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A benefit performance of Howlin’ Blues and Dirty Dogs, the story of rhythm and blues singer Willie Mae (Big Mama) Thornton, will be held May 16 at 2 p.m. at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood.

Jazz vocalist Barbara Morrison will portray Thornton. Tickets are $35. Proceeds will go to USC Rossier School of Education student Celena Castillo, who lost nine members of her family on Dec. 24, 2008. Donations are welcome.

The theatre is located at 6773 Hollywood Blvd. For information and tickets, contact Melisa Carson at (213) 821-4231 or

Community Klatch

To give the communities around USC’s campus an information source and an independent voice while providing entrepreneurial journalism training for its students, the USC Annenberg School for Communication launched Intersections: The South Los Angeles Reporting Project with a campus event on May 5.??

The Intersections community news Web site, at, features multimedia reporting by journalism students, community residents and community leaders that focuses on education, economic development, housing and immigration in local communities.

Journalism professors Bill Celis and Willa Seidenberg, co-directors of the project, said the site’s objectives are teaching students urban reporting, partnering with the community and mentoring local high school students.

Full of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy has designated USC as the site of an Energy Frontier Research Center.

P. Daniel Dapkus, the William M. Keck Professor of Engineering in the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, will direct the center.

Dapkus, director of the newly created Center for Energy Nanoscience and Technology, will work with USC College chemistry professor Mark E. Thompson.

The researchers will attempt to improve the efficiency of solar cells and light sources.

Picture This

USC journalism professor Diane Winston has edited Small Screen, Big Picture: Television and Lived Religion (Baylor University Press), a new book about how religious ideas and issues are woven into television narratives.

The book treats television as a virtual meeting place where Americans across racial, ethnic, economic and religious lines find instructive and inspirational narratives. It describes how television converts social concerns, cultural conundrums and metaphysical questions into stories that explore and even shape who we are and would like to be — the building blocks of religious speculation.

Winston, who holds the Knight Chair in Media and Religion, is the author of Faith in the Market: Religion and Urban Commercial Culture and Red-Hot and Righteous: The Urban Religion of the Salvation Army.

Just Between Them

Kelvin J. A. Davies, associate dean at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and professor of molecular and computational biology at USC College, organized and chaired the Gordon Research Conference on oxidative stress and disease held in the Tuscany region of Italy this month.

The conference provides an international forum for the presentation and discussion of research in the biological, chemical and physical sciences. To encourage open communication, each member of a conference agreed that any information presented in a formal talk, poster session or discussion was a private communication.

Far East Economics

The Strategic Initiative for Korean Studies has selected David Kang, director of the Korean Studies Institute and professor of international relations and business at USC College, to receive a five-year, $600,000 grant.

Kang and his research team are interested in the East Asian and Korean economic dynamics, how that region is becoming central to economic life around the globe and the changing social and generational views of Korean society.

He also plans to explore how Korean popular culture is influenced by external forces.

Giving Thanks

The USC School of Pharmacy held its annual scholarship luncheon, a unique opportunity for benefactors to share insights and experiences with their students, on April 16 at Centennial Park.

Dean R. Pete Vanderveen thanked the scholarship donors, noting the important role they play in the lives of students and the school.

The event was punctuated by special notes of gratitude by three students: Nicole Tavares, who will graduate this year; Yousuf Rahyab, a 2010 Pharm.D. candidate; and Eddie Wong, a 2011 Pharm.D./MBA candidate.

Wong noted that when he initially considered attending the School of Pharmacy, he was concerned about the financial burden it would place on his family. But since then, he has “seen firsthand the enormous support that comes with being part of the Trojan Family.”

The event recognizes the impact of scholarships on the lives of the students who receive them and gives students a personal opportunity to thank those who support them.

New scholarships presented at the event included the Comprehensive Pharmacy Services Scholarship, the Joanne and Scott Evans Endowed Scholarship, the Barbara Gee Endowed Scholarship, the Mission Road Pharmacy Scholarship, the Urmila Patel Endowed Scholarship, the Mayank and Rebecca Shah Scholarship and the Roslyn Ellison Blake Endowed Diversity Scholarship.

The Diversity Scholarship, another new scholarship, received support from Target, Cardinal Health and Walgreens.

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