STEMM Profile: Sandeepa Kannangara | PhD student | Computer Science and Engineering | University of New South Wales | Sydney | NSW

Sandeepa - taken by Megan Prideaux
Sandeepa Kannangara

“I love science because it can explain everything in and around us based on experimental evidence, not just conjecture”

Sandeepa Kannangara is a PhD candidate in the School of Computer Science and Engineering of University of New South Wales (UNSW) with broad interests in opinion mining, machine learning, and natural language processing research areas. Her research project is mainly focused on political opinion mining from social media data. She has been awarded a UNSW Tuition Fess scholarship and the Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Scholarship for study towards her PhD.

Sandeepa holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and Information Technology (Special) degree from the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka, by being the Gold Medal winner for the highest academic performance in the degree program. Furthermore, she was the first runners-up of Most Outstanding Student Award 2013 offered by Department of Industrial Management, University of Kelaniya and MAS Holdings, based on the performance in academic, extracurricular, soft skills and community services. During her final year in bachelor’s degree, she conducted the research project, impact of refactoring on code quality improvement in software maintenance and published several journal and conference articles based on that study.

After the completion of her bachelor’s degree, she worked as a Temporary Lecturer in the University of Kelaniya and National School of Business Management in Sri Lanka, for two years, until she received a scholarship for the PhD degree in the UNSW.

What motivated you to choose your degree? 

My undergraduate research project assisted me to reveal my outstanding research potential. That experience deepened my interest in research and finally I was able to end up with High Distinction for my research work which motivated me to do a PhD.

Did you do maths and science in high school?

Yes, science and mathematics were interesting subjects for me right from my childhood. I did my Advanced Level in mathematics stream.

Do you plan on working in industry after your studies? 

After completing my PhD, I would like to work in an industry where I can enhance my knowledge that I will acquire during my PhD program. However, I prefer more on a research-oriented career in the industry.

What is it you love about science?

I love science because it can explain everything in and around us based on experimental evidence, not just conjecture.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? 

Ten years from now, I will be a successful researcher who is researching on matters which are useful to the general public. In the same time, I’ll be a loving wife and mother to my family.

[Image attribution: Megan Prideaux]

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