Assistant Scientist, Science

Vincent Beltran
 

A native of Southern California, Vincent Beltran grew up in Long Beach, the son of parents—both originally from the Philippines—working for the U.S. Postal Service. Music and sports were an important part of Vincent's youth; he studied the piano and the saxophone and played on a number of baseball and basketball teams. In high school, his interests in environmental science and oceanography developed, the result of an exceptional chemistry teacher and many weekends spent near the ocean. He majored in chemistry at UCLA but soon realized that he wanted to incorporate more fieldwork into his studies. During college, he served as an intern with the local environmental group Heal the Bay and participated in research at the UCLA Mass Spectrometry Laboratory and at the Bodega Marine Laboratory north of San Francisco.

Following graduation, Vincent worked as a chemist for nearly two years at an industrial chemical company in Los Angeles, preparing and analyzing gas mixtures for use by research institutions. Oceanography remained an interest, and in 1998 he began graduate work in the subject, moving to Honolulu to study at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His studies there focused primarily on coastal geochemistry, particularly with respect to pollution. For his thesis, he researched the storm-driven transfer of particulate metals from the land to the coastal ocean through several watersheds in Hawaii. In addition to research, he also gave weekly lectures as part of a team-taught undergraduate course on oceanography. Although busy with his studies, he nevertheless found time to train for the Honolulu marathon and to work at the university's radio station, hosting a weekly music show called Verses from the Abstract, featuring funk, soul, jazz, and hip-hop.

In the summer of 2002, he applied for a position with the Environmental Studies section of the GCI Science department, and soon thereafter he returned to Los Angeles to join the Institute's staff. Since then, he has worked on several GCI projects, including the development of alternative climate control systems for buildings housing collections in tropical climates; the collection and analysis of macro- and microclimatic data from the environmental monitoring station at the Maya site of Copán; and the design of an oxygen-free display case for the world's first photograph, created by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.

Vincent continues to enjoy the combination of laboratory and fieldwork that the position affords, as well as the challenging interaction between science and conservation.