USC News

Menu Search

Inspiring students stay in the Trojan spirit while making a difference

Get to know current and former students who are improving the world — and themselves.

Nobody planned for a year like 2020, but that didn’t stop USC students from inspiring us and making their mark. we are SC logo

Whether working on the COVID-19 front lines, raising money to help struggling neighborhood businesses or dedicating themselves to community and service, take a look at some of the Trojans we met this year who make us proud.

‣ Environmental studies student Jasmine Sears:

“The more I learned about fashion production, the more I was convinced that this is the perfect place to implement sustainability.”

To be more sustainable, this USC student starts with the shirt on her back

‣ Transfer student and veteran Matt Mena:

“I’m a computer science major, and some [other] schools can have 1,200 students in some of those classes early on. I didn’t want to deal with that.”

Air Force vet takes his math talents to USC Viterbi

‣ MBA candidate Lauana Rodrigues Pereira Herbert:

“The ship is like a small city. The captain is the mayor, and I’m the director of the health department.”

Cruise ship doctor-turned-MBA student returns to duty during COVID-19

‣ Guardsman and recent grad Justin Lee:

“I hope that our communities stay resilient, keep depending on one another and collaboratively practice safety guidelines.”

USC master’s grad and National Guardsman serves those in need during COVID-19

‣ Stem cell donor Alec Fisher:

“You can’t let fear push you away from things. The fact is I can provide something for this person that could save their life, and I didn’t want to let fear take that away.”

Amid COVID-19 fears, USC Spirit Leader donates stem cells for leukemia patient

‣ Reservist, master’s student and mom Melissa Hooper:

“Applying to USC — a university at this level — was a new experience. When I got the letter of acceptance, I couldn’t believe it. I held onto it for a week before I showed anyone. I was kind of afraid it might be a mistake.”

A dual graduation for Army reservist: college and kindergarten

‣ Virtual peer mentor Maria Tangalos:

“I was definitely worried that people might not want to speak with me or that we wouldn’t be able to foster those kinds of natural environments, but Residential Education found a way.”

Virtual mentors bring the campus experience to remote first-year students

‣ Filmmaker Madison Holbrook:

“Of course, I was upset that we couldn’t have an in-person screening. Then I thought, maybe this is an opportunity”

How a USC student film reunited siblings on opposite sides of the world

‣ Future doctor Nicholas Chapman:

“I know how it is to almost fall through the cracks, the fear as if you will lose everything. I decided I didn’t want to ever have anyone else have that feeling of losing their life, so conserving lives is my idea.”

Once homeless, USC neuroscience grad uses grit and determination to pursue his dreams

‣ Head of the class Isabella Hauptman:

“I’ve wanted to be an epidemiologist since I was 11 years old, which is a very odd thing for an 11-year-old to stumble across. Growing up telling people I wanted to be an epidemiologist was very weird, because nobody knew what it was.”

Valedictorian Isabella Hauptman focuses on health in ways big and small

‣ First-year Trojan and Neighborhood Academic Initiative alum Ivan Garcia:

“I’ve been helped by USC all this time. It just felt like the better option for me.”

His Journey to USC Started with a Tough Choice

And don’t miss:

Five ways USC students are making the world a better place: In a time of great upheaval and need, USC students lead efforts to strengthen and support their communities.

Students get creative to support University Park businesses during pandemic: USC Marshall seniors put their entrepreneurial mindset to work, creating and selling T-shirts to raise money for student favorites like Caveman Kitchen, El Huero and more.

More stories about: ,

Inspiring students stay in the Trojan spirit while making a difference

Top stories on USC News