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Geological sciences doctoral alum chose ASU for research education

Ángel García (right) with School of Earth and Space Exploration adviser and mentor, geological sciences professor Steven Semken (left), in the Superstition Mountains.

March 07, 2019

Editor's note: This profile is part of a series on outstanding School of Earth and Space Exploration alumni.

Ángel García recently earned his doctorate in geological sciences from Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at James Madison University in Virginia.

García chose ASU because he saw that the School of Earth and Space Exploration was at the forefront of geoscience research and education.

“The School of Earth and Space Exploration offers a unique and interesting combination of expertise,” he said. “Being surrounded by so many topics of research made me more informed about what is happening within the geoscience community and provided a broader scope of where the discipline is heading.”

During his time at ASU, García was involved in numerous clubs and activities that enhanced his experience. He participated in the International Students Committee for the Graduate and Professional Student Association, the School of Earth and Space Exploration Graduate Student Committee, as well as in the ASU chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

When asked about his favorite professors and mentors, García said that geological sciences professor Steven Semken was both a mentor and an adviser who helped enrich his experience at ASU.

“Professor Semken was always looking out for my well-being as a student, a developing professional and as future faculty,” he said. “I really appreciate the independence, as well as the discipline that he gave me.”

García also developed a good relationship with Professor Everett Shock. “Everett was my adviser on one of my projects and during difficult times, he always had advice that was revitalizing,” said García. “I really enjoyed my conversations with him.”

García’s advice to students beginning their freshman year at the School of Earth and Space Exploration is to keep their eyes open, be ready to listen and to interact with many professors as possible.

“Sometimes the combination of taking classes and doing research doesn't let us observe or appreciate what is in our surroundings,” he explained. “By interacting with different faculty you can enrich your academic career. At the school there is a diverse group with different science interests, academic and cultural backgrounds — that is something that is really special.”

When asked what he likes about his current job, he said it is giving him the opportunity to keep developing his research in ethnogeology and multicultural education, as well to explore deeper research interests in the discipline of karst geology (sinkholes and caves).

García’s plans for the future are to continue his research in ethnogeology and the geology of caves, and to work with students. He is also looking for a permanent faculty position where he can grow professionally. 

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