February 2019

Kristen Facciol is our Ambassador of the Month for 2019! Kristen studied aerospace engineering at the University of Toronto, and currently works as a Robotics Flight Controller for the Canadian Space Agency.

Why did you choose to study engineering?

I chose engineering because I wanted to ensure that whatever came next in my life would be built on a strong foundation. I always had an affinity for math and science, and wanted to learn the ways in which these subjects were applied or could be applied to improve our future. Not only did studying engineering mean I would graduate with a professional degree, but also that I would have a better understanding of how the things around me worked.

How do you apply your degree to your career?

I am currently working as a Robotics Flight Controller, which utilizes my degree in many ways from a technical perspective as well as makes use of the soft skills I developed while in school. Primarily, my job involves working as part of a multidisciplinary team whose focus is on system operations and problem solving. In order to perform well in these scenarios, it is important to have a strong understanding of the foundations – like control systems, communication protocols, and electronics – so that they can be correctly utilized.

What advice do you have for someone hoping to pursue a career in engineering?

If you are hoping to pursue a career in engineering, my advice is to find an area you are interested in and passionate about. To me, engineering is about finding ways to improve the world we live in, and you are more likely to want to do that for something that is meaningful to you. Engineering is definitely a difficult area of study and generally results in a career path that can be challenging. Without my interest in space exploration and knowledge that what we learn on orbit can help us here on Earth, it would have been much more difficult for me to pursue this path.