The year has flown by, and I can’t believe we only have one more week of classes left. This semester has been busy, exciting, fun, and undoubtedly the most challenging semester I have had yet USC. The reality is, of course, that engineering majors are difficult and time consuming (for most at least). Add research, work, and a few extracurriculars to that and your schedule is nearly full. While this can be overwhelming, it is absolutely rewarding.

For me, this semester emphasized how challenging this field can be, but also how rewarding it is. First, I have felt this academically. I am taking PHYS 162 this semester, which is USC’s honors electricity and magnetism course. It contains the most challenging material I have ever confronted academically. That said, I almost always walk out of this class smiling, as the material is new and exciting to me. And Professor Bickers, who teaches the course, is the most passionate professor I have had, so it’s hard not to gain at least a little of his excitement for physics while in his classroom.

Next, I have experienced the rewards of engineering outside of the classroom. In my research, I have been processing data from studies involving human robot interaction, which has helped me realize that I am really interested in doing something user-facing. At Rocket Propulsion Lab, we successfully integrated our motor cartridge, and then launched our rocket, Traveler III, which we were unfortunately unable to recover due to a miscommunication that prevented our telemetry system from being initiated. While this was disappointing, we will undoubtedly learn from it.

Finally, I have grown increasingly grateful for all the friendships I have made through Viterbi. I have spent a lot of my time with engineers this semester, and the challenges we have faced have definitely brought us closer. For me, these connections with other students form the most rewarding part of Viterbi. When my friends succeed, I share their joy, and when either one of us fail, we know we have a support system in place to make sure each one of us can do better in the future. While some students don’t share this mindset, I have found that most of my peers do.

With that, you might still be wondering, what was the biggest disappointment of this semester?! I hate to say it… but USC Trojan football. I always make time for football games, but I found myself with the urge to leave at half too many times this semester. When I committed to USC, the Trojans were reigning Rose Bowl champions, and I was excited to be attending a school I thought was going to win a national championship. The Trojans haven’t quite earned that title during my time here, and with a tough game against Notre Dame determining if we are even bowl eligible, our current national championship prospects are extremely dim. I still have hope for next season though, so fight on Trojans!

Audrey Roberts

Audrey Roberts

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Denver, Colorado PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @audrey.roberts On campus, I lead outreach for the USC Rocket Propulsion Laboratory, do materials research in the M.C. Gill Composites Center, and am the Academic Chair of my sorority.