Ashlynn Desco
Class of 2024 graduate, Ashlynn Desco, B.A., psychological science. (Steve Zylius/UC Irvine)

Ashlynn Desco grew up in a multigenerational household in San Clemente. While she always had an interest in people and the human mind, she only realized she wanted to pursue a degree in psychology after taking an introductory course at Saddleback College. 

In looking to further her studies, Desco found that UC Irvine’s psychological science program stood out. After transferring, she felt she had made the right choice.

“I love how unique the program is and how its focus is interdisciplinary,” she says. “I’ve really enjoyed being able to explore all sectors of psychology and having the ability to home in on my interests within them!” 

As a first-generation college student, Desco was initially overwhelmed by all the opportunities UC Irvine had to offer, but she quickly realized that she wanted to be involved in research.

Currently, she’s a research assistant for Joanne Zinger, who specializes in meta-analysis and the psychology of language. Desco is also working with director and associate editor Simon Cole on the National Registry of Exonerations.

Postgraduation, she hopes to gain further experience in the research field before applying to graduate programs in social or cognitive psychology. 

Who at UC Irvine has been an influence or made a significant impact on you? 

Dr. Joanne Zinger, associate professor of psychological science, is the individual who has had the greatest impact on me at UCI. She gave me my first research opportunity at the university, which has helped me grow both personally and academically. She’s also helped me prepare for life postgraduation and inspired me to go after what I want to achieve with full force! She’s an excellent professor and mentor. 

What advice would you give to a student starting their journey at UC Irvine?

To anyone starting their journey at UCI: Do not be afraid to get involved! With regards to my academic career, my greatest regret has been waiting so long to join in. There are so many resources, communities and opportunities at UCI just waiting to be explored. Don’t be shy! This is the time to explore your interests and decide who you want to be as an adult. College goes by a lot quicker than you expect. Don’t let it pass you by! 

“Ashlynn joined my psychology lab as a research assistant in January 2024, and she has been an absolute gem. She’s one of the top performers in my lab (with respect to both the speed and the accuracy of her work), and I have been impressed by her positive attitude, her reliability and her ability to learn quickly. I know she will go on to do great things after earning her bachelor’s degree from UCI!”

– Joanne Zinger, associate professor of psychological science

Read more #IamUCI – Class of 2024 stories