Yasantha Chamara Samarawickrama
Yasantha studied a master's programme within the Institute for Digital Technologies and is now pursuing a PhD at Cork Institute of Technology.
Yasantha chose Loughborough University London due to our oustanding reputation for teaching, research and industrial collaborations, as well as our renowned student experience.
What were you doing before you started your master’s?
I studied my BEng(Hons) in Electronic Engineering in Sri Lanka offered by Sheffield Hallam University. I also worked as an Teaching Assistant in the field of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering in two Sri Lankan universities.
Why did you choose Loughborough University London?
Loughborough University London is a top 10 university in the UK with an outstanding reputation for teaching, research and industrial collaborations related to the field of electronics and telecommunications engineering. The University also offers the UK’s Best Student Experience in the Times Higher Education (THE) Student Experience Survey 2018.
What’s your favourite thing about Loughborough University London?
My favourite thing about Loughborough University London is the Collaborative Project module which offers an excellent platform for students to apply their skills, knowledge and experience to find solutions for real-life problems set by a company or industry. The Skills Check programme was also very useful for developing the interpersonal skills essential for employment. I also enjoyed the workshops, guest lectures and industry visits.
How did you fund your studies?
I was awarded with the Dean's Award for Enterprise scholarship from Loughborough University London, funding 90% of tuition fees. I was fortunate to be the only International student awarded with this scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Further, to cover up the remaining of tuition fees and the living expenses, I worked part time in the University as a Student Ambassador.
Additionally, working part-time outside of the University was useful to cover up the remaining expenses. With these funding plans, I was successful in covering up to 80% of my total expenses with only slight support from the family back home.
Why did you decide to study your course?
I chose to study this programme due to the combination of modules related to engineering, innovation and enterprise. In particular, in my search for a programme which covered all topics to work in an innovative industry or to engage in cutting edge research, this programme stood out.
What did you enjoy the most about your course?
I really enjoyed the structure of modules of my programme. The core modules, such as Internet and communication networks, Mobile broadband and wireless networks really offered excellent core knowledge and skills relevant to the Mobile communication systems field at the postgraduate level. Additionally the optional modules such as 3D media environments, Internet of Things, Media processing and coding were fascinating.
Describe what it is like to be a postgraduate student and how this differs from being an undergraduate.
As a postgraduate student, time management is crucial to manage the workload, as well as other extra curricular activities. You are also expected to work independently with minimum supervision using the skills, knowledge and experience acquired from prior studies.
Where do you see your career in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years' time I expect to enhance my research and critical problem solving skills with by pursuing a PhD.
How did you like to spend your time away from your studies?
I loved to travel and explore lots of different places. I am also a big fan of cricket!
How has Loughborough University London inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?
Loughborough University London was outstanding in providing a solid platform for my career progress since I graduated with a Distinction from the Institute for Digital Technologies. The inspiration and support offered from the University as a Dean's Award for Enterprise scholar obtaining 90% of tuition fees to fund my studies was impressive. The Collaborative Project module offered an excellent platform to apply skills, knowledge and experience acquired through the programme to find solutions for real-life problems encountered by London Stadium. The Skills Check programme was also very useful for developing the interpersonal skills essential for employment. I also gained a lot from the workshops, guest lectures and industry visits. All these gains from Loughborough University London contributed immensely to excel in my career after the graduation.
Tell us more about the company/organisation you are currently working for?
Currently I am working as a PhD researcher at Nimbus Research Center based in Cork Institute of Technology(CIT). The Nimbus Centre was established in 2007, funded by the HEA Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions (PRTLI-4). However, related research activities started in 2000 and had built to a group of 45 researchers by 2007. At Nimbus Centre our research focuses on Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The mother institution of Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) is an education provider located in Cork, Ireland's second-largest city and capital of Ireland's southern Munster province.
Tell us about your career journey so far.
I studied my BEng(Hons) in Electronic Engineering in Sri Lanka offered by Sheffield Hallam University. I also worked as a Teaching Assistant and a Lecturer for three years in the field of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering in two Sri Lankan universities prior to my studies at Loughborough Iniversity London. I was delighted to graduate with a Distinction and an award for academic excellence at my MSc graduation in December 2018.
Soon after my MSc, I was awarded a fully funded PhD opportunity from science foundation Ireland(SFI) for studies at Cork Institute of Technology. Currently, I am studying for my PhD in the field of efficient use of channel coding for ultra reliable low latency communication (URLLC) for industrial communications. During the first phase of my PhD, I was shortlisted for finals of Researchfest 2019, an international science communication competition where PhD candidates are expected to explain the PhD research effectively in 3 minutes.
What do you love the most about your current role?
Research is my passion as it helps to discover the hidden benefits and mysteries of this universe. Actually, I am interested in contributing my knowledge towards projects which facilitate the welfare of human beings. By working as a PhD researcher, I acquire the precious opportunity of using my skills, knowledge and experience to involve in cutting edge research activities related to 5G communications for industrial communication.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I was shortlisted for the finals of the ResearchFest 2019, a science communication competition which PhD researchers have to explain their PhD in 3 minutes. The competition was very competitive with contestants from universities all over the world. I was humbled and proud to be shortlisted for the finals of the competition. There, I was able to perform outstandingly well with public speaking skills I cultivated by Toastmasters international in combination with science communication techniques.
Favourite module and why?
My favorite module was the Introduction to programming and Matlab module taught by Dr. Hyun Lim. The module content was structured really well covering all the basic theory and practice required for a programmer. Programming is a module that requires logical thinking and the delivery of the module was simple and easy to grasp for the students.
Tell us about your most memorable experience on your course.
During the Collaborative Project module, the visit to the London Stadium was memorable. It brought us a rare opportunity of visiting the historic stadium where London Olympics was held in 2012. Also, we identified the real life problem scenario that London stadium was encountering obstructing their objective of making the stadium better connected with the audience. Hence, we could align the recommendations in a more feasible and effective manner.