School of Computing

PhD Student Profiles

Jennifer Cooke
PhD Computer Science

 

Why did you choose Kent for your PhD?

I completed both my BSc and MSc in Psychology at Kent. During my Msc I took a module which was based in the school of computing and really enjoyed it. I was fascinated by how cognitive systems within the brain could be mapped into neural networks and so I approached the lecturer about the possibility of doing a PhD.

What are you researching?

My research has looked at electrophysiological responses to auditory stimulus and how these change across variations in attention and wakefulness (ie under sedation). We apply statistical methods and analysis to EEG data in order to assess this.

What are you most enjoying about your studies?

I very much enjoy working within a diverse community of researchers. Within the school of computing here at Kent there is such a wide range of interesting research being carried out, I feel very lucky to be able to learn and work in such an inspiring place.

What’s different about postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is very flexible, comparing to undergraduate study. I very much enjoy setting my own work schedule and having the space to think ideas through and discuss them with my supervisor. There are also many opportunities to teach and be more involved with that side of academia, which I find to be very rewarding.

How have you found the supervision process?

I have learned that supervision is an evolving process. It is good to share ideas and have the guidance of someone with experience. However, I have also found at times you must trust your own instincts as a researcher and an emerging academic - a good supervisor will also recognise this and encourage your development.

How have you funded your studies?

I received a scholarship from the School of Computing, which I applied for via my supervisor. I wrote a research proposal under the guidance of my supervisor, which looking back on it now was not a particularly difficult process! I would certainly encourage anybody considering an application to go ahead and make one.

Sebastian Dziallas
PhD Computer Science

 

Why did you choose Kent for your PhD?

I wanted to work with my supervisor and ended up coming to Kent to work with her here. We first met at a workshop at my undergraduate institution. The next summer, I ran a pilot study as part of a summer internship with her. This is actually something I would totally recommend if you're considering a PhD: try to get to know your supervisor and work with them in advance so you know whether working together is actually a good fit!

What are you researching?

My research focuses on the characteristics of graduates with computer science degrees. I'm particularly interested in how people think about and make sense of their own educational experiences both within and beyond university. I use highly qualitative methods and narrative approaches in my work.

What are you most enjoying about your studies?

I get to talk to a wide range of people: I just finished a series of interviews for my research and really enjoyed hearing people's personal stories and individual perspectives.

What's different about postgraduate study?

It is very different from anything I've done before: you're literally spending three to four years on a single project. Of course, that means you're doing everything from writing background literature reviews and project proposals to recruiting participants, analyzing data, and submitting papers. And you're in control when it comes to deciding how to spend your time.

How have you found the supervision process?

This is actually the other thing I'm enjoying most about my work at Kent: the close working relationship with my supervisor. We're meeting regularly and are often working on papers together. One way to think about doing a PhD is that it is really a research apprenticeship - and I find that is working well for me.

How have you funded your studies?

I received a 50th Anniversary Scholarship which also pays for my tuition fees. As part of the scholarship, I get to teach seminars for our undergraduate students which is something I
very much enjoy and would also recommend to other PhD students.

School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

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Last Updated: 21/09/2017