Parade Profile: Fabian Hualca Tigsilema (PhD Mechanical Engineering 2020)

Posted in: Bath, Engineering & Design, Parade profiles, Postgraduate

PhD graduate Fabian lives in Barcelona, Spain. He participated in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) astronaut selection rounds. The process is made up of five challenging rounds, including tests in space orientation, psychology and flight simulation, and Fabian successfully reached the third phase.

He shares his thoughts on the future of space exploration, passion for learning and waiting for the bus.


Why did you choose to study at Bath?

I chose Bath because of its beautiful city and surroundings. I figured that if I was going to tackle a PhD in mechanical engineering for the next four years, then the views and ambiance would have to compensate for the struggle!


Did you have a particular career in mind when you chose your course?

I always envisioned myself working in the aerospace industry, which is why I decided to do my PhD at the University of Bath, a university with a vast network in aerospace and the automotive industry. I knew that if I was going to make it into industry, it would be with the help of the outstanding careers advisors, industrial partners and notable researchers.


Can you tell us about your experience of studying here? Any favourite memories, or places to go on campus and in the city?

I had the most wonderful time while studying at the University of Bath. My favourite memory would have to be waiting for the student bus… oh, and queuing up of course! My favourite places on campus would have to be the tennis courts and Sports Training Village.


Describe your career journey since graduating.

Since graduating, I have worked at Imperial College London as the Lead Design Engineer for ARIAS, a HORIZON-2020 EU funded research project in the field of aeronautical engineering. The initiative aims to reduce the vibrations that can compromise the structural integrity of aircraft.


Explain a bit about the ESA astronaut selection process and how you’ve found it so far.

My motivation has always been my passion for learning new topics. I applied to become an astronaut because I believe that in the near future we will inhabit another planet, and I want to be there when it happens! Current astronauts and space agencies need all the help they can get.

My background as an engineer helped me stand out among 22,000 applicants. Out of those 22,000 applicants only 7% were selected to pass to the next stage, and I was one of them.

I have met extraordinary people with out-of-this-world skills and knowledge. To be able to ask such experienced engineers and pilots questions about space and aircraft is a luxury that not many people get. I feel honoured to be part of such a prestigious selection.


How did your studies help you to develop?

My studies helped me develop responsibility, perseverance and excellence. After completing my PhD, I felt a sense of pride and confidence in my knowledge and practical skills. My research was in partnership with Siemens AG, and working with such a prestigious engineering company helped me to develop research and professional skills.


What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about studying your course at Bath?

I would 100% recommend studying at the University of Bath. The academic and research facilities are state-of-the-art, it’s ranked number one for student satisfaction and the city views are delightful!


Posted in: Bath, Engineering & Design, Parade profiles, Postgraduate

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