Outstanding Senior Spotlight: Angel Daniel Rodas Garcia

Angel Daniel Rodas Garcia, a mechanical and aerospace engineering major at the University of California, Davis, found his way into research by sharing a personal moment with Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Stephen Robinson 

A man smiles in a room with a white and blue background
Angel Daniel Rodas Garcia (Cody Duty/UC Davis)

“During one of his office hours, we had a very touching discussion about both being first-generation students and the struggles associated with being the first in your family to move towards higher education,” Rodas Garcia said. “It was a very heartwarming experience that made me feel like I belonged in engineering and could have a successful future in it.”  

Rodas Garcia was in Robinson’s applied aerodynamics course at the time. When the course finished, Robinson offered Rodas Garcia a research position in his Human/Robotics/Vehicle Integration and Performance, or HRVIP, Laboratory, as a lead project engineer in the Deep Space Habitat Analog project.  

The undergraduate designed the habitat for the deep space project, from figuring out which materials could work best to how to be cost-effective and making tough decisions within hard deadlines.  

“It’s been the most rewarding and fulfilling project I have ever worked on,” he said. “It helped me gain confidence in my abilities and improve both interpersonal skills and skills I had learned through my coursework.”  

While Robinson’s support and encouragement have helped Rodas Garcia on his journey, he also acknowledges his friends as pillars of support through the tough times of his education, and he has an immense amount of gratitude for the people around him who have helped him achieve his dreams.  

Upon graduation, Rodas Garcia will stay at UC Davis to pursue his Master of Science degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and continue research in the HRVIP lab. He will work with the lab’s space ambulance project for his master’s thesis.  

As someone who can trace his engineering roots back to his toddlerhood love of building things — blocks, trains, cars and planes — and a never-ending curiosity about machines and how they work, Rodas Garcia says he never thought he would be the one to be building and designing the same machines. But having learned knowledge and attained skills while at UC Davis, he knows he’s in the right field.   

Primary Category