Quote: “I was enticed by the opportunity to work and serve in the Air Force and work toward pursuing higher education after.”
Kalo Abban was living in Fredericksburg, Virginia and while he was taking classes at the University of Virginia he decided to join the military. As a student working full time, he was enticed by the opportunities that the military could provide for his education. In 2008, at the age of twenty-two, Kalo joined the U.S. Air Force and received his MOS and became a 2A553B Integrated Avionics Systems (Heavy) Journeyman, Instrument and Flight Controls. Some of his main responsibilities included performing maintenance on the flight control and avionics systems on the aircraft, troubleshooting, completing operational checks, and removing and replacing faulty components. After completing his four years of service, Kalo transitioned back into full time work for an aerospace company and for a short time took courses at Chapman University. When looking to transfer, he remembered LMU’s campus and the surrounding LA area and made the decision to move. Kalo joined the LMU community in spring 2017 majoring in Mathematics. He keeps himself busy with academics while also working full time at Honeywell as a Lead Engineering Tech, where he performs tests on manufactured aircraft parts and assists engineers with developmental testing. After LMU, he plans to continue working for Honeywell Aerospace while exploring career options that would better utilize his degree in Mathematics.
Quote: “Being a CTT is like being an investigator with a calculator.”
Mark Powers was eighteen years old when he joined the U.S. Navy in 2012 as a Cryptologic Technician Technical (CTT). Before joining the Navy, Mark spent his time trekking and orienteering. After multiple conversations with his father while he was in high school about joining the military, he committed to serving his country for the next four years. When asked to describe his job he explained that the pros and cons of the job depended on where you were stationed. After finishing his service, Mark transitioned back to civilian life by attending San Diego Mesa College and Orange Coast College all while working as a salesman at Petco. Upon completion of his coursework at community college, he transferred to LMU in the fall of 2018, to study Electrical Engineering. Mark immediately connected with the Student Veterans Organization and has gotten involved on campus and is utilizing his time to work on research projects and finish some of his personal research papers. After LMU, Mark plans to attend graduate school where he hopes to further his knowledge in Electrical Engineering and work on building things to help contribute towards a better future.
Quote: “In Alaska, I fell in love with the mountains, the ocean, and the untouched wild, and I decided that I wanted to study something that put me out in the open.”
Oscar Repreza is a Los Angeles native who, like many veterans, was inspired to join the military after 9/11. Oscar was interested in the U.S. Marine Corps because he believed it would present him with the greatest challenge in comparison to the other branches. At the time, many incentives were being offered for joining other branches, but the only incentive for the Marine Corps was simply “being a Marine” and he respected the pride that came from that. In 2005, at the age of eighteen, Oscar enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps as part of the infantry. He soon rose to become the team leader for a machine gun team, and then later became a squad leader. While being a machine gunner allowed him more freedom in comparison to other infantry jobs, it also came with a heavy cost, literally. A machine gun weighs about twenty-five pounds, not including extra parts or ammunition, making it difficult to travel. Oscar completed four years of service and then spent the next few years working for a telecommunications company as a lineman. It was not until a vacation in Alaska and experiencing the serene nature landscapes that he decided to go back to school to study something that would allow him to work in that kind of environment every day. Living in Wichita, Kansas, he began taking courses at Friends University before transferring to LMU to study biology. Oscar is currently involved with the Center for Urban Resilience (CURes) and is assisting in a few projects there and one through SURP. He is working on a white-paper that establishes best management practices for the Ballona Freshwater Marsh, and working on a project that looks at the yearly mosquito larvae fluctuations at the marsh. During the summer Oscar worked with Dr. Covino of LMU, through SURP, to identify the birds that nest in the Ballona marsh and record the variables associated with their habitat. After LMU, Oscar would like to study Wildlife Biology at the University of Alaska and eventually work for the National Park Service.