UNSW Computer Science student Sidra Malik has received the Outstanding Student Award as part of the Arc PGC Student of the Year Awards, 2021. The 2021 awards celebrate the resilience of those HDR students who continued their research while contributing to the postgraduate community, despite the considerable challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sidra Malik has recently completed her Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Salil Kanhere. Her research revolves around blockchain, access control, trust, privacy, and security. In her Ph.D., she has used distributed ledger technology to provide traceability and provenance yet preserve the privacy of commercially sensitive information of supply chain stakeholders. As a mother of two young children, she has overcome many challenges and achieved excellent results. From the selection committee commendation: “Deserves to be honored for balancing her family commitments with her research and recently submitting her Ph.D. with outstanding outcomes.” 

We asked her about her experience during the pandemic. “I take pride in being a mother to two young kids. The pandemic was challenging as I was planning to join back university after my maternity leave. Staying focused at home and producing quality research outputs wasn’t easy. However, with better time management and with the support of my supervisory team, I was able to produce a few good research outputs, could participate in international venues, workshops and co-supervise a few under-grad and postgrad students at UNSW.”, she replied.

We also asked how she felt about the award, to which she said, “It’s a great honor to have been recognized for the efforts and dedication put towards the completion of my degree. It certainly encourages me to continue putting effort into my career while managing my other commitments. This word of appreciation will go a long way and will also encourage my fellow HDR students who are in the same boat.” Sidra is also grateful to his supervisory team, who helped her in this journey. “I would really like to thank my supervisors, Prof. Salil Kanhere (CSE, UNSW), Prof. Raja Jurdak (QUT), and Volkan Dedeoglu (CSIRO, Data61) for their continuous support. I believe technical guidance is not the only part of being a good supervisor. I commend them for the level of respect, professionalism, and humbleness they have always shown. I have always felt being understood, motivated, and very positively criticized for my work. They have always been available for mentorship and guidance to bring out the best in me.”, she added.

We congratulate Sidra Malik for this excellent achievement and wish her the best in her future career.