Lifestyle

Michel Kripalani, Class of ’89

It’s no wonder video games still cap the top of your birthday wish list: The industry has gone from GoldenEye to Gears of War in two decades flat. Just as video games began to make their way from TV sets to computer screens, Michel Kripalani was gearing up to graduate from UCSD with a Bachelor of Visual Arts. He was also finishing up a “life-changing” internship with a local design firm in Del Mar — one he said made his passion for digital media glaringly clear. “By the time I graduated, I knew what I wanted to do professionally,” Kripalani said. “I found myself at the cutting edge of a new industry. I loved the idea of mixing art and technology.” After college, Kripalani leapt straight into a startup company that set a swift pace for the young entrepreneur. After two years of designing interactive multimedia software, Kripalani switched things up and began to pour his talents into developing computer games. In 1991, when he was 23, he started his second company, Presto Studios, with his roommate, hoping to develop the most advanced graphics a CD-ROM was capable of displaying. In the 11 years that Kripalani managed Presto, the team created photorealistic games such as the Journeyman Project series (a postapocalyptic, first-person adventure), Myst 3: Exile (a quest set in Tolkien dreamscapes) and Whacked! (in which goofy cartoons beat the crap out of each other with oversized staplers and grenades). According to Kripalani, he was never afraid to take risks — an “entrepreneur at heart.” When he was laid off last January by Autodesk — an international software/architectural design corporation — Kripalani was eager to surf the next wave of digital design. “The whole time I was at Autodesk I was planning my next big thing,” Kripalani said. “When Apple shipped the first iPhone in June of 2007, I had to have one. When they made the [software development kit] available to developers and opened the App Store in June of 2008, the writing was on the wall.” That’s when Kripalani decided to embark on his latest business endeavor: iPhone apps. In 2009, he formed Oceanhouse Media along with Presto Studios partner Greg Uhler and his wife Karen. The company that designs and publishes its own line of over 75 positive-spirited iPhone apps — his first (and favorite) being Bowls, a relatively simple program that reproduces the sound of Tibetan bowls every time you flick your finger across the screen. According to Kripalani, his company hopes to produce up to 100 more apps this year, including a series of self-help programs based on the works of popular Hay House authors, and interactive eBooks based on Dr. Seuss classics. Kirpalani said he recommends getting as much work experience as possible in the college years. “Internships are absolutely fantastic — they help to prepare you for the workforce,” Kripalani said. “More importantly, they help you to determine if you truly are passionate about a particular field. So find an internship — jump in and get wet. And yes, Oceanhouse Media is always on the lookout for good interns. We’ve already hosted four students in the last year alone.” ...

Rusty Preisendorfer, Class of 78

In our current economic climate, the thought of making a career — and money — off something we love seems a mere classroom fantasy. But stories of serious daydreamers like 1978 Revelle College graduate Rusty Preisendorfer, founder and namesake of surf brand Rusty, still provide a scrap of hope. ...

Tom Pousti, Class of 86

Despite all the holier-than-thou attitudes on Yelp, ’86 Revelle alumni and plastic surgeon Dr. Tom Pousti has achieved the Holy Grail of consumer review site: a solid five-star rating. Pousti isn’t only popular, he’s experienced too, with 12 years in private practice and over 10,000 surgeries—ranging from the usual tummy tucks and face lifts to the not-so-usual labial reductions, gynecomastias and otoplasties (look ‘em up) — under his belt. Oh, and he’s expensive: A boob job will run you anywhere from $4,800 to $7,300 depending on what material you want floating around in your chest. According to the doc, who graduated with a degree in animal physiology, UCSD was his first choice, as was his profession. Pousti said he had always wanted to be a physician, but ultimately chose to specialize in plastic surgery because of the range of procedures he’d have at his fingertips. “The nice thing about plastic surgery is you get to do head to toe [work] — facial trauma, congenital trauma, burns, all kinds of reconstructive work, hand surgery,” Pousti said. “There’s a lot of variety and I think variety is what makes it interesting.” With 15 years of postsecondary education to his name (and diplomas from UCSD, UCI, and Harvard), Pousti’s spent more than half of his life in school. “You get to be an old guy by the time you get to work,” Pousti said. “But it’s definitely worth it.” And from his comments on what he misses most about our UCSD bubble, it’s clear that Pousti’s had to endure more than his fair share of sleepless nights and cram session to achieve his current success. “I enjoyed [UCSD’s] libraries — lots of places to kind of sit down and study,” Pousti said. “I was a pretty studious guy. I didn’t socialize as much as I would have liked to at that time.” His advice for would-be Nip/Tuck-ers: “Get a good start from the beginning because it’s easier to keep a decent GPA than to try to make up ground. It’s easy to get distracted when you get into college — there’s lots of pretty girls and pretty boys and all kinds of distractions. You gotta stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize.” ...

Gary Jacobs, Class of 79

The Jacobs family name is plastered on buildings and benefits all over San Diego, closely linked to technology and high-class education. It’s no surprise that Gary Jacobs — UCSD alumnus and son of Irwin and Joan Jacobs, after whom UCSD’s engineering school was named — has carried on the Jacob legacy in his own life’s work. Founder and chair of High Tech High — a network of eight K-12 charter schools based in San Diego — 1979 graduate Gary Jacobs received his Bachelor of Arts in management science. After graduation, Jacobs worked as a programmer and software engineer at his dad’s companies: Linkabit and Qualcomm. By the time he left behind the not-so-quaint family businesses in 2000, he had earned the title of senior education specialist at Qualcomm and was striving to improve the math and science programs in local public schools. At the time, the business community was beginning to realize that traditional public high schools were not preparing students with the tools they needed to succeed in the 21st century. As somewhat of a fluke, Jacobs attended an organizational meeting on this issue when a colleague couldn’t make it. “I got hooked at that meeting, and the rest is history,” he said. Jacobs went on to found and chair High Tech High, which takes a revolutionary approach to education: All students participate in community service and internships, with the aid of no textbooks nor traditional subject divisions; for instance, a single class consolidates art, biology and multimedia. Classes revolve around hands-on experiments — like, say, using DNA analysis to identify pieces of African bushmeat that are actually endangered species, illegally poached. It’s an unorthodox but successful formula: Every one of High Tech High’s graduates has been admitted to college. On top of the countless hours he spends fostering High Tech High, Jacobs works in investments, owns minor-league baseball team Lake Elsinore Storm and stays involved in numerous philanthropic organizations in the San Diego area. Gary and his wife Jerri-Anne even managed to one-up Mom and Pop Jacobs in 2006, when they donated $1 million to UCSD — the largest single gift ever made by an alumnus. Despite his success, Jacobs said he still wishes he had established deeper connections with faculty and students at UCSD. “When one is out in the real world, it is extremely valuable to bounce ideas off of people you trust and have a shared experience with,” Jacobs said. ...

Byron Washom

[caption id="attachment_14693" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Photo Courtesy of Rex Graham"][/caption] The green movement at UCSD has gathered substantial momentum over the last five years: Already, the university generates 80 percent of all the energy it consumes. Aside from having all the right scientific resources at our fingertips, a good amount of UCSD’s sustainability efforts can be credited to a dedicated few: students, faculty and volunteers donating their personal time and prowess to make good on the campus’ claim to be one of the greenest universities in the nation. For the last two years, solar-energy entrepreneur Byron Washom has been doing just that: applying his vast knowledge of energy grids, renewable energy, recycling natural gas and creating zero waste to our current situation. “It’s like jumping on a train already running down the tracks, and it’s already headed where I wanted to go,” Washom said. “I haven’t worked this hard in 20 years. I love it.” After two decades as president of Advanco Corp. — the self-founded environmental-technology consulting firm that set a world record in 1984 for converting 29.4 percent of solar energy to the grid — Washom said he is hoping he can preserve the campus spirit that attracted him to UCSD in the first place, when his son began attending the university. Washom soon came on as a volunteer for the school’s sustainability efforts. This past September, Washom became the campus’ first director of “strategic energy initiatives.” The position was specially created for Washom to oversee the implementation of sustainable technology on campus, act as a consultant for green student organizations and oversee a new plan that’ll ensure UCSD meets its energy needs in the most environmentally safe and cost-effective manner possible. He has advised organizations like the World Bank, International Finance Corp., the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy on employing clean-energy technologies here and abroad. According to Washom, green technology is rapidly gaining international attention, and — in the dour face of a stagnant economy — UCSD’s initiatives are pushing the envelope. Not long after being hired, Washom spoke on behalf of the university when he voices his support for a proposal led by SDG&E (in conjunction with 28 other businesses and organizations including CleanTech San Diego and Qualcomm). The plan suggested creating a smart grid — a state-of-the-art electricity network connecting consumers and suppliers in San Diego — and would produce up to 3,200 jobs in Southern California. The proposal was directed at the Obama administration, which set aside $4.5 billion for smart grids nationwide. Just as Washom was entering his new position, the university was also installing one megawatt of photovoltaic solar panels atop the Gilman Parking Structure and initiating construction of a 2.4-megawatt fuel-cell system powered by Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Facility — which will replace carbon-based fuel with a methane-based alternative. Washom said a substantial push for the university’s green ambitions has come from activists within the student body. And, as a host of energy initiatives pick up steam, he said students are becoming more and more involved with the innumerable projects and operations on campus. But good intentions can’t go anywhere without the funds to back them. This past November, a huge chunk of funding was gifted Jacob’s School of Engineering students, who wrote a grant proposal that secured $154 million of federal funds for the development of clean, renewable energy. According to Washom, it comes down to momentum: Once you start getting grants, it’s a lot easier to get even more. “I defy anyone to show me another campus which has the same composition of support for sustainability as UC San Diego,” Washom said. “To know us is to love us.” Readers can contact Kerry Fugett at [email protected] ...

Satin Lounge

[caption id="attachment_14690" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Tyler Kern/Guardian"][/caption] Pitched as “San Diego’s newest 18 and 21 hot spot,” Satin Lounge revolves around the idea that 18-year-olds can enjoy a great clubbing experience without a drop of drink. And if elder folks don’t mind running into their baby cousin and her “Mean Girl” posse while drowning their collegiate sorrows, they might have a pretty good time, too. Probably due to its close proximity to San Diego State, Satin is a far cry from the glamorous nightclub it makes itself out to be. Patrons are required to make their way down a seedy, dimly lit alleyway to reach the entrance of the club, and — if they survive the trek — are then segregated by age into two separate lines. Those of age are welcomed in by a bright-orange wristband reading “OVER 21” in big black letters, while all eager under-agers are shepherded inside one door over, stumbling from pregame overcompensation. The venue itself is a cross between a garage party and rundown strip club, complete with a disco ball and stripper pole in the middle of the dance floor. As for furnishings, red and white circus tent drapes fail miserably at disguising the lounge’s concrete walls, and the sound from scattered TV sets never seem to match up with the on-screen visuals. Though Shirley-temple bars are plentiful in Satin Lounge, the only counter that serves alcohol is caged by a chain-link fence. The ugly orange stripe, of course, is necessary to gain access to this player’s paradise. (Unsurprisingly, it seems a favorite hangout for older clubgoers of the male persuasion — perhaps having something to do with its perch over the wannabe strip-club area, conveniently swarming with young girls). The other drink stations cater to the underage crowd, where younger guys can practice their bar lean as they order a Red Bull or a root beer for the cutie in the corner. Bottom line: Satin Lounge is the perfect destination to meet creepy older guys — and plenty of them. It’s also one of the only places you could get away with wearing sweatpants at a club (but don’t forget your Reeboks with the straps). Whatever the case, you’ll probably have a better time at the Taco Bell down the street. ...