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USC hosts 2nd graduate recruitment conference for students at minority-serving institutions

The two-day event attracted more than 150 students from universities around the country, including many historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions.

Minority graduate recruitment: Christopher Manning addresses prospective students
Christopher Manning, USC’s chief inclusion and diversity officer, speaks to prospective students at the second annual Minority Serving Institutions Graduate and Professional Recruitment Conference in Wallis Annenberg Hall. (Photo/Grayson Schmidt)

Some of the prospective students who entered Wallis Annenberg Hall on Saturday morning drove a few miles, a handful traversed the length of California and others flew cross-country. But all of them were there for the same reason: They see a future at USC.

For the second straight year, USC hosted the Minority Serving Institutions Graduate and Professional Recruitment Conference. The two-day event attracted more than 150 students from universities around the country and state, including many historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions, such as Hampton University, Howard University, Grambling State University, Florida A&M University, the University of California system and more.

“All of you bring great gifts to us,” USC Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Christopher Manning said to attendees. “Sharing your experiences, your strengths and your backgrounds helps us become an even more robust, elite, international and diverse university.”

An opportunity to really connect at graduate recruitment event

Miki Turner, associate professor of professional practice at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, conceived the conference with the goal of giving prospective minority students an opportunity to personally engage with USC faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni, as well as recruiters from various industries.

Minority graduate recruitment: Campus tour

Desa Philadelphia of the USC School of Cinematic Arts gives a tour of the University Park Campus to students attending the second annual Minority Serving Institutions Graduate and Professional Recruitment Conference. (Photo/Grayson Schmidt)

Turner, an alumna of Hampton University in Virginia, said that although last year’s virtual session provided a lot of information, this year’s in-person conference really showed potential students what USC is all about.

“The MSI event is so important because it gives us an opportunity to really connect with students who might have been overlooked in the past,” Turner said.

Some alumni, including 2021 USC Annenberg graduate Toni Hall, encouraged prospective students to envision themselves at USC. Hall completed her undergraduate education at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, a historically Black institution, and now works for the NFL. Saturday morning, Hall reminded attendees to come in with the mindset that this is the place for them.

“Know you bring something to the table,” Hall said. “Your mind, your spirit and your existence bring something to this school that is so important.”

Last year’s event was virtual and featured 14 USC schools. This year saw about 20 schools represented, including USC Annenberg, the USC Rossier School of Education, the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Price School of Public Policy.

Graduate recruitment conference: ‘The best are here’

Journalist jarrett hill, an adjunct instructor at USC Annenberg, answered questions and spoke to prospective students about his own experience moving to the West Coast. Like Turner and Hall, hill (who styles his name lowercase) is also an alum of a historically Black institution — Clark Atlanta University — and encouraged students to have confidence in themselves and not see USC as a school to be intimidated by, but rather as a space that would benefit from their life experience and expertise.

“The best are here, and y’all are considering being here because y’all are some talent,” said hill, who also serves as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

“Look around the room [at your potential classmates]. These are VPs, these are CEOs, these are directors of programs, these are entrepreneurs, these are the people that you’re going to be looking at in the headlines.”

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USC hosts 2nd graduate recruitment conference for students at minority-serving institutions

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