on the website. I was looking for PhD in information science because of my working experiences. Also, I wanted a change from working in the Industries to the Academic sector. Thus, I found very exciting to do a PhD in the school that I did my MBA. It is amazing to coming back.

S: How long are you already working on the project?

S: I have been working on project 10 at the University of Sheffield since January 2021, so now I am on it for six months.

S: What are your initial thoughts on DoSSIER and your experience?

S: I found very fascinating, interesting and challenging. The working environment is very friendly, and everyone is very kind to help. The trainings and meeting are very well organized and well detailed. I am happy to work on Dossier project.

S: What project are you currently working on?

S: I am working at Project 10, Tasks in the Enterprise. It focus is to find the definition of tasks across different domains. This will allow finding patterns from the development of tasks where information is needed and used in the workplace.

S: Tell us about your team environment. What do you enjoy about collaborating with your small team and the larger lab?

S: I am working from home, and I have 3 PHD colleagues at the University of Sheffield. Sometimes we met together to have chat and share our experience.

S: What excites you the most about the field of IR and HCI?

S: As my background is in information security, I do care most how data and information are being use in applications. Thus, I have always been fascinated how IR works to extract accurate and reliable information to users. In my current project, I focus more the context of tasks and how this may affect how people use IR and HCI.

S: Walk us through a day in the life of a DoSSIER PhD student.

S: Well, my day usually starts early in the morning with my cup of coffee. During the week I organize my days, few days at home and others at the Doctoral Centre or the library. My typical days is full of readings, workshops and I do some writing. At lunch time, sometimes I cook and eat at home, or I go out to have a meal. Also, I exercise quite often at home, do some yoga and when I have the opportunity I like to explore the city.

S: Thanks for the interview!


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--   Interview with Oscar Mendoza    --


S: Tell us a bit about your background!

O: I have a bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in Systems Engineering and Informatics, my orientation is Computer Science, and I mainly worked on Optimization Algorithms for image recovery. After my master's, I worked as a computer scientist at the Statistical Department of the Colombian Institute for Educational Evaluation.

S: How did you find out about DoSSIER and what made you decide to apply?

O: I’m subscribed to the Mailing list SIGIR, and the project was posted there. The last project I was involved in before DoSSIER was related to NLP and ML. Therefore, the DoSSIER project represented a pretty good opportunity to continue my academic career in something I was working on, and I was pretty interested in.

S: How long are you already working on the project?

O: I started the Ph.D. in November, so it's been about seven months. Because of the pandemic, I had to start from Colombia for two months. I move to Milan in January; then, it's been almost four months living in this new environment.

S: What are your initial thoughts on DoSSIER and your experience?

O: I feel fortunate to have the leading professors team, to have them as part of our training, and we are creating a promising network. I’m looking forward to being an active component of this huge project; I believe that the commitment of every element is essential to achieve its aim, so it’s nice to have colleagues in the same process as mine working head to head.

S: What project are you currently working on?

O: 15 neural networks contextual search. It involves context modeling for improving the outcome of IR models in professional domains, with neural networks as the primary tool.

S: Tell us about your team environment. What do you enjoy about collaborating with your small team and the larger lab?

O: I share my local lab with two of the project supervisors and two of the ESRs. I enjoy many things about collaborating with my team; I will highlight three. First, sharing with foreign people and trying to communicate ideas in the non-native language of anyone. Second, seeing the work of people that have years of experience in the field. And third, sharing my first experiences with my colleagues.

S: What excites you the most about the field of IR and HCI?

O: First, computer scientists work with abstract languages. IR allows us to work with both abstract and natural language. And then, We are trying to solve the problem for a daily basis application where a human must interact with a system. Hence, we must think about real users before proposing solutions. For me, those two things are exciting.

S: Walk us through a day in the life of a DoSSIER PhD student.

O: I start my morning by doing reading and bibliography tasks. Then, I have a lunch break. I’m having tasks related to algorithms and programming, so more practical activities during the afternoon work. After the working day, I usually go for a run or do another workout and get in touch with the closer urban environment.

S: Thanks for the interview!


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--   Interview with Yasin Ghafourian    --


S: Tell us a bit about your background!

Y: Hello and thanks for inviting me to this virtual interview Sophia! We have gotten used to the idea of the virtual version of life but hopefully, and from the looks of it at this particular moment, the light at the end of the gloomy tunnel of physical distancing is getting brighter. So, I am Yasin and I come from a lovely and one of the largest cities in the world, Tehran, in Iran. I have been born and raised in it and have studied in Tehran all my academic life :). As a kid whose world had been fascinated by robot movies and games and toys, I was into robotics and computers and I was also a member of high school robotics team. That’s the root cause that drove me to the path of computer science because I was thinking that it would be the path through which I would achieve self- actualization. So to make a long story short, I have studied computer software engineering at both degrees of Bachelor and Master and have worked both as application developer for windows platform and business intelligent analyst.

S: How did you find out about DoSSIER and what made you decide to apply?

Y: After defending my Master’s thesis, I wanted to start working in industry to explore more and experience the practical environments, however, I really didn’t want to stop at the Masters level and wanted to continue the research path and become a better researcher by obtaining a PhD. That accounts for me looking for relevant PhD opportunities at my spare time while I was an employee and see which PhD projects interest me which I am also qualified enough to conduct. So in my quest for finding an interesting PhD project, I came across the DoSSIER project and I am not sure but I think it was on twitter where I saw the shared job advertisement for it, for the first time. I have worked in IR and have worked on relevance models so when I looked into the project topics, I got really interested in the topics. All of them were intriguing to me and the problem descriptions that I read motivated me to apply.

S: How long are you already working on the project?

Y: I’ve been working on the project for almost 8 months now.

S: What are your initial thoughts on DoSSIER and your experience?

Y: I am already very interested in the project as a whole. All people in this project including the PhD students, their supervisors, coordinators, et al., are working shoulder to shoulder passionately and that is really motivating. I am excited to look at where my work and my other great 14 friends’ work in this project will lead and on which areas we can make collaborations with each other as working on interesting ideas. Of course, the whole pandemic situation imposed on us has made having meetings and discussions a little bit hard for us but I am convinced that we will overcome it soon.

S: What project are you currently working on?

Y: I am that smiling early stage researcher siting behind the round brown table by the window in the large research laboratory of DoSSIER, working on project 13 :). Project 13 is regarding relevance models for knowledge deltas. We aim to overcome the knowledge delta, or knowledge gap, existing between a user’s knowledge and that existing in the world wide web on the domain that the user is searching for. I am based in Vienna and my project is being conducted at Research Studios Austria (RSA FG) in collaboration with Technical university of Vienna (TU Wien).

S: Tell us about your team environment. What do you enjoy about collaborating with your small team and the larger lab?

Y: The most prominent point to mention is that for an early stage researcher, it’s really beneficial to be in a team where there are more experienced researchers that have tackled similar problems and can be reached for assistance and consult. I am a member of two wonderful teams at RSA FG and TU Wien and neither has been an exemption from this and I personally have asked for my colleagues’ ideas and opinions on various research related or programming related matters and been provided with effective remarks and helpful ideas.

S: What excites you the most about the field of IR and HCI?

Y: What excites me the most is that improvements in various directions of these fields can make direct positive impacts on the quality of the work life or life of a group of people that are users of IR systems and this is really motivating for me, knowing that I might be able to make a constructive impact or contribute to something that will later be used to make that impact. Take for example systematic reviews in which it’s paramount to make sure that all relevant documents have been investigated and consulted, improvements in systems used in these cases can reduce to a degree the financial burden and the expected time required to accomplish the tasks.

S: Walk us through a day in the life of a DoSSIER PhD student.

Y: This DoSSIER PhD student is more of a morning person, even though waking up early in the morning can sometimes be troublesome, still this one does prefer mornings :). After a morning routine and enjoying breakfast, he then makes his way to the office (During this Corona times usually the office is empty and people are working in home-office :( and consequently it’s only him in the office) or starts working in home-office. He usually plans to deal with more demanding parts of the research in the morning, such as trying to find a bug in the code, or understanding the functionality of a neural network. In corona free times, this one would go to the gym a number of times per week in the afternoons, however he also enjoys walking in the afternoons or going for the bike ride. He also enjoys hiking and is inspired by nature.

S: Great, sounds like this PhD student has created a great day structure despite the Corona time! Thanks for the interview, Yasin :)


Ginar at Sheffield

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--   Interview with Ginar Niwanputri   --


S: Tell us a bit about your background!

G: I am a proud Indonesian, one of the most beautiful countries in the world!

Having an Informatics and Technology Management educational background with experience as IT business analyst on mining industry.

Since I am passionate doing teaching, I had one-gap-year on voluntary teaching kids in Indonesian rural area. More on that, I had experience as a lecturer at the best engineering school in Indonesia, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). Beside teaching, I worked as well on some research under Informatics Research Group at ITB, specializing in Information System and Human Computer Interaction. I also had an opportunity to lead one initiative on promoting computational thinking in Bebras Indonesia, as a part of Bebras International.

S: How did you find out about DoSSIER and what made you decide to apply?

G: Actually, one of my colleague who works at TU Wien sent the vacancies on a group chat. I was excited to catch this opportunity since I found DoSSIER is funded by Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) hence it must be a very prestigious project. I was also thrilled to know that this project involves a numbers of world-leading HCI-IR experts and a lot of academic and industrial partners. Since I do love travelling, three secondments in different countries during the project were the sweet treats that gave me a bold yes to apply.

S: How long are you already working on the project?

G: I’ve been working on the project at Sheffield since January 2021, so this month would be my fourth month!

S: What are your initial thoughts on DoSSIER and your experience?

G: DoSSIER gives the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a lot of new peoples. Joining DoSSIER leads me into different experience than the regular PhD journey. DoSSIER prepared me to become the “real” researcher whilst currently we are all still at the early stage of research career. It was fun yet challenging journey so far.

S: What project are you currently working on?

G: My project is Augmenting Human Cognition Interfaces in the Workplace (Project 3). This project will produce the specification for a suite of tools needed to assist people in extracting information from and making use of search results, and additionally augment existing information interaction models of the search process.

S: Tell us about your team environment. What do you enjoy about collaborating with your small team and the larger lab?

G: I have a small research group of 5 persons right now in Sheffield. Due to the pandemic, not so many chances for me to feel the real ambience on working in the larger team environment right now. However, I really enjoy the collaboration works both in my Sheffield team and the big network of DoSSIER.

S: What excites you the most about the field of IR and HCI?

G: I’ve always been passionate about how information being utilised especially in the enterprise. Then I found my topic is so relatable with my experience in information search on professional setting. It also somehow rhymes with my prior research on HCI. The beauty of both fields meets is something that excites me the most!

S: Walk us through a day in the life of a DoSSIER PhD student.

G: I am quite a morning person who never start a day without a full breakfast.  After that, I am ready to work from my home office. Since the beginning of my project, I haven’t got any chance to work at the office. Then I do some readings, attend classes if any, also participate in workshops until noon. Cooking a bit, having lunch, and making a video call with my family before continue working. I always try to do some daily walks to wrap up my day, though the timing is depending on the weather. Yes, you couldn’t trust UK weather, really! Sometimes the walks become a jog if I am on the mood for running. Yoga turns out to be my last resort if it’s too gloomy outside. Namaste!

S: Sounds like a nice day structure, thanks for the interview!


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 860721