Last weekend I decided to take a break from my day-to-day campus activities and head off into the wilderness…of Pasadena, CA. I went on a hiking trip with one of my favorite clubs on campus, Peaks and Professors! The goal of this club is to take people out into nature and go hiking, while also encouraging dialogue between professors and students outside of the classroom. To do this, they bring a professor on each of their hikes!
My hike was to Echo Mountain. Despite being a mere 30 minutes away from campus, I felt like I had really left the city and made my way into a new, serene place. The professor on our hike was Professor Abby Fifer-Mandell, the Executive Director of the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab and a Professor of Entrepreneurship. She was super cool, and way more in shape than me. Along the way, she told us all about her kids and the stray cat infestation in her basement, and all sorts of fun stories.
When we got to the to of the hike, we got to yell out of a little cone and hear the echo of our voices on the mountain (hence the name Echo Mountain)! At the top, we also did an activity where Professor Abby taught us about her expertise in human-centered design, which is a way to look at product development that focuses on the community the product will be sold to first, and then developing the product to suit their needs. It was so cool to hear about such an interesting, academic subject outside of the classroom in a much more casual setting. Now, I might try to take her business class next year!
What’s so cool about being here at USC and in LA is that I can just decide to go on a hike spontaneously, meet an awesome professor, learn about a cool subject, take a beautiful hike with views of downtown LA, and then be home by 3 pm! I hope to do more of these in the future, and I’ll keep you all updated on what else I learn!