Digital Solutions Specialist, KiwiRail
Doctor of Philosophy
His supervisory team was his inspiration from the word go, says Dr Herman Masindano Wandabwa who came to AUT as an international student from Kenya to study a PhD in computer science and now works as a digital solutions specialist for KiwiRail.
“We always had very interactive sessions, especially when we were shaping the research objectives to align with the research questions. They always tirelessly read my drafts and provided valuable feedback.
“When I was choosing a university for my doctoral study, I looked at the projects the AUT Data Science Research Group is engaged in, and I knew straightaway that this was the team I wanted to be a part of. Being part of such a close-knit research team with an international outlook means that you get access to world-class mentorship from senior researchers. That made AUT the right choice, especially since it’s such a vibrant, young and fast-growing university.”
Using data science to leverage content
With an interest in data analytics and natural language processing, his PhD topic was an easy choice for Herman.
“For my doctoral research, I was looking at how disseminated content on short text microblogs can be leveraged in the generation of user-representative profiles for non-lurkers on such platforms.
“Using machine learning, I was able to extract representative profiles for such users to help in the design of related third-party content recommender systems that factor the nature of content and data dissemination patterns on such platforms.”
Herman’s PhD research was supervised by Dr Muhammad Asif Naeem from the AUT Data Science Research Group, which is part of AUT’s School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences.
Supported to thrive
He enjoyed studying in such a friendly and supportive environment, says Herman graduated with his PhD in mid-2021.
“As a PhD candidate, I had access to the resources I needed to succeed, including access to software, hardware, office space and to almost every journal. I was also financially supported by AUT through a departmental tuition fee scholarship.”
Herman would highly recommend postgraduate study in data science to other students.
“Come and experience the friendliest learning environment where you will feel supported all the way. Thanks to my studies several of my papers were accepted by top-rated academic journals and at high-profile conferences. I also managed to physically present my work at the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) in Hawaii, financially supported by AUT.”