Ateneo Physics alumna Angeleene Ang: PhD student at ITMO University in Russia and Ben-Gurion University in Israel

November 06, 2018
Quirino Sugon Jr

After finishing her BS Physics degree from Ateneo de Manila University in 2015, Angeleene “Zemmy” Ang won first place at the SPIE International Day of Light competition hosted by the Nano-optomechanics Laboratory of ITMO (Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics) University in St. Petersburg, Russia. She accepted her graduate scholarship prize at the university and finished with a degree in MS in Photonics and Optical Information Technologies, with her thesis “Scattering Forces within a Left-Handed Photonic Crystal.” In 2017 she moved to Israel for her PhD in Optics/PhD in Electrooptical Engineering studies, a joint program of ITMO University with Ben Gurion University of the Negev. She now works on “Tailoring Optical Forces Through Electromagnetic Field Manipulation Using Auxiliary Structures.”

Below is an interview with Zemmy Ang by Ateneo Physics News.

1. What got you interested you in science? Were you homeschooled?

I first got curious about the world when I was a little kid, watching how fireworks change the color of the night sky. It also really helped that my family had an impressive library with three sets of encyclopedias. I have my late brother to thank for that. One of those encyclopedias was a children’s science set, and I read the entire series. I absolutely loved the volume on space exploration and engineering inventions. I wasn’t homeschooled, though. I went through three private schools. I left the first one Montessori Child Learning Center (now known by a slightly different name)—because of reasons that are still unknown to me. I left my second school—Holy Family School, it’s that one behind Claret School—because I couldn’t fit in with an all-girls crowd. I eventually graduated high school in Saint Claire School in Villa Corrina (it’s now defunct). In school, I did relatively well in the STEM classes, except for Biology. When it came to choose my major, I knew I wanted to do more science-computer-y stuff.

2. What motivated you to choose BS Physics in AdMU?

I originally wanted to do B.S. Chemistry-ACS, but my parents said that it only leads to a teaching career (which I didn’t want, and still don’t). So I switched it to BS Computer Engineering and got accepted in Ateneo. Halfway through the first semester of the second year, I realized that I was bored and I wanted to do something more. Something relating to whatever those guys in that lab with a placard “Photonics Lab” are working on, that sounded pretty cool. At the time, I was taking a required Physics class, and I honestly enjoyed the topics we were discussing. The class itself, not so much. So I switched majors. And then I found out that the supervisor of the Photonics lab was going on a 3-year sabbatical leave, thus closing the research lab to me and everyone in my batch. I looked for something else. I heard someone else was doing Optics/Photonics research, but what he did was more on the theoretical side. I went to the guy.

Read more in Ateneo Physics News.