Hey everyone,

Welcome back! I hope you all had lovely winter breaks. Mine was great – I relaxed a lot, saw old high school friends and family, and even took a little trip up to Seattle. Since I’m from Portland, this is only about a three-hour drive. I also watched a lot of college football. I have to say, I was a little disappointed by this bowl season – too many blowout games for my taste. Also USC unfortunately lost which was definitely a bummer. I’m optimistic about next season though.

Anyways, now that I’m back at USC, I’m beginning my very last semester as an undergrad at USC! It totally hasn’t sunk in yet. I cannot believe I’m graduating in only four months. I know this semester is going to fly by too.

I planned ahead a bit to wrap up most of my engineering course requirements last semester, so I just have a few engineering classes remaining this semester. Besides those, I’m taking several elective courses, just for fun, which is awesome. Although I love my ISE major and my ISE classes, I feel really lucky to be able to take fun and interesting classes outside of my major too. Here’s a brief explanation of the classes I’m taking this semester:

ISE 495b – Senior Design Project: This course is the second part of Senior Design for ISE majors. I took 495 last semester. This semester, I will be continuing group work on an industrial engineering design problem in an organization. In my case, I will be working with a team to develop a business plan and online platform for a start-up called “nodal works”.

ISE 440 – Work, Technology, and Organization: This class discusses the impact of technology on work and organizational design, the effects of automation, the design of improvement programs, information infrastructures, teams, and individual behavioral outcomes.

ISE 499 – Special Topics: Principles of Systems Engineering: In this course, we discuss the motivation for systems thinking, and for the use of systems engineering. It also provides an introduction and analysis of the major elements of the system engineering process, interspersed with examples and case studies drawn from real projects. This class is seriously cool – it’s a technical elective, and as far as I know, it hasn’t been offered before. My class only has four students, all of whom are seniors, and the professor is really wonderful. I will make sure to provide an update on this one later in the semester!

MUSC 422 – The Beatles: Their Music and Their Times: After really enjoying my classic rock music class last semester, I decided to take another music class! This course discusses the music, lyrics, recordings, production techniques, career strategy, social ramifications, and especially the technological impact of The Beatles. How cool is it that you can take a whole class about The Beatles at USC?

JOUR 380 – Sports, Business, and Media in Today’s Society: In this class, we take an inside look at the symbiotic relationship of sports and the media – from the interdependence of sports and media, to the coverage of sports in newspapers, magazines, radio and television. We will also discuss the economic and ethical issues involved, the conflicts of interest, the history and current status of sports coverage in American media today. This class is really awesome because our professor brings in incredible guest speakers from the world of sports each week. Stay tuned for updates!

PHED 160 – Stress Management for Healthy Living: Lastly, I decided to take a class on the effects of stress as it relates to work, sport and academics. Since I will be beginning my first full-time job in just nine months, I thought it could be really useful for next year.

Had a lovely winter break, but I’m so happy to be back in Southern California! #ViterbiLife

A photo posted by Juliana Porter (@julianausc) on

Outside of classes, I’m still getting back into the rhythm of things. Since this is my very last semester at USC, I’m trying to complete a lot of LA “bucket list” items this semester. Last weekend, some friends and I took an impulse trip to Malibu which was so much fun. I’m hoping to do a lot more stuff like that as the semester continues.

Until next week,


Written while listening to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles. Inspired by my class of course. And now available on Spotify! 🙂

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Industrial & Systems Engineering, Class of 2016, Learn more on her profile here!