The main reason I was drawn to Viterbi was the idea of Engineering +.  Viterbi places a huge emphasis on the idea that the college experience is not defined only by time inside of the classroom, but also by time spent outside.  Students are encouraged to get involved and participate in USC life, and they are also encouraged to excel academically.  I was very involved in high school, and I wanted to be involved in college as well, and Viterbi was the only school I visited that actually encouraged me to do that on an administrative level.

I have been able to get involved in many different activities since I started school here.  Some of the things I am currently involved in include research in a micro-scale combustion laboratory, Pi Tau Sigma (the Mechanical Engineering Honor Society), USC Hillel, the Community Partners Committee for the USC Volunteer Center, Delta Kappa Alpha (the professional cinema fraternity), and Alpha Delta Pi (a social sorority).  While I love participating in all of these activities, I think my favorite organization on campus is the USC Volunteer Center.

Through the USC Volunteer Center, I have not only been able to gain leadership experience through the Community Partners Committee (CPC), but I have also been able to travel the world.  They offer numerous programs throughout the year to allow students to get involved in the Los Angeles community, and also to help the world on a national, and international, level.  They offer volunteer opportunities each month, as well as alternative Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer Break programs.


Friends and Neighbors Service Days (FNDs) occur a couple of times per semester, and they are chances for USC students to get involved in the local LA community.  The second FND of the semester is coming up on October 19, and as a member of the CPC, I get to be a Team Leader!  My team will be working with a local German Shepherd Rescue to play with the dogs and walk them.  I am looking forward to both playing with puppies for a couple of hours, and to meeting new students at USC who are also excited about service!


In addition to local volunteering, I have been able to travel to Thailand for Alternative Winter Break, and this Winter, I will be traveling to India!  The trip to Thailand was incredible, and I can’t wait for my trip this winter.  You can read about my plans to go to India here:

My Plans for Winter Break: AWB India!

The USC Volunteer Center is an amazing organization for those who are both interested in service and in travel.  I was very interested in community outreach before coming to USC, and it is great to be able to continue that in college.  I have made friends, traveled the world, and enriched my own life through enriching the lives of others.


Samantha Kaplan-2015

Samantha Kaplan-2015

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2015, Learn more on her profile here!