Thanks to some AP and college courses I took during high school, I came to USC with some free space in my course plan outside of my major requirements. I decided to pick up a minor with this extra space so that I could explore one of my other academic interests. 

I have a minor in Disruptive Innovation in the Iovine and Young Academy here at USC. Some of the classes in the minor include Rapid visualization, case studies in innovation, product design, and the Practice of Design (which I am currently in). These classes have supplemented my mechanical engineering major and enabled me to explore my interests in design and entrepreneurship. I have also learned better ways to effectively communicate and demonstrate innovative concepts and design ideas. 

I have found my minor to be a great way to get involved in a program outside of Viterbi, that being said you do not need a minor to explore programs and courses that interest you at USC. 

This semester I am in one of my minor classes, ACAD 324: The practice of Design, which also cross counts as a general education requirement. In this course we learn about the history of design, prominent designers, different design topics, and apply that knowledge into weekly projects we design and create. In my last project we were prompted to create a tool with little to no actual utility, that wasn’t a humorous tool. I was able to use my CAD knowledge from my mechanical engineering courses to design our hands free shaving tool using SolidWorks, which our team then 3D printed. Here is an image of our device.

On the project before that we created a mind map mobile of a utilitarian workspace. Ours was based on the solar system, and we used a laser cutter in the makerspace to create the rings each planet attached to. Here is an image of our final project, and you can see an image of the laser cutter at the top of this blog.

I have had a great experience pursuing my mechanical engineering major and disruptive innovation minor at USC where I can spend time pursuing both of my academic passions. I have loved when both of these interests blend and I can use my skills acquired through both sets of classes to design and create interesting projects.



Peyton Erickson

Peyton Erickson

MAJOR: Mechanical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: Ventura, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @peyton.erickson I'm involved with the W.V.T Rusch Honors Engineering Program along with being a member of the Grand Challenge Scholar Program and the Society of Women Engineers. I'm also a member of the 3D4E student organization. Outside of Viterbi, I am involved with the USC Women's soccer team as a manager and a member of SC Outfitters.

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