STEM Professional of the week

Omar Esquilín-Mangual      
US Army Engineer Research & Development Center

Omar Esquilín-Mangual is a Research Civil Engineer in the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL) of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). The GSL provides research and development solutions to challenges in geotechnical and structural engineering and related disciplines for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Army, Department of Defense and the Nation.

Omar grew up in San Juan Puerto Rico where he pursued his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. Upon graduating, he was hired at Structural Steel Works, Inc in San Juan, Puerto Rico as a quality control and manufacturing supervisory engineer for steel building construction. However, Omar wanted to continue his education, and in order to pursue his master’s degree , he began working as a consultant in the fields of structural/geotechnical engineering, while attending graduate school. Once he completed his Master's, Omar left his native Puerto Rico to pursue a career with ERDC in Vicksburg, MS, where he works today.

Throughout his career, Omar has led diverse teams of engineers and technicians in executing challenging experiments in the field and has established himself as an independent researcher. At ERDC, Omar is an invaluable member of a group devoted to research in survivability and force protection, with emphasis on development of lightweight modular protective structure solutions and analytical assessment capabilities. He actively leads in the development of lightweight Modular Protective Systems (MPS) which benefit all of the Department of Defense. MPS' are portable and easy to assemble structures that can be put together rapidly to provide shelter and to protect individuals in times of combat. Omar's efforts in supporting the research and technology for creating the MPS' help to safeguard the lives of military and civilian personnel from the threat of damage from small-arms munitions, projectiles and other explosive devices.

Omar is also very committed to supporting community activities that help and motivate youth who are interested in pursuing STEM careers. In particular, Omar volunteers his time to help mentor the Vicksburg Siege Robotics Team 456. Through his various mentoring activities and coaching abilities, Omar continues to further his profession and he has positioned himself to serve as an incredible role model. Through the ERDC – University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez summer internship program, helps next generation of students at his Alma Matter in their pursuit of professional careers. A life-long learner, he continues to develop himself through post-graduate academic training, professional societies, and community activities.

Omar holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. He is currently enrolled in a structural engineering doctoral program at Mississippi State University, which he is expected to complete in 2019.

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