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UCLA Veterans

Engineering Geology, UCLA Junior (Sergeant, Army)

Marcelo grew up in San Fernando Valley, but his family is from El Salvador. He discovered his passion for geology during an elective introductory geology class at UCLA. He was fascinated to learn about earthquakes and witnessed in real time the Pritzker Hall Building being renovated for seismic safety improvements. He knew then he wanted to apply the knowledge of geologic structures and processes into real world situations.

Marcelo joined the Army as means to pursue further education, and along with his years in service, his pride for his country also grew. This motivated him to further develop himself and serve his community. The most significant lesson he learned during his time is that limits are simply mental boundaries you set for yourself. Marcelo learned that if he applied himself in training and maintained an overall well-being, he would be setting himself up for success.

As a Vets in STEM scholar, he values communicating and working alongside like-minded individuals. He believes veterans are a small fraction of the population with distinct qualities and experiences that can bring new perspectives into STEM. The experiences shared among veterans also create a bond just like family which cannot be found elsewhere. This has been a comforting feeling for Marcelo, especially in rigorous scientific environment. He believes any kind of diversity should be welcomed in the sciences. He would specially like to see an intertwining of different fields of STEM.

He is currently also serving in the Army National Guard and involved in NATO field operations in Germany, Counter Drug Task Force in California, and Task Force Rattlesnake with CALFire. He feels fortunate to have gained from real-life experiences and knowledge that boost his confidence to search for and take advantage of opportunities he may have missed previously. He enjoys riding motorcycles, playing indoor volleyball, and spending time in nature.