Recent ISF Graduates

Christopher Adcock

Global Health and Society

A Fall 2014 graduate, Christopher is now pursuing concurrent MD/MPH degrees at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Chris wrote a comprehensive senior thesis on the dangers that the use of lead bullets poses to hunters and their families. He was a national semi-finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy (Academic Heisman), selected for the PAC12 All-Academic first team three times, and listed as the second smartest player in college football in 2014 on Chris is also 2015 Oscar Geballe Post-Graduate Scholarship winner. Chris also majored in Business... Read More

Huda Adem

International Health and Development

After graduating in 2011, Huda participated as a Health Career Connection intern at Kaiser Permanente's Regional Health Education, working on domestic health education projects that focused on cultural competency and outreach. Following this experience, she pursued her interests in global health by participating in a project with the World Health Organization in Cairo, Egypt doing research on community based initiatives. After 6 months, she returned to the US to complete Kaiser Family Foundation's Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars program in Washington D.C. and engage in education and... Read More

Vrinda Agarwal

International Economic Development

Vrinda Agarwal previously interned at the White House and will start working full-time at Goldman Sachs as a Public Finance investment banking analyst after graduation this year (Spring 2015). She double majored in Political Science (Department Citation Winner) and ISF. Vrinda is very passionate about public service and leadership, and is a four-time recipient of the Cal Alumni Leadership Award. As a sophomore Vrinda co-founded the Big Ideas-winning non-profit organization 100 Strong, which serves to empower low income women through leadership development, mentorship, and entrepreneurship... Read More

SIerra Alef-Defoe

Bioethics and Global Healthcare Law

Sierra Alef-Defoe completed her thesis on quality of life in pediatric cancer care in Spring 2015 following a course of study in global healthcare law. She has been admitted to Yale's Summer Institute for Bioethics where she will continue her research on ethics in pediatric medicine. 

During her time at Cal, Sierra spent a semester in Washington, D.C., where she edited a guide for newly diagnosed brain tumor patients for Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure. She also spent one summer in the South of France, where she interned in the French Department of Public Health and studied in an... Read More

Melissa Barker

Higher Education and Access

Melissa provides this abstract of her 2011 thesis: “Attending UC Berkeley is Not Part of Your Welfare to Work Plan: The Social Impact of Welfare Reform on Low- Income Single-Mothers Pursuing Postsecondary Education”:

“Single-mother-students on welfare are a small and unique demographic in the institutions of Higher Education. While conducting research on Maui County , Hawai ' i and in Alameda County, California I qualitatively examined the trajectory of single mothers on welfare pursuing higher education at the University of Hawai'i, Maui and University of California,... Read More

Pat Beck II

International Financial Systems

 Since graduating from the ISF major in 2011, Pat scaled a startup BPO firm that specializes in the luxury goods market into the European marketplace as a Global Business Development Manager. This allowed for plenty of travel while he was tasked with opening new offices abroad. Presently, Pat is the Managing Director for the company's European subsidiary and advises the board of directors for the domestic firm. By identifying the right countries for growth while prioritizing work-life balance for future employees, Pat focused the company on factors beyond profitability.  This fall, Pat... Read More

Brit Benjamin

Globalization and International Trade

Brit graduated from ISF in 2010, having focused on globalization and international trade. Her thesis, Subordinating Women's Interest: Natalism and Heteronormative State Policy, was a comparative analysis of reproductive policy and propaganda in the United States, Germany, and the Soviet Union in the first half of the 20th century. After graduating, Brit worked for The Seasteading Institute, a non-profit working towards building autonomous cities in international waters to experiment... Read More

Alex Bigman


Alex will be starting a PhD program in History of Art and Archaeology at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU in Fall 2014, and looks forward to bringing his ISF training to bear upon his research within this exciting discipline. Alex’s thesis was an analysis of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, using cognitive linguistic theories of Mental Spaces and Conceptual Blending to explore how the modernist play's unusual structure helps to reveal the workings of its characters' minds. Since graduating, he has continued to develop his interest in art history through work as a freelance arts... Read More

Laura Bolton

Information Technology and Society

After graduating in the Spring of 2014, Laura moved to New York and began work at one of the world’s leading brand consultancies. The title of Laura's thesis was "Internet Privacy and the Behavioral Advertising Industry: Controversies, Challenges and Recommendations to Reduce Consumer Fears Online." Laura's thesis compared regulatory practices in Germany to those in the UK and US. 

Laura was both an international student and California resident. She writes: “The ISF major was perfect as I'm a very independent person and loved formulating my own schedule of classes,... Read More

Berké Brown

Self-Efficacy, Society and Health

Before graduating in 2015, Berké was awarded two independent research grants becoming a 2014 S.U.R.F. Fellow and 2015 McNair Scholar. Berké was also awarded the EOP Achievement Award for leadership and community service, the Academic Achievement Program Award for his McNair Research, the Academic Achievement scholarship, and served as the Vice Chancellor's Public Fellow for the American Cultures Engaged Scholarship program.  

His research focused on internal and external motivation and their influence on health behavior. Drawing on course work in Public Health, Psychology and... Read More