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UCLA Veterans

Psychology, UCLA Sophomore (Gunnery Sergeant, Marine Corps)

José is a first-generation American, his parents migrated to the United States from El Salvador in the mid 1980’s, and he was born and raised in Houston, TX. The past five years José has been all around the world serving on the Marine Expeditionary Unit acting as a quick reaction force to combat threats, provide humanitarian aid, and build diplomatic relations with foreign partners. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan and Darwin, Australia prior to his selection into the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program at UCLA.

José joined the military for a change in environment. He grew up in an area least conducive to individual success with few role models. He was seeking structure, and the Marine Corps was a tremendous blessing that changed the trajectory of his life. One of the biggest lessons José has learned from the Marine Corps is to maintain discipline. Discipline can outperform natural talent and José has incorporated this towards his academic life at UCLA by having the discipline to simply show up to every lecture, discussion, homework assignment, etc.

José’s interest in Psychology stems from the desire to understand human behavior and the motivation fueling it. He believes every individual has unlimited potential, understanding the mechanism driving the human mind can help him help others to systematically achieve their goals and become the best version of themselves. The most important aspect of the Veterans in STEM program for José is to receive personalized knowledge within a diverse community. He believes diversity can be established not only by people from different backgrounds and cultures, but by unconventional ideas as well. Having veteran representation in the STEM fields allows for unique perspectives from individuals who are generally well-cultured, well-traveled, and have occupied various leadership positions to enrich the already thriving STEM community.