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Meet our new PhD student Maria Irena Szawerna

13 November 2023
Research data often contains both personal and sensitive information, which can be a problem if you want to share the data. Our newest PhD student Maria Irena Szawerna will help with this problem by focusing on pseudonymization, especially pseudonym generation.

Born and raised in Wrocław, Poland, she took her Master’s degree in linguistics in Heidelberg, Germany. As she started dating a Swede she planned a move to Sweden. At the same time, she started to look for something more practical to do with her linguistic knowledge.

– My friends from college became copywriters, translators and teachers. I started thinking about doing computational linguistics.

So Maria got accepted into the Master in Language Technology programme at the University of Gothenburg.

– I enjoy the academic stuff, it is a kind of a family tradition. Many of my family members were teachers or worked in academia so it is familiar to me.

Having graduated she started to look for work and was made aware of a PhD position at Språkbanken Text. It fitted what she had worked on before: corpus linguistics. She is working with Elena Volodina and her project Mormor Karl. One goal is to create algorithms for automatic pseudonimzation of research data. This has the benefit of increasing the accessability of data that contains sensitive information.

– Hopefully my work will give students an easier situation working with contemporary data than I had.

In her spare time Maria likes to play games, everything from computer to roleplaying games. She also enjoys going out to take pictures of Swedish wildlife.

– Now we play the new Swedish edition of Drakar & Demoner. It trains my Swedish, even though I mostly get better at the names of medieval arms!

The Eurasian oystercatcher (strandskata / Haematopus ostralegus, picture taken in Uddevalla)
The Eurasian oystercatcher (strandskata / Haematopus ostralegus, picture taken in Uddevalla by Maria Irena Szawerna)