Sonja Smith ’10

Sonja Smith ’10 is a PhD student at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, FL studying the ecological role of marine wrack under Dr. Jim Fourqurean.  She will soon be participating in a soft-sediment LTER working group – a collaboration of researchers at different long-term ecological research (LTER) sites across the country – and will be representing the Florida Coastal Everglades site (FCE-LTER).

Ivan De La Torre ’07

Ivan De La Torre ’07 recently graduated from San Francisco State University (August 2012) with a Master’s Degree in Biology (Physiology and Behavior). He was on a Federal grant (NIH MA/PhD Bridge to the Future). He is now returning to the medical side, taking a revolutionary position with the UCLA Health System as a “Patient Champion.”

Bilquees Akhtar ’06

Bilquees Akhtar ’06 is Manager of Regulatory Affairs at Puma Biotechnology, Inc., in the Los Angeles area. She has received a Master’s in Public Health from CSU Northridge this spring. After graduating from UCLA, Bilquees started working for Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. She was working in the Regulatory Affairs department for a submission of late stage drugs for the treatment of prostate cancer. In July 2009, J&J acquired Cougar. She continues to manage and compile submissions of the New Drug Application for prostate cancer that was approved by the FDA in April 2010.

Jeremy Jacquot ’05

Jeremy Jacquot ’05, who was a prolific science writer during graduate school, is working these days on finishing his doctoral dissertation at USC.  He writes, “I just attended the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, where I gave a talk and poster presentation, and recently attended the U.S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic cruise as part of my thesis work.”

Ken McPherson ’65

Ken McPherson ’65 writes, “I look back fondly on the ecology and evolutionary biology classes I took as a Zoology major, preparing to apply to medical school. ‘Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’ was to me a profound concept. Genetics was fascinating as well. I was doomed by chemistry however; although I knew at the time that I did not have the commitment to medicine to be accepted to med school, let alone take on the rigors of that discipline. I briefly considered stopping by the career center but thought I should be able to figure things out myself and, being shy and unassertive, did not pause to research my career options. Instead I barely graduated in 1965 and postponed a career choice until grad school, at Cal State, L.A., where I earned my masters degree in counseling. Had I considered my options before graduating I might have investigated transfer to UCLA’s Film School for a career in documentary film-making. I liked to draw as a kid and was a fan of the films of Robert Flaherty and documentaries like The Louisiana Story and Nanook. In 2006 I retired from a 35 year career as a career counselor and instructor in the career services and community college cooperative education programs where I was employed, advising students to do what I should have done at their age and helping them transition from school to work with internships. I became an advocate for students to do informational interviews and internships and urged the college to create an alumni-based career consulting network, such as the one UCLA has to this day in BruinWorks. After I retired, I started a personal history services business and have been making ‘affordable mini- documentaries’ for family, friends and groups in the Claremont community. I have maintained an interest in career development and am an active member of the LinkedIn Career Services Professionals group, and several other career related LinkedIn groups, as well as the UCLA Alumni Association, where I joined BruinWorks.” Ken gave a special seminar at UCLA in January to our undergraduates on “How to Prepare for Life After Graduation,” including advice on preparing for information interviews, professional school applications, and personal career marketing in the context of an online video simulation he has created. Ken adds, “I’m using an iWeb template with a comic book format to appeal to 18-24 year old shy introverts who need career direction, much as I did back then. At present I am publishing a first draft on my mobile me account at kenmcpherson. Username: simulations. Password: tr3nding. You may publish that link and password as well inasmuch as I want to reach out to alumni to allow a project team to come into their place of business and record the alum reading and improvising from cue cards – the storyboarded informational interviewing scenarios designed with Career Center and BruinWorks input and published on the new site,”

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.

Diane Buxbaum ’60

Diane Buxbaum ’60 (Zoology) received an MS in Environmental Health from Hunter College and an MPH from Columbia. She is an environmental scientist at the US Environmental Protection Administration, working on compliance assistance and enforcement in Region 2, EPA. She holds positions at the City and State level of the Sierra Club and works on a variety of environmental issues, among them cleaning a polluted canal near her residence in Brooklyn and addressing the nexus between population X environmental degradation of land and aquatic environments X global climate change.

Andrew Tsiu ’08

Andrew Tsiu ’08 writes: “Currently, I am continuing my academic career at UCLA’s School of Public Health in the Environmental Health Sciences department to achieve my Masters in Public Health. I am also an intern at the Los Angeles & San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council working on their Angler survey project. Additionally, I am the Co-President of the Public Health Students Association and am applying to the Environmental Science and Engineering Program at UCLA.”

Gwen Noda ’99

Gwen Noda ’99 (Marine Biology), MA ’06 is the co-Director at UCLA for COSEE-West, one of a network of COSEE (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) Centers around the United States that is funded by the National Science Foundation. Gwen has worked and volunteered in a variety of field and lab science research positions as well as in informal and formal education settings, including shipboard instruction and summer outdoor science camp in the Sierra Nevada. Her current volunteer efforts are dedicated to diving in the Kelp Forest exhibit in the new Ecosystems wing at the California Science Center.