ISTAT News | 22 September 2020
ISTAT Scholarship Recipient: Erika Ramos da Silva
In 2018, Erika Ramos da Silva, R&D Engineer - Manufacturing Technologies at Airbus, received a scholarship from the ISTAT Foundation to assist with her dream of studying in the UK. ISTAT sat down with Erika to discuss the impact of this scholarship and how she's using what she learned during her studies in her current career:
Tell us about your experience as an ISTAT Scholarship recipient:
"The ISTAT Scholarship was a game changer for me to study abroad. I wanted to study in the UK because the country is a reference in aerospace. As an overseas student, there are not many scholarship opportunities to study in European universities and the fees for a Master’s degree are very high. Therefore, without the support of the ISTAT Foundation it would have been practically impossible for me to fulfill my goal and specialize in aerospace at the university that I chose. When I received the e-mail confirming that I was a recipient, I was so happy and I felt like the dream to study abroad was finally achievable."
What did you focus on during school?
"My course was a Master's Degree in Aerospace Materials at Cranfield University in England. I concluded it with a distinction."
How has the support from ISTAT helped you during school and after?
"Additionally to the scholarship, I was awarded with a 5-year ISTAT membership, which was amazing. Since the beginning of the classes, I have been receiving periodic updates about ISTAT and was invited for the Holiday Reception in London, where I made the initial face-to-face contact with the ISTAT members. When I finished the course, I was invited to the ISTAT EMEA Conference in Berlin. ISTAT funded the conference, hotel and flights which was great because I did not have a permanent job at that time.
The ISTAT EMEA Conference was where my network grew the most. There I met the other scholarship recipients that were good company during the event, and Scott Daniels who was my mentor during the conference. Scott was amazing, introducing me to his company colleagues from Residco and so many other great people as well. Scott took me to his business meetings during the conference so that I could experience real trading negotiations. He really tried to help me create professional opportunities for myself. As a result from the conference, Mark Ebanks invited me to support Aerothrust at the MRO Europe event in London and Robert Jack and Norman Fraser invited me to an event at Cranfield University to launch the Sandy Gunn Aerosoace Careers Program, organized by the group that was looking at rebuilding the Spitfire AA810, destroyed during the war. On the last day I met Joel Wagner, a representative from the ISTAT Alumni Network and since then I have been giving support to the Alumni Network Group. ISTAT has given me great support and I am always happy to share my positive experience."
Since graduating, what has your career path looked like?
"Since graduating, I have received two job opportunities: one was to work with Rolls-Royce Aerospace in England, where I was a manufacturing engineer working for a few months as a contractor. Airbus Operations then offered me a permanent position in North Wales to work as a R&D Engineer."
How are you navigating these challenging times right now?
"A few months ago, it was terrifying as every day the future was looking more uncertain. The support of my partner and both our families has been fundamental to keep thinking positively. Every day, I feel lucky for my family and friends being healthy even in these difficult times. Fortunately, I secured a stable job just before the pandemic, but I know that many people, like my father back in Brazil and even friends in UK, are still looking for a job. All we can do now is try to keep up with the news every day and wait for the best."
Do you have any advice for the students who just recieved scholarships this year?
"Don't wait for the opportunities to fall in your hands, run after them! Prepare before the events you attend so you will make the best out of them. Don't be shy and keep trying to expand your network during the ISTAT events as everyone is nice and willing to chat. During your classes, try to get involved with other activities or volunteering that can help your CV and your future career.'