Student Isabella Miller dreams of becoming a marine veterinarian

portrait of a person smiling outside

Isabella Miller, a transfer student from Livermore, California, is majoring in marine science. (Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small)

This Q&A is part of a series of new student profiles for our 2022 back-to-school coverage. Have someone you think we should write about? Contact

What year are you, and where are you from?

I’m a transfer student from Livermore, California.

What do you plan to study at UC Berkeley, and why?

Marine science. I’ve always been interested in the ocean. I’ve been a swimmer my whole life, and I really want to work with animals. I’m hoping to become a veterinarian.

What specific animals are you drawn to?

I really like the octopus. They are the smartest animals. I’ve seen videos of them playing. Even sharks — I’ve seen videos of divers petting sharks, and they’re just loving it. All animals love affection. I want to get my scuba diving license and explore more of the ocean.

Do you want to be a marine vet?

That’s a really big dream of mine. I can imagine myself at a sanctuary helping with rehabilitation, getting in the water with turtles and manatees. That sounds really nice. I’m not sure if I’ll get there. I might just be a standard vet because I love all animals. I’ve always said I want an enchanted forest in my backyard.

Why do you think you’re so drawn to animals? What do you love about them?

I’ve always been that way. I’m a very empathetic person, and I feel like empathetic people can imagine how animals feel. They’re so underestimated. A lot of people think that they don’t have souls or personalities or all these complex emotions — that only humans have them. We’re finding out more and more every day that animals we thought didn’t feel pain, feel pain, and that they have all these different brain mechanics and can do all these complex tasks. I think a lot of animals know and feel a lot more than we know.