I would like to thank my mother for forcing me to analyze behavior and to be socially and politically aware at an early age. Concurrently, she emphasized that I perform well in STEM and brought me into numerous spaces where I was able to develop an interest and passion for scientific thinking. If not for this combination, I would not be at a position to pursue my current passion of studying behavior and cognition from theoretical and computational perspectives to improve the social conditions of marginalized groups.
I would like to thank Axel Drees for supporting me in my first research project and giving me a medium where I could discover and pursue my passion for research. I would also like to thank Alan Dion for mentoring my throughout my undergraduate studies and challenging me to always think critically. Our discussions on math, physics, and computer science both helped to train my scientific mind and exposed me to fields that I have come to pursue such as machine learning.
I would like to thank Ralph Adolphs for accepting me into his lab under the Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowship and helping me realize that I was interested in cognitive science as opposed to neuroscience. The few discussions we had gave me tremendous guidance. I would also like to thank Damian Stanley and Bob Spunt for working with me to develop my first project in cognitive science and for helping me to develop my scientific writing. I received a lot of care and attention that helped me develop the skills to later on win my NSF graduate research fellowship. I would also like to thank Caltech and the Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program for creating a program that gives marginalized students the chance to work with renowned faculty and perform cutting-edge research.
I would like to thank Yan Liu for accepting me into her machine learning lab despite my lack of background in machine learning and some of its fundamental fields. She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. I was able to gain my first publication working with her and Sanjay Purushotham on developing deep learning models for healthcare. This opportunity led me to discover Bayesian nonparametric methods and reinforcement learning–fields that I have fallen in love with and plan to use to model behavior and cognition.