Researcher Spotlight: An Interview With Vijini Mallawaarachchi

Reflections on doing research as an undergraduate

Rochelle Silva
7 min readNov 19, 2020


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As a PhD student, I often look back to my undergraduate time and reflect on what I learned. During one of those reflection times, I realized that the undergraduate research I did was very important. Therefore, I thought of sharing some tips with my juniors about getting the best out of the undergraduate research experience. With this aim in my mind, I reached out to some of my friends so that I could share their experiences as well. After all, many viewpoints are better than just one.

First, let’s have a chat with my good friend Vijini about her experience.

Tell me a bit about yourself…

My name is Vijini Gimhani Mallawaarachchi and I’m from Sri Lanka (Sri Lankan names can be quite long). I’m currently pursuing my PhD studies in Computer Science (specialising in Bioinformatics) at the Research School of Computer Science, at the Australian National University, Australia.

I did my Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. My undergraduate thesis was based on “change detection and notification of web pages”.

My interests/hobbies include blogging, music, art, gardening, nature watching and photography. I consider myself a hodophile as I love to travel and explore new places. I have always enjoyed reading and writing (both general and technical stuff).

Conducting a presentation at ANU (Photo provided by Vijini)

Can you tell me about the research component you had in your curriculum?

The main research component we had during undergraduate studies was the final year project with 10 credits. We conducted it throughout the final two semesters (semester 7 and 8). Supervisors provided potential project areas/problems and we had to pick one out of them. Some projects were even collaborations with other universities/companies (state/foreign).

Every project had a research component and a development component. The ratio between the two components varied depending on the project (e.g., projects…



Rochelle Silva

PhD student @ NTU 🇸🇬| Logophile | Artist | Coffee Lover | Sri Lankan | | Buy me a ☕