Previously Featured International Student Spotlights

  • Adel Mashayekh

    Adel Mashayekh

    Adel Mashayekh started at UC San Diego in 2011, studying for his PhD in structural engineering; he moved here from Iran, where he received his bachelors in civil engineering at Sharif University. His parents always encouraged and supported him to pursue his dreams, and it was Adel’s brother that paved the path for engineering. Adel was initially motivated to pursue civil engineering just as his brother had, but through his interactions with faculty and various courses at Sharif University, Adel’s interests shifted towards computation mechanics.

    When deciding what schools to apply to, Adel knew that both UC San Diego and Stanford were top schools for structural engineering, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to live in Southern California! When Adel was accepted for the PhD program at UCSD, he was thrilled at the prospect of joining the esteemed faculty and staff in their ongoing research, and he didn’t think twice about passing up his acceptance to Stanford University.

    Currently, Adel’s area of focus is fluid structure interactions, a multidisciplinary field that which has a hand in both engineering and biological systems. He is currently studying the material properties of yeast cells and their deformation. When asked if he likes working with biological systems, Adel enthusiastically replies that engineering requires a lot of creativity as well as familiarity with varying fields of study.

    Adel is a very sociable and cultured individual. Whether he’s playing the piano, or a game of soccer with friends, he loves to keep busy. His most positive experience at UCSD has been the calm and welcoming environment that has made the transition from Iran to the U.S. much easier. Adel admires that UCSD is a leading university in research development and is happy that he can be a part of that success. He ultimately wants to be a professor at a prestigious school such as UC San Diego, and we are sure that he will have no trouble meeting and exceeding his goals. Adel’s only advice to other students coming to UC San Diego is to “Try to be social!!” Take advantage of the opportunities provided at UCSD, people are friendly and helpful. Also, he recommends that everyone visit glider port, his favorite San Diego spot!

  • Marjori Pomarole

    Marjori Pomarole

    Marjori Pomarole is an undergraduate student from San Paulo, Brazil, studying to get her Bachelors in Computer Science here at UC San Diego. UCSD’s Computer Science and Engineering Department caught Marjori’s attention from the get-go. She researched the department extensively, watching YouTube videos of student activities and projects, such as the annual Triton Junkyard Derby event. Marjori also knew that California was a hub for the biotechnology industry, and so she made the decision to pursue her studies at UCSD.

    Since her time here, Marjori has taken advantage of many opportunities made available on campus. She loves attending the Career Fairs on campus- they helped her to get an internship with Apple her freshman year, and a job with Google last summer. Last year, she was also president of the Women in Computing (WIC) group. Marjori believes that there needs to be a stronger female presence in the engineering and computer science field, and joining WIC gave her the chance to help young women succeed in the field.

    Marjori’s most positive experience here at UCSD has been the friends she has made on campus and in her department. The faculty and students in the computer science department are so friendly and collaborative. UCSD has exceeded her expectations, both in her professional and personal life. We just hope to continue meeting and exceeding Marjori’s expectations as she has contributed a great deal to our campus and to her department. She has motivated young women to enter into the field of computer science at UCSD, she proudly represents UCSD at prestigious companies such as Apple and Google, and she has consistently impressed her faculty and advisors.

    Marjori’s advice to international students coming to UCSD is to take advantage of the opportunities on campus.  Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone- “Go out!  See what organizations and clubs UCSD has to offer. Go to the outings that the colleges and I-center throw for you.” Getting internships at Apple and Google were like dreams come true for Marjori, and have taught her to try everything at least once and to not shy away from a challenge.

    Marjori hopes to one day work in systems security and analyze how hacker communities work. She plans to apply to the UCSD Computer Science BS/MS program and continue her studies. Her most rewarding class at UCSD has been Compiler Construction, because it challenged her to work in groups, learn to collaborate with peers, and to see the beginning, middle, and end of a project. She used these skills in her Google internship, and she will continue to use them in her future. Lastly, to all the international students coming to UCSD, she recommends that you visit Old Town San Diego, because it has great food and beautiful buildings!

  • Yunping Chen

    Yunping Chen

    Yunping Chen is an Education Abroad Program (EAP) participant from Shanghai, China.  As an EAP student, she attends UC San Diego for an academic year, and through a relationship with her home university, a UC San Diego student is able to study abroad there.  She chose UC San Diego based on its stellar reputation, including the School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS), and of course for San Diego’s world-famous sun and beaches.  Like many others, Yunping has lived and studied within the same city her whole life and chose to participate in UC EAP in order to challenge herself and discover new opportunities.

    UC San Diego has exceed her expectations; she has made many friends and enjoyed the interactions with faculty and staff.  The coursework here is complementary to her home university studies and will give her an advantage both in future academics and her career.  Yunping’s curiosity, determination and perseverance have led her to garner the most from her time, and she has found the most positive component to be her relationships with UC San Diego professors. 

    Yunping is studying Political Science, International Relations, and is focusing on conflict mediation and resolution.  Since arriving at UC San Diego, she has also become especially interested in the politics and issues within the Middle East.  Her ultimate goal is to become an expert in the field of conflict and resolution, and to become involved in pro-peace initiatives.  She has a strong interest in realizing mediations and believes that her ability to understand different narratives and willingness to work hands-on in difficult situations will allow her to do so successfully.

    The reciprocal exchange has been mutually beneficial, as UC San Diego has profited from an enthusiastic and community-oriented student, who is genuinely interested in learning more about the United States, its people, and its values.  In her year here, Yunping has become involved in Associated Students, ArtPower, French and Hebrew language courses, and the UC/DC Program, to name a few.

    In order to gain the most of the Education Abroad Program, Yunping suggests that other students explore the option of an Academic Internship Program.  “Be brave and start by taking the first step.  The staff and teachers are really kind and willing to help; it will give you the opportunity to have a different life as an exchange student.”  She follows up by encouraging all international students to join the campus community and become an active part of groups and organizations: not only will it enrich the overall experience, but it is a great way to learn more about the United States.
  • Sophia Suejin Chung

    Sophia Suejin Chung

    For Sophia Suejin Chung, coming to UC San Diego offered her the opportunity to explore and pursue more than one area of interest.  While originally applying and auditioning to a number of University of California Music Departments, she found that at UC San Diego she could custom-make her major, Music Humanities, and include an emphasis in Education.

    Sophia is originally from Seoul, South Korea.  Throughout her life, music has been one of her main foci and ambitions.  She plays clarinet, flute, piccolo, and sings.  With her singing talent, she had an amazing opportunity to release an album when she was 17 years old and also collaborate with other artists while being in the industry. She also had her own music program, “SueJin’s Music Box”, where she was the host and the program producer.  Other areas of interest she has pursued are dance and theater, and she is currently a member of the Nomads Theatre Company at UC San Diego.

    Sophia is very active in the community and has participated in a wide range of activities and volunteer opportunities; some of these include Relay for Life, volunteer at So Others May Eat, and being an Academic Integrity Matters committee member.  In addition, she has given an inspirational performance lecture at San Diego High School and sung at the International Student and Returnee Graduation.

    Her greatest inspiration has been her family, both from her parents who have been a source of continual support, and her sister who is very accomplished in her own right and paved the way for Sophia by showing her that success comes through passion and hard work.  She believes that her time at UC San Diego will provide her with more connections and confidence moving forward.  The experience has more than met her expectations, with the most rewarding by being involved with different organizations, serving as an International Center Orientation Assistant, and meeting new people.

    For the future she ultimately wants to inspire others positively and volunteer as much as possible through music, teaching, or whatever her path is.  Her advice to others, especially other international students, is to: ask questions, be confident, share your experiences with others, count your blessings, and don’t give up in the midst of hardships!

    Sophia most recently performed in the March 11, 2012 International Center’s Triton International Leaders Talent Show, an event to benefit the International Rescue Committee.

  • Jessica Aszodi

    Jessica Aszodi

    Originally from a small town in Australia an hour outside Melbourne called KooWeeRup, Jessica Aszodi is here at UC San Diego for a Master of Contemporary Music Performance, specializing in contemporary classical and experimental music.  Jessica has come here with an already abundant résumé of experience in musical performance, including participating in the Young Artist Program at Australia’s Victorian Opera Company.  Prior to that, she attended the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne where she received her Bachelors of Music.

    In continuing her journey, Jessica came to UC San Diego in order to pursue new and additional opportunities, and to develop new skill sets beyond those she had already acquired.  Beginning her master’s program with Operatic experience gives her a different perspective than may be usual, and enriches the UC San Diego campus.  She has also been a soloist with multiple Australian orchestras, music societies and at festivals.  In addition to performing abroad, Jessica has sung with the La Jolla Symphony, and will perform at Disney Hall in Los Angeles in January with the Bang on a Can All-Stars.

    Among her most positive experiences so far in San Diego is having worked with Lincoln High School students on an original theatre piece.  To create the one-of-a-kind work, they used the lives, interests, and talents of the students.  Additionally, the experiences in the Master’s program developing and working with music in a different manner have enhanced her music and perspective.

    Jessica’s adventurousness has brought her around the world so far, and it is certain that she will continue to grow as she progresses as an artist.  Part of the journey has been to take risks and the next step without knowing fully where it will take her; while at the same time, according to the San Diego Union Tribune, “she has a voice that can take you places*".   *(“La Jolla Symphony is Exhilarating in Varied, Provocative Performance”, James Chute, San Diego Union Tribune, December 5, 2011)

  • Iman Sadeghi

    Iman Sadeghi

    Iman Sadeghi came to UC San Diego to pursue his Ph.D in Computer Science. His research focus has been on Rendering and Appearance Modeling within the Computer Graphics field. He is originally from Iran, and earned a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering in Tehran at the Sharif University of Technology in 2006. In addition to his research and work here at UC San Diego, Iman had the opportunity to intern at the Walt Disney Animation Studios where he worked on the rending and appearance modeling of hair in the Tangled movie. The movie is based on the Rapunzel fairy tale and it is centered around Rapunzel's magical hair. The hair rendering system that Iman worked on was used on all kinds of hair in the movie. In the end, he received a movie credit and was invited to the premiere red carpet screening of the movie!

    While Iman is still figuring out his ultimate goal in life, he recommends to others, including other international students, that they “should follow what they enjoy the most and get exposure to the industry through internship programs.” In terms of how he got to be where he is now, Iman says that he has been always interested in combining computer technology with art. One of his greatest motivations has been the ability to combine computer techniques and artistic talents to create masterpieces. Working with Walt Disney Animation Studios and Industrial Light & Magic have helped him to achieve this goal.

    These experiences, combined with what he has learned and experience gained at UC San Diego, plus the beach and weather of course, created a satisfactory experience that has met his expectations. Likewise, they will help him to stand out and create additional opportunities for him in the future. Lastly, the fact that Iman is a problem-solver who likes to get the job done, and someone who sets the bar high for the quality of his work, have contributed to his success as a student at UC San Diego, and now as an alum. Iman now works as a Software Engineer in the graphics division of Google in Santa Monica.

  • Maria Cardona

    Maria Cardona

    Maria Cardona is a fourth year undergraduate student and Jacobs Scholar at UC San Diego in the Jacobs School of Engineering. Maria came to the United States from Paraguay with her mother, who was pursuing a Master’s in English Literature, and began her studies here in high school.  She credits her mother, her opportunity to come to the US when she did then apply to UCSD, and a great chemistry teacher in high school as her inspiration and greatest motivating factors in arriving to where she is today.  Maria has studied chemical engineering, and will continue her studies in this field starting in the fall at UC Davis as a Doctoral Candidate.

    While here at UC San Diego, Maria has been extremely involved in campus events and outreach, particularly within Jacobs School of Engineering.  She has done research under Dr. Joseph Wang working on nano motors, is a member of Tau Beta Pi-Engineering Honor Society, and is a member and leader in the Triton Engineering Student Council (TESC).  As the TESC Outreach Officer, Maria organized and worked on student-run events that included conferences designed to engage the interest of high school students in science.  Based on her previous efforts, Maria was chosen to be the Conference Director and chaired the Western Regional Conference of the National Association of engineering Student Councils in Fall 2010, hosted by UC San Diego.

    Maria has really enjoyed her time at UC San Diego, “it’s been great, I love being here, it’s been a well-rounded experience and I’m going to miss it!”  Before graduating this June and continuing her studies, then hopefully eventually  working as an industry-level researcher or in a national lab as part of cutting-edge research that will make a difference in people’s lives, she helped chair the annual UCSD Junkyard Derby on Campus in May 18-20.

    She advises other international students to “Get involved!  You make really strong bonds with the people you work with, you have something in common with them and you can make your strongest and best friends that way.”

  • Hayato Urabe

    Hayato Urabe

    Hayato Urabe is a second year master's student at UC San Diego in the School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IRPS). Originally from Japan, Hayato has studied in United States from undergrad, and even completed a biomedical engineering doctoral degree at Brown University before coming to UCSD. At UCSD he studies International Management and Political Science, and has regional focuses in Japan and China; his interest in working in Science Policy and Technology Management creates a natural bridge between the two programs of study. 

    Hayato ultimately wants to help rebuild Japan “in any way possible, using everything that I can do.”

    One of the great things about moving to San Diego he said, other than the beach, is its proximity to Japan in relation to the rest of the US. While here, he has found the network of people that he has established will be very valuable in the future, both in San Diego and Japan.  Likewise, he appreciates the diversity he enjoys within his program, which has positively contributed to his experience in addition to the academics.

    As a student of UC San Diego, he has contributed much to the university. In addition to being Reischauer Fellow and Dean’s Fellow at the School of IRPS, he is a UCSD teaching assistant in Japanese language, the Co-Director of Asameshikai (a student organization with a focus on Japanese economy, politics, language, and culture), and the Co-Leader of UCSD Help Japan.  UCSD Help Japan was founded after the catastrophic events this spring related to the Earthquake and subsequent tsunami; its goal is to raise awareness and funds for relief.  The organization involves persons throughout the campus and different disciplines, and they won the award for the best booth during the Clinton Global Initiative University this spring when President Clinton was on campus. Additionally, Hayato and his business partner recently won the California Clean Innovation (CACI) Conference, selected from 152 business plans from the state of California, and they will compete in the National Cleantech Open Competition in July.

    His advice for other international students is: “Experience Differences, Embrace Uncertainty and Enjoy the journey! You guys are all mini-diplomats!” And don’t forget to fail: “Learn from failures…that’s the only way you REALLY learn something.”