Interdisciplinary Studies Field

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 selected for Y Combinator in 2019. Her thesis research allowed her to consult for companies involved in the development and implementation of VR for therapeutics and education. Sophia is now working for a company that builds brain computer interfaces. Her field is taking her to the forefront of neuroscience where she is building devices to detect driver fatigue for semiautonomous vehicles, and she hopes to improve accessibility to spatial computing.
On her experience as an ISF major, Sophia had this to say: “The ISF major is so uniquely brilliant and gave me the freedom to pursue research that was not possible through any one department. I am so grateful for the advisors and the faculty that provide us with a platform to succeed. What ISF meant to me was the ability to approach a question that no one field could answer. I could do human subject research, I could invent things, and build them, and thus strove to answer questions that were at the forefront of my industry. I am so happy to have been an ISF graduate, and the support from the advisors are unparalleled. Above everything else, ISF did not make me choose one box to put myself in. The core classes (100A, 100B, and 100G for me) helped me learn how to approach and discuss some of the pivotal questions of our time; and then the directed course studies allowed me to take classes and develop answers. As the bar into grad school and jobs gets higher, we are demanded to have a broader and deeper skill set, and ISF gave me that but it also gave the freedom to pursue a course of study that matched my dreams and ambition. I speak often of how we are currently building the future that we are soon to live in. Through ISF, I was able to learn how to build that future, and as all Cal students do to build it brighter.”
Sophia was accepted into the Cognitive Neuroscience program at the University of Leeds, England.

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