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UC Berkeley


Sierra Alef-Defoe

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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 […]

Jason Budge

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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 the ways in which workplace democracy and […]

Varada Gavaskar

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Graduating in Spring 2016, Varada will be joining Facebook as a product designer with the business applications team, where she hopes to work on the platform used by news media outlets and other publishers. Her senior thesis was about the future of journalism and how social media news coverage affected public perception of the ongoing Syrian civil war and the resulting migrant crisis. Varada examined the way filtering and ranking algorithms as well as the low barrier to participation in news via sharing and commenting polarized opinion and ultimately affected […]

Imani Ivery

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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 companys 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. In 2018 Imani began law school at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. During her time at UC Berkeley, Imani centered her interests […]

Jon Phillips

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Jon will be starting the Higher Education M.Ed. program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the Fall of 2016. Jon double majored in ISF and German. Using corpus linguistics software, Jon wrote his thesis on the new psychology of happiness and critically examined its linkages to historic self-help movements. He paid special attention to difficulties marginalized groups face in pursuing happiness while drawing on his philosophical training to interrogate the ideal of happiness itself.

Dana Rosen

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After completing her thesis exploring comprehensive design for 21st-century educational technology, Dana launched her business development career in Silicon Valley at several high-profile technology companies. She writes, Writing my honors thesis was one of the most impactful experiences of my college career. Learning how to conduct comprehensive research and how to effectively present it to an audience directly parallels what I do in my job every day. ISF helped me become wildly successful in my career and allowed me to connect the dots in ways I may not have otherwise. […]

Govind Shantharam

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Govind will be attending Brown Medical School in the Fall of 2016. As an undergrad, Govind double majored in ISF and Philosophy. With an ISF concentration in Health Economics & Policy, Govinds thesis examined ways to improve patient engagement in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2014, Govind coordinated a health advocacy program for a non-profit in New York City, where he assisted families and small-businesses with a variety of post-enrollment health insurance issues. In the spring of 2015, Govind attended a pre-medical science curriculum at […]

Ryan Swanson

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Ryan initially chose Interdisciplinary Studies because “its rare combination of creativity and rigor allowed [him] to study abroad for a year in Beijing while also pursuing [his] research interests in climate change and energy policy.” His senior thesis, titled The Political Economy of Wind Power in China: Challenges and hopes to transform Chinas electricity sector, won the 2012 UC Berkeley Library Prize for Undergraduate Research. After graduating in December of 2011, Ryan found his way back to Beijing and worked as assistant to the director of the Department of Science, […]

Kimeshia Thomas

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In the Fall of 2013 Kimeshia Thomas matriculated into the medical program at University of Washington. Currently, she is a second year medical student. Kimeshia writes: “I am extremely passionate about educating and empowering patients. Eventually I desire to pursue a concurrent MD/MPH degree, engaging in a cross-cultural investigation of different approaches to pain management with respect to labor. With this joint degree, I hope to be a part of a community health center that not only acknowledges the underlying issues that prevent patients from seeking care, but also alleviates […]