Stamps Scholar Cameron Quon eyes career that blends medicine, journalism and his faith
The USC Annenberg junior and pre-med student keeps busy using both sides of his brain.
As a kid, Cameron Quon was encouraged to try everything and anything – gymnastics, guitar, piano, film, golf.
When his father, a gastroenterologist, brought home frogs and other specimens to dissect, the experiences served as stepping stones to the young boy’s dreams.
Now Quon hopes to blend his varied passions – medicine, documentary journalism and his Christian faith – into a career as a practicing physician.
He realized how this could become reality during a two-week missionary trip to Jordan the summer before his sophomore year of high school. His group started in the country’s capital of Amman and made its way down to the Red Sea. They prepared boxes of food, brought medicine and served Iraqi refugees. Quon’s father provided medical exams.
It was a turning point for the charismatic and ambitious multitasker. He had brought along his video camera and documented the entire visit. Bells went off in his head: He realized he really could actually do it all.
Now a junior in the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Quon is pursuing a dual major in pre-med and broadcast journalism with a minor in natural science. He is also the first Stamps Leadership Scholar to come out of the Annenberg School.
The Stamps Scholars at USC receive a $5,000 stipend every academic year, and the money can be used for nearly anything — from classes to study abroad to extracurricular activities.
Quon, for instance, traveled to a hospital in Kenya in 2014 and accompanied his physician father on his visits to patients. Quon spent his time filming a documentary about the hospital and produced a film that won Best Student Documentary at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood. The trip was funded by the Stamps Foundation.
In addition to the stipend, the foundation fully funds a biannual national convention held in a different city each time. Travel, food and hotel are covered by the foundation.
The USC Stamps Scholars socialize with each other and with their counterparts at nearby schools like Caltech and UCLA. Occasionally, opportunities arise where scholars are able to meet local executives and visit successful companies, like SpaceX.
Quon is heavily involved in several activities on campus but his primary community and source of support is the Navigators, an evangelical ministry group on campus. He leads the worship team and “disciples,” or spiritually trains, a freshman every week.
“I really see my friends in this group as accountability partners,” he said. “We try to be really vulnerable with each other and transparent. That is very important to us, especially at USC, because the campus is very large.”
Quon also writes and produces videos for various news outlets at the USC Annenberg School. He is on the senior producing team for Impact, Annenberg’s documentary unit, as a paid producer. “It’s like a job,” Quon said.
He is working on a documentary called The Invisible Generation, which is focused on the work of a Culver City non-profit group that provides poor children with hearing aids.
He takes two journalism classes and two pre-med classes every semester. Next year, he will apply to medical school.
“It’s really nice to split my brain,” he says of his dual majors.
When he’s using the left side of his brain, he is busy conducting directed research in the chemistry department where he is studying the thermodynamic stability of the genome.
In the past year, he’s added another passion to his list — coffee. It all started with his roommate who used an AeroPress, a device for brewing coffee. Quon became fascinated with the process of making coffee – from making just one cup to how coffee farmers buy fair trade beans worldwide.
To him, there’s an opportunity here to partner with coffee farmers around the world and evangelize them as well. He dreams of starting partnerships with coffee farmers from around the world and, simultaneously, sharing the gospel with them.
“This is a very new idea,” said the burgeoning entrepreneur.
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