Freshman Academy – ENGR 102

 

The USC Viterbi Freshman Academies are designed to help you learn about the importance of engineering and the ethical implications of engineering decisions and to understand how engineers affect society, technology, history and politics. In addition, the Freshman Academies have “Coaches,” Viterbi upperclassmen who support and act as a resource for you during your transition to USC. Components of the program include:

  • 1 semester, 2 credit course
  • Small class size
  • Allows for additional exposure to engineering faculty in your first semester at USC
  • The only freshman engineering class that combines engineering majors
  • Hosts distinguished guest speakers, engineering lab tours and in-class projects

All Academy Lecture Series

All students enrolled in the Freshman Academy are provided with the opportunity to hear from professionals, innovators, researchers, and USC alumni in the engineering field through the All Academy Lecture Series. Scheduled three times this semester, you will come together for a quick dinner and interesting evening with an industry professional. You’ll have the chance to hear about their experiences and ask your own questions.

Fall 2019 Lecture Dates and Speakers

 

Fall 2019 Lecture Dates and Speakers coming soon.

Fall 2019 Coaches

Academy coaches are current Viterbi Sophomores, Juniors, & Seniors in different engineering majors. These students are chosen to be mentors for Viterbi freshmen. Coaches can answer any questions you have about the course, Viterbi, USC and any other issues or challenges that you might face during your first year.

ALEJANDRA FUENTES

Year: Senior

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

High school you attended: Northside College Prep

Email: fuentesn@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Center for Engineering Diversity (CED) Student Advisory Board, CED Mentor, Break on 2 Salsa Team

Hobbies/interests:

Rock climbing, social dancing, swimming, and eating!

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • First tailgate and USC football game
  • First salsa festival in Los Angeles
  • Meeting my CED Circles Mentor

Advice for freshmen:

  • Explore extracurricular activities outside of engineering!
  • Sign up for free tickets to shows filmed in LA (like the Ellen Degeneres show).
  • Join a professional organization or a design team.

ALLISON ZUBECK

Year:  Junior

Major: Industrial & Systems Engineering

Hometown: Seattle, WA

High school you attended: Kennedy Catholic High School

Email: zubeck@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

RunnerS’Club, Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), Robogals USC, Thematic Option

Hobbies/interests:

Running, backpacking/hiking, singing, crafts, and reading anything I can get my hands on

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Watching the ENTIRE USC v Western Michigan football game in 104 degree heat…truly a trial by fire of the “USC Game-day” experience
  • Running the ResEd Halloween 5K in costume as “The Grapes Of Wrath” 
  • Parkside “Breakfast Club” with friends from other dorms before 8:30am physics lecture every M/W/F 
  • Taking the Metro to climb the Culver City Stairs with my Freshman Academy friend and future roommate Carolyn
  • Going on a weekend retreat to Catalina Island in April with RUF
  • Touring the “behind the scenes” operations of Disneyland with Disney Industrial engineers and Professor Shinyi Wu for ISE 105

Advice for freshmen:

  • Never hesitate to reach out to others and invite them to hang out or do something – you might make a new friend! At the end of the year, you’ll remember laughter, people, and experiences more than hours spent studying overtime or watching Netflix alone.
  • You are here to learn – paying attention in class and finding something to like in each will help with engagement and your own motivation to study.
  • Finding out what life looks like in college is a design process that will require many iterations and TIME. The first three weeks (or three months) of activities will not define your college experience. Pick one or two clubs, give them your all, and then give yourself permission to reevaluate next semester (or next year)! 
  • Find a library or space to study that isn’t your dorm room and switch them up, especially around finals season.
  • Study groups and peer edits for papers are secret weapons for maintaining sanity – get to know the other students in your classes!
  • If you miss your cat, go to the EVK courtyard in the early morning on Saturday and EVKitty might jump up on your lap to demand petting.

ALYSE BARLOW

Year:  Junior

Major & minor: Industrial & Systems Engineering, minor in Computer Programming

Hometown: Sammamich, WA

High school you attended: Eastlake High School

Email: anbarlow@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

Engineers Without Borders: Guatemala Project Team, Project 32: tutor, Volunteers Around the World, USC Kappa Alpha Theta member

Hobbies/interests:

Trying new places, going to Manhattan and Newport Beach, hiking, petting any and all dogs, cooking, and yoga

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Meeting new friends during orientation that I still talk to and hang out with to this day
  • Experiencing gamedays for the first time
  • Going to Hermosa Beach with some friends in BmE immediately after the Chem 105a final first semester 
  • My first time at Coachella 
  • Coding for the first time and learning C++ in ITP 165 then deciding to pursue a minor (shout-out my professor Raymond Kim!)

Advice for freshmen:

  • Your health is SO important. Do not sacrifice your sleep, eating, and exercise habits to get every second of studying in! Remember that you are still human, same with all of your peers.
  • Office hours are crucial. If you are struggling in a class, don’t “give it time” and hope you will understand down the line – I’ve made this mistake before! Your professor’s and TA’s office hours are meant for students to come in and get extra help – right as you become confused in lecture, make a note of your question and see your professor or TA as soon as possible to get it answered. It also builds a personalized relationship for a potential letter of recommendation or research opportunity.
  • Soak up your time in Los Angeles, you only have four years! Try all its fantastic restaurants, fun sightseeing, and gorgeous beaches. They’re no more than 30-minute Uber or Lyft rides away!
  • Making friends in your classes for study groups is super helpful. It makes studying much more fun and beneficial – multiple heads are better than one!

BAILEY LEAVY

Year: Senior

Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: Mokena, IL

High school you attended: Lincoln-Way East High School

Email: leavy@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Queers in Engineering Science and Technology, Theta Tau, Tau Beta Pi, Viterbi Funding Board

Hobbies/interests:

Running, Baking, Hiking, Olive Garden

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • The Notre Dame game
  • Going to the Grand Canyon over spring break
  • Taking my first chemical engineering class and getting to know all of the awesome people in my major

Advice for freshmen:

  • Take advantage of all of the academic resources that Viterbi offers.
  • Ask upperclassmen in your major for advice.
  • Go to meetings for anything you might want to be involved in during the first couple weeks of the semester.
  • Try to meet as many people as you can the first couple weeks of the year.
  • Take time to relax so you don’t get too stressed out.

CAMI SIMPSON

Year: Sophomore

Major: Industrial & Systems Engineering

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

High school you attended: Durham Academy

Email: cpsimpso@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Service Chair for Theta Tau

Hobbies/interests:  

Arts & Crafts, Traveling, Collecting Records, & Dance Parties with my Roommate!

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Dancing with my roommate
  • Playing Set with friends on our dorm floor
  • Meeting and getting involved with my fraternity, Theta Tau
  • EVK!!!

Advice for freshmen:

  • Be bold.
  • Explore LA, organizations, and yourself.
  • Don’t fill up your plate all at once, take some time to figure out what means the most to you!

DANIEL KWON

Year: Senior

Major: Biomedical Engineering, MS in Product Development Engineering (Progressive Degree Program)

Hometown: Lake Oswego, Oregon

High school you attended: Lake Oswego High School

Email: kwondj@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Theta Tau, Research at Sanger Laboratory, VARC Tutoring, ASBME, IM Basketball and Football

Hobbies/interests:

Basketball, watching movies, eating all kinds of foods, visiting beaches

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Playing broomball
  • Going to Santa Monica and K-town
  • “Studying” at Marks Hall Lounge
  • Attending the football games

Advice for freshmen:

  • Get out of your comfort zone!
  • Try as many things as possible; try out various groups and organizations.
  • Try to befriend a lot of fellow students.
  • Reach out to upperclassmen for advice and questions.
  • Don’t forget to study and put in effort.

DIANA LAFOLLETTE

Year: Junior

Major & minor: Chemical Engineering (Sustainable Energy), minor in Environmental Studies

Hometown: Destin, Florida

High school you attended: Niceville High School

Email: dlafolle@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Alpha Chi Omega, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, Science Outreach, Runner’S Club, Coaching Corps

Hobbies/interests: 

Running, the environment, the beach 

Favorite memories from freshman year:

    • Big Little Reveal with Alpha Chi Omega
    • Halloween Horror Nights with my roommates
    • Many trips to Salt and Straw
    • Surprising one of my roommates with a horseback riding trip for her birthday

Advice for freshmen:

  • Relax.
  • It’s okay to quit a club if you don’t like it.
  • Try to leave campus to do things as often as you can.

ELISE ADREON

Year: Junior

Major & minor: Industrial & Systems Engineering, minor in Business

Hometown: Evergreen, CO

High school you attended: Evergreen High School

Email: adreon@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Director of Consulting for the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, Alpha Phi sorority, Dance Marathon Planning Committee

Hobbies/interests:

Hiking, skiing, Netflix

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Beating Stanford… twice 🙂

Advice for freshmen:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Make friends in your classes (engineers are cool!)
  • Remember that everyone is going through the exact same thing.

 

HANNAH CHEVES

Year: Sophomore

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hometown: San Diego (Poway), California

High school you attended: Poway High School

Email: hcheves@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

Research Assistant for Dr. Marcus, Tri Delta Sorority, Peer Health Exchange

Hobbies/interests:

I love to hike, paint, travel and explore LA when I have the chance! 

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Winning free tickets to Stagecoach at Spring fest
  • Road tripping to SD with my friends for a weekend getaway 
  • Football season (even though it was so hot!!)
  • Going to Santa Monica on Fridays after class

Advice for freshmen:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to other freshman. They are all looking for their friend group too and probably want to get to know you!
  • Go to the club/career fairs but don’t join everything! There are a million things to do at USC and they’re all great organizations, but you don’t want to be overwhelmed during the craziness of freshman year.
  • I know this is not for everyone, but if you are thinking about rushing in the spring, DO IT! You don’t have to take a bid, but it is a great way to meet people. I met some of my best friends through my sorority and found a second home on the row.
  • HAVE FUN! Take a study break every once in a while and explore LA or what campus has to offer!

JACK CAGNEY

Year: Senior

Major & minor: Industrial & Systems Engineering, minor in Public Health

Hometown: Allendale, NJ

High school you attended: Northern Highlands Regional High School

Email: jcagney@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

USC Tour Guide, Troy Camp, Study Abroad (Taipei + London), Research Assistant, Global Fellows, Warren Bennis Scholars Program

Hobbies/interests:

Coffee, hiking, exploring Los Angeles, game days, cooking

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Joining the Admission Center and giving my first tour
  • Going to the UCLA game at the Rose Bowl
  • Studying abroad and interning in London
  • When the Starbucks baristas at TroGro learned my name and order

Advice for freshmen:

  • Meet as many people as you can in your first few weeks! You never know what types of relationships you might make just by saying “hello!”
  • Try something out of your comfort zone – you won’t regret it!
  • Study…Sounds easy but remember that college is completely different from high school.

JOSH SOLOMON

Year: Sophomore

Major & minor: Electrical Engineering, minor in Cinematic Arts

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

High school you attended: Deer Lakes High School

Email: jdsolomo@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

Theta Tau, IEEE, Trojan Boxing Club

Hobbies/interests:

Watching movies, sports (watching and playing), hanging out with friends

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • The Welcome Back Concert
  • Studying with the other Electrical Engineers
  • Football Games

Advice for freshmen:

  • Take classes that interest you.
  • See everything that you’re able to see in LA.
  • Ask for help when you need it.

JULIA MORELLI

Year: Senior

Major & minor: Biomedical Engineering, minor in Health Care Studies

Hometown: Park City, UT

High School you attended: Park City High School

Email: jemorell@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Camp Kesem, SWE, Vision for Vision, Varsity Tutors, Tri Delta sorority

Hobbies/interests: 

Hiking, hammocking, camping, watching movies, going to music concerts/festivals, brunch

Favorite memories from freshman year:

Going to concerts

Advice for freshmen:

  • Join as many clubs as you want. As you go through your year you’ll start realizing which ones you’re super passionate about and want to continue. But, on the same note, don’t get bummed if you don’t find any that you’re super interested in right away – go online and look at the list of them.
  • Don’t forget to stay in touch with family and friends back home, they miss you!
  • Use the first 2 weeks of school to your advantage with meeting people. Just introduce yourself to everyone and anyone – everyone is in the same boat and wants to make new friends.

JULIA SIRCAR

Year: Senior

Major & minor: Industrial & Systems Engineering (Operations), minors in Spanish and Computer Digital Forensics

Hometown: Coppell, Texas

High school you attended: Coppell High School

Email: jsircar@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Tri Delta sorority, CybOrg, Alternative Spring Break

Hobbies/interests: 

Running, playing piano, skiing, Major League Baseball

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Trying an acai bowl for the first time
  • Living with 7 other girls that instantly became my best friends
  • Going on a volunteer trip to Louisiana and exploring New Orleans during Spring Break
  • Making friends and having fun in Engineering Freshmen Academy class!
  • Going to USC football games! Fight on!

Advice for freshmen:

  • Sign up for/apply for/go to informational meetings for everything during the first few weeks! Don’t limit yourself by choosing one or two clubs during the first week, but instead investigate multiple so that you have options once you delve deeper into them.
  • Use your major’s intro class to make friends, study groups, and connections with your peers for the rest of college…developing relationships with people in the same major pays off!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask upperclassmen whom you meet questions about Viterbi, USC, or college in general! They were all in the same position as you.
  • Look ahead! If you have an idea of a second major, minor, or emphasis you might want to declare, start doing research and planning during your first year. Talk to your advisor and come up with a plan as early as possible so that you can be best prepared!

JUNCO NELSON

Year: Senior

Major: Civil (Construction) Engineering

Hometown: Bokeelia, Florida

High school you attended: Bishop Verot Catholic High School

Email: junconel@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

American Society of Civil Engineers, Construction Management Association of America, Chi Epsilon Civil/Environmental Engineering Honor Society, USC Housing

Hobbies/interests:

Growing sunflowers, tea, baking cookies, running

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Watching How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal get filmed on campus and looking for famous people
  • Trying new foods for the first time like acai and boba
  • Going to the Santa Monica Pier and riding the Ferris wheel

Advice for freshmen:

  • Go to the USC club fair and the Viterbi student organization fair! They happen every semester and it’s never too late to join a group.
  • Chat with the people sitting next to you in class. I’m sure they are just as nervous as you are and just don’t know how to start a conversation.
  • Go to office hours. If the professor or TA knows your face they’re more likely to be a kinder grader later on in the semester.
  • Get phone numbers of people in your classes. Study groups are sometimes helpful for studying but always helpful for making friends.

KAYLEY CHENG

Year: Senior

Major & minor: Biomedical Engineering (Mechanical), minor in Entrepreneurship

Hometown: West Hills, CA

High school you attended: El Camino Real Charter High School

Email: kayleych@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, MEDesign, Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, Professor Chung’s Biomaterials and Nanomedicine Lab

Hobbies/interests:

Going to the beach, hiking, trying new food places, and traveling!

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Beating UCLA at the USC vs UCLA football game!
  • Going to the cat café, Crumbs and Whiskers, for my birthday 
  • Having a Friendsgiving with all my closest friends in the lounge of Pardee Tower
  • Hiking to the Hollywood sign
  • Going to the Santa Monica Pier with the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering (ASBME)

Advice for freshmen:

  • Make friends with everyone! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people in your classes or dorm.
  • Get involved with clubs and organizations! Even if you just attend one meeting, it’ll help you figure out what you’re interested in joining. 
  • Remember to still have fun! Try to leave campus sometimes to go explore LA.

KELLY JIANG

Year: Junior

Major & minor: Biomedical Engineering, specialization in Cyber Security

Hometown: Kunming, Yunnan, China

High school you attended: Experimental High School Attached to Yunnan Normal University

Email: zhangjij@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering (ASBME), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Student Researcher at the Chung Lab

Hobbies/interests: 

Animated Movies, Crime and Medical Dramas, Dogs and just about any animal, STEM Education for K-12 students, Research, Hiking, Food!!!

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Being an RA for VSI (Viterbi Summer Institute) and Korean High School Exchange students over the summer
  • Skydiving in San Diego
  • Starting my research position at Chung Lab
  • Exploring LA with all of my suitemates
  • Going into my first Thanksgiving Coma on my friend’s couch before suddenly remembering I had a paper due the next day I hadn’t finished

Advice for freshmen:

  • Don’t be too stressed about grades, it’s okay to not be at the level you want to be at first. But if you work hard, you’ll get there.
  • Try new things. Find out what you like and what you don’t, but be sure to be safe.
  • Don’t be afraid of professors. They are there to help you and they want you to succeed. Office hours are a real lifesaver.
  • Don’t be afraid to apply for things because you think you are not qualified. The worst that can happen is you gain some experience and know better for next time.
  • Take care of yourself, whether it’s getting some much needed sleep or reaching out to student counseling services (it’s free!!!).

KENDA FINCH

Year: Junior

Major: Civil Engineering (Environmental Engineering)

Hometown: Albany, CA

High school you attended: Albany High School

Email: kendafin@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Engineers Without Borders: Guatemala Project Team, USC ASCE: Environmental Design Team Co-Captain

Hobbies/interests: 

Cooking and Baking, Reading, Swimming, Game of Thrones, and Hiking

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • First USC Gameday!
  • Taking over study rooms with friends during midterms and finals 
  • Exploring LA and trying new restaurants 
  • Taking the Metro to Santa Monica for the first time

Advice for freshmen:

  • Everyone is trying to make new friends. Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone in your classes or in your dorm.
  • College isn’t like high school. You might have to work harder than you think, so organize your time well and talk to your professors if you feel like you’re struggling 
  • Have fun! Freshman year is full of making new memories – go explore LA and try things you never thought you would.

LONG NGUYEN

Year: Senior

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Santa Ana, CA

High school you attended: Santa Ana Valley High School

Email: lgnguyen@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

SC Solar Car, First Generation Mentor Program, Questbridge Scholars Program, Theta Tau (Professional Engineering Fraternity)

Hobbies/interests: 

Tennis, Soccer, Board games, Video games, Card games

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Going to the Rose Bowl Stadium to watch USC defeat UCLA in football
  • Doing AME homework with my best friends in a study lounge late at night
  • Eating Korean barbecue for the first time in Koreatown
  • Making new friends everywhere!

Advice for freshmen:

  • Don’t be afraid to go to office hours and ask for help! The professors and TA’s at USC are always happy when students come in.
  • Tackle your fears. Join that club or organization that you have always wanted to do but have always been scared to.
  • Remember to stay active and eat healthy! The freshman 15 is way too real.
  • Definitely stay as organized as you can. It becomes hard balancing and keeping track of your academics as well as your social life. Keeping track of everything makes it so much easier!

MADDIE WALTER

Year: Junior

Major & minor: Biomedical Engineering (Mechanical), minor in Dance

Hometown: Orland Park, IL

High school you attended: Carl Sandburg High School

Email: mkwalter@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, Research Assistant at USC Brain-Body Dynamics Lab, Society of Women Engineers

Hobbies/interests: 

Finding the best sushi restaurant in LA, hiking, going to the beach, tweeting

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Night hike in the Hollywood Hills to the Wisdom Tree with ASBME
  • EVK Midnight Breakfast 
  • Making new friends!
  • Game days
  • Getting a research position

Advice for freshmen:

  • Don’t worry if you don’t have your entire life figured out yet! You’ll get there.
  • Your GPA isn’t THAT important, especially as an engineer. It’s way more important to be involved and happy.
  • Take some classes that have nothing to do with your major! (Like ballroom dance. It’s my favorite class I’ve ever taken.)
  • Join clubs! They’re a great way to meet new friends and really find your home on campus.

MEGAN SCHOEN

Year: Senior

Major: Biomedical Engineering (Mechanical)

Hometown: Carlsbad, CA

High school you attended: Carlsbad High School

Email: megansch@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Xpressions Dance Company, Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, Society of Women Engineers, Vision for Vision, Alpha Chi Omega Sorority

Hobbies/interests:

Dancing, going to concerts, reading, travelling, going to the beach, watching Disney movies

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Exploring LA with new friends
  • Midnight breakfast at EVK during finals week
  • Floor game nights in my dorm
  • Going to football and baseball games
  • My first USC-UCLA game at the Rose Bowl

Advice for freshmen:

  • Join clubs! Joining clubs and organizations freshman year is a great, low pressure way to meet people who share your same interests, both in your year as well as upperclassmen who can show you the ropes. This is also a great way to find the things you are passionate about, and that can eventually lead to leadership positions. 
  • Don’t stress if you feel like you don’t have everything figured out yet. Freshman year is a perfect time to get settled, meet new people, and become comfortable with engineering classes. Also remember that regardless of how it seems, everyone is in the same boat and trying to figure out the whole college-thing together.
  • Form study groups. One of my favorite things about Viterbi is how collaborative it is, and how students genuinely want to help each other out. Take advantage of this. Study groups are a great way to both have academic support and make close friends. Nothing strengthens a bond quite like a marathon study session in Leavey library. 
  • Engineering majors are very rigorous and it may seem like you don’t have a lot of freedom for minors, other classes, studying abroad, etc. As long as you plan ahead all of those options are completely possible. Even if you aren’t sure yet, talk to your advisor about options as soon as possible. The earlier you do, the easier it will be to fit it all in your schedule.

MICHAEL MORIKADO

Year: Senior

Major & minor: Biomedical Engineering (Biochemical), minor in Spanish

Hometown: Arlington Heights, IL

High school you attended: Prospect High School

Email: morikado@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Kuhn/Hicks Lab research, Engineers Without Borders

Hobbies/interests: 

Traveling, hiking, trying new foods, watching sports

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Driving up to Berkeley to the weekender football game and exploring San Francisco
  • Getting to know my floor and building
  • Going to La Jolla with my research lab

Advice for freshmen:

  • Get to know your professors outside of class.
  • Get off campus and explore LA.
  • Become involved early on.
  • Step outside of your comfort zone.
  • Take risks and learn.

MIKE SHAO

Year: Junior

Major & minor: Chemical Engineering, minor in Business Finance

Hometown: Sugar Land, TX

High School you attended: Clements High School

Email: mikeshao@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

Undergraduate Student Government, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Armani Research Lab

Hobbies/interests:

Tennis, basketball, hiking, running, fantasy books

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Going to Santa Monica for the first time 
  • Making new friends
  • Football games

Advice for freshmen:

  • Get to know your professors and TAs.
  • Take advantage of all the resources and opportunities on campus.
  • Explore LA!

NATALIE KISTLER

Year: Sophomore

Major: Biomedical Engineering (Pre-Medicine)

Hometown: Kansas City, KS

High school you attended: St. Teresa’s Academy

Email: nmkistle@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

3D4E, Pi Beta Phi Sorority, Viterbi Student Ambassador, Society of Women Engineers, Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, Spoon University

Hobbies/interests: 

Running, going out to eat (especially ice cream), going to the beach, watching sports, looking at food Instagrams

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Football Gamedays
  • Going to World Premiere of Captain Marvel and shaking Josh Peck’s hand
  • Spending 50$ in a week on ice cream
  • Spending the day at Manhattan Beach
  • Getting to talk to interesting Uber drivers with my friends

Advice for freshmen:

  • No one has it all figured out – even if they do a good job of hiding it.
  • The grill line at EVK – at the end of the hot entree line you can order burgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken sandwiches.
  • Get involved in as many clubs as you can and then you can narrow them down during your future years.
  • Focus less on getting involved with the “right” groups or “right” classes and find what you are truly passionate about.

NATHAN ALVAREZ

Year: Senior

Major & minor: Mechanical Engineering, minor in Business Finance

Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA

High school you attended: Dos Pueblos High School

Email: nmalvare@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

USC LavaLab, Research Assistant in Interaction Robotics Lab, CED Student Advisory Board, USC Surf Team, SC Outfitters, 2017/2018 Resident Assistant, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity

Hobbies/interests: 

Surfing, snowboarding, traveling, camping, hiking, going to the beach, watching sports

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Camping with friends on SC Outfitters trips
  • Going to concerts around LA
  • Pitching LavaLab final product
  • Hanging out with my roommates

Advice for freshmen:

  • Find involvements that actually interest you, don’t just do things to “build your resume.”
  • Find friends both in and outside of Viterbi.
  • Take classes outside of Viterbi.
  • Explore the LA area as much as possible – there’s a ton to do!
  • Also get out of LA as much as possible – there’s a ton of nature close by!
  • Meet as many people as possible during the first couple months of school.

NICK HUBER

Year: Senior

Major: Industrial & Systems Engineering

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

High school you attended: Mariemont High School

Email: nicholeh@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Troy Camp, Theta Tau

Hobbies/interests: 

Guitar, violin, singing, hiking, dancing, zumba

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Participating in KASA Dance Off
  • Going to Ground Zero open mic nights
  • My high school orchestra teacher visiting me for my Concerto Chamber Orchestra concert
  • Troy Camp’s Summer Camp

Advice for freshmen:

  • Go to the involvement fair and join a couple clubs that sound interesting to you!
  • Do something outside of your comfort zone professionally or socially every semester to help encourage personal growth!
  • Explore your dorm and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people in your hall! Knowing people in your dormitory makes living at USC much more enjoyable and can help you make lifelong friends!

PIRIL NERGIS

Year: Junior

Major & minor: Electrical Engineering, minor in Physics

Hometown: San Diego, CA

High school you attended: Torrey Pines High School

Email: nergis@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Queers in Engineering, Science, and Technology

Hobbies/interests: 

Cooking and hosting, learning new languages, cello/guitar, napping in nature, exploring the city, reading fiction and nonfiction

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Studying at 1 AM for EE classes with my friends as we slowly become crazy off the caffeine and the sheer fact that we are adding letters and getting 1s and 0s in the answer.
  • Freshman Academy because I met some of my best friends
  • Meeting Andrew Viterbi (fairly surreal)
  • Late night boba runs
  • Linear Algebra, weirdly enough
  • All the spontaneous study lounge movie nights

Advice for freshmen:

  • Your physical and mental health comes first. Professors are understanding, so don’t worry too much about class should you need some time to recuperate.
  • Give yourself time to learn more about yourself and your environment – take it slow.
  • Take advantage of where you are and try new things! USC and LA have so much to offer as long as you look for it. You will be surrounded by an incredibly smart and diverse group of people. Get uncomfortable and go outside your limits.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for help; you are not alone.

ROSIE HALPIN

Year: Senior

Major & minor: Industrial & Systems Engineering, minor in Business Finance

Hometown: Lexington, KY

High school you attended: Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Email: dhalpin@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers President, Tri Delta Academic Development Chair, Viterbi Fellows Program

Hobbies/interests: 

Hiking, eating, music, traveling, skiing

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Gamedays
  • Kygo concert at the Hollywood Bowl
  • My friends throwing a surprise birthday party for me
  • Going on a road trip to the Weekender in San Francisco with my friends
  • My Birnkrant 6th floor!!

Advice for freshmen:

  • Join campus organizations quickly and then narrow it down to the ones you are actually interested in.
  • Try to get out of your comfort zone as often as possible.
  • Get to know your professors, and ask upperclassmen for advice.
  • Don’t forget to explore LA and adventure outside of USC’s campus.

SIENA APPLEBAUM

Year: Senior

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA

High school you attended: Dos Pueblos High School

Email: ssappleb@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC: 

3D4E, Undergraduate Research assistant at the Robotics Embedded Systems Lab, Society of Women Engineers

Hobbies/interests: 

Hiking, traveling, playing tennis, getting Pupusas at the USC Farmers Market 

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Hanging out/studying with my friends in my dorm late at night
  • The 3D4E camping retreat
  • Doing homework on the grass outside BK on sunny days
  • Escape room in LA

Advice for freshmen:

  • Be friendly and meet people! Especially at the beginning of the year everyone is so eager to meet people and make friends! Take advantage of that time.
  • Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Ultimately, it’s better to just find a couple things you really like and do them well. That being said, in order to find those things, try out as many activities as you can but just stick with the activities you really enjoy.
  • Don’t feel pressured to find your place and do everything in your first semester at USC. Remember that the activities you were involved with freshmen year in high school probably were not what made your high school experience.
  • If you’re struggling in a class, recognize that and do something about it early. Start going to SI sessions, the writing center, or Viterbi tutoring or form a study group with classmates. USC has so many helpful resources to take advantage of, but there’s not much they can do if you wait until a week before finals.

SOFIA TAVELLA

Year: Senior

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Rockville Centre, New York

High school you attended: South Side High School

Email: tavella@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

3D4E, Project Freehand, Research at CAM, BME101 TA

Hobbies/interests:

 Traveling, Hiking, Movie Marathons & Picnics

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Watching movies off a projector with my suite mates
  • Visiting San Diego over spring break & making Rube Goldberg machines in Academy!

Advice for freshmen:

  • Take GEs that actually interest you.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out & ask questions.
  • Make friends with people outside your major.
  • Get off campus on the weekends!

TYLER SOMLO

Year: Junior

Major & minor: Industrial & Systems Engineering, minor in Organizational Leadership & Management

Hometown: Long Grove, IL

High school you attended: Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Email: tsomlo@usc.edu

Student involvement/organizations/campus jobs at USC:

President of the Institute of Industrial Systems Engineering (IISE), Sigma Alpha Mu Gastronomy Chair, Fellowship Representative – Tamid Group

Hobbies/interests:

Self-improvement, exploring new cities, chess, Chicago sports

Favorite memories from freshman year:

  • Trying dim sum at Din Thai Fung for the first time
  • Seeing James Worthy at my first Lakers game
  • Meeting friends from all over the world
  • Convincing my GESM professor to let us have class outside (twice)
  • Working at a startup over the summer in Tel Aviv

Advice for freshmen:

  • Put yourself outside of your comfort zone. 
  • Practice active listening.
  • Try new things. 
  • Ask questions. 
  • How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!