My favorite student involvement is being a Coach for Freshmen Academy. One of the programs that makes Viterbi unique is the Freshmen Academy: a two-unit course that every freshmen engineer takes in the fall semester. The course is designed to showcase opportunities in engineering fields to inspire freshmen engineers. It’s great because it is designed to be low stress – generally there isn’t homework or midterms, most of the classes just have group projects and presentations throughout the semester. A lot of the professors decide to have engineering competitions among their students: one of the most notorious is the ‘walk on water’ challenge, pictured below. The class is also a great introduction to various Viterbi resources (Viterbi Academic Resource Center, Career Services, libraries, etc.) The best thing about the class though is that it’s an amazing opportunity to make friends outside of your major in Viterbi. A few of the other students I met when I was a freshmen in my academy have turned out to be some of my best friends in Viterbi!
As a Coach I’m one of the first upperclassmen that freshmen meet in Viterbi. Over the course of the semester I serve as a sort of mentor figure: I get to give perspective and guidance to freshmen and I also get to be a resource to those who want to know more about Viterbi and all that USC has to offer. Being a Coach is a really fulfilling position. Every Fall I get to know each of my freshmen and they impress me and charm me more each year. It’s great being able to say hi to them whenever I bump into them on campus and catch up with them about their lives.