Student profile
Ryan, a white man with brown hair wearing a grey t-shirt, looks at the camera in front of a white wall.

Ryan Fernandez

"I knew Surrey would be a good place to do a PhD as the Institute for Communication Systems is a world-leading research centre with an outstanding reputation."


Information and Communication Systems PhD

Entry year


Research project

I am looking into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mega-constellations for direct satellite to mobile for 5G. 

Why did you choose to come to Surrey? 

I had already completed a BSc in physics and an MSc in space engineering at Surrey, so I knew first-hand how amazing it is to study here. I also knew it would be a good place to do a PhD as the Institute for Communication Systems is a world-leading research centre with an outstanding reputation.   

Surrey offers a bit of everything: it has lovely countryside, green spaces and a beautiful lake. It also has great transport links to the surrounding area and London, so there is always something to do. 

Why did you choose to study for a PhD? Why are you passionate about your subject? 

I want to work in the field of satellite communications and believe that getting a PhD in this field will be a great asset in helping me achieve success in this industry. 

I am passionate about my subject because it is in a field that is rapidly expanding. In addition, satellite communications will allow people to communicate with one another anywhere on Earth.  

How has your supervisor helped you to achieve your aims during your PhD studies? 

My supervisor Professor Yue Gao has been a great help throughout my PhD. He is super supportive in meetings, provides guidance when I need it and is very knowledgeable about the subject area. And he’s very friendly! 

Have there been opportunities for collaboration, either with researchers and academics at Surrey or with external organisations or companies? 

I share the same supervisor as another PhD student and we often work together, giving each other comments and feedback. There are also some work areas within the ICS where academics and students with similar research projects will give updates and present their work and receive feedback. I really enjoy doing research that no one has done before. 

What is the best thing about life at Surrey? 

The best thing about life at Surrey is that it has a bit of everything. There are great sports facilities on campus at Surrey Sports Park and locally at the Guildford Spectrum. There are lots of nice pubs in the town and plenty of good walks around the River Wey and Surrey Hills. 

In the summer months, I like to spend time on the benches by the lake with my friends. Sometimes when the weather is good, we take our laptops and work by the lake during the afternoon. 

Do you have any advice for students thinking about postgraduate study? 

Make sure that you do a PhD in an area that you really enjoy and that will keep you motivated, as it’s a big commitment - at a minimum, you will be working on that topic for three years. 

How do you think your time at Surrey has impacted your employability once you graduate?   

I think I’ve become significantly more employable from being at Surrey. Firstly, from the qualification I’ll achieve, but more critically, from all the soft skills I have developed throughout my time here, such as writing and presentation skills, communication skills, time management, independent working and critical thinking. I’ve also had the opportunity to demonstrate first-year labs in electrical engineering, which has given me a great sense of responsibility and provided leadership experience. All of this will benefit me when I start applying for roles after my PhD. 

What plans do you have for the future?  

I plan to work in industry in the field of satellite communications. 


Find out more about our Information and Communication Systems PhD.

Share what you've read?