Spring 2019 Leadership

Laurina Sousa President    United States Air Force 2004 - 2014    Hometown: Hayward, CA    Major: Interdisciplinary Studies    Minor: Business Administration    "I grew up as a first generation 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. As the president of this student group, I intend to apply all that I have learned in order to propel this group so that every student veteran feels included in our veteran community.  I intend to 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. I aspire to promote the Cal Veterans group mission by improving connection, networking and engagement opportunities. I am extremely proud to be a part of of this group and I hope to reach as many veterans as possible.  AIM HIGH!”

Laurina Sousa
President

United States Air Force 2004 - 2014

Hometown: Hayward, CA

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies

Minor: Business Administration

"I grew up as a first generation 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. As the president of this student group, I intend to apply all that I have learned in order to propel this group so that every student veteran feels included in our veteran community.

I intend to 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. I aspire to promote the Cal Veterans group mission by improving connection, networking and engagement opportunities. I am extremely proud to be a part of of this group and I hope to reach as many veterans as possible.

AIM HIGH!”

Zachary Valdez Vice President    United States Army 2011 - 2016    Hometown: San Diego, CA    Major: History and American Studies    Minor: Education   “I’ve had an extraordinary military career in the United States Army, it was both challenging and exciting. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and shortly after that, I was activated for the California Wild Fires in 2015. I left the military in order to pursue my education in hopes of one day giving back to my veteran community. I have conducted research on the Deportation of United States Veterans in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, U.K., and the Philippines as a SURF fellow.  I am thrilled to be the Cal Veterans group Vice President while I am a student at UC Berkeley. I look forward to ensuring this groups advancement and success as we navigate our educational and professional careers.”

Zachary Valdez
Vice President

United States Army 2011 - 2016

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Major: History and American Studies

Minor: Education

“I’ve had an extraordinary military career in the United States Army, it was both challenging and exciting. I deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and shortly after that, I was activated for the California Wild Fires in 2015. I left the military in order to pursue my education in hopes of one day giving back to my veteran community. I have conducted research on the Deportation of United States Veterans in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, U.K., and the Philippines as a SURF fellow.

I am thrilled to be the Cal Veterans group Vice President while I am a student at UC Berkeley. I look forward to ensuring this groups advancement and success as we navigate our educational and professional careers.”


Luis Cornejo   Secretary    United States Marine Corps 2011 - 2015    Hometown: Palm Desert, CA    Major: English   “I joined the United States Marine Corps and served as a Main Battle Tank Mechanic, attaining the Rank of E-4/Corporal before I transitioned out of active military service. Upon leaving the Marine Corps, I worked in the auto collision industry for a year until beginning my college education at at Community College called College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Ca. Although I was uncertain about my academic abilities, I quickly found support in the veteran community at College of the Desert, eventually serving as president of the school’s student veteran organization there. Now, in my second semester at U.C Berkeley, I seek to assist student veterans in the same way I did at my community college.   In general, I think its important to help service members  transition back into civilian society but I think that doing so in an academic setting is especially important. As service members, we know how to thrive under pressure, and we have the tenacity to thrive here, but sometimes the strange landscape of education can be daunting. For me, being part of the Cal Veterans Group means doing what we can to assist our student veterans. By giving them the community and peer support they had in the military, veterans are more free to focus on their academics, myself included.”

Luis Cornejo
Secretary

United States Marine Corps 2011 - 2015

Hometown: Palm Desert, CA

Major: English

“I joined the United States Marine Corps and served as a Main Battle Tank Mechanic, attaining the Rank of E-4/Corporal before I transitioned out of active military service. Upon leaving the Marine Corps, I worked in the auto collision industry for a year until beginning my college education at at Community College called College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Ca. Although I was uncertain about my academic abilities, I quickly found support in the veteran community at College of the Desert, eventually serving as president of the school’s student veteran organization there. Now, in my second semester at U.C Berkeley, I seek to assist student veterans in the same way I did at my community college.

In general, I think its important to help service members transition back into civilian society but I think that doing so in an academic setting is especially important. As service members, we know how to thrive under pressure, and we have the tenacity to thrive here, but sometimes the strange landscape of education can be daunting. For me, being part of the Cal Veterans Group means doing what we can to assist our student veterans. By giving them the community and peer support they had in the military, veterans are more free to focus on their academics, myself included.”


 
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."

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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