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Student Profiles

Nathalie Cauchi, Kellogg College

Nathalie Cauchi

I am currently a third year DPhil student in Computer Science within the department. I enrolled in October 2015. I am from Malta and prior to Oxford I was a researcher within the Institute of Aerospace Technologies at the University of Malta. I worked on a number of European projects, namely to design algorithms for weather avoidance during aircraft take-off, and was part of a team designing a touchscreen concept for pilot interaction with avionic systems.

I chose this course for three main reasons: the course structure, the opportunities to attend seminars within Computer Science and the stature of the university; the strong research group in my area of interest and their great work; and the opportunity to work with my current supervisor: Dr Alessandro Abate, whose work inspires me. I found the application and interview process straightforward, and the interview on Skype went smoothly.

I particularly enjoy the seminars organised within the department which give you new ideas and links to your research which you may not have thought about prior to the seminar. I am particularly proud of being part of the Oxford Women in Computer Science (OxWoCS), seeing it grow over the last years, seeing its increasing support to students, and being able to organise talks by distinguished speakers in our field as part of my role as seminar series coordinator.

What initially surprised me was how warm and welcomed I was made to feel when I arrived. Life socially is nice and well balanced, both in the academic and non-academic spheres. I am lucky to have found a great research group with many lively characters and different perspectives to share ideas with.


Oana Tifrea-Marciuska, Wolfson College

Oana Tifrea-Marciuska

I have chosen to pursue a DPhil because I got interested in the topic of how to use artificial intelligence to give people personalised answers to their queries over Semantic Web - the Web that is able to understand the meaning of words. It is fascinating since it combines so many different fields. I have applied for the Google European Scholarship and was one of the 13 people in Europe who received full funding.

Before coming to Oxford I have studied in the following countries:

What I love about the DPhil is that you have the freedom to choose your research path. At the beginning this may be scary since I was used with instant gratification when you pass tests. But the fact that you contribute to the new knowledge of the world is really cool. Moreover you are surrounded with experts in your area that support you to become an independent researcher.

The college life is very nice since you get to know people from different fields. I have found out fascinating topics of people that spend their Dphil studies studying the lives of Lamas or digging in some remote islands. Moreover you get to share your research with people who are not computer scientists. Moreover I have taken dancing and painting lessons.

During my studies I have co-founded the Oxford Women in Computer Science Society - which aims to support women in computer science. We have organised many exciting events involving Turing award winners or top companies in IT. Oxford is great since it has so many clubs and societies. You just need to choose.

I did a 7 weeks business course on how to open a business. I was involved in a startup ( from my Phd studies) via an Isis Innovation Incubator, that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Oxford, managing technology transfer. I have really learnt a lot.

What I would say to someone thinking of doing a Dphil is - I think they should come here! Try to search for something you find interesting and find a person that has some knowledge in this area. The University really offers you so many tools to become better - from Career Centre events to different tutorials.