Physics major Suzanna Desta: ‘You can find patterns in everything in the world’

person sits outside and smiles at the camera

Suzanna Desta is a transfer student majoring in physics. (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 San Diego, California.

What are you majoring in?

Physics. The physics department is amazing, so I definitely wanted to come here to work with those professors.

What do you like about physics?

I like that you can find patterns in everything in the world. For everything in the universe, there’s always going to be an equation for it. It’s super-fun and super-interesting. It’s a lot of hard work, but I enjoy it.

Is there anything in physics that you learned that blew your mind?

Anything with electromagnetism, that you can connect both of those fields together. Anything with quantum field theory is also super-cool and interesting.

Are there any clubs here that you’re interested in joining?

Yeah — I’m definitely interested in joining the Society of Physicists. It seems like a very inclusive club, and they try to make sure everybody is welcome, and they want us to really enjoy our majors.

Are you glad you went to a community college before transferring to Berkeley?

I actually went to a four-year university first. I was so young, and I felt pressure to just pick a place, and sometimes where you pick is just not the right place for you. It was a college on the East Coast, and I was like, “I want to come back to California.” After leaving, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and went to community college and enjoyed it. I felt like I had a better grasp on what I wanted going into a four-year university, which is why I chose Berkeley.

Was having that time to figure out what you wanted to do important for you?

Yeah. I think gap years should become a norm instead of this cool experience that some people have, because it helps you understand what you actually want. High school can be intense. Then, for students who go to Berkeley, or any elite university, it’s equally as intense, so you never get the chance to just breathe and fully understand what you want to do.