2020 Tillman Scholar
Dedicated to supporting people to reach their potential, Gabriel has always sought opportunities that would allow him to cultivate growth in others and himself. Having been raised by a father who suffered from service-related disabilities during Operation Desert Storm, Gabriel additionally wanted to protect those who continuously sacrificed to serve our country. Gabriel joined AmeriCorps service in California and later enlisted into the Air Force as a bioenvironmental engineering technician, identifying, evaluating and controlling hazards to which military members are routinely exposed.
During his service overseas in Okinawa, Japan, he empowered workplace supervisors with scientific data and educational materials to prevent illness and injury associated with hazardous noise, chemicals, radiation and many other workplace risks. He also aided in characterizing potential environmental exposures in areas surrounding the base, which fostered trust with the local community.
Within four years of service, he recognized that health status is a resultant of our home, work, built and natural environments. To augment his understanding of this connection and to better serve others, Gabriel separated from the Air Force to pursue a masters of public health at University of California-Los Angeles to one day become a certified industrial hygienist.
Now equipped with knowledge and experience, Gabriel will return to his hometown to safeguard the health of the community that fostered his growth. In doing this, he hopes to empower others to live fulfilling lives free of harm from preventable illness and injuries.