肯尼亚籍大卫(David WafulaWekesa)是我校航天学院二年级留学生,自2013年9月入学以来,攻读动力学与控制方向博士研究生。






My Life in HIT: Two Year experience as a continuing PhD Student

Hi, I’m David, a PhD student at Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin City, Heilongjiang Province. I have been in China for 2 years and my research field is on ‘Wind rotor aerodynamics and blade dynamic loading in unsteady winds’ at the Department of Aerospace and Mechanics, Institute of Dynamics and Control of Spacecrafts, School of Astronautics.


I joined HIT in September 2013.  The first step I did on meeting my research Professor was to find out and understand the HIT graduate school requirements of the PhD programfor my major. I was also happy because my supervisorunderstood my research topic and within one week he had already set up necessary materials and a Lab to commence my work. He also introduced me to fourProfessors in my department who could offer me theoretical background related to my research work, and also did an introduction and assigned his Chinese students to assist complete my admission process. This really gave me an advantage and confidence because they were and are still very helpful anytime I seek their assistance. My simple advice to any new foreign PhD research student is, as Albert Einstein puts it, “if we knew what we were doing it would not be called research,” do not be ‘I know it allkind of student’ especially when it comes toresearch studies in a foreign country. On many occasions I have learned many things, and I am still learning, from the Chinese Masters students in my major. And the ability to function relatively well within the Chinese system is very much dependent on your corporation with the research team under your professor.

Prior enrolling for the PhD program in China, I had done a MSc. Degree, Physics, with a major in Wind Electronics and Instrumentation. As a result, my PhD topic has some good degree of relationto myMsc. degree. This gave me an added advantage, especially at initial stages of my research work. Another important factor you need to consider is that if you choose a topic which is not a priority in your country, then you might have a problem to find a job once back home. In addition, even if you get job, the environment for application of the research knowledge that you would have acquired after completion ofthe PhD program might lack. Note that it is not the information you have that makes a difference, it is the application of the information.

Since my commencement of my research work, following the above stated immense support from my professor, I have managed to publish 3 SCI papers from my research findings. In addition, I have also attended 2 conferences, one supported by my Professor and another by the International Student Center (ISC) conference grant. I really appreciate both for supporting me to attend the international conferences, and they havefor sure increased my research knowledge base and broadened my research community network.  Moreover, as a young scientist, I have been requested and received a privilege to review articles of Theory and Applied Mechanics Letters(Elsevier) and Engineering Applications of Computational Fluid Mechanics(Taylor and Francis) journals in the research fields of Rotor and Blade Computational Fluid Dynamics and associated experiments.


A research study in HIT and everywhere in the world is something wonderful but requiring many efforts.First of all, what every student should have in mind is that nothing is easy and that every success requires a minimum of sacrifice and commitment. One of my secrets of focusing on my PhD research study is to look for people whose research work mirrors the kind of research topicI want and finding out how they got there. They include, my research supervisor and co-supervisor, senior PhD students from various related fields, experienced scholars from my University and other universities. Few research tips based on my experience in HIT as PhD student include the following:

a.Always discuss your research findings: How you discuss your research findings is very important in the success of your academic research study. According to me, it is the outsiders who see the value of our ideas but not ourselves. It’s important to remember at any instant that our future success depends on our ability of talking with others, making ourselves understood, and defending our opinion when we don’t agree.  Frequent discussions with your supervisor or co-supervisor is something of great importance especially at data analysisand Journal selection stages.

b.Have your own plan of study: Always have your own plan of study and do not let or allow anyone to disturb it. Redeeming time involves plan documentation, establishing your priorities, identifying what you value, making decisions based on destiny, friendship inventory, and not trying to please everyone. For my case, I do what I have to do on time and in time, and have more free time, because time goes fast and nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Therefore, for me, my objective is to try my best to do everything I can do today and never put off until tomorrow what I can do today. Sometimes even though I know I’m free tomorrow, I prefer to finish what I can today.

c.Sleeping hours: For me, sleep is one of the way to keep healthy, have a refreshed life and study well. In normal times, when I do not have pressure of deadlines, I always sleep at 11:30 p.m. and wake up at 6:30 a.m. and go to jog at 6:45 a.m., ready for lab work at 7:30a.m. But when there is pressure of writing papers like Journal/conference articles or responding to their revisions after review process, I sleep just 4 hours per day. It is important to remember that I am studying in a foreign country whose education systemis in a foreign language, so there is need to sacrifice for my success.

d.Free-time:  I have little free time, but I have set aside on each Friday at 1-4 pm I go to play badminton with my friends (in most cases my lab mates). Besides, on Sunday when I am free I go to visit friends nearby the campus, and at times in the countryside where the scenery is very beautiful. In addition, if your Chinese is quite good and you have got more free time, you can learn many things about the Chinese culture, history, literature, etc. 


Assembling wind rotor and preliminary experimental tests for wind tunnel measurement

In our Lab, we use many techniques for wind rotor aerodynamics and blade loading measurements but the most frequent are Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Wind tunnelexperimental approaches.

At my lab desk carrying out data analysis 

Celebrating Chinese 2015 New Year Eve

Our research grouptour photo during a retreat

15th International Conference Workshop on Research and Education in Mechatronics (REM)

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