After taking AP chemistry in high school, the ‘curiosity got to me’

person sits on grass outside and smiles at the camera

Christopher Rocha is a first-year student from Pomona, California. (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

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Christopher Rocha. I’m a first-year student from Pomona, California.

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

I’m going into STEM. At first, I’m going to be honest, I was interested in it for the money. Then, I kind of fell in love with science. The curiosity got to me, and just learning about new topics in depth was just crazy, and I wanted to pursue that more here.

What do you like about science? What have you been curious about throughout your life?

At my high school, we just learned general science. It was pretty broad. But once I took more specific classes, like AP Chemistry, I started becoming more interested in how our bodies work and how weird it is that they’re functioning.

What sorts of careers are you interested in pursuing?

I’m really interested in becoming a doctor, possibly researching viruses. I really want to help humans with my research. When I was 14, I saw someone get run over by a car. Everyone was just kind of a bystander. So, I ran and got help because no one was helping. I just felt so scared. It was really traumatizing. I just wished I knew how to assess the situation, to stop the bleeding. So, as a doctor, I’ll be able to help in emergency situations like that.