Meet Stella Ola  Mbila-Uma, a Graduate Research student at COSMOS

Stella Ola Mbila-Uma

Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Stella Ola  Mbila-Uma, most people call me Stella, but I love being called Ola. I am from Nigeria, which is one of the largest countries in Africa. I am currently running a master’s program in Information Science, and this is my second semester.

I work at COSMOS as a graduate research assistant, working with the indo-Pacific team to extract topics of interest and run series of analysis (i.e., emotion, sentiment and network analysis, etc.) on the topics and obtain insights on what is happening in the indo pacific region. It is a really interesting project to work on because you learn a lot about that region and see life from other people’s perspectives too.

What was your inspiration for joining COSMOS? 

The idea of social media fascinates me, how information can be transferred from one person to another or a group of people. In the midst of the advantages of social media, there are disadvantages too. One of the major disadvantages is misinformation which spreads like wildfire. COSMOS plays a good role in fishing out that misinformation by building products tailored towards this cause.  This is one of the reasons I joined COSMOS.

Are you working on any papers or publications? Can you give us insight into what it is about?

Not currently, but hopefully soon. I have just joined the team, and I am currently exploring various research areas to see which topic excites me the most.

What makes you feel the most appreciated and understood?

Receiving compliments from friends, coworkers, and others is one of the ways I feel appreciated. Also, when I feel appreciated, recognized based on impact. I love working with teams where my opinions matter and acted upon, it makes me feel understood. 

What is something you like to do outside of school/work?

I love playing badminton in my free time.

What would you tell your younger self? 

There is absolutely nothing you can’t achieve if you put your mind to it. Do not be scared of trying new stuff because every stage of life is a learning process.

What is a big world problem that you would like to change?

One of the biggest problems I would love to change is the spread of Misinformation because of how detrimental it can be, which is one of the main reasons I joined COSMOS to contribute to curbing the spread of misinformation through research and building innovative tools.