Lauren Cassidy | Smart Futures

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Lauren Cassidy
I am a Postgraduate Research Student in the ADAPT Centre in DCU. My current research involves linguistic analysis of a dataset of Irish Language tweets. When I was a teenager I loved music, art and learning languages and I still do now. I sing and play guitar and travel whenever possible. During the lockdown, I have been doing a lot of yoga and skating.
Job title
Postgraduate Research Student in the ADAPT Centre in DCU

Has your opinion of STEM changed since you were a teenager?

When I was a teenager I though STEM was made up of really clever people who just invented or discovered things almost by accident. Now I realise that study and perseverance are much more important.

In your opinion, what is the biggest myth about STEM careers?

That you have to be a genius to make a significant contribution.

Do you believe that there is enough being done to encourage girls to study STEM and pursue STEM careers?

I think it can be hard to feel inspired to pursue any career path when there is a lack of role models that you can relate to. I hope that diversity in the workplace will be valued and that with equal career and education opportunities across all demographics, people can feel supported to study whatever they like!

Describe an interesting day in your current position.

In my current role as a computational linguistics researcher in DCU, I study how computers can process language. My day might consist of analysing tweets in the Irish language and collaborating remotely with researchers in other countries working on other languages.

What do you love about your current role?

Meeting people who are as interested in language as I am, having flexible working hours and learning something new every day.

What has been the most surprising element of your job?

Being able to work from anywhere.

What has been your most exciting career moment to date?

Having my work published in a journal article.

Do you get to work with any new technologies?

We are always trying to find the newest and cleverest AI tools for Natural Language Processing to do experiments in Irish.

Do you ever get to travel abroad for work?

Yes, for conferences

What kind of other experts do you work with on a day to day basis?

Linguists and Machine Learning experts

Is your current job, and the work of the wider team, making a difference in the world?

We are creating resources to improve Irish Language Technology.

What do you hope to achieve in the next year in your current position?

I hope to get more people interested in Irish Language technology.

Do you feel that you fit the stereotypical description of a person in your role?

I don’t know if there is a strong stereotype for Natural Language Processing engineers but I have experienced it as a welcoming environment. I feel there is too much focus on the English language and therefore an advantage to native English speakers but I hope that will open up.

If a young person told you that they would like to get into your role, what advice would you give them?

Read books, listen to podcasts and try to meet people in the area you are interested in!

What do you want to see change in the industry in the next 10 years?

More diversity!

Did you complete any sort of placement or internship during your studies? If so, did it prepare you for what you do now?

Yes, during my undergrad, I did an internship at the ADAPT Centre in DCU, where I am currently doing my research. It was a great opportunity to get work experience, learn practical skills and also meet people with similar interests.

Name one thing on your bucket list.

To visit Brazil.

What television series are you currently watching?

Cidade Invisível, about Brazilian folklore.