Rylan Schaeffer


My name is Rylan Schaeffer and I am a Cognitive Neuroscience MRes student at University College London.

I completed my double Bachelor's degrees at the University of California, Davis in computer science engineering and statistics. I was the recipient of the UC Davis Computer Science Department's 2016 Outstanding Senior Award for teaching three undergraduate courses and for organizing and co-hosting over a dozen faculty talks aimed at bridging the divide between undergraduates and professors. I had the privilege of being the student speaker at the UC Davis College of Engineering's Commencement ceremony, where I spoke on the importance of ethics in engineering1.2. I also spoke at TEDxUCDavis 2016 on encouraging constructive student engagement with the Academic Senate.

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My background is a little unorthodox. I competed heavily in speech and debate before college, and I struggled to find my major. I intially tried biomedical engineering, switched to business, and then pursued a major of my own creation aimed at studying persuasion and motivation. Along the way, I served as CFO and COO of ASUCD (overseeing a $12 million annual operating budget and 20+ units) and as the undergraduate representative on the UC Davis College of Engineering Dean Recruitment Advisory Committee.

Research Student Led Courses Talks
Books News Acknowledgements
Thoughts Advice Misc

1. The talk was inspired by Professor Phillip Rogaway's paper that I had a chance to comment on in his graduate seminar, Professor Norm Matloff's boundless patience for discussing student engagement, pedagogical theory and really anything with me, and Professor Matt Bishop's love of science fiction that reignited my interest in dreaming of possible worlds.
2. Sadly, the previous speaker's talk on how much money the graduating engineers were about to make was much better received.