‘We look for a quantitative way to figure out how effective a therapist is’

| February 23, 2017

Freshman Nikki Bisarya has already become an integral part of Shri Narayanan’s life-changing lab

Nikki Bisarya with fellow ‘Good-Doers’ at the Daily Dose Cafe in LA’s Arts District. Photo / George Sampson

Pooja Nikki Bisarya

’20 Bachelors of Science, Computer Science

Project: Human-Centered Signal Processing

Mission: using machine learning to improve addiction treatment

I grew up in San Diego with my sister and parents before I moved to LA this past fall to study computer science at USC. I’ve enjoyed exploring LA with new friends and collaborating on ideas with people through my involvement with Women in Computing, Scope, and especially the Behavioral Signal Processing project through SAIL, in which I contribute to the improvement of therapist-patient interactions using machine learning techniques. My interests lie in utilizing technology in order to improve quality of daily life, which have been my inspiration for my past patents, service work and experiments. When I’m not coding, I love going for runs and learning anything and everything about space—I never miss an episode of StarTalk!

In her own words

What motives Nikki, and why human-centered technology when she could focus on taking her patents directly to market? Listen to find out:

My mantra: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

I do what I do because: I want to make a beneficial impact on people around me every day that I can

Mentors: Professor Shri Narayanan and my research supervisors, Jimmy & Dogan – you’re the best!

Perfect Day: early morning beach hike with friends, followed by a day exploring the museums in Balboa Park until the stars come out

Soundtrack to my life: “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae

Greatest failure: being too nervous to ask for Bill Nye’s autograph that one time in LA

Proudest moment: getting my first experiment that had been tested on the International Space Station back for analysis

If I weren’t an engineer, I’d be a: National Geographic photographer

My alarm: “Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson—a classic!

I don’t leave home without my: abnormally over-sized water bottle

My inspiration: my family—cliché, but true!

My favorite Trojan memory: going to the LA Art Show right after my first hackathon with my team!

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