The Start and Closing of a New Chapter

CSSA at UCSD
5 min readDec 4, 2021

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As we begin to close off our first quarter back in-person, we wanted to give a quick shout-out and introduction to this year’s Executive board members. Read on to learn how they got involved, what their favorite classes are, their advice for CogSci students, ideas for CSSA, and more!

Q: What is your name and CSSA board position?

Drake Coy: President

Luke Sztajnkrycer: Vice President

Anjali Mathi: Secretary

Satomi Ito: Treasurer

Sophia Cook: Community Outreach Chair

Aditi Krishnakumar: Professional Relations Chair

Adya Mishra: Professional Relations Chair

Laura Charria: Marketing Chair

Clarissa Elbo: Design Chair

Kayla Luong: Content Writer

Sam Yuen: Content Producer

Q: What is your major (and minors)?

Drake: 3rd year — Machine Learning & Neuro. Comp., minoring in Data Science

Luke: 3rd year Double-majoring in Cogsci ML and Joint Math/Econ

Anjali: 2nd year majoring in Cognitive Science with a specialization in machine learning and neural computation, minoring in Data Science

Sam: Machine Learning and Neural Computation 3rd year, minoring in Computer Science

Sophia: Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience 4th year , minoring in Public Health

Aditi: Cognitive Science with Machine Learning 3rd Year, minoring in Computer Science

Adya: Machine Learning 2nd year

Laura: Cognitive Science 2nd year

Clarissa: Cognitive Science Design and Interaction 4th year, minoring in Speculative Design

Kayla: Cognitive Science Design and Interaction 2nd year, minoring in Computer Science & Design

Sam: Machine Learning Senior, minoring in Business and Psychology

Q: Why did you choose Cognitive Science as your major?

Luke: I thought Psychology was cool in high school but wanted to learn about it computationally, and wanted to learn about AI.

Anjali: There’s a lot of things that are fun about majoring in cognitive science, but above all, I love that cognitive science is a massive, thought-provoking, and complex domain that tackles some pretty big questions! Getting to explore so many of the field’s contributing disciplines here at UCSD has been really fun so far.

Sophia: I’m really passionate about mental health and have always been super curious about why people are the way that they are. I always thought CBN was cool because it focuses on both the biological mechanisms as well as the psychological mechanisms involved in mental health!

Aditi: I was really interested in both Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence.

Adya: I’ve always been interested in machine learning as well as the cognition aspect of it, so it seemed like a perfect match.

Laura: The ability to mix both the love for psychology and coding!

Kayla: I had always been really interested in both psychology and HCI, and I loved the idea of being in an interdisciplinary field of study where I could learn more about different perspectives. I really appreciate the breadth cogsci offers.

Sam: I was already into psychology and I knew I wanted to get coding experience. Cog Sci ML seemed like the right place for me.

Q: What has been your favorite class and/or professor at UCSD so far?

Luke: Favorite class was Math 170A (intro to Numerical Analysis), and my favorite professor(s) are Angela Yu, Drew Walker.

Anjali: I loved Neurobiology of Cognition (COGS 17) with Professor Kiyonaga!

Satomi: Professor Ellis from Cogs 18 has been my favorite professor and class.

Sophia: PSYC 122 Mechanisms of Animal Behaviors with Dr. Moranton, and PSYC106 Behavioral Neuroscience with Dr. Dobkins!

Aditi: Professor Ellis — she’s really helpful and engaging!

Adya: I loved COGS 13 with Professor Rossano!

Laura: My favorite class has been Cogs 11 (minds and brains) with Prof. Boyle! Also Cogs 18 with Prof Ellis because we got to do a project at the end!

Clarissa: My favorite class is ENG 100D because it was fun to be able to work with a nonprofit organization and have the opportunity to apply the design skills we had learned in class to real-life situations.

Kayla: Dsgn 1 with Professor Meyer! That was the class that first got me interested in design.

Sam: I really enjoyed COGS 10 back in freshman year, which was taught by Professor Taylor Scott. We voted to have a portion of the quarter dedicated to learning about memes and I loved seeing the memes that he made up. One time, he mentioned that pie charts don’t work “99.999% of the time” and how much he disapproved of them then someone in the back was like “Um sorry, I don’t quite understand that number. Can you represent that in a circular format?”

Q: What are you looking forward to in CSSA this year?

Drake: Connecting with our community.

Luke: Getting to see all the new cog sci students in person, as well as anything research oriented.

Anjali: I’m most looking forward to fostering a sense of community within the major by having in-person socials and events for the first time in over a year!

Satomi: Hosting events and meeting all sort of people.

Sophia: Developing my leadership skills and making friends with people who share the same passions as me!

Aditi: Meeting everyone in person again!

Adya: Our workshops!

Laura: I am excited to create content with friends in person and to get everyone excited to join our workshops!

Clarissa: I look forward to being able to meet people in-person and have that more personalized aspect of social interaction in events.

Kayla: Being able to be back in person and host workshops/other events for our cogsci community! It’s going to be so fun to be able to meet everyone.

Sam: I’m looking forward to our events being in-person again and making content that showcases what CSSA is all about!

Q: Last but not least, do you have any advice for our student community?

Drake: Get involved early!

Luke: Do what you enjoy; try to save some space for classes that seem interesting, and don’t stop doing something if you’re enjoying it.

Satomi: Get involved!! Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors.

Sophia: Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask questions! Whether it’s people in your class, your TAs, different clubs, you’ll get the most out of this experience if you try new things and meet new people!

Adya: Do things before you’re ready! We tend to underestimate how much we really are prepared for things and end up holding back.

Laura: Get involved, ask questions, enjoy every class, and be nice to people

Sam: Don’t be afraid to go to office hours! Pretty much every time I go, I get something out of it, whether it’s homework help or getting to know a professor and come out feeling glad I did.

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