Congratulations to all our winners of the 2019 OII MSC thesis prize.

It gives us great pleasure to announce the winners of the 2019 OII MSc Thesis Prize.  This year the Board of Examiners has chosen to award three prizes, one for each of OII MSc courses, plus two ‘Highly Commended’ prizes.

Introducing the 2019 MSc Thesis Prize Winners

Eric Morrison

Congratulations to Eric Morrison, MSc Social Science of the Internet (full-time)

Thesis Title: Team Diversity and Performance in Video Game Development – An analysis of the effects of gender diversity and structural folds on team effectiveness.

Eric said, “Receiving this year’s thesis prize is a great honour, and a rewarding culmination of my year in Oxford. While I’ve had a longstanding interest in organizational culture and diversity, the thesis wouldn’t have been possible without my outstanding cohort of classmates, who pushed my thinking at every step of the process. I’m also grateful to my advisors Rebecca Eynon and Balazs Vedres, who both took stock in my ideas and guided me as I cut my teeth in social network analysis and natural language processing.”

In congratulating him, Eric’s supervisor Professor Balazs Vedres said: “Eric designed a unique research project about teamwork. Analyzing video game developer teams, he connected data on collaboration network structure and subjective accounts on ups and downs in teamwork (so-called “post mortems”). Combining network science methods and natural language processing techniques, he identified network structures that lead to most positive feelings and inspired experiences in video game teams.”

Samantha Pay

Congratulations to Samantha Pay, MSc Social Science of the Internet (part-time)

Thesis Title: The Algorithmic Female: stereotypes, streaming and self-regulation in everyday personalisation culture

Samantha said: “I’m so delighted to have the honour of being awarded the part-time MSc in Social Science of the Internet thesis prize for 2019. I believe the success of this thesis is testament to the critical role of the Internet for research that seeks to explore women’s experiences of a data-driven culture, particularly for developing feminist research methodologies in the digital age. My time on the OII MSc has been an incredible journey that has provided me with an extraordinarily broad and cutting-edge set of skills to take into my PhD and I am extremely grateful for the support and disability resources that the OII has provided. I would also like to express special thanks to Dr Kathryn Eccles for her thoughtful and inspiring supervision and encouragement. This support and belief in my ideas have been highly instrumental in my success. As a mature and disabled student, I very much hope my success will encourage others who face the challenges of disability and older student status to also pursue their academic ambitions. The recognition of this thesis through this award is shared with the women who participated in this study and its’ earlier pilot projects.”

In congratulating her, Samantha’s supervisor, Dr Kathryn Eccles said: ‘I am absolutely delighted that Samantha has won the 2019 Thesis Prize. Her innovative research approach represents an important and robust response to the UN’s call for states to address new technologies’ potential for extending cultural norms underpinning violence against women and girls as part of the societal ecosystem of VAWG. Research on recommender systems is still in its infancy, whereas broader studies of machine learning and representation of women and girls on Television and Film show consistent gender bias and discrimination.  Samantha’s work in this area is both urgent and compelling. She has performed excellently across the board in her MSc work, as well as impressing the Faculty with her superb thesis.’

Carla Intal

Congratulations to Carla Intal, MSc Social Data Science

Thesis Title: Dissent and Rebellion in the House of Commons: A Social Network Analysis of Brexit Related Voting by Members of the 57th Parliament

Carla said, ‘I am incredibly honoured and humbled to receive this prize. This is also totally unexpected, because I found everyone in my cohort to be equally capable and brilliant.  The thesis process reminded me of why I came to the Oxford Internet Institute: it emphasised the value of multidisciplinarity, between myself (an economist) and my supervisor (a physicist) using network and computational sciences in politics. It was quite an enriching experience!  I am particularly indebted to my supervisor, Dr. Taha Yasseri, for our lengthy discussions and the difficult questions that pushed me to think critically.  Being a part of the first SDS cohort was academically rewarding, at times challenging, but always fun. Our experience in Oxford leaves us better equipped as social data scientists, having grown both intellectually and socially’.

In congratulating her, Carla’s supervisor Dr Taha Yasseri said, Working with Carla has been a true honour. The topic of her work, Brexit, presented us with many challenges of a moving target, but Carla’s passion, persistence, and dedication enabled her to tackle the problem in a theoretically elegant yet methodologically effective manner.  Carla’s work perfectly demonstrates how a multidisciplinary approach to a complex problem can be fruitful, and that is the very essence of our work at the OII. I wish Carla all the best in her upcoming endeavours and hope she will keep in touch as a valuable friend and colleague in the future’.

The Board of Examiners also chose to award two ‘Highly Commended’ prizes this year.

Congratulations to Marianna Drake, MSc Social Science of the Internet (part-time)

Thesis Title: Future Perfect? How the logic of predictive algorithms jeopardises human autonomy

Congratulations to Ásta Helgadottir, MSc Social Science of the Internet (full-time)

Thesis Title: The Use of Automatic Content Recognition Technologies for Content Moderation and Control. A European Union Policy Analysis from Human Rights Perspective on Mandated Automatic Content Based Filtering

A very well done to all our 2019 winners from everyone here at the OII.