Alumni Success Story


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Name: Ugyen Wangchuk

Country: Tibet

Pestalozzi Scholar: 2012-2014

Ugyen’s was always interested in finding out how things work.  He used to take apart his toys to discover their components – with mixed ability in getting them back in working order again! Since fourth grade aerospace engineering has been his passion.

During his time at Pestalozzi Ugyen was involved in a wide range of activities including Students for a Free Tibet, Eco-club, leading meditation sessions and completing the Hastings Half Marathon.

‘I am a Tibetan living in exile and grew up in a Tibetan Children’s refugee school in Northern India and was at Pestalozzi scholar from 2012-14. After a gap year, I received a scholarship to study Aerospace Engineering from the University of Brighton and graduated with MEng degree in 2019. Another scholarship enabled me to study Advanced Aerospace Technologies at the University of Sheffield and I recently graduated with MSc degree. I am about to begin my PhD at Loughborough University to help develop powerful computational tools for investigating fluid behaviour, which will be helpful in designing future commercial aircraft.’

How would things have been different had you not received the Pestalozzi scholarship? 

Had I not received the Pestalozzi scholarship, I feel that I would have missed a valuable opportunity and stepping stone in progressing towards my other achievements. Receiving the scholarship has allowed me to learn many valuable skills and opened up many more opportunities.

What are you currently doing to ‘pay it forward’?

I taught physics and maths in my home school and also helped translate science workshops for Tibetan monks during my gap year. At university, I was a mathematics mentor and hope to fulfil a similar role at Loughborough. During the Covid lockdown, I worked as a contact tracer in the UK Track and Trace programme and currently work as a part time support worker caring for adults with autism and special needs.

What are your plans for the future? How do you hope to help your home community?  

I hope to complete my PhD and gain valuable experience working in either academia or the aviation industry. With so few Tibetans in the aerospace industry, I want to support the next generation of Tibetan aerospace engineers. I also hope to volunteer within Tibetan schools in Exile.

How will your current area of study make a difference to the lives of others?

My specialisation within aerospace engineering is the field of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). It is used by engineers in wide variety of applications from aircraft design and Formula 1 to medication research, such as the behaviour of blood within arteries and veins. I hope to develop CFD code to develop more efficient aircraft and reduce the carbon footprint of airplanes in the joint effort of combating climate change.

Why is education important? 

Education is really important because it enhances the basic compassionate nature of humans and provides them with the ability to help others in numerous ways. It also enriches the individual with tools to enhance their own understanding of the often-complicated reality and helps them navigate through difficult decisions. I believe that education of the mind should be accompanied by warmness of heart and physical fitness, which goes hand in hand with the ethos at Pestalozzi.

What message would you give to our donors? 

Being a recipient of a Pestalozzi scholarship, I know first-hand how impactful every penny is and has contributed towards providing valuable opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Although it may take a bit of time, but just like drops of water to a plant, your donation has a long-lasting impact in changing not only the life of one student, but the communities they represent. I personally want to thank all the previous donors and future donors for their contribution in helping change lives for better! Thank you!

Education is the key to empowering young people to improve their lives and their community. By setting up a regular payment to Pestalozzi or giving a one-off gift, it means that we can continue to provide opportunities to young people like Faisal who will go on to make a difference in the world.

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