Sociology transfer student La Shaun Aaron left a full-time job to start her own business and founded 805 Resistance to advance social and environmental justice in Ventura County. At age 43 and with a college-aged son, Aaron joins USC and hopes to be a role model to other Black women and girls.
What is one thing you brought with you that is most meaningful or representative of who you are?
I am bringing the wisdom and knowledge of my life experiences as well as my professional experiences. More importantly I am bringing an openness to new things, learning and new people.
What are your greatest hobbies, passions and interests?
I have so many things I am passionate about. A lot of it is under the umbrella of racial and social justice: Black Lives Matter, Black liberation and equity for marginalized people and BIPOC women’s issues. I am an activist and community organizer. I enjoy the beach, pool, jacuzzi and traveling. I also enjoy learning and binge-watching shows and documentaries and I love music.
What are you most excited to do/get involved in?
I am excited to get involved in clubs/student organizations and to connect with different kinds of people but also like-minded people that I may collaborate with in the future. I really want to get involved in as many campus activities as my schedule will allow.
Was there an impactful experience in your life that really shaped who you are today that you can share?
There are so many experiences that shaped me, but I would say watching my grandmother work so hard every day gave me a good example of work ethic and also wanting to do better for myself and my family.
Describe yourself as a high school student.
I was a mix of a being a hot emotional mess but also a good student. I was in ASB [Associated Student Body] and active in Black student union, so it was a lot of fun.
What do you think is the greatest achievement/or highest point of your life so far — personal, professional or academic?
I provide for my family and, although I am not perfect, I am a good example of persevering through adversity. I left a full-time career to start my own business in 2017. That has been the best decision I could have made, because it paved the road and gave me the timed flexibility to dedicate myself to coming back to school. The highest point of my life has not happened yet, but I have experienced some great success. Such as a time as now.
Why did you choose USC and what did you do when you found out you got in?
I chose USC because it was my dream school along with Howard. I was ecstatic but also super shocked when I found out. I was in CVS when I found out — picking up my mom’s meds — so I yelled and was telling everyone in the line, “I got into USC!” I cried, thanked God and called all my close family members once I got out of the store.
How do you think you will change/grow by the time you graduate?
I think I will definitely be more sharpened: iron sharpens iron. I think being among so many other ambitious, scholarly, passionate people will help me to be more driven, focused and intentional about how much I give to my education, projects, research, collaborations and even social circles I participate in and contribute to.
Being a mom with a college-age son is a surreal but amazing place to be right now for me. My son walked me to the door, and he said, “It’s like the roles are reversed now” and we laughed. He told me he was proud of me several times. That meant a lot. My mom called me this evening to ask how my first day of school was. God’s timing is perfect.
Edited for length and clarity