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Road to Research: Angelus Almera

Abigail Cavizo | May 20, 2024

Angelus Almera is a junior at USD with a major in mechanical engineering. Outside of engineering, Angelus loves spending time with his friends and exploring San Diego, despite the city being his hometown. Throughout his college experience, Angelus involved himself on the executive board for Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, a club for STEM students with Asian American ethnic backgrounds. He also partakes in the Filipino Ugnayan Student Organization (FUSO), intramural volleyball, and dances for “Less Than Three,” a dance group at USD. Although he’s a busy person, he enjoys it and wouldn't want it any other way. 

Currently, Angelus works at the front desk department within the engineering building. He’s also had the chance to apply his learned skills within multiple research projects. For Angelus, he largely credits AnchorSTEM as a program that helped him become the student he is today. 

AnchorSTEM is a program for students in STEM, providing support, scholarships, opportunities with faculty, and academic resources. Outside of the professional space, AnchorSTEM also gave Angelus a space to connect with other students in the program. As part of the first cohort of students, he came into USD with connections to his peers. Angelus is thankful he had AnchorSTEM to ease him into his first year at USD. 

“I immediately was able to use AnchorSTEM for networking. I was able to meet a lot of engineering professors, and I ended up doing research for them the summer of my freshman and sophomore year.” 

The first research opportunity Angelus took part in was in peer scholars with Dr. Gordon Hoople in summer of 2021. He was one of the students that created an “arts builds” project for the popular desert festival, Burning Man. 

In the summer of 2023, Angelus kept up his connections to do a different research project with biofuel. 

“Another research project I did under Odesma,” Angelus said. “We got to do research on extracting biofuel from San Diego waste ingredients, which was really cool because it was also an international collaboration with some people in Barbados.”

Every student in AnchorSTEM gets assigned a faculty member to provide external support, separate from their academic advisor. Mentors help students with research, scholarships, and academic management. For Angelus, Dr. Hoople happened to fill both roles of his academic advisor and AnchorSTEM mentor. Having done research with Dr. Hoople before, fostering the relationship further helped Angelus feel more comfortable with coming to him for advice, developing himself both personally and academically. 

Dr. Hoople and AnchorSTEM also gave Angelus the chance to receive work study, a federally funded program which allows college students to work during their academic journey as full-time students. 

“Dr. Hoople talked to Steve in the machine shop and I was able to be an apprentice under him,” Angelus explained. “I also work in the engineering department’s front desk, because of these connections from the work study too. It was a whole chain of networking.”

In recommending the AnchorSTEM to other future students, Angelus discussed how the program is a guiding light for students, especially within the first year of college. 

“AnchorSTEM is a place that shines in networking. You can get one-on-one time with faculty to talk about what you really want to accomplish and major in, not just on the professor level, but also to people who are higher up,” Angelus attested.

This upcoming summer, Angelus will hopefully be working in a circuits manufacturing company in San Diego. In the future, he hopes to work with more product design. More specifically, Angelus’s engineering niche lies within wearable technology, such as virtual reality sets and apple watches. Problem solving and designing wearable technology is something that he wants to pursue in the future. 

Eventually he wants to settle in San Diego, but between then, he hopes to travel post-graduation. San Diego is his home and using these experiences and his mechanical engineering major, Angelus has big dreams to make an impact. 

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