2022 Tillman Scholar

Angel Escobar-Rodas

Harvard University
Master of Architecture

“The greatest individual growth comes through encouraging others. As a designer and educator, I will encourage the next generation of designers to rethink how we inhabit the built environment.”

Angel Escobar-Rodas is a first-generation American, born and raised in South Los Angeles. He has been influenced by various professional experiences in residential construction, teaching swimming and fitness, and his service in the U.S. Navy. The first in his family to serve, Angel worked as a mechanic on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan CVN 76, where he took part in Operation Enduring Freedom. He was also involved in Operation Tomadachi’s humanitarian relief efforts after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Since being honorably discharged from the military, Angel has pursued an education in architecture as a first-generation college student.  

During his architecture studies at Woodbury University in Burbank, California, Angel pursued avenues of service through volunteer social workshops in Latin America, where he worked with teams and communities to design and build public spaces in impoverished areas. As the only American volunteer, Angel drew upon his upbringing and military service to forge connections and work collaboratively with an international group of designers. Angel sees the impact of community-based design-and-build projects and endeavors to bring this positive impact to communities in the United States through design and design education.    

Angel is currently pursuing a Master of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he is focusing on the ways in which design can positively impact communities. Angel’s long-term goals include starting his own architecture practice that focuses on design-build strategies and design-oriented social programs for communities, as well as teaching design.