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Student Profile

About me

Name: Anna
Course: Computing Science PhD
Study mode: Full time
Where I’m from: Kyrgyzstan/Russia

Choosing Newcastle

I first chose Newcastle University in 2011 for my Master’s degree. That particular Master of Education programme with a focus on Leadership and Management was quite unique at that time and not many universities offered such a degree. Now I am at Open Lab, which is one of the leading Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research groups in the world. When I got a chance to apply for a PhD scholarship to study here I did everything I could not to miss it. My Master’s was about Education Leadership and Management and my PhD is related because it is about technology in education.

Studying at Newcastle

Doing a PhD degree in Open Lab is so much more than just studying. The academic and research staff treat us as research assistants not just students. We are usually involved in more than one research project and all members of the lab collaborate closely with each other, so in a way, each of us is responsible for the success of the whole lab. This, I think, raises the bar for the level of our degree quality. I also love that results of my research can often be immediately applied to real world problems. I am involved in actual experiments right now and this is boosting my responsibility and aspiration to do my best.

It is nice to be involved in so many projects. I do technology in education and there are case studies happening here right now which are relevant. I feel responsible not just for my work but for others also.

There is more responsibility at postgraduate level. My undergraduate degree didn’t feel like it was of as much importance and now I don’t feel like I’m just a student but I’m employed to do research. My work is multi-disciplinary as I have a student in computing science and education.

Postgraduate Community

I love the atmosphere we have in our lab where there are about 65 doctoral students. After just a few months here it feels like a family already. Everyone is incredibly supportive and encouraging. The academic staff don’t just treat us as students but as also responsible for the success of the lab. We are accountable for the whole lab, it’s almost like being a member of a family. PhD students in second and third years are really supportive.

Funding my studies

I was aware of different schemes and the Doctoral Training Award was pointed out when it became available to international students.

I was self-funded during my Master’s programme. As for the PhD I was very fortunate to win a Newcastle University SAgE Doctoral Training Award, an amazing opportunity open for both UK/EU and international students. The School of Computing Science kindly topped up the award to fully cover both PhD tuition fees and my living costs.

Career aspirations

I am planning to stay in the Higher Education sector after my PhD. The nature of my research, hopefully, will allow me to choose between continuing my research as an academic and taking up an administrative role to work on implementing the results of my PhD in practice.


I have lived in a privately rented apartment in Jesmond for four years already. The nicest thing about Newcastle is that you can live in a beautiful residential area, and still be a 10 minute walk from the University and the city centre.

Living in Newcastle

Although I always was a fan of big cities I really appreciate the convenience of Newcastle – everything is very close: University, shops, seaside, national parks… Plus, there are a lot of historical heritage places around, like castles, cathedrals, Hadrian’s Wall ruins, etc.

While living here I have an opportunity to travel a lot. Proximity and accessibility by Metro of a train station and an international airport make it much easier. I like the convenience of the city, it’s nice that you can reach everything in a matter of minutes. It has nice natural areas like national parks, beaches, and the sea nearby.

Remembering Newcastle

Newcastle has become my home now. By the end of my PhD study it will have been eight years since I moved here. So the University and the city are full of close friends and wonderful memories which will stay with me forever!

A highlight of my postgraduate experience so far has been how I feel and think about myself. I like feeling that I’m a British researcher, I feel more responsible because of the studying itself and the lab too.