Leila Mohammadi, doctoral candidate and researcher on the UOC's Information and Knowledge Society programme
"After studying the different options for my PhD, I was convinced that the UOC was the way to go"
Leila Mohammadi: "My research analyses the communication strategies employed by fertility clinics to attract women into postponing motherhood for social reasons, leading them to choose to freeze their eggs"
By Marian Antón
Why did you choose the UOC to do your PhD?
I was well aware of the UOC’s impressive reputation and I knew some people that had studied there. So, after studying the different options for my PhD, I was convinced that the UOC was the way to go.
Tell us briefly what your thesis research is about.
My research analyses the communication strategies employed by fertility clinics to attract women into postponing motherhood for social reasons, leading them to choose to freeze their eggs. It also explores women's feedback and opinions, as well as their knowledge and attitude, in relation to socially motivated egg freezing.
What applications do you think your research may have?
My research aims to offer women a better understanding of social egg freezing as well as to uncover the political, economic and cultural motivations behind fertility clinics’ communication strategies.
What point are you at now?
I'm in the process of collecting data and conducting interviews with different people who’ve had some contact with the social egg freezing process. I started my PhD two years ago and I plan to finish it next year.
What about your day-to-day life as a researcher do you find most interesting?
The most interesting thing for me is that, despite the hierarchies you often find in academia, I do have the chance to meet great authors and researchers and talk with them about my doubts. When it comes to my thesis, the most interesting part is the contact I have with the communities involved in my research. Interviewing different subjects, I hear real stories from real people. This has given me a perspective that combines all vantage points, from the emotional to the rational.
What do you find to be the hardest?
In theory, all the steps you follow to do proper research are defined, organized and doable. That being said, you really have no control over the environment and may face a lot of unpredicted challenges, which can be quite interesting to deal with in fact.
The other challenge is to maintain a coherent story throughout all the different parts that make up your research. In my case, this means combining all the different aspects of my work to produce a uniform, homogeneous and clear story that is easy to follow from beginning to end.
You were the UOC representative in the "Read your Thesis in 4 Minutes" competition. How did it go?
I was proud to represent the UOC at the event. It was an exciting experience and preparing for it motivated me to work hard to synthesize the key elements of my research into the short space of four minutes. This pushed me to find new ways to express, with clarity, what makes my research so exciting and useful.
Why did you decide to participate?
I like challenges and felt that having to compress the key points of my research into a four-minute time slot within a competitive context, regardless of the result, would push me to improve the delivery and communication aspects of my research.
Do you think this competition is an important event of its kind and gives visibility to the research community?
Yes, absolutely. Competitions are exciting. They push participants to raise their game and introduce a gamification aspect to their typical routine as a researcher. An event like this one has the potential to stimulate both researchers and those individuals considering a career in research.
Once you have completed the PhD, what would you like to do next?
I would like to find an interesting position working on research topics that interest me. I definitely plan to continue being connected to academia and finding useful insights for the communities I care about.