Spring Break Recap!

Hey All,

Midterms are slowly beginning to slow down so I can finally tell you about my Spring Break.  I decided to break it up into two parts, half of which I would go car-camping, and the other traveling to Portland, Oregon.   In retrospect this made my break very busy and let me really make the most out of the free week!

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The roommates and I at a football game!

USC, More Than an Engineering School

Two years ago, at approximately this time, I sat in the same position as many high school seniors sit now. My mailbox began to fill with college admission decisions, and I, both excitedly and slightly anxiously, started the process of determining which university I would attend in the fall. After making multiple tables that used numerical scores to rank my potential school choices and countless pros and cons lists, I narrowed down my search to two great engineering institutions: The Georgia Institute of Technology (or Georgia Tech) and the University of Southern California. Continue reading

Vanilla Caramel Latte

Why Going Home for Spring Break is a Great Idea

Hi everyone!

I just got home for Spring Break last night, and I’m so excited to be blogging from Dallas, Texas for the first time in a while. I’m so happy to be back in Dallas for the week, especially since I haven’t been home in a long time considering the fact that I spent the majority of my Christmas break in Antarctica. I’m also glad to be able to spend time in Dallas since I’ll be studying abroad in Rome through the Viterbi Overseas Program for the majority of my summer.

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President's Distinguished Lecture with George W. Bush

My Week in Review: The President’s Distinguished Lecture, a Thermodynamics Midterm, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Midnight Premier

You’d think that as the semester begins to wind down, life would become a little less hectic. For me, however, that hasn’t been the case lately. This past week was a whirlwind of events, homework, and midterms leading up to Thanksgiving break next week.

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Halloween at Universal Horror Nights!

This year for Halloween, a bunch of my friends and I decided to try see how brave we were by going to Horror Nights at Universal Studios! This was something I had always wanted to do, and going on Halloween seemed like the perfect way to celebrate.

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I love spending the afternoon at Santa Monica Beach

My Top 10 Study Breaks

Brace yourself…midterms are coming.

I still find it hard to believe that midterm season is already upon us. It seems like the first week of school was maybe two weeks ago at most, and I was shocked to hear my analytical chemistry professor announce that our first midterm was going to be this Friday. Time to break out those old study habits again. Although I get wrapped up in studying for hours on end sometimes way too easily, I’m always taking different types of study breaks to give my mind a break and get up and move some.  With that being said, I figured I’d give you a list of what I believe are the top 10 best study breaks for USC students. Continue reading

LaunchPad LA: one of the accelerator programs in LA I have become familiar with. They help companies off of the ground. Will be visiting in a few weeks

USC in a Word: Ascend

“They will see us waving from such great
Heights, ‘come down now,’ they’ll say
But everything looks perfect from far away,
‘come down now,’ but we’ll stay…”-The Postal Service

It’s hard for me to take a step back and realize that in a few short months, I will officially be a senior at USC. What I have come to realize is that while I have personally ascended in class standing here, so too has the school itself and those around me, in a multitude of ways . Additionally, this place has helped me ascend and reach new heights internally. I couldn’t be more thankful, and I want to take a few lines to explain why USC exemplifies what it means to ascend.


Ascend(v)- to rise to a higher point, level, degree, etc.

USC as an entire entity is so progressive. Just in my three years here, I’ve watched the campus change, myself change, and those around me change, all for the better. In my eyes, these “better” changes have all between characterized by a move forward or “higher” somehow. That’s the part that amazes me. I guess the easiest way to do this, is to describe these ascensions each separately, and then speak to how they all come together for me.


I came into my freshman year at USC as a 17 year-old who thought she had it all together. I had a concrete plan, goals to achieve, and (at least I thought) a pretty good general idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I would major in electrical engineering, and hopefully apply to law school and go on to have a brilliant career as a patent attorney., While I still want to do those things, the classes, professors, people, and experiences I’ve had/met here have shaken and turned my perspective, world view, and self perception upside down. It took me a while to adjust, but I feel like my sense of who I am and what I want to do is so much more informed. Since coming here, I’ve learned that I have so many other interests and talents, and I find myself thinking about new ways (outside of the original concrete goal) to apply those skills in a way that will be meaningful and help me make a contribution/my mark on the world. Recently, I’ve been seriously considering starting my own company after college based around an idea I’ve been toying with. For my first semester here, I thought entrepreneurs were bright people with pipe dreams. However, after founding NOBE, and being exposed to all the LA accelerator programs, and meeting so many incredibly talented people (including many successful and not so successful entrepreneurs and business owners), I am so excited by the idea of potentially creating my own job for myself. I can truly say my world view has ascended, and that is directly a result of my time here. I feel so much more open minded.

Me: Freshman Year. Confident about life plans, not about self...

Me: Freshman Year. Confident about life plans, not about self…

Me: Now. So Fierce and Confidence about myself! But not about my plans:)

Me: Now. So Fierce and Confident about myself! But not about my plans:)

Along those same lines, being involved in the film school here has made me really conscious and excited about writing. I came into college knowing I liked to write. That was all I knew about my writing abilities though. Given my passion for film/television/pop culture, I decided to take a screenwriting class here. I knew I couldn’t spend four years here without experiencing our cinematic arts program in some capacity. What I didn’t know, however, was that I would fall in love with the art of screenwriting, learn so much about the actual business of Hollywood/selling scripts and making projects happen, become familiar with script coverage and how to properly analyze stories, simulate actual writer’s rooms in my classes, and gain insight from seasoned vets on how to do these things right. Much like my thoughts on founding a company/being an entrepreneur, I felt also that the idea of people wanting to make their careers either making or writing movies/television was a pipe dream. I know what you’re thinking, I was one skeptical kid! While I have learned that these things are incredibly difficult, I see now that they are possible. Furthermore, it is the fact that they are not easy, and there are no guarantees, that makes them more rewarding. Screenwriting, in particular, has been a great chance for me to discover a new hidden talent. I definitely want to continue to pursue it, and eventually sell a script. Had I never taken that first class, I probably would have never realized this dream or this ability. This new self-discovery, sense of awareness, and lack of pessimism truly exemplifies what it means to ascend for me. Compared to where my mind and heart were three years ago, they are now in a spot with a much better view. My mindset and goals have definitely ascended.

LaunchPad LA: one of the accelerator programs in LA I have become familiar with. They help companies off of the ground. Will be visiting in a few weeks

LaunchPad LA: one of the accelerator programs in LA I have become familiar with. They help companies off of the ground. Will be visiting in a few weeks. LaunchPad is also pretty symbolic as a name…


I am surrounded by people and occurrences who continue to uplift and inspire those around them. Their ascensions from the ashes after a difficult time, through a challenge, or above any issues continually amazes me. This shouldn’t be all too surprising, considering that the 5 attributes of a Trojan are faithful, skillful, scholarly, courageous, and ambitious. While those seem like five nice words associated with our school, that look good on paper and on a statue, you don’t realize how many people truly exemplify these words until you see it happening. Whether it’s something as monumental as a Trojan Olympian overcoming the prospect of never walking again and going on to win a medal, or a fellow Trojan student overcoming the stereotypes of a lifelong leg paralysis and learning how to surf and remain active, or something more (seemingly) trivial like a friend who takes on a subject they have no familiarity with, struggling, and overcoming their struggles, I see acts of ascension and inspiration on a daily basis. On an academic front, several of my close friends here use their smarts and communication skills to serve as tutors in the Viterbi Academic Resource Center (VARC). Whether it be myself or others, I watch them continue to not only ascend in their expertise, but help and liberate others to do the same. The same can be said of almost any professor I’ve had here. After, for the first time in my life, receiving the class low score on an exam, I have a professor (and an excellent TA) who has since met with me weekly for extra help and personal tutoring. Since then, I have been able to ascend not only in my personal understanding, but in my sense of confidence about my abilities to handle that subject matter.

Trojan and Olympian Bryshon Nellum

Trojan and Olympian Bryshon Nellum

Trojan and Surfer/Motivational Speaker Patrick Ivison

Trojan and Surfer/Motivational Speaker Patrick Ivison


Basically, watching those around you ascend liberates and enables you do to the same. That has very much been my experience here. Furthermore, it’s an amazing feeling to watch your predecessors continue to exemplify this trait as citizens in their respective fields. Seeing Trojans listed on the academy award nominees list and being inducted into the National Academy of Engineering gives me both butterflies and hope.

For me, watching new buildings spring up around our campus on a regular basis has been more symbolic than anything else. It is a physical manifestation of the ascension I see in myself and those around me. It is a literal representation of an ongoing, and beautiful process for all members of the Trojan family. We find ways to be better, to rise higher than we ever thought possible, to move forward and upward. Our school’s personal brand, professors, and campus resources find the best ways to help us achieve our goals, whether it be through ridiculous connections with the entertainment and engineering industries, centers for fostering innovation, or an emphasis on strong professor-student relationships. We are never satisfied with good, and always strive to be better, to rise above the norm.

Argo-a fantastic film on its own. Trojan Erik Aadahl also received an oscar nominee for best sound editing on this year

Argo-a fantastic film on its own. Trojan Erik Aadahl also received an oscar nomination for best sound editing on this year



We inspire, and we are inspired.

We grow as individuals and as a collective body, while we are here, and long after we leave this place.

We are Trojans, and we ascend.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.” -Marianne Williamson


japan-solar-power-space 2

Spring Semester At A Glance

Hello again!

I’m looking forward to a truly awesome semester and I’d love to tell you about it!

First of all, my classes are amazing. I’m taking ISE 344, Engineering Team Management to grow as a leader and practice building teams with stubborn, know-it-all engineers. I have that class with Cassandra, Melanie, and Brendon, so obviously it’s going to be fun!

Next, I’m taking AME 420, Engineering Vibrations, which, from what I’ve seen so far, seems to be about periodic movements in complex bodies. That class, I’m really only taking because it fits with my schedule

A Cantilevered beam, type of structure statics problem we did this week for homework

A Cantilevered beam, type of structure statics problem we did this week for homework

My 3rd engineering class is ASTE 480, Spacecraft Dynamics on Tuesday nights from 6:30-9:10. I swear it feels like my head is filled to bursting at the end of the class, and I fall right asleep as soon as I get home. That one seems to be complex math to describe motion, torque, moment, moments, forces, etc on an spacecraft, be it irregular or spinning 3-dimensionally in space. Difficult, but useful.pitch yaw 2

My 4th major engineering class has me super excited!! Its ASTE 420, which is only for seniors in astronautical engineering. There are 12 of us, divided into 2 groups of 6 for our senior capstone class. Last semester I took AME 441 which is that majors senior design class, but this one is specifically tailored to astro students. The first day, the professor handed out a RFP, or Request for Proposal, for a Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP) architecture for space and ground stations!!

Maybe you haven’t heard alot about SBSP, but it’s a big deal for people that are both space nerds and interested in renewable energy. Solar cells on earth are great, but we lose efficiency as light is filtered through the atmosphere. Collecting solar energy in space is 100x more efficient, just due to the amount of sunlight (W/m^2). However, as you can imagine, there are quite a few logitical problems, which include how to get the energy back to Earth in a form that’s not a death laser. And even more importantly, who would fund this, when it’s likely that the payoff from the energy would take at least a decade. I could go on and on, and I will as we write a 80-100 proposal to answer this question. But I’ll keep you updated through tweet and blog (SO EXCITED!)

japan-solar-power-space 2My 5th engineering class is ENGR 100, Honors Colloquium, and I have the honor this semester of being the student moderator. That means that I find speakers who are interesting to me and ask them to come lecture for an hour to the ~100 Engineering Honors students. The class is an hour every Friday, and I look for speakers who do exciting research or have helpful career or life advice. The first one last week was very interested. One of the criteria for the series is to have a 3.7 GPA (which I barely managed to keep all the way to my senior year!!)

Finally I’m taking the infamous USC Film Symposium class and see movies before they’re released and then hear from actors and directors and costume managers and etc. about the film

maltin-class 2
Other than my classes, I’m still the President of Society of Women Engineers and have so much fun and learn alot weekly with our general meetings and the great people in the club.

I’m a member of the Equestrian team and am showing my horse, Fast this weekend and then traveling to Arizona next weekend to try and win some ribbons!

I’m singing in a recital choir for one of my friends who is a conducting student.

I’m a TA for AME 341, Mechoptronics.

AND……. I’m going to try to make the most of my last semester at an amazing school so I don’t regret missed opportunities. Wish me luck, and Fight On!


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