Fall 2018 Officers

      Cassidy Nolan   President       United States Marine Corps                                2008 - 2013        Hometown: Napa, CA        Major: Business Administration     " I was born and raised in the Bay area but call Napa my true home.  As a child my biggest heroes weren’t sport stars or industrial magnates, but more so of the people who were willing to give literally everything they had for the community and country.  I joined the United States Marine Corps soon after graduating HS in 2008 and trained as an Intelligence Analyst.   Separating from the service was the hardest decision to make however education would ultimately become my salvation.  I have been active in the veteran community for many years but the caliber of the men and women here at Cal in unapparelled to anything I’ve come across before.  The “tribe mentality” that exists here at Cal is what drew me in and continues to push me to ask “what else can I do to better the group?”  The Cal Veteran Group offers the platform in which veterans from all walks of life can get together, help each other and continue to create memorable experiences.  If your looking for someone to understand you, offer advice or guidance or simply a place to hangout then the CVG is the place for you.    Semper Fidelis!"

  Cassidy Nolan
  President

  United States Marine Corps                                2008 - 2013

  Hometown: Napa, CA

  Major: Business Administration

"I was born and raised in the Bay area but call Napa my true home.  As a child my biggest heroes weren’t sport stars or industrial magnates, but more so of the people who were willing to give literally everything they had for the community and country.  I joined the United States Marine Corps soon after graduating HS in 2008 and trained as an Intelligence Analyst. 

Separating from the service was the hardest decision to make however education would ultimately become my salvation.  I have been active in the veteran community for many years but the caliber of the men and women here at Cal in unapparelled to anything I’ve come across before.  The “tribe mentality” that exists here at Cal is what drew me in and continues to push me to ask “what else can I do to better the group?”

The Cal Veteran Group offers the platform in which veterans from all walks of life can get together, help each other and continue to create memorable experiences.  If your looking for someone to understand you, offer advice or guidance or simply a place to hangout then the CVG is the place for you. 

Semper Fidelis!"

  Johnny Merkley Vice President    United States Marine Corps                                        2008 - 2012    Hometown: Sacramento, CA    Major: Political Science    "I grew up in Sacramento, California where I eventually graduated from Bella Vista High School in 2008. Shortly after, I joined the Marine Corps at 18 years old and became a combat correspondent. During my enlistment I was attached to the Silent Drill Platoon in Washington D.C. where I traveled the states as they performed shows and ceremonies for various audiences. After completing this one year duty, I transferred to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. My active military service ended in 2012 where I began working and going to school in both Sacramento and Santa Cruz, eventually transferring to UC Berkeley as an International Relations major.   As the secretary, I will ensure proper recording of meeting minutes are documented. Clear communication and dissemination of information is key and I intend to continue the fluidity of this process throughout the semester."

Johnny Merkley
Vice President

United States Marine Corps                                        2008 - 2012

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Major: Political Science

"I grew up in Sacramento, California where I eventually graduated from Bella Vista High School in 2008. Shortly after, I joined the Marine Corps at 18 years old and became a combat correspondent. During my enlistment I was attached to the Silent Drill Platoon in Washington D.C. where I traveled the states as they performed shows and ceremonies for various audiences. After completing this one year duty, I transferred to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. My active military service ended in 2012 where I began working and going to school in both Sacramento and Santa Cruz, eventually transferring to UC Berkeley as an International Relations major. 

As the secretary, I will ensure proper recording of meeting minutes are documented. Clear communication and dissemination of information is key and I intend to continue the fluidity of this process throughout the semester."

   Ronald Xiao    Secretary     United States Marine Corps                                         2009 - 2017     Hometown: San Francisco, CA     Major: Political Economy    "I served in the Marine Corps from 2009 to 2017. During my enlistment I served overseas in Japan, where I supported the humanitarian efforts during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. I was eventually transferred to Headquarters Marines Corps Office of Legislative Affairs where I assisted and supported the liaison staff in regards of congressional matters. Upon the completion of my active duty period in 2013, I transitioned into the reserves at 23rd Marines Regiment while attending community college before transferring to Cal.  I intend to continue to serve my community and give back as a finance officer for the Cal Veterans Group, which has provided a second home for veteran students at UC Berkeley."     

 Ronald Xiao
 Secretary

 United States Marine Corps                                         2009 - 2017

 Hometown: San Francisco, CA

 Major: Political Economy

"I served in the Marine Corps from 2009 to 2017. During my enlistment I served overseas in Japan, where I supported the humanitarian efforts during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. I was eventually transferred to Headquarters Marines Corps Office of Legislative Affairs where I assisted and supported the liaison staff in regards of congressional matters. Upon the completion of my active duty period in 2013, I transitioned into the reserves at 23rd Marines Regiment while attending community college before transferring to Cal.

I intend to continue to serve my community and give back as a finance officer for the Cal Veterans Group, which has provided a second home for veteran students at UC Berkeley."
 

 

 
  Anthony Luna Finance Chair    United States Army                                                      2006 - 2010    Hometown: San Pedro, CA    Major: Economics     "I grew up in San Pedro, California, a working-class town connected to the Port of Los Angeles. Since I was a little boy I knew I wanted to do more than just work, I wanted to become a hero and change the world. I thought the military was the right place to do just that. At 18, I joined the Army Infantry and linked up with my brothers on the front line in the war against terror in 2006. I have two deployments in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Moreover, I earned the rank of Sergeant/ E-5 and led my own team in combat at the age of 20. I exited the Army in 2010 and went to work as an electrician for a couple years before I started to feel unfulfilled with the trade. I quit my job and decided to go back to school. I spent 3 years at Los Angeles Harbor College and I found that a career in economics would be challenging, rewarding, but most importantly, another way to make an impact in the world.  Being accepted and attending Berkeley has been my biggest blessing because I never thought I would step foot in a university let alone the number one public university in the world. The knowledge, resources, and community the CAL Veterans Group delivers has been pivotal to my success thus far and I am eager to give back. As the Finance Chair of the CAL Veterans Group, I will bring the leadership, attention to detail, discipline, and accountability to foster a smooth, prosperous, and productive organization. I want to ensure that the needs of CAL veterans are met with the high regard and fluidity that enhances our growth and success here at Berkeley."

Anthony Luna
Finance Chair

United States Army                                                      2006 - 2010

Hometown: San Pedro, CA

Major: Economics
 

"I grew up in San Pedro, California, a working-class town connected to the Port of Los Angeles. Since I was a little boy I knew I wanted to do more than just work, I wanted to become a hero and change the world. I thought the military was the right place to do just that. At 18, I joined the Army Infantry and linked up with my brothers on the front line in the war against terror in 2006. I have two deployments in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Moreover, I earned the rank of Sergeant/ E-5 and led my own team in combat at the age of 20. I exited the Army in 2010 and went to work as an electrician for a couple years before I started to feel unfulfilled with the trade. I quit my job and decided to go back to school. I spent 3 years at Los Angeles Harbor College and I found that a career in economics would be challenging, rewarding, but most importantly, another way to make an impact in the world.

Being accepted and attending Berkeley has been my biggest blessing because I never thought I would step foot in a university let alone the number one public university in the world. The knowledge, resources, and community the CAL Veterans Group delivers has been pivotal to my success thus far and I am eager to give back. As the Finance Chair of the CAL Veterans Group, I will bring the leadership, attention to detail, discipline, and accountability to foster a smooth, prosperous, and productive organization. I want to ensure that the needs of CAL veterans are met with the high regard and fluidity that enhances our growth and success here at Berkeley."

  Allen Lopez Public Affairs Officer    United States Army                  Hometown: Los Angeles, CA    Major: Political Science   "Starting from the age of 19, I served in the Army from 2011-2015 as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist. During my first year of service, I was overseas in South Korea, where I oversaw and implemented chemical defense training for soldiers in the Demilitarized Zone. I was later promoted to an E-5 Sergeant until the completion of my service.  As I transitioned out of the military, I knew I wanted to continue my education and decided to begin my educational career at Pierce College. During my time at Pierce, I became a Student Senator and represented the college at the Student Senate for California Community Colleges General Assembly. Soon after graduation, I decided to transfer to Cal.  I am privileged and honored to have the opportunity to attend UC Berkeley and serve in the Cal Veterans Group as the public affairs officer. I believe this group does invaluable work to provide a community and resources for student veterans. My goal is to keep those traditions alive, so that student veterans have the necessary tools to succeed well after their time in Cal.  Go Bears!"

Allen Lopez
Public Affairs Officer

United States Army              

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Major: Political Science

"Starting from the age of 19, I served in the Army from 2011-2015 as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist. During my first year of service, I was overseas in South Korea, where I oversaw and implemented chemical defense training for soldiers in the Demilitarized Zone. I was later promoted to an E-5 Sergeant until the completion of my service.

As I transitioned out of the military, I knew I wanted to continue my education and decided to begin my educational career at Pierce College. During my time at Pierce, I became a Student Senator and represented the college at the Student Senate for California Community Colleges General Assembly. Soon after graduation, I decided to transfer to Cal.

I am privileged and honored to have the opportunity to attend UC Berkeley and serve in the Cal Veterans Group as the public affairs officer. I believe this group does invaluable work to provide a community and resources for student veterans. My goal is to keep those traditions alive, so that student veterans have the necessary tools to succeed well after their time in Cal.

Go Bears!"

  Eric W. Graham   Professional Outreach Chair    United States Air Force                                                 2001 - 2007    Hometown: Charleston, SC    Major: Political Economy    "I served in the Air Force as a Communication Systems Engineer. During that time, I also deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. I am currently in the final year as a Political Economy major at Cal. As Professional Outreach Chair, my goals are to continue building the professional network for the Cal Veterans Group.  I am determined to provide the Cal veterans with the support and professional resources necessary in order to be successful in their professional endeavors."

Eric W. Graham
Professional Outreach Chair

United States Air Force                                               2001 - 2007

Hometown: Charleston, SC

Major: Political Economy

"I served in the Air Force as a Communication Systems Engineer. During that time, I also deployed to Kuwait and Iraq. I am currently in the final year as a Political Economy major at Cal. As Professional Outreach Chair, my goals are to continue building the professional network for the Cal Veterans Group.

I am determined to provide the Cal veterans with the support and professional resources necessary in order to be successful in their professional endeavors."

   Michael Taylor  Community Outreach and Fundraising Chair     United States Army                                                     2010-2014    Hometown: Burbank, CA     Major: Sociology with a Minor in Legal Studies   "The Cal Veterans Group has the unique privilege of supporting veterans as they make the transition into higher education. The group’s ability to facilitate between UCB staff, local partners in the community, and other resources helps ease the transition for many of our members. Additionally, working with the group also provides a positive outlet for student veterans looking to make a difference. Harnessing this energy to enrich the lives of those here now, as well as future members is one of my top priorities. The Cal Veterans Group can also serve as springboard for the next phase of life by developing critical skills that are in high demand in today’s competitive job market. Finally, I hope that through our hard work, our organization can serve as an example of what highly driven student veterans can achieve."   

 Michael Taylor
 Community Outreach and Fundraising Chair

 United States Army                                                     2010-2014

Hometown: Burbank, CA

 Major: Sociology with a Minor in Legal Studies

"The Cal Veterans Group has the unique privilege of supporting veterans as they make the transition into higher education. The group’s ability to facilitate between UCB staff, local partners in the community, and other resources helps ease the transition for many of our members. Additionally, working with the group also provides a positive outlet for student veterans looking to make a difference. Harnessing this energy to enrich the lives of those here now, as well as future members is one of my top priorities. The Cal Veterans Group can also serve as springboard for the next phase of life by developing critical skills that are in high demand in today’s competitive job market. Finally, I hope that through our hard work, our organization can serve as an example of what highly driven student veterans can achieve."

 

   Laurina Sousa                                                               S  ocial Media Chair     United States Air Force                                                 2004 - 2014     Hometown: Castro Valley, CA     Major: Interdisciplinary Studies    "I grew up as a first generation born U.S. citizen. I decided to enlist in the military for a better life and eventually earn money for school. I also desired to see the world while serving my country. I served in the United States Air Force in several capacities, as a financial Management Technician, a Special Air Missions Flight Attendant and as a C-17 Loadmaster. I deployed to the Middle East in 2010 and worked with international military forces and dignitaries. I flew into countries I never knew existed, saw the depths of despair in poverty stricken regions and hiked unfamiliar territory. Through all of this, I managed to keep in touch with those I have met all over the world through social media.   I believe we are all connected like never before and with technology, we can accomplish a lot of good. I intend to fully utilize this online presence and put student veterans at the forefront. I am extremely passionate about keeping the veteran community connected and conspicuous. I hope to continue spreading awareness and sharing resources through various innovative platforms because every veteran matters. As social media chair, I aspire to promote the Cal Veterans group mission by improving connection and engagement opportunities. I am extremely proud to be apart of of this group and I hope to reach as many veterans as possible.   Aim High!"       

 Laurina Sousa                                                               Social Media Chair

 United States Air Force                                               2004 - 2014

 Hometown: Castro Valley, CA

 Major: Interdisciplinary Studies

"I grew up as a first generation born U.S. citizen. I decided to enlist in the military for a better life and eventually earn money for school. I also desired to see the world while serving my country. I served in the United States Air Force in several capacities, as a financial Management Technician, a Special Air Missions Flight Attendant and as a C-17 Loadmaster. I deployed to the Middle East in 2010 and worked with international military forces and dignitaries. I flew into countries I never knew existed, saw the depths of despair in poverty stricken regions and hiked unfamiliar territory. Through all of this, I managed to keep in touch with those I have met all over the world through social media. 

I believe we are all connected like never before and with technology, we can accomplish a lot of good. I intend to fully utilize this online presence and put student veterans at the forefront. I am extremely passionate about keeping the veteran community connected and conspicuous. I hope to continue spreading awareness and sharing resources through various innovative platforms because every veteran matters. As social media chair, I aspire to promote the Cal Veterans group mission by improving connection and engagement opportunities. I am extremely proud to be apart of of this group and I hope to reach as many veterans as possible.

Aim High!"

 

 

   Brittny Reed                                                                 Event Coordinator     United States Army                                                       2010 - Present                                                 Hometown: Amesbury, Massachusetts        Major: Sociology   "I grew up on the east cost in New Hampshire. I graduated from Exeter High School in 2010 and joined the New Hampshire Army National Guard shortly after graduation. I moved to Elk Grove, California a year later and transferred to the California Army National Guard. I was placed in 870th MP Company out of Pittsburg, CA. During my time with the 870th, I completed three years on active duty orders and responded to the fires in Sonoma County in October 2017. I began community college in 2014 and transferred to UC Berkeley in 2017.   Although I am currently still serving and continuing my education, my service will be coming to an end August 2019.  Regardless of my other obligations at this time, I will ensure as the event planner for the CVG, all events for our veterans will be planned accordingly. I look forward to creating events where student veterans, alumni and members of the community can come together." 

 Brittny Reed                                                                 Event Coordinator

 United States Army                                                     2010 - Present                                            

 Hometown: Amesbury, Massachusetts   

 Major: Sociology

"I grew up on the east cost in New Hampshire. I graduated from Exeter High School in 2010 and joined the New Hampshire Army National Guard shortly after graduation. I moved to Elk Grove, California a year later and transferred to the California Army National Guard. I was placed in 870th MP Company out of Pittsburg, CA. During my time with the 870th, I completed three years on active duty orders and responded to the fires in Sonoma County in October 2017. I began community college in 2014 and transferred to UC Berkeley in 2017. 

Although I am currently still serving and continuing my education, my service will be coming to an end August 2019.  Regardless of my other obligations at this time, I will ensure as the event planner for the CVG, all events for our veterans will be planned accordingly. I look forward to creating events where student veterans, alumni and members of the community can come together." 

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