Sully Rangel

MSc Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors,2018
Nuclear Reactor Physicist, Engineer and Data Scientist, Rolls-Royce

In my current role, I do a combination of nuclear reactor physics, engineering and data science (analytics, data investigations and methods). I use my advanced understanding of nuclear reactors, engineering, physics and problem-solving skills to solve very difficult problems and to optimise, engineer and automate the engineering decisions that go on at Rolls-Royce.

I work on large data sets, and very complex engineering equipment systems to extract useful information to act upon. I get to learn to program and work with fantastic teams around the business who are clever hard-working people from all backgrounds. I am always learning something from the people around me and getting to see some amazing engineering and products being built.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

The learning process and working with incredibly intelligent people with varied and interesting backgrounds who are very humble and have a very good professional working culture. I really enjoy learning more about the products we deliver and the decisions we make and understanding how to make world-class products and how to be a great engineer and reactor physicist.

Sully Rangel

What made you interested in your current role?

Learning and developing my knowledge from talented people in the field of nuclear engineering and reactor physics. Solving very hard problems. Pushing boundaries and doing new stuff.

How has your career developed since graduating?

I attempted multiple times to get into Rolls-Royce and have had odd jobs for over a space of two years after graduating before landing my current role, life isn't perfect! I kept on applying myself as best as I could, in whatever role I managed to do! Eventually, I received several opportunities at several world-class financial, consulting and engineering companies in different sectors. I continue to prove myself, trying and building myself even today by having a growth mindset and being open to opportunities. This is what helped me land my current role.

What motivates you?

Life motivates me! The ability to beat the odds, the chance to create something, and to be someone worth looking up to. Leaving a legacy which will be passed on, delivering value to others and being helpful. My faith teaches me to learn, to teach, and to be a leader where possible. I love to help people where I can and have mentored over 50 students over the last 5 years and the satisfaction of knowing that I helped them get ahead and be better people is one of the many things that motivates me.

We Are (Third Width)

Why did you originally apply to the University of Birmingham?

I love physics and studying how things work, so after receiving a few scholarships for master's courses, I chose Birmingham. This was because I have a long-standing history with the University, its staff, some of the public lectures hosted there. Additionally, the general interactions I've had with people in the University have been amazing. I chose to specialise in Nuclear Reactor Physics and Technology because of my passions during my undergraduate degree doing modules in Radiation Physics and Physics and Energy of the Environment. This got me thinking about how I could use my knowledge for some common good and Birmingham is second to none when it comes to nuclear reactor physics and technology, with a long-standing heritage of training people with the fundamentals to go into the nuclear industry .

What are your fondest memories of the University?

The amazing people from around the world whom I got to socialise with and experience their culture and understand their perspectives. The sporting facilities and amazing campus are something like a dream, second to none in my opinion and the campus and its buildings have the right balance of being a place to study knowledge as well as yourself.

Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

Yes, I volunteered at several charity events and took part in campus activities and helped mentor other students. I was also doing an industry-based course which had several guest lecturers who practise what they teach and I got involved with some of the external industry talks. For example, I managed to get several work experience opportunities in patent law through networking events at the university and even attended a few consulting and finance events at the business school to build my wider understanding of the world outside of science. These are a minute amount of the vast variety of things that you could get involved in. These things set you apart from others and improve you, your knowledge, and experiences. Just enjoy yourself and spark your internal flame to keep exploring and learning.

How did your time at University help you start your career?

The exposure gained to different topics, and things in life are amazing and it is definitely a time to capitalise on and not waste time. Build some life capital in these years in all aspects of life, such as learning how to manage your finances, budgeting, managing daily life activities. Getting involved in projects and events will stand you in much better stead in the industry if that is where you intend to go, likewise getting involved in research, academia, learning and reading are invaluable. Don't spend your time frivolously; get busy doing something and reflect on what you like and don't like and use that to your advantage.

What advice would you give to current students?

The degree is almost entirely based on industry and common practice around the world. Attend as many lectures as you can and ask as many questions as you can. Don't care about making mistakes as that is the best way to learn in a safe environment such as this course and the University in general. Make use of the private MSc student room, and reach out to PhD students for the workshops. The workshops are like having a primer for best practice and knowledge. 

Any final words?

I have too much to write here as a mentor, feel free to reach out to me and I will try and help you if I can.

I tend not to accept "random" requests that seem to have no context or have no message with the request.

I am a huge fan of LinkedIn and use it often and one thing that will help the current students is learning how to reach out with relevant and engaging messages, it's a small thing that can go a long way. 'You don't ask, you don't get! 

You can contact Sully via his LinkedIn Profile


Sully's final words...

“Do the work, create your own luck and reap the rewards! You don't ask, you don't get!”