I hope you’re all doing well, staying safe, and taking care of yourselves and others!

Viterbi is all about community forming, and collaboration between students. This isn’t just something you hear as a prospective student, but an ideal that plays out in classrooms, study lounges, libraries, and all around campus. Especially now, being away from USC, I’ve started thinking more about the communities that I’m missing the most, and what immediately comes to mind are the classmates and peers in my major, environmental engineering, that I’m used to seeing multiple times a day. As the smallest major in Viterbi, we’re always in close contact with each other, studying for exams and quizzes, working on homework, and visiting the same companies at the career fair.

These interactions happen spontaneously a lot, but thankfully, they’re also facilitated through the environmental engineering major-specific organization, the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. AAEES is a professional organization that connects environmental engineers and other students interested in sustainable careers with each other while providing professional and academic development opportunities.

Since ENE is such a small major, almost everyone I take classes with is in the organization. AAEES events are like a departmental meeting, where environmental engineers and civil environmental engineers get together to network with company representatives, work on homework assignments, and bond with each other outside of the classroom.

AAEES at USC is a relatively new organization, but even so, we’ve found ways to put on events such as our Sustainable Career Panel, Water LA Volunteering event, Holiday Study Night, and Do’s and Do-nuts of Resume Building (a resume workshop, featuring cool donuts with our organization’s name and fun designs on them!). Being in AAEES has been a great way to get to know other students in my major and students generally interested in sustainability at USC. Because it’s a student organization, anyone can join, which makes it home to a diverse group of students, all supporting environmental engineering and sustainability.

Though AAEES doesn’t have an easy-to-say acronym (like AIChE, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, or ASME, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers), AAEES is a great example of a major-specific organization at USC. Each major in Viterbi has their own organization that puts on events, activities, and programs for its members, and all are available for students to join as early as their freshman fall semester. These organizations are a great way to connect with students in your department, or explore other areas of engineering that you’re interested in pursuing after graduation. I’d definitely recommend checking out any major-specific organization that you’re interested in at the Viterbi and General Involvement Fairs at USC, both in the fall and spring, and get involved in the different student-based communities within each department!

AAEES is already looking forward to planning fun events once we’re back on campus in the fall, and I can’t wait to continue supporting the community of environmental engineers and scientists at USC through the organization! Fight on!

Christina Najm

Christina Najm

MAJOR: Environmental Engineering YEAR: Class of 2021 HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @cnajm5 On campus I conducted undergraduate research in wastewater treatment technology through the environmental engineering department and am involved in Alpha Omega Epsilon (a social and professional sorority for women in STEM), the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and the Society of Women Engineers.