Angel Lima Hernandez

Meet Angel Lima Hernandez, a 4th year Chemistry major. Angel is a participant in the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) program, an NSF-funded program whose goal is to enhance diversity in the STEM fields by supporting students from historically underrepresented groups. We had the chance to ask about Angel’s research experience at UCLA:

1. How did you first get involved in your research project?

Before contacting professors, I participated in URC Research Workshops and Newsletters to understand how to get involved with research. I then contacted professors whose work I found interesting, and Professor Sarah Tolbert kindly responded. Professor Tolbert involved me in my current project, a joint one with Professor Sarah Tolbert and Professor Richard Kaner, which I have been working on since Winter 2023. My project involves studying the inverse Hall-Petch effect in superhard transition-metal diborides.

2. How would you describe your research experience at UCLA?

My research experience at UCLA has been fantastic. I am very happy that I get to work on a long term project that I can call my own. By reading papers, asking questions, and learning from my mistakes, I have been able to obtain a strong knowledge foundation that enables me to excel in my work. The research experience at UCLA has shown me the nuances of a Ph.D program, and has given me the confidence that I can do well in one.

3. What is one piece of advice you have for other students thinking about getting involved in research?

One piece of advice is to identify your specific interests in a field. For example, I am particularly interested in materials/inorganic chemistry. Once you are able identify your specific interests, you can go ahead and search for labs that align with your interests. Then once you are in a lab, you have the curiosity to learn all about your project and push the research forward.

4. Have you attended a conference before? If so, can you describe your experience on preparation, presenting, etc.?

Yes, in August 2023 I attended the Summer Programs for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Symposium, where I talked about my research over the summer. My overall experience for this Symposium was rewarding. The main struggle during the preparation process was delivering the talk in a calm and professional tone. However, after plenty of practice with the CAMP director Dr. Jorge Avila and my fellow CAMP scholars, the talk ultimately went well. The continuous practice helped me gain a new confidence in my ability to talk science, and therefore my overall ability as a professional scientist in training.

5. What are your future career goals?

My career goal is to become a lead scientist in industry with a Ph.D in Chemistry. I hope to have more of a leadership role while also performing my own research.