Christian Hubicki ’07, M’11 wanted to survive Survivor, so as soon as he learned he was named a contestant on the latest season of the reality show, he began a Superman-like training regimen.
“I thought, ‘Gosh, what kind of shape am I in?’ ” says Hubicki, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering specializing in robotics at Florida State University. “Within a few months, I was doing 300 pushups a day. I knew I wouldn’t be the strongest one on the island, but at least I wouldn’t be the weakest link.”
Hubicki admits to being a fan of the show since it first aired in 2000. He was 14 then and told himself he’d be on it someday. Over the years he applied, and the fourth time was the charm.
Interviewed before the series ran, September through December, Hubicki was contractually forbidden to say when or if he was voted off the island or if he used his robotics know-how to create any contraptions on the show. However, he believes his science background, which includes his Bucknell mechanical engineering degree, intrigued producers enough to make him a contestant.
Hubicki calls Professor Keith Buffinton, mechanical engineering, his mentor. “He set me on the path to robotics,” he says. “He was very open-minded and encouraged me to follow my passion.”
That passion may have been his ticket to Survivor.
“After I got the call, they were interested in me, so I sat down with [show host/executive producer] Jeff [Probst] and explained the parallels between robotics and complex control systems, and getting voted off the island. He was intrigued,” Hubicki says.
Learning to be open-minded helped when it came to dealing with the behavior of other contestants. “Hey, if someone wanted to walk around without clothes, let them have it,” Hubicki says with a chuckle.