Briefly, introducing myself here. I am Kiran Kumar Bandeli, a doctoral candidate in Information Science and work with COSMOS as a Graduate Research Assistant. I am part of several research and development projects. I am in a phase where I am working on my dissertation proposal. I am hopeful that I can graduate at the end of spring or summer 2019.  

So, what do I do in the COSMOS lab? I can definitely say, I wear several hats as part of my work schedule. One such role is Teaching Assistant (TA) for Dr. Agarwal’s courses, where I switch gears from being a student to being a teaching assistant.

Kiran assisting students during hands-on exercises in a social computing class.

As part of the TA role, my responsibilities are to either to teach a topic to students or to grade their  assignments. I have always enjoyed teaching and along the same lines I aspire to become a professor upon completion of my PhD program. I always felt I belong in the teaching world. It gives me immense pleasure to introduce  students to new topics and clarify any doubts that the students might have. I feel that the duties of a TA is a two way learning street. I, too, have gained a deeper understanding of the topics that I have taught. Discussions on various topics with the class has also helped me grow intellectually. Overall, TA duties have helped me learn concepts related to a subject and then be able to quickly deliver the knowledge gained to the students.

Talking about the COSMOS group, it has always helped me in learning and sharing the knowledge about research in the social network analysis field. I personally feel that the experience at COSMOS has been a  key to improving my technical skills and using them to solve research problems in projects we work. Also, particularly a mentor like Dr. Agarwal, with the immense knowledge in social media research has helped me become better with time in understanding research itself and what it takes to become a good PhD. I still remember the first article that I wrote with Dr. Agarwal on fake news research. It was only his help and motivation that led to the publication in the NATO Strategic Communication Center of Excellence publication. Working  on my first paper, I was exposed to so many tools and the expertise of Dr. Agarwal helped tackle research questions at hand.

If I were to give suggestions on pursuing a PhD, here is some advice:

  • Read, read and read more. I hope I can copy this sentence from my advisor.  It’s a key skill for a good PhD.
  • Early awareness. Talk to your seniors and mentor. This is key in knowing the expectations for a PhD and helps you sort any confusions you might have which could be ranging from “what topic to work on” to  “skills needed to achieve the set goal”.
About our COSMOS student blogger:

Kiran is a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science department currently working on narrative analysis. He joined the COSMOS team the summer of 2017 as a research student. His interests include social computing and network analysis. He aspires to become a professor after he graduates.

Kiran enjoys playing cricket, and whenever he gets a chance he enjoys spending time with his family especially with his newborn. His hobbies include going to the gym, swimming and soccer.

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