Academic All-American Garrett Kauppila put his summer to use tackling an issue of need in a Colorado Springs neighborhood.

The Air Force safety and fifth-year senior interned with a local consulting firm that explored affordable senior housing on the city’s southeast side – brainstorming ways to spur economic growth with the project while filling the residential void.

“It was good to feel like you’re giving back to the community,” Kauppila said, “and put your brain toward something more local. If you’re a part of something big you’re a very small fish in it and you never really see your impact. When you’re a part of something small and local you can have more impact in it. It’s nice.”

The summer prior to this, Kauppila interned at Deloitte in Washington D.C.

The management major holds a 3.85 GPA and became the first Falcons player since 2004 to earn first-team Academic All-American status after last season. He is serving on the NCAA Division I football oversight committee as a Mountain West representative.

Kauppila has been among Air Force’s most productive players over the past two years — averaging 4.5 tackles per game with two blocked kicks, four passes broken up, a forced fumble and fumble recovery — but has struggled to stay healthy. A broken arm last year (which cost him just four games as he returned ahead of schedule) followed a season-ending cracked collarbone the previous year, and that came after knee injuries suffered earlier in his career.

Scheduled to graduate in December after taking a medical turnback during his junior year, Kauppila has been assigned an acquisitions job in Los Angeles. However, he’s hoping to land a spot in graduate school.

He’ll be fine with either, as a job in California would allow him to be close to his brother, Kyle, as he continues rehabilitation from head injuries sustained in a September 2017 motorcycle accident.

“It becomes tougher and tougher to make progress as things begin to solidify,” said Garrett, who plans to offer his brother a change of scenery by bringing him from Northern to Southern California if he is stationed in Los Angeles. “But he’s doing well. He keeps saying, ‘I’m going to be running soon. I’m going to play basketball.’ And I’m just like, ‘I’m ready. Let’s do it.’ His outlook is very optimistic.”

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