Veteran finds meaning in UCSB summer research

Coming from a small town, I had nothing but big dreams. Not really understanding the value of education during high school I neglected my academics. Infatuated with sports and leadership, I enlisted in the United States Marines Corps infantry, where I matured rapidly and gained invaluable skills that are forever-instilled in me. After being honorably discharged I found myself lacking goals and ambitions, which was reflected in my mindset at college. I was astonished to feel this way; having no drive to excel was something I had not experienced before. I decided to take a break from school for a year to rediscover lost ambitions. Physically and mentally I worked and grew, and in return, I was clear minded and regained a feeling of ease and confidence. I returned to school with that hungry attitude to be great. I now see my schooling in a different, clearer light and I immerse myself in it, striving to reach my maximum potential, so I can have a large and positive effect on the world.

So you might be thinking, why did I pick such a rigorous major? During my time of reflection and struggled transition out of the Marines I thought deeply about my current and past passions, which have remained with me over the years. I found myself thinking back to when I was a little kid, building intricate forts and tree houses and again in more advanced applications as a Marine, building mud machine-gun towers and bridges. I’ve connected to engineering throughout my youth and into my adulthood, and I felt a calling to this major, driven by the same emotions that lead me to the Marine Corp Recruit Depot, Paris Island, South Carolina. Fulfilling my outgoing spirit, now I have an outlet for my past transitioning struggles.

I enjoy doing this research opportunity because it diversifies my academic and professional experiences and will provide me with a unique skill or edge in my career. Besides suffering from the typically struggles of military transitioning: PTSD, tinnitus, and physical injuries, I think one of the biggest struggles were no longer having a mission and purpose. Getting out of the Marine Corps I was no longer around an elite team that overcame tremendous challenges and important missions. Being in Professor Mostofi’s lab, surrounded by a new team, working on exciting projects that are significant to our country, which is similarly to my military missions, makes me feel inspired and complete again.

Gregory Zaborski

Gregory is a Marine Corps combat student veteran at Saddleback College, Mission Viejo. He is an active member in his community and school including Robotics club, Astronomy and Physics Club, and Student Veterans of America (SVA). He recently attended the Warrior to Scholar project at Yale University and participated on this year’s Solar Decathlon with Team Orange. He is serving as the president for SAME (Society of American Military Engineers) and VSC (Veterans Student Council). Gregory is currently interning at UCSB. At his internship, he is a small part of a big picture where his lab researches RF sensing, see-through imaging with WiFi, X-ray vision for robots, communication-aware robotics, and robotic networks. His current educational path is to attend Stanford University to obtain his bachelor’s degree in engineering. Through the completion of his immediate goals of higher learning, he will have the technical knowledge and skill sets to accompany his creative mind. He will apply his trade as a catalyst to positively change the way we live and the constructs of our societies.