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...

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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...

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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...

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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...
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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,...

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Sophia Batchelor

Science, Technology, and Society

The title of Sophia's thesis was "What Is Real? Tracking Implicit Memory Acquisition and the Implications of Virtual Reality." Her accolades as an ISF major include the Inspire Foundation Grant, UK Doctoral Scholarship, and the Queens Scholarship. She also served as a Research Assistant in the Center for Augmented Cognition and the Keltner Lab. After initially starting at NewPathVR, a VR company focusing on the development of VR applications for mental health, Sophia went on to complete internships for Y Combinator backed startups, finishing her tenure there by having her own company...

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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...

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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...

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Soham Bhatia

Global Studies, Sociology and Innovation

Soham's research field was Global Studies, Sociology, and Innovation. The title of his thesis was "An Examination of Indian Entrepreneurs: From New Delhi to Silicon Valley". He studied abroad in Cuba in December 2017 and did a cross-cultural comparison of Cuban and Cuban American entrepreneurs. He is currently employed as a Business Development Specialist at itLab in Oakland, CA, and is the Co-Founder of SocratIQ.


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...

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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,...

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Kathy Correia Brasil

Identity and International Migration

The title of Kathy's thesis was “Translating Identity Across Borders: Interpretations of Asylum Seekers’ Queerness in the United States”. She is currently working as a Refugee Rights Advocate / Paralegal at East Bay Sanctuary Covenant in Berkeley.


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...

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Silvia Bruckback

Human Rights, Law and Social Justice

Having graduated in 2013, Silvia was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the National Honor Society. Siliva will be entering Georgetown Law School in 2017.

She received her BA in ISF: Human Rights, Law and Social Justice and African Diaspora Studies and a minor in Disability Studies. As an undergraduate she completed two honors theses in addition to serving as an intern and then TA for both the Health Service Internship and Field Study Internship, and as the University of California in DC Student Director. She interned at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, both in...

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Jason Budge

Workers and Organization

In the Fall of 2016 Jason Budge wil begin graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the PhD program in Sociology. He plans on focusing on the Department's famous "Class Analysis and Historical Change" field of study, with an emphasis on "Marxist and other radical traditions of sociology".

Jason's thesis was a study of worker cooperatives. Here is the abstract from his thesis:

"This research paper compares the experiences of workers from cooperatively and conventionally owned firms in order to examine...

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Chorkin Chau

Mental Health

As an ISF major, Chorkin combined her interests in public health, psychology, anthropology, human rights and gender studies. She wrote her thesis “Legacies of Gender-based Violence in Cambodia,” which was later published in the Berkeley Student Journal of Asian Studies. During her undergraduate career, she was the director of Project Pueblo, a student-led nonprofit organization that assisted in various projects with local partners in the Navajo Nation. 

 After graduating in 2017, she co-founded an international NGO that aimed to highlight and document indigenous...

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Bonnie Cherry

Refugee and Forced Migration Studies

Before attending UC Berkeley, Bonnie amassed 10 years of nonprofit/grant writing experience working for Native American cultural and resource centers. As a Cal student, her research focus was on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, where she attained highest honors in the ISF major and won the department citation. Her other accolades include the Center for Race and Gender Independent Research Grant, the Interational Area Studies Research Grant, and the Judith Lee Stronach Re-entry Prize for Prose. Bonnie will be attending the Joint JD/Jurisprudence and Social Policy Ph.D. Program at...

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Sean Cleary

Business, Music, and Law

As an ISF major, Sean was able to take his love for music and combine it with his passion for business and law in a major that reflected his interests and gave him a significant advantage during his job search. Sean says the multidimensional nature of the music industry complements the ISF major extremely well. It allowed him to extract information gleaned from business, law, economics, and sociology courses to write a thesis on the significant impacts of music streaming on the music industry, an area of research which has been especially lacking as the model grows in popularity. For his...

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Adam Oriel Cohen

Education and Public Policy

After graduating in 2014, Adam Oriel Cohen became a Fellow in Public Affairs at CORO which is a highly selective, full-time, nine month, graduate-level experiential leadership training program that prepares diverse, talented and committed individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena. In 2017 Adam began the study of law at UCLA.

Adam's thesis was a comprehensive comparative investigation of the history and effectiveness of remedial programs in the CUNY and the California State University systems. As an undergraduate Adam was a Research Apprentice to...

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Emily Cohen

Education and Disability Studies

Emily will begin her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy at USC in the Fall of 2015 and may continue for a third year to receive a Ph.D. As part of her admission package, Emily has been awarded a research opporunity in the Pediatric Department with Professor Sharon Cermak.

Emily summarizes her 2014 thesis: “In 1975 the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, addressed the inaccessibility of education for children with disabilities by requiring that all children with disabilities be provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE) (Individuals with Disability...

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