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USC Rossier School of Education professor Rudy Crew has taken the helm of the Greater Crenshaw Educational Partnership, which aims to improve Los Angeles’ Crenshaw High School, as its interim executive director.

The partnership is a nonprofit founded by USC Rossier, the Tom and Ethel Bradley Foundation, and the Los Angeles Urban League. Since joining USC in January, Crew has been developing leadership for the school’s existing community partnerships and standards for its new ones.

A Slave to His Work

Writer/director Gregg Helvey MFA ’09 of the USC School of Cinematic Arts turned bricks into gold with his film Kavi, which won the gold medal for narrative short film at the 36th annual Student Academy Awards on June 13.

Kavi
is the story of a boy in India who wants more out of life than work. Instead, he is forced to work in a brick kiln as a modern-day slave.

Kavi benefited from the expertise of other Trojan personnel, including director of photography John Harrison, MFA ’08; sound designer Gentry Smith, MFA ’04; and composer and USC Thornton School of Music adjunct professor Patrick Kirst.

The inspiration for the film came when Helvey learned that more slaves exist today than during the entire 400 years of transatlantic slave trade.

Counting on Him

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger appointed Dowell Myers of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development to be part of a newly created census panel that will oversee the upcoming federal census in California.

The California Complete Count Committee is being coordinated by the governor’s Office of Planning and Research with the aim of counting all Californians for the 2010 census. Getting a proper count is critical to ensuring that the state receives federal funding in proportion to its population needs.

Myers said that the committee’s emphasis includes mobilizing stakeholders to get the word out that people need to participate in the census. This is particularly critical as census budgets are expected to be lower for this census year.

The committee, which was formally announced on June 12, is comprised of 53 elected officials and representatives of various organizations.

With Open Arms

Oncologist and cancer researcher David B. Agus was welcomed to the Keck School of Medicine of USC on June 24 at a reception at the home of Robert and Kelly Day, members of the school’s Board of Overseers.

Agus joined the Keck School faculty on April 1 as a professor of medicine and director of the new USC Westside Prostate Cancer Center. He also serves as principal investigator for the Molecular Technologies in Cancer project, which is supported by a recent $5 million gift from the Ellison Medical Foundation.

Heavy Metallics

USC Viterbi School of Engineering professor Michael E. Kassner was elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Fellows comprise only about 2 percent of the society’s nearly 100,000 members worldwide.

Kassner is known for his research on the mechanical behavior of metallic materials.

He recently completed a six-year stint as the chair of the aerospace and mechanical engineering department at USC Viterbi. Under his chairmanship, the department experienced steady growth in quality in all its programs, from research funding to new faculty.

In Another Dimension

Paul Debevec, associate director for graphics research at the Institute for Creative Technologies, has been named one of the seven most important pioneers in the history of computer graphics imagery by 3D World magazine.

An article credited Debevec for developing many of the techniques behind high dynamic range imaging and image-based lighting. It also mentioned his current research on face scanning and 3-D teleconferencing.

One of the other innovators on the list was George Lucas ’66, who has been influential in the fundamental leaps in computer-generated imagery.

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