Jacob S. Kopp ’10

Jacob S. KoppJacob S. Kopp ’10 served as an Army Ranger, Special Operations Combat Medic, and member of the Joint Special Operations Task Force during two combat tours before attending UCLA. While here, he continued his service as Acting First Sergeant and Battalion Medical Officer for the 445th Civil Affairs Battalion in Mountain View, Ca. He is now halfway through a master’s degree at Columbia University and is currently a principal and Vice President of Marketing for a fast-growing manufacturing company in the mining and minerals sector.

David Castanon ’81

Steven C. GerkenDavid Castanon ’81 writes, “I graduated from UCLA with a double major in Biology and Geography-Ecosystems Conservation and Analysis. I am currently Chief of the Regulatory Division of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District. The Corps Regulatory Program is the federal government’s most important program for protecting wetlands and other aquatic ecosystems. I manage a talented and committed team of multidisciplinary scientists and professionals in such fields as ecology, various biology specialties, fluvial geomorphology, environmental engineering, and planning. Our team of regulators is located in several offices: Los Angeles, Ventura, Carlsbad, Riverside, Phoenix and Tucson. These professionals evaluate permit applications from a broad range of public agencies, businesses, and private land owners who desire to build projects within wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes, or the ocean. Major infrastructure (highways, rail, renewable energy, pipelines, port expansions), mixed use or residential housing, construction on military bases, as well as private developments by individual land owners require Corps permits when they will affect aquatic resources whether on public or private land. The program annually affects about $50 Billion worth of construction projects within the Los Angeles District’s area of responsibility: Southern California from the Mexican Border to the Monterey County Line and Mono Lake as well as the State of Arizona. Evaluation of these applications requires thorough environmental analysis, application of a watershed perspective, and compliance with a wide range of federal environmental statutes: Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, Clean Air Act, and others. This program is challenging and often controversial in that the Corps is charged with balancing environmental protection with economic needs of society and private property rights which means that affected parties (land owners, neighbors, businesses, environmental groups, and elected officials) are rarely fully satisfied. However, the Corps regulator’s ‘honest broker’ role and ability to personally affect how projects are designed and built results in tremendous job satisfaction.”

Nelson Michael ’79

Nelson Michael ’79 completed both a Ph.D. and an M.D at Stanford School of Medicine and holds the rank of Colonel in the US Army Medical Corps. Recently, the U.S. Army, the Thai Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease announced positive results from HIV vaccine field trial that for the first time ever shows a positive, partially protective effect.

Binh Le ‘92

Binh Le ‘92 (Marine Biology) has been working for the past ten years on board Sailing School Vessels at Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, teaching nautical science, oceanography, and marine biology. He is also a US Coast Guard licensed and accomplished captain and has more than 75,000 nautical miles under sail. He is currently teaching science in a public school in Berkeley, California.