First Goldsmiths computing phd student passes their viva online

Dr Fatima Sabiu Maikore is the first Goldsmiths Computing PhD student to complete a successful online Viva. Alongside her studies Fatima works full time as a lecturer at Baze University, Abuja and is based in Nigeria.  

Dr Fatima Sabiu Maikore is a researcher whose work has very clear real-life applications. She used her time as a PhD student to address challenges that clinical labs face when developing and using standard operating procedures (SOPs). These SOPs are guidance for workers to safely and correctly complete their work when running tests in the lab.  

Fatima’s research developed a framework which includes a formal data model, a natural language processing tool to convert existing SOPs into machine readable format, and a mobile application for use within the clinical labs. Her mobile app is already being used by clinical lab practitioners to allow them to quickly and easily access the information they need to safely complete tests in the lab.  

As her PhD research came to an end, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since Fatima is based in Nigeria, she had to cancel her trip to London for her Viva. She was initially nervous to be the first PhD student to complete an online Viva in the Department of Computing. A trial meeting to test the signal had not gone so well and she feared poor signal could throw her off or cut off the call completely.  

However, on the day of the viva, the call went extremely well and by the time it was halfway through, she forgot she wasn’t in the same room with her examiners. Knowing that her supervisor was logged into the call, even though her camera and mic were off as she wasn’t allowed to contribute, gave her an added strength and confidence.  

Fatima’s journey to her doctorate has been varied,  she completed her undergraduate studies at the American University Nigeria and her Masters at the University of Manchester. She knew she was passionate about academia, but also knew she wanted to move back home to Nigeria after her Masters to get married and settle into her life before pursuing a PhD, so she did just that.  

After a few years she was ready to pursue her PhD, she started at Brunel working with Dr Larisa Soldatova. She enjoyed her studies and found Dr Soldatova to be a great mentor however the move to London was hard and as she was now balancing her studies with two young children. Eventually she opted to take her studies part time and move back to Nigeria. During this time Dr Soldatova left Brunel and joined the team at Goldsmiths, Department of Computing and Fatima made the decision to come with her.  

Since then, she worked remotely to finish her PhD. Once her minor amendments are completed, she hopes to work at a prestigious university where she can broaden her research experience and eventually bring her skills back to Nigeria to contribute to the national research environment there.