International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Meet Our IEA Alumni: Phillip Kevin Machoka



Department: Aerospace Engineering

Course: MEng Aerospace Engineering with Private Pilot Instruction (Aeromechanics - Manufacturing)

Nationality: Kenya 






My favourite subject at school?
I enjoyed Physics in addition to Economics and French.
How did you decide which degree course to take?
My first experience in an aircraft while going on holiday to the Kenyan coast at the age of 5 sealed the deal for me. I wondered how something that big and heavy could get off the ground and was subsequently fascinated by the forces generated by flight; from the acceleration during take-off, to the thud of landing. From that day on, I endeavoured to join the industry; be it in aircraft design, management or even piloting.
Which advice would you give to people about to choose a university course?
Select the course that interests you most and will be a gateway to your career. This will allow you to enjoy the course as well as give you extra motivation for the less appealing aspects of the course. Also, speak to current students at various stages of the course, for their opinion of the course and also what to expect during the course.
What inspired you/who inspired you to follow this route?
The desire to do something challenging and as well as contributes to society was additional motivation to pursue this course. Also, I was aware that the aerospace industry is at the cutting edge most industries; from materials to electronics. Therefore pursuing a career in this field would fulfil the desire of doing something challenging but also moving society forward.
What do you particularly enjoy and why?
  • The diversity of the modules serves as a good academic balance, giving a well-rounded experience. In addition, there is a diversity of people, which makes for a very positive experience, both in and out of the lecture hall.
  • In terms of specific modules, I enjoyed the aircraft principles and performance modules and the material science modules on metals and composites. The lecturers are knowledgeable and helpful outside of the lecture hall.
  • The support of the administration is very good, keeping one up to date with deadlines, job and placement openings. The administration is also supportive of one taking a year for placement or study abroad.
Best job/most fun/most fulfilling/challenges:
  • I particularly enjoyed the relevance of some of the coursework given, and its application to industry. The most fun was the day trip to Cranfield University, where we took readings while in an aircraft doing over 2g’s while executing a high angle of bank turn.
  • The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) group project was the most challenging and fulfilling as it required students to apply theory learned in the design and construction of an actual UAV capable of meeting certain criteria in addition to being able to fly.
  • The Pilot Instruction aspect of the course is the most inspiring and a great addition to the learning experience. It also allows for better understanding of lecture theory.
What are your plans for the future/dreams/goals?
To be part of a management team in an aerospace company within 5 years of graduating from university. I am looking forward to a career that allows me to travel the world and also make an impact in society.
What do you like to do when you are not working on your degree?
I play football, for University of Sheffield Futsal team and help build model aircraft for summer competition. The city also has a lot to offer such as theatres, a lively shopping city centre and an amazing night life.

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