Skip to main content


About Trisha

Trisha Tschopp was a Ph.D. candidate in History and Science Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her work explored the relationship between science and Arab society in early twentieth-century Palestine. In April of 2021, her fifth year in the program, Trisha was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). For over eight months, she persevered with grace and humor, always looking forward with a sense of optimism but ultimately lost her fight with AML on December 6th, 2021. 


Memories of Trisha

Meaghan Baril

I met Trisha several years ago in an MMW pedagogy seminar. I was very young and new to teaching and I remember being so in awe of Trisha. She was sharp, knowledgeable, and very fashionable. She taught me one of the most valuable lessons about teaching that I have ever learned. She said that students will treat young women teachers differently than older women and male counterparts and to address that head on with each batch of students to ensure that you receive fair and respectful feedback. I use the language she gave me every single quarter and I am so grateful that we crossed paths. 

Everyone who came into contact with Trisha in MMW was a better instructor for it. I make sure to tell every young women educator I know what Trisha taught me. Her influence has rippled far and wide.

Claire Edington

I think about Trisha often. She was a force of nature, exceedingly determined and forward-thinking up until the very end. I am still surprised and heartbroken that she is no longer with us.

Trisha was ever-generous to those around her, her undergrads, and her fellow graduate students. She taught me a lot about teaching and mentorship, with mutual trust and respect at the heart of it all. I admired her grace and her grit, her intelligence, and thoughtfulness. I appreciated her radiant warmth, her good humor, and her honesty.

Our community was so enriched by Trisha’s presence and I miss her very much.

Cathy Gere

Trisha was in History of Science, and I knew her as a great mentor to the other students in Science Studies, and we would chat on the shuttle often. She was, of course, very poised and beautiful, but also so wry and funny about the endless language-learning she was doing, as she needed both Hebrew and Arabic for her project. She TA’d for me remotely in the weeks before she died. It was terrible to see how her fierce optimism collided with her illness, but her courage never failed. We would have meetings from her hospital bed, and she would assure me that the work took her mind off her situation. Even as she became too ill to work, it never occurred to me for one minute that she wouldn’t beat the cancer, because she was so determined to have a future, and so sure that she was going to return to her dissertation. I couldn’t believe it when we got the news from Danny. I still can’t.

Jamie Ivey

Trisha was the best and most helpful person in the department. She was there every time I had a question and always had some piece of advice from her experience that would be help me. I have no idea what I’m doing with the PhD process but she always had an answer for me and made everything seem manageable. Even when she was sick, she made everything seem like it was going to be okay, both with her and with my stuff. I can’t believe how lucky I was to have a colleague like her who would offer support at every opportunity.

But what came to mind over the last week was her telling me time and again, when I said I was rewatching Gilmore Girls, that Rory is the worst. I checked my messages and one of the last things she texted me was to confirm, once again, that Rory is the worst. It feels weird to think that will be my last interaction with her, but it also seems fitting and it’s not something I’m going to ever forget.

Sally Hargate

I sent out an email at the beginning of the fall 2021 quarter to introduce this year's incoming cohort of Ph.D. students and encouraged our current students to welcome them via a “reply all” since we couldn’t have an in-person event to welcome them. Trisha, of course, responded: 

Welcome - I’m Trisha and a sixth-year (sad trumpet sound) in Middle East /  Science Studies. I spent the first five years of the PhD feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing and that feeling continues, so if you have imposter syndrome—know that you are not alone. However, given that, please feel free to email me any questions you might have. I feel like I’ve been particularly successful acquiring $$$ for language study and fellowships…but there’s also a lot of institutional knowledge I’ve learned during my long stay here (especially as a FGLI student). I’m happy to share my own drafts of things or give feedback on fellowship drafts or whatever. Take a deep breath and know that you don’t have to have everything figured out this year and we’re all kind of faking it until we make it (and by “make it” I don’t mean get jobs because there aren’t any 😎).

Best and hope to hear from some of you soon,


P.S. Please forgive any typos. I’m having phone issues.

Sent from my iPhone

Trisha was always happy to lend a helping hand and was good at getting money. Her presence in our program and dare I say academics more broadly, will be missed.

Felicitas Hartung

I actually met Trisha during the first weeks when I had just joined the program. She came out of the elevator in the History Department carrying big textbooks that she was studying for her language exams. Like on that day, she always welcomed you with a smile that could make your day. 

While Trisha was busy with her own work, she always took the time to help others. Shortly before her qualifying exam, she joined me and Joy in organizing a workshop. And when she was already ill, she exchanged lengthy emails with me sharing her wisdom of how to acquire scholarships and funds. 

Trisha, you will be dearly missed. We will keep you in our memories and hearts!

Shuyang Shi

Trisha was my MMW 13 TA in 2018. She was one of the most caring mentors with a kind smile for everyone. She helped me with the coursework and introduced the rules and principles of grad school to me. She also generously helped me to revise my personal statements, writing samples, and other materials required for graduate admission even when she was sick.

Her passing was the most devastating news for me. I still can't believe it. When I found that her name disappeared from the current graduate students' list, I dreamt that she had lived a happy and successful life and obtained her doctoral degree. My encounter with her will become one of my most precious memories and she will be sincerely missed.

Reem Taşyakan

I feel incredibly lucky to have known Trisha. There are so many wonderful things I could say about her because she possessed so many of the greatest qualities I can conceive of in a person. She was kind, courteous, generous, insightful, witty, cheerful, attentive, and always optimistic. But what comes through most powerfully when I remember my time with her is how whenever we interacted, she somehow made me feel like it was the most interesting and important thing she could’ve possibly been doing in that moment, even if it was when we just happened to be riding along on the shuttle together. I believe that’s a rare gift in a person that reflects a deeply embedded sense of respect and compassion for others.

We talked about food a lot and shared recipes because of both being on a gluten free diet. We sometimes lamented over the things we could no longer eat but she would always end the conversation on a positive note, focusing on all the options still available to us. At the end of our last in-person conversation before she moved away from San Diego, I remember her telling me how she couldn’t wait to return home, see her mom, and eat the chicken and rice dish her mom always made especially for her, which brought her a lot of comfort and made her forget about the things she couldn’t eat anymore.

In her last email to me, she expressed her disappointment about needing to change her research and writing plans regardless of what happened because of needing to be closely monitored for quite a long time. She was brainstorming about workarounds and ways to get the research abroad done anyway. One of the last things she said in the email was that her lowered expectations around her academic work were actually making it more fun to do; she said it allowed her the chance to better enjoy looking through all of the documents and photographs she’d gathered related to her project. I believe there’s a very valuable lesson to be taken from that candid reflection.

About Temporary Bridge Funding

The Graduate Division administers financial resources to aid graduate programs in funding doctoral/MFA graduate students who are unable to perform the functions of an Academic Student Employee (ASE) or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) due to a documented medical condition (physical or mental) that interferes with their ability to work or return to work. This short-term one-time bridge funding is intended to bridge the period of time during which the academic home department/program works to identify other funding mechanisms for the student. The goal of the bridge funding is to ensure that the student is supported at a rate equivalent to at least a 50% TA position.

More Information