One of the first organizations that I joined when I came to USC was Spark SC. I first heard about them through the Viterbi Voices Podcast in which founders Calvin and Adena discussed Spark’s mission and the various events their org was coordinating to spread a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. Immediately, I was drawn to the incredible impact they were having on campus, the team they had assembled, and their determination to grow and surpass all expectations. With initiatives such as a pitch competition, podcast, community projects, and hack nights, Spark SC was having a massive output that I was eager to contribute to!
After being admitted to the organization, the first project I committed myself to was the biannual Startup Career Fair. The event was only a year old, but was already known for bringing together 20 + LA Startups and 1000 + students (and a drone!) on campus each semester to create opportunities for Trojans to find job / internship opportunities within LA’s growing startup scene. Our team of 7 was responsible for reaching out to startup representatives via phone calls and emails, securing a venue on campus, establishing sponsorships with schools like Viterbi and Annenberg, and marketing the event to the entire student body. Months of work goes into an event that lasts four hours… and it is so worth it.
During the day of the event, I helped with setup and check-in, but as a motivated Spring Admit I was also dressed in formal attire ready to talk to as many startup representatives as time would allow! Learning more about the startup culture and the variety of sectors that LA’s startups were concentrating on was inspiring. From virtual reality and healthcare to fashion and social media, there was something for everyone! It was at this moment that I got to experience first-hand the significance of the event beyond the potential internship. Despite not landing a job for the summer, I came away with something more valuable, a burning desire to develop an idea of my own in the future and to contribute to the rise of entrepreneurship and innovation in southern California.
Because of the influence the event had on me, I decided to take on a bigger role and become the lead of the Startup Career Fair for both the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. I wanted to coordinate and improve upon the event in a way that even more students could experience and appreciate a piece of the startups and their ground-breaking ideas that the city of LA has become a home to.