A Day in the Life
The CNR Peer Advisor Experience
Level 3
Visit the PAL Program Website!
Irene Liao
Genetics and Plant Biology major
Samantha Bell
Microbial Biology major
Jena Riggert
Forestry and Natural Resources major
Dale Dualan
Conservation Resource Studies major
Stephen Kwan
Molecular Environmental Biology major
Kay Jiaqi Yang
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics major
Tiet Nguyen
Microbial Biology major
Selina Chou
Nutritional Science - Dietetics major
Jenn Jehnsen
Environmental Sciences major
Wendy Chen
Environmental Sciences major
Jessica LeBeau
Environmental Sciences major

February 18, 2009

Planning for Summer

Even though the Spring Semester has just started and first round of midterms are beginning, now is the perfect to start thinking about summer. Not only because it helps you get through the late night studying knowing that in 3.5 months you can finally sleep in and relax. :) But also because a lot of deadlines for summer programs are quickly approaching and it's important to start thinking about you want to do so in order to take advantage of all the great opportunities available. So here are some ideas of what to do during the summer.

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March 16, 2008

Activities, Student Groups...So Many to Choose From!

When I first came to Berkeley, there seemed to be soooo many options. Welcome Week was overwhelming, especially with Calapalooza and all the student groups that seemed like they would be so much fun to join. I was over-ambitious, and I soon realized that I would never be going to a different meeting each night of the week. But after a while, I found what suited me best and kept with that. Recently, I've been trying to attempt new things and join new student groups, and I hope that they will continue in with my normal weekly schedule.

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April 22, 2007

Remember to have fun!

It has been my goal since coming to Cal to try something new every semester. My first semester here, after being in wind ensembles since 5th grade and studying jazz in middle and high school, I decided to join the Cal Band. I had never marched in a marching band, but I picked up things quickly and really enjoyed having so many friends right off the bat. Today I am still in the band and can’t wait for the opening Tennessee game next year. If marching isn’t your thing, you can also get involved musically in the university wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, a capella groups and vocal jazz groups.

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April 19, 2007

Other than Academics...

So I know a lot of us come to Berkeley thinking solely about doing well in academics and not doing any other extracurricular acitivities. However, if all of us did that, wouldn't our lives be boring, just studying and doing nothing else to look forward to? So like many Berkeley students, I found that a balance between extracurriculars and academics is great, not only for our social skills, but also for our own sake with regards to not living a boring college career. So what are the extracurriculars I do for my sanity and for my improving my social skills?

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April 17, 2007

My Current Extracurricular Activities

One of the reasons I love Berkeley so much is that you can never be bored. Really! There are always academic/career lectures, forums, symposiums, shows…and all kinds of events that you can think of! In addition to the Taiwanese Student Association, Pre-Medical Honor Society, intramural basketball, and volunteering in YWCA from my “Life outside of class~” blog entry on September 18th, 2006, I am going to share some of my current activities with you.

Ever since my junior year, I am devoting most of my time in a molecular toxicology lab. After a semester of basic lab technique training and with the help of my research mentor, I developed my honors thesis. My research focuses on a neural enzyme and I study the function and the health effects of this enzyme in cells. Working in a lab has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. It leads me to the world of basic science research. It also shows me that medical school, pharmacy school, or optometry school is not the only option after graduating with a biology degree. There is the choice of graduate school. Being a scientist is actually really cool!

In addition, on Fridays, I volunteer in the Alta Bates Medical center. I’ve been volunteering in the hospital since I was in second year. This experience has been pulling me to pursue a career in medicine. Volunteering in a hospital, I observed physician-patient interactions. I also see the interaction between different sectors such as MD’s, nurse, physical therapists, and pharmacists. As a volunteer, I saw many patients’ suffering through pain and I also shared many patients’ happiness when they gradually recover. The greatest lesson I learned is to cherish life.

April 13, 2007

An Update on My Extracurriculars

Previously, I wrote a blog about what I do besides studying and going to classes. Many of those activities have not changed, but I’ll update on some. I’ve also participated in a few other clubs, but I haven’t been keeping up with them.

Habitat for Humanity: a wonderful club to get to know new people and help out not just with building affordable houses, but also helping at food banks, street meals, conservation projects, and retirement homes around the East Bay. Being a part of this club also introduced me to Berkeley Thai Brunch.

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other stuff besides academics...

Extracurricular activities? What else do I do besides going to and from class, studying, eating, and talking to friends and family?
Im in several clubs at UCB one of which is AMSA (American Medical Student Association). I have been in AMSA for 3 years now and has been Issues Chair for 2 years. Being Issues Chair is pretty fun except it requires a loooooot of work! I prepare for AMSA's annual Health Career Fair by inviting guests of different professions in the health field (ie, doctors, podiatrist, dentists, vets, optometrists, researcher, etc, etc). I also try to dig up current issues people are interested in and have a event/meeting where i invite a guest speaker to discuss about that issue.
Besides AMSA, Im also in the wonderful CNR PAL program where i get to learn a whole lot more than i already know about CNR! It has been a really great experience and i really enjoy working with the people in it =)
I dont know if calling "research" extracurricular but i have been doing research for Dr. Nancy Amy for while. Unfortunately we didnt get to work on a particular special project but im hoping that i will be able to next year =)
but yeah, i may have a few more extracurricular activities i do up my sleeve, if you want to know more about anything, just talk to me =D

April 11, 2007

My Extracurriculars

In the rare event that I’m not in class, studying in the library for class or holding office hours for PAL, you can usually find me in a club meeting! I’m involved in AAHS (Asian American Health Society) as the treasurer intern. We have tons of pre-medical, pre-health events held on campus throughout the semester, so be sure to check our website, or look for flyers around campus. AAHS also has a mentorship program where an upper div. student helps mentor a lower div. student and I recently started mentoring a freshman. In fact, tonight we have a Telebears-info session in 108 Wheeler, 6:00pm—come by if you have any questions or are looking for some interesting classes to take next semester! I’m also in Foresight, the pre-optometry club on campus. It’s a great club especially if you are interested in applying to Cal’s Optometry school since they have numerous faculties come by and give advice.

I also volunteer for Project Homeless Connect, a non-profit organization in San Francisco (and I think around the country) where the homeless can get free healthcare (optometry, dentistry, medical) and other valuable services like free phone calls, shelter info and free books. It’s really fun and you get to meet a lot of cool people. If you want more information, be sure to check out the PHC website.

Come by to our office hours (now near the front doors of Mulford) to tell us what you do in your spare time!

Extracurricular Burnout

Senior year. There is no time for senioritus. Instead of keeping up with reading assignments, I'm attending meetings, running meetings, staying up late and waking up late, day after day. Agh! I need another spring break! But I wouldn't have it any other way. Academics is simply one part of college life. Although it is the core reason we are here, there's so much else we can do. Coming and going to school and that's it--how boring that would be. I've experienced so much and learned so much from so many people and situations through extracurriculars. If it weren't for extracurriculars, I wouldn't have much to look back on. Although participating in so many things takes a lot of my time and energy, it fills up my otherwise unproductive and unstructured time. Some extracurriculars are just fun. Others are to serve and they're fun. I recommend becoming a CNR peer advisor or joining the CNR student council. Serving your community and future CNR students is a rewarding experience, and I'll be proud when I look back at my time doing these activities, which are too many to list here ;P. (I would like to mention the Cal Forestry Club, however. I've been involved in various clubs and organizations over the years, but Forestry Club has been my anchor, my consistency in an fluxuating life.) It's like a duty to me to serve CNR. Duty and honor--fiat lux.

April 10, 2007

Fun (and enlightening) Activities

Besides PAL, I also work as an SM (security monitor) at Unit 3. That's right, I'm the strict lady that makes sure no shady people get into the dorms!
I also volunteer at First Presbyterian's bi-monthly Street Meal. Volunteers help cook massive amounts of food and then serve it to the homeless and hungry. It's a great way to serve the community and you get to have interesting conversations with the diverse population of Berkeley.
I'm also part of a Christian fellowship on Campus called ICA (formerly known as the Navigators). We have weekly bible studies in a small group setting as well as larger meetings where everyone comes together to learn and fellowship. I attend church as well at the Berkeley Mosaic, where I will begin work with the children: either taking care of those in the nursery or teaching Sunday school to the older kids.
These extracurriculars are what really make my college experience complete. School is great, but I learn the most in situations and experiences where I can't rely on academics for the answer. So I encourage you, if you haven't already, to join a group or find an internship. You'll gain a lot of valuable experience, and if nothing else, something to add to your impressive resume.

My Extracurricular Activities

In addition to being a PAL for CNR, I am also a dietetic assistant at Children’s Hospital in Oakland. I am learning a lot about customer service and what processes are involved for providing meals to patients staying at the hospital. This is also my first paid job, so I am finally learning how to balance school, work and fun.

More recently, I became a student intern for the New Haven Unified School District Food Service in Union City. This was my school district growing up, so I have a personal interest in wanting to help and learn from the director of food services. So far, I was able to create an elementary breakfast program promoting National School Breakfast Week for children. Currently, I am working on the nutrient analysis of elementary school lunches. It is great to see how what I learn in my classes tie directly into this volunteering experience.

Also, me and 3 other dietetic students volunteer weekly with the Oakland Based Urban Garden (OBUGS) after school program. We work with elementary students to help water, harvest and plant vegetables in the garden. Somedays, we even get to cook what we grew! If you’re interested in this organization, you can check out www.obugs.org to find out more about their work study program or opportunities to volunteer.

Finally, I am also apart of a Christian fellowship on campus, Acts2Fellowship, which is associated with Gracepoint Fellowship Church in Berkeley. Since joining my freshman year, I have gained lifelong friends and have seen God working tremendously in my life.

Yes, all of these things require a certain time commitment and the ability to balance everything at once. However, I’ve gained so many memories, friends, and skills in these experiences. I encourage you to talk to any of us PALs about opportunities to volunteer/work or for suggestions on how to balance school and extra curricular activities.

A Little about Extracurriculars

Since I last wrote about my extrcurriculars (Having Fun Ouside of Class) things haven’t changed too much. I am still the co-president of the Student Dietetic Association (SDA), am obviously still a PAL  and I still work at Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. Something new that I added on this semester is the position as a Research Assistant for Dr. Felming. She is the chief investigator of a study that is assessing a nutrition and fitness intervention in a population of children at risk for developing Type Two Diabetes. As a research assistant, I am helping with the development of standard nutrition lessons so that one day this intervention program can go national. It has been a great opportunity for me to use my nutrition skills and demonstrate my creativity. To be involved in such an important project that happens to be conducted by one of my favorite professors on campus has been very exciting.

Since I have already written about my extracurriculars, I thought I would write a little about what else I like to do with my free time. Lately I have been enjoying the outdoors. Anytime there is beautiful whether I take advantage of it! When I visit back home, I really enjoy taking my dogs to the beach. Also, over spring break I went snowboarding at Heavenly, a ski resort in South Lake Tahoe. I had never boarded on the south shore, but I heard the view of the lake was beautiful so I was eager to try it. I had a wonderful time and the view was gorgeous. That trip made me realized that I need to make more time in my busy schedule to go snowboarding more often. It is really important to do things that you enjoy in your free time. That’s what I love about extracurriculars; they are something you do because you love them and you can always change it up or add more at any time.

I highly suggest getting involved in extracurriculars. Whether it’s academically related, like becoming involved in a club or research project or socially related like joining the ski team, Berkeley has a lot to offer!

April 9, 2007

Extracurricular Activities

I'm involved in several extracurricular activities across campus and I have to say that I love everyone of them. The first and most important extracurricular is the PAL program. I look forward to my office hours every week and get a lot of enjoyment out of advising students. The second program I'm in is Berkeley Model United Nations. This club involves planning a model UN conference for high school students once a year. There are usually over 1000 students who attend each year so the amount of planning and dedication throughout the year is intensive. The third program I'm in is Renters Legal Assistance. I'm a director for this organization so the amount of time and energy I have to dedicate is fairly substantial. The purpose of the organization is to provide information to students as well as the community about their rights as renters. Although many of the extracurricular activities I'm involved in require a large investment of time, the experiences and friends I have gained through each have made them all worth while.

September 22, 2006


Doing nothing but school work 24/7 can be a drag on your mental and social life. That's why it's important to get involved outside of your Chem 1A and Math 1B classes. Berkeley is great because it offers so many enrichment opportunities, whether it be internships, clubs, or sports.
I'm currently involved with a Christian fellowship on campus called ICA (In Christ Alone, formerly known as the Navigators). During the week, we have small group, where six or seven sisters meet to have fellowship, dinner, and a Bible study. There is also large group once a week where everyone meets together for worship and a message. Plus, there are a lot of fun activities on the weekends to hang out and get to know everyone else better.
It's a wonderful community to be involved with, and it's really made Berkeley feel like home. And because ICA isn't a very large group, I've gotten to know my fellow brothers and sisters very well. They're basically my family here at school.

I'm also involved with a fraternity on campus called Alpha Phi Omega. It's a co-ed community service fraternity that whose primary focus is leadership, fellowship, and service. I'm currently in the process of pledging. The reason I decided to pledge was because APO offered a wide range of service projects. Because APO has so many projects, it's easier for me to find one that suits my interests and time. I also really like the fact that you can create your own projects, as well as the fact that APO is focused on reaching out to the urban areas and the homeless. It's a great way to do give to others and to do some good for the community.

I'm also involved with ESSA (Environmental Science Student Association). I wanted to be more involved with my major, and I felt ESSA was a good start. Although it's a fairly small group, the people involved are very passionate about what they do. It's a great way to be active in the area of Environmental Science.
So I definitely encourage all of you to be involved outside of your classrooms. Find a group that that shares your interests. It doesn't always have to be an academically related group. And if you have any questions, I'm here on Tuesdays from 9-11am during OH! Come on by!

September 20, 2006


The Berkeley campus offers so many awesome opportunities to get involved with your community or any other aspect you’re interested in. I strongly believe that you’re missing out on not only the college experience but a glimpse of what direction your future will take you if you don’t get at least a taste of activities outside of going to class. In my freshman year, I joined AMSA (American Medical Student Association), a local chapter of premedical students who offer support and many great resources to those interested in medicine or general health. Some of the things they offer include study groups, Telebears advising, medical student panels, many opportunities for volunteering, and a health career fair in the Spring semester. I am currently the Secretary where I put my organizational skills to work. In my sophomore year, I started volunteering at the Tang Center, and since then I have experienced various areas such as Medical Records, Radiology, Sports Medicine, and currently the Allergy clinic. It is primarily administrative work, and I enjoy witnessing the various infrastructures that provide health care for thousands of Berkeley students every day. Volunteering in Sports Medicine at Tang created an interest that I am currently pursuing in the Sports Medicine department on campus by interning for 10 hours a week. Just this past summer, I tutored at Berkeley High School through Cal Corp’s BUILD program, which was an experience I will never forget. It allowed me to form relationships with students while being a positive role model for disadvantaged students. I also started to volunteer at Oakland’s Children’s Hospital, where I get to be a kid again, which is always fun :-) This semester, I am planning on checking out NSU (Nikkei Student Union), a Japanese club on campus! I thoroughly encourage everyone to go after what you’re interested in—you have nothing to lose, and many doors waiting to be opened! Come to my office hours on Thursdays from 1-3 to chat some more!

September 19, 2006

Other than school....

Isn't going to school enough work as it is? But there are so many great organizations and opportunities to become a part of. Obviously I am PAL and enjoy being able to have the opportunity to provide tons of useful information to my fellow students. Besides being a PAL I am also a part of the Pre-Pharmacy Informational Learning & Leadership Society (PILLS). Being a member of PILLS provides great opportunities to better understand the field of pharmacy. They offer tons of great informational sessions on pharmacy school pre-requisites and applications, along with how to get experience in a pharmacy setting. Everyone at the meetings is really friendly, welcoming, and always willing to help provide answers to questions about pre-req classes and info on where they are volunteering/working at. Come by the first general meeting on Wed 9/20/06 at 7pm in 145 Dwinelle and check out the website.

Besides these CAL related programs, I also work as a Pharmacy Technician on the weekends. I have two jobs, where I work at least 8 hours per week each (so 16 hours per week total). I work in the Inpatient Pharmacy at Children's Hospital in Oakland and at the Inpatient Pharmacy at Kaiser Permanente Vallejo. I've been a Tech for about one and half years, working at both jobs right out of Tech school. They both are really fun and offer lots of opportunities for learning. I basically do the same thing at both of my jobs. As an inpatient tech, I make IV hydration solutions, TPNs (nutrients and electrolytes administered IV), IV antibiotics, and dispense the oral meds needed by the patients in the hospital. It is very rewarding to know that the meds I am making are helping to save a person's life. I became a tech to get pharmacy experience and to make sure becoming a pharmacist is really the career for me. Being a tech has showed me more about what being a pharmacist is about and what opportunities are available for pharmacists besides entering orders and filling perscriptions. If anyone has any questions about becoming a tech or about what a tech does I am more than happy to answer any questions! Come by my office hours on Tuesdays from 1:30-3:30pm. See you soon!!

September 18, 2006

Life out of the classroom

You may see me in class or during office hours. Do you know what I do outside the classroom? There are a lot of wonderful experiences on and off campus!

Being a dietetics student, I really enjoy my college life on campus. I am a returning PAL this semester; I can know more PAL in different majors. We can share our experience in the college. Joining the S DA also provides me the chance to know more my peers studying the same major. At the same time, participating in professor's research is wonderful experience to me. For example this summer, I went to a summer hot camp with kids to provide them more nutrition information. It is really meaning to me. It is really eye-opening working as a research assistant! There is so much to learn. I face different challenges every time, but it strengthens my problem-solving skills!

What about off campus? I volunteer at a hospital once a week. In that way, I can explore more in a clinical setting. I got opportunities going to floors and giving my care to different patients, for example, children's floor, the elderly floor, nursing floors. They are so happy to see me over there and it means a lot to me when I see them being helped. They would share with me their lives, the mothers of the newborns would show me their babies, the children would show me their games, etc. It is very meaningful and rewarding. Also, I am an officer at my college fellowship. We have fun and support each other every week. I am also a vocalist in my church band and choir. We participate in band festivals and special events. Music is a relaxing tool for me in my busy life at Berkeley! Going to the gym is also a way for me to relax. Exercise also boosts your immune system and makes your heart healthy!

There are a lot of activities which are fun and meaningful to do. They also help your resume! Come to talk with us to find our more extra-curricular activities available either on or off campus!

Life outside of class~

Besides studying, extracurricular activities make the most of my college life! In this blog, I’ll highlight some of the activities I’ve done so far in my 2+ years of college life.

I came from Taiwan when I was in 10th grade so naturally, I joined the Taiwanese Student Association (TSA) in my freshman year. TSA is designed mainly for mandarin speaker and it is a non-political, pure social club. It offers a variety of events throughout the semester, including night market, karaoke night, karaoke contest, sports day, ice cream night, beach day, dance mixer, etc... The events are usually on Fridays, a time to just chill out with friends and relax! Since I really enjoyed the events, I became an officer. Being an officer let me understand how college clubs run in a big university. It also enhanced my event planning and social skills. So if you guys think you want to meet more people and just have a night to get away from academics, I’d definitely recommend joining a social club. Life is harsh, have some fun!

Besides social club, I also joined the Pre-Medical Honor Society (PMHS). PMHS is a club for premed students with a GPA higher than or equal to 3.7. It offers resources and activities like mentoring program with medical students, volunteering on weekends, application process forums, and lectures. From there, I learned more about being a premed. Some stuff you just have to learn through talking with people. I also met many friends in the club and we have been taking classes together. I believe meeting people, or working with people of your academic interest is a very important thing in college. Having friends who want to pursuit a same career path not only makes you see a wider perspective, it also provides resources in terms of hw, class selections, activities offered on campus, application timelines, etc.

I volunteered as an English tutor in YWCA’s English In Action (EIA) program when I was in first and second year. It was a pretty fun experience! I got to meet people from different countries with different cultural and academic backgrounds. It only requires one hour a week. I’ve had 2 partners so far. One is a bioengineer from China and the other is a MCB researcher from Korea. Both of them introduced me to their work and their studies on campus. It’s really neat because I learned something I couldn’t learn from peers of my age and my major. Yup, so if you guys have time, go check out EIA in YWCA. It’s just down on Bancroft!

Another cool activity I had was the Intramural (IM) Coed Basketball! I teamed up with some friends last year and we formed a basketball team. If you haven’t heard of IM Basketball, it’s basically teams of recreational level competing with other teams on campus. Our team met once to twice a week for practice then we competed on some night. It was just plain fun! Plus, if you have trouble getting your buddies to go work out with you, joining an IM sport takes care of your weekly exercise! There are also a variety of sports offered in RSF: volleyball, ultimate freebie… Go check out the RSF website!

Yah, all in all, the point is……….. everyone should join at least one activity! It will only enrich your college life! I promise! If you have any questions, come by during my office hours on M 1-2, F 10-11. Bye bye for now!

September 17, 2006

Having Fun Outside of Class

One huge suggestion I would like to make to all CNR students is to take advantage of student groups! Joining a student group is a great way to get involved on campus and meet fellow students with similar interests at the same time (not to mention it helps build that resume). My junior year I joined the Student Dietetic Association (SDA) and looking back on what a wonderful experience it has been, I wish I had joined sooner.

Since I am a dietetics major and love nutrition, I decided that I wanted to get involved in something at Cal that would supplement my education. When I heard about SDA I knew it was perfect for me. SDA is a student run group that promotes nutrition on campus in various ways and is open to ALL majors. Some of the benefits of joining SDA are gaining experience in promoting nutrition awareness and answering nutrition related questions while tabling in the dinning commons; getting to know the faculty at SDA hosted student/faculty luncheons; networking with local professionals through contact with BADA (our local dietetic association); making friends with other UC Berkeley students who are also interested in nutrition; and much, much more.

There are various leadership opportunities in SDA as well. Currently, I am the SDA's Co-President and love it! Along with the other Co-President, I plan/facilitate SDA's weekly meetings, help organize our events, and basically keep everything organized. Being a part of SDA has helped me apply my nutrition knowledge and also gain important leadership and interpersonal skills. If you have an interest in nutrition, I highly suggest checking it out. The meetings are held every Monday from 4-5pm in room 120 Morgan. Stop by and enjoy delicious and nutritious food! For more information check out our website: http://nature.berkeley.edu/sda/

After getting involved on campus I decided I also wanted to get involved in the community. I am currently volunteering and working at Children's Hospital and Research Center, Oakland. I have volunteered for a couple different nutrition and fitness programs and work as a Dietitian Assistant. It is a really friendly and positive environment and very rewarding. There are many different kinds of volunteer/job opportunities, so if you have any interest at all you should check out the Children's Hospital website: http://www.childrenshospitaloakland.org/

Extracurriculars are a way to build your resume but more importantly are opportunities to have some fun outside of class! I suggest choosing your extracurriculars wisely since there is only so much time we have outside of class/studying. If you have any questions about my extracurriculars or would like some suggestions, come chat with me at my office hours, Thursdays 9:30-11:30 am.

September 14, 2006

Activities Outside Classes

So many different opportunites and activities are offered at Cal that it is difficult to figure what to do. I remember when I looked through the clubs on campus and checked off all of the ones that interested me. Plus, I didn't realize all the other activities that were also off campus.

From all the clubs offered, I chose to join Cal Habitat for Humanity mainly because I wanted to help build houses. Never did I imagine that hammering wasn't the only skill and knowledge I acquired. First, my arm was aching for at least two days after I helped frame a house. But regardless of that pain, I knew I helped a family build their home. Being part of Habitat is being part of a community. The families chosen for the houses are extremely friendly and wonderful to be around (you actually meet them when you go to the worksite). The organization also isn't about just building houses; it's about offering affordable housing and giving back to the community in all aspects, such as spending time with some seniors in a nursing home. It is a really wonderful club to be a part of.

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Extracurricular Life

Although academics are the primary purpose of a college education, undergrad is much more than simply learning in the classroom. You can only study for so long, and pursuing activities outside of classes allows you to meet fellow students, build friendships, and network with individuals who can help advance your college/career goals. Of course, as Cal students, many of you have probably already become involved on campus, which is great! Here's a brief description of what I'm currently into here at Berkeley.

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