Angelo Hawa has some advice for his fellow students at the McKelvey School of Engineering: “There are so many great opportunities — life-changing opportunities — that are just a simple email away. It’s amazing how many of these opportunities are accessible.”
Hawa, who will graduate from Washington University in St. Louis this spring with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in aerospace engineering, practices what he preaches. During his sophomore year, he worked in the lab of Patricia Weisensee, assistant professor of mechanical engineering & materials science. It was an opportunity that came about following an email.
“I sent her a random email, and I didn’t really expect much to come from that,” he admitted. “But immediately, she replied and said, ‘let’s meet.’”
In the Weisensee lab, Hawa worked on a project that examined how water contamination affected the efficiency of boiling on different surfaces. That research would eventually lead to Hawa earning credit as a second author on a paper published through the lab.
“It was a bit overwhelming,” he said. “It was also incredible being thrust into that new experience and environment."
That early success in research would help prepare Hawa for eventually being named a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship. He plans to leave St. Louis this summer to begin his work in the lab of his adviser at the University of Michigan.
“I’m excited to start doing what I want to do in terms of my career and progressing toward my final degree,” he said.
Hawa’s ultimate goal is to eventually become a professor and help train the next generation of researchers and scholars.
Outside of the lab, he's developed his mentorship skills by serving as an engaged leader in the WashU community. He was a tutor with Undergraduate Student Services, a Peer-Led Team Learning leader for the Department of Physics and a WashU Student Ambassador.
“I’ve always enjoyed teaching,” Hawa said. “At the same time, I enjoy the idea of research and discovering new things. I want to be a professor and that role combines research and mentorship together. Those have been the aspects I’ve combined in my undergraduate career.”