Recent ISF Graduates

Tali Gires

Human Rights and NGO’s

While also winning the Florence Palmer Prize in Political Science in 2014 for her work on NGO’s, Tali wrote her ISF thesis on constructions of gender relations among different ethnicities living in rural communities in the San Martin region of Peru in order to understand how gender and ethnicity play a role in survival strategies for these communities and how gender and ethnic constructions relate to the development of economic and political structures. Based on fieldwork conducted in this region, she analyzed the ways in which these mestizo and indigenous communities have...

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Gianni Glick

Medicine and Society

Gianni will enter Brown Alpert Medical School in the Fall of 2015.Gianni writes that he began the ISF major at Berkeley without a clear sense of direction but eventually decided to concentrate his studies around the question “What makes people heal?”.  He took courses in cognitive science, psychology, social theory, and anthropology. Gianni writes: “In my junior year, I stumbled on the placebo effect and devoted my thesis research to exploring and expanding an evolutionary explanation for why and how people heal when there is no active intervention administered. A few weeks...

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Christina Gomez-Vidal

Political Sociology and Organizational Studies


Cristina’s interests in organizational theory and framing sprang from her work in public service and her academic studies. Cristina has served as Senate Public Member on the Physician Assistant Board of the State of California for the last ten years. She spent over twelve years in nonprofit management before returning to UC Berkeley to finish her B.A.  Her honors thesis was an examination of how Congress has used human rights to advance its own foreign policy agenda through bureaucracies like the Congressional Executive Commission on China....

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Catrina Gotuaco

Education and Human Development

 After graduating from UC Berkeley in May 2013, Catrina pursued her interest in mental health research, and secured an internship as a research assistant for Dr. Nolan Zane at the Asian American Center for Disparities Research (AACDR). She contributed to a publication on cultural adaptations to psychotherapy, and participated in the planning and piloting stages of a study on the construct of face concern, which is known to impact mental health treatment processes among persons of Asian/Asian-American ethnicity. Catrina writes: “Coursework in my ISF area of concentration of Education and...

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Rachel Greenfield

Corporations and Society

After graduating in Spring of 2013, Rachel moved to San Francisco and began working as a Campaign Coordinator at a marketing consulting firm that supports leading technology clients throughout the US. During her time at UC Berkeley Rachel also minored in Global Poverty and Practice. She writes: “My experience as an ISF major profoundly shaped my time at UC Berkeley. I was able to take my education into my own hands and immerse myself in multiple questions surrounding the intersection of business and social impact. I studied abroad in England and was able to see how another country...

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Rosa Hernandez

Transnational Workers' Rights

Rosa Hernandez graduated in Spring 2015. She double majored in ISF and Rhetoric. Rosa’s passion for worker justice led to her thesis on transnational workers’ rights movements across the NAFTA countries and Brazil. During her time at Cal she was a labor organizer with the Service Employees International Union and worked on the leadership development team at the UC Berkeley Center for Research on Labor and Employment. (IRLE)

She received the Cal Alumni Association Achievement Award and was a Public Policy and International Affairs Law Fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy....

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Christine Ho

Language and Power

Christine’s area of concentration was Language and Power in Education; she remembers the inspiration that ISF Advisory Board member Claire Kramsch provided her. Christine’s thesis investigated how teachers can use language to empower students to learn, rather than to dis-empower and alienate them. Christine writes: “This was inspired by my experiences at Cal, taking classes from professors who used language as a tool to help me learn and introduce me to their discipline.... as well as others whose language was so confusing and lofty that I felt disconnected and shut out from the discipline...

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Grace Hwang

Comparative Health Care Systems

Since graduating in May 2012, Grace has been a part of the IT Strategic Services/CIO Chief of Staff Office team at Kaiser Permanente as a Business Analyst. Grace plays a key role in assisting the team deliver on top priority strategic projects on behalf of the CIO, assessing the competitive landscape and trends, and tracks performance management measures for the entire IT organization. One of her favorite projects has been implementing and coordinating a pilot to use an innovative technology solution across six pediatric weight management programs at four Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers...

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Imani Ivery

Globalization and Cultural Identity

After graduating in Spring 2016, Imani interned in Beijing, China for the bookstore and Buzz Feed-style multimedia company, One Way Space. She was featured on the company’s pop culture podcast where she contributed her thoughts on the controversial Chinese laundry detergent commercial which sparked international outrage for its racial implications toward Black people. The podcast was in Mandarin and heard by over 10,000 listeners in Mainland China.
During her time at UC Berkeley, Imani centered her interests on Globalization and Cultural Identity...
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Kamyar Jarazadeh

Migration and Refugee Studies

Kamyar was awarded the Department Citation in 2014 and the prestigious Clarendon Fellowship given to only the most distinguished graduate students across the disciplines at Oxford. He writes: “ISF has been a springboard for all of my past and ongoing projects. I've had the great opportunity to be be a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) scholar, allowing me to travel to Turkey to complete my ethnographic fieldwork and publish in the Berkeley Undergraduate Journal. I will be attending Oxford in Fall 2014, and undertaking the MSc program in Migration Studies. In my spare time, I...

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Shana Johnson

Public Policy and Public Health

After graduating in 2012, Shana went on to New York University to pursue her Master's in Public Health. During her time at NYU she has studied abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. There she was able to see firsthand the obesity crisis and understand the development of the crisis in a clearer sense. In May of 2014 Shana graduated with her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in Nutrition from the  Global Institute of Public Health. This summer she will be traveling to Peru to work with a nonprofit organization to focus on child health and development. Shana writes...

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Hannah Jones

The Psychology and Rhetoric of Leadership

Hannah titled her Fall 2013 thesis: “Expanding the Mind: Leadership for the 21st Century” and provides us with this abstract:Advances in the fields of neural science and cognitive psychology have changed the way leadership development can be conceived of and implemented. The research on adult cognitive psychological development provides extensive evidence for the benefits of brain-based training as the solution to our current leadership crisis. Complex challenges of the postmodern world call for much more than technical capacities and skills, they demand that...

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Katherine Karmen Trujillo

Human Rights

Born in South Central Los Angeles, Katherine is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Honduras. Katherine’s mother, a refugee from El Salvador, and her father, an economic migrant, sacrificed to no end to provide her with an education. Their tireless work ethic inspires her commitment to advancing educational opportunities for others.
Growing up in a community rich in diversity yet marred by violence, Katherine learned to navigate contentious spaces with empathy and diplomacy. At UC Berkeley, she grew fascinated by shared experiences of...
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Elizabeth Kopaskie

Comparative Analyses of Social Power

Elizabeth Kopaskie graduated in May 2013 and will start working towards a Master's Degree in the Department of Social Welfare at the University of Washington in the Fall of 2015. Elizabeth's thesis was titled "Patient Empowerment: Promoting Biosocial Groups and Productivity in the Face of Biopower." It explored patient empowerment theories and protocols in England, Denmark, and the United States, and analyzed these protocols largely through the lens of Michel Foucault's theory of biopower. After graduation, she began working for Seneca Family of Agencies, a non-...

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Evianne Leidig

Postcolonialism and Modernity

Having graduated in Spring of 2014, Eviane then received her Master's at the University of Bristol in the UK before joining the newly founded Center for Research on Extremism at the University of Oslo ( as their first PhD fellow this autumn. Her research project,...

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Lambert Li

Organizational Theory

Lambert is graduating from UCB in 2017. His research field is Organizational Theory and his senior thesis is entitled "Categorizing and Categories of Corporate Social Responsibility". As a Berkeley student he received five research assistantships in the sociology, business, and engineering departements, as well as a position in the Berkeley Law School as a member of the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP). He also had a paper publised by the Berkeley Economic Review, presented a paper at the Sociological Symposium, and servead as editor of the Undergraduate Sociology ...

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Mandolyn Ludlum

Education and Human Rights

Upon graduation in the Fall of 2015 Mandolyn was awarded the Quantedge Award for Academic Excellence which recognizes exceptional sustained academic excellence among senior students (i.e. those who have completed at least 90 units) with a GPA of 4.0 at the University of California, Berkeley. 

In Fall 2013, Mandolyn Ludlum transferred from Los Angeles Valley Community College to the University of California, Berkeley as a Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholar seeking to gain knowledge to create and facilitate a global children’s program. Inspired by the holistic approach of...

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Leilani Main

The Politics and Aesthetics of Public Space

Kelly Leilani Main graduated in Spring of 2014, and has been accepted for the Master's in Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the Fall of 2016. After transferring to Cal in Fall of 2012, she worked extensively with the Olive Tree Initiative's efforts to bring a conversation around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to campus and developed the Art for Social Change deCal, a political printmaking workshop. After traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan in the Summer of 2013, she became deepy interested in urban planning...

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Megan Majd

International Human Rights and Environmental Policy

After finishing her thesis on indigenous rights in a comparative context in 2014, Megan began as a John Gardner Fellow. Each year a total of six Fellows are selected, three from UC Berkeley and three from Stanford University. Megan’s internship goal was to change the culture around how people see issues related to environmental justice, by finding innovative ways to educate people and to change the systems that perpetuate problems associated with environmental justice through systematic policy change. 

Currently, Megan is working with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She...

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Jonathan Parker McDonald

Poverty and Education in the Dominican Republic

Jonathan Parker McDonald graduated in 2018. The title of his thesis was: "Are we really helping: The effects of child sponsorship on poverty mitigation in the Dominican Republic". Jonathan made two research trips to the Dominican Republic where he got to live in the homes of missionaries and in an orphanage while heading out into barrios and schools for research every day. He currently works as a Personal Financial Advisor for Northwestern Mutual