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Richard Antaramian, Turpanjian Early Career Chair in Contemporary Armenian Studies, researches and teaches courses in history, with an emphasis on Armenian studies. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Hub of Armenian Studies

November 25, 2014

While growing up in an Armenian community in Wisconsin, Richard Antaramian began wondering about his family’s history. The answers he received didn’t adequately address his curiosity. “It pushed me…

Maymester course takes students from the lettuce fields of Ventura County to ethnic food stalls in the Pacific Northwest, and restaurants and markets in between. Photos by Brittany Thompson, Karen Tongson and Linda Wang.

Let’s Dig In

November 24, 2014

With a farmer’s knife in hand, Richard Martinez knelt by a line of bright green heads of lettuce and cut off one. He snapped off the crispy leaves from the spine. Blanketed by a brilliant blue sky over Oxnard,…

“These patterns call out for explanation,” Arthur Stone says of Gallup World Poll data showing great variety among how people in various countries report their own well-being. Photo courtesy of Arthur Stone.

As Young as You Feel

November 20, 2014

The trajectory of how satisfied you are with life across the life span is driven, in part, by where you’re from. Using the Gallup World Poll, an ongoing survey of more than 160 countries, USC Dornsife’s Arthur…

What will happen when the world population expands to 9.6 billion by 2050 and twice as much food is needed? Researchers are studying ways to feed the world. Illustrations by The Heads of State for <em>USC Dornsife Magazine</em>.

Appetite for Change

November 19, 2014

Walking into the supermarket, browsing the seemingly endless rows of fresh produce and canned goods, it’s hard to fathom a food shortage. But with the current world population of 7.2 billion expected to explode to 9.6…

Alumna, author and motivational speaker Barbara Jo “BJ” Gallagher is also an animal lover. Here, she holds her half Pekingese, half Chow, Fannie. Photo by Andy Stolarek.

Fan Your Feathers

November 19, 2014

It may look like she’s walking her dog, but Barbara Jo “BJ” Gallagher is actually sketching out plot lines for her next book in her head. Or she’s thinking about her next keynote speech. Gallagher is…

Junior Azmera Hammouri-Davis is a resident assistant at Webb Tower on USC’s University Park campus. Photos by Susan Bell.

Living Support

November 18, 2014

In her second week as a resident assistant (RA), Azmera Hammouri-Davis received a visit from an anxious freshman stressed about her major. “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life,” the student told…

Participants in the Joint Education Project’s Young Scientists Program use light-weight pool noodles to simulate the challenges astronauts face while exercising in space. Photos by Susan Bell.

Fit as an Astronaut

November 17, 2014

Freshman Sophia Nguyen demonstrated to fourth and fifth graders how to set a table in space by using Velcro to prevent food packages and trays from floating away. “Look!” said fifth grader Karla Martinez as she…

David Kang, whose research defies conventional beliefs about East Asian defense budgets and possible war in the region, has received a three-year grant from the MacArthur Foundation. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Researching the Pacific Rim

November 13, 2014

With headlines screaming “China, U.S. Moving Closer to Viewing War as Inevitable,” and “China Thinks it Can Defeat America in Battle,” you’d think a war with China was imminent. But USC…

Iranian studies expert Rudi Matthee says the presiding sentiment in Iran is, “The world needs Iran more than Iran needs the world.” Photos by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Autarky in Iran

November 11, 2014

Iran’s quest for self-sufficiency has deep historical roots that are as much economic and cultural as political, said Iranian studies expert Rudi Matthee during a recent lecture at USC University Park campus. Matthee…

Fearless Foodies

Fearless Foodies

November 10, 2014

An English major becomes a grilled cheese goddess. A creative writing major finds her calling as a butcher. An international relations and German major is now assistant vice president of retail operations, overseeing the…

Illustrations by Peter Hoey for <em>USC Dornsife Magazine</em>.

The Vicious Circle

November 10, 2014

  Read more stories from USC Dornsife Magazine's Fall 2014-Winter 2015 issue

A close-up shot of oyster mushrooms (<em>Pleurotus ostreatus</em>).

The Search for a Wild Weed

November 10, 2014

A native New Yorker from Flushing, Queens, Ava Chin forages throughout the five boroughs and the Tri-State Area, writing about her finds for publications such as The New York Times and Saveur magazine. Her memoir Eating…

The yellowing and torn pages of an 18th-century manuscript, some shown in this illustration, are from an unpublished recipe book written by Pennysylvanian Ann Ellis and her English mother, Bettee Saffin. Illustrations by Stephanie Dalton Cowan for <em>USC Dornsife Magazine</em>.

Brave New World

November 10, 2014

Despite its handsome, embossed, brown-calfskin cover and imposing size, the unpublished 18th-century manuscript had been overlooked by academics until Juliette Parsons, a doctoral student in history at USC Dornsife, discovered…

The grave marker of emigrant Lucinda Duncan on the Overland Trail just outside Beowawe, Nevada. Like thousands of other 19th century pioneers who used the trail to cross the continent to Oregon and California, Duncan perished on the journey. Photo by Sarah Keyes.

The Best of the West

November 7, 2014

Tinkling cowbells. A kettle singing on a campfire. The howl of a wolf. The deafening boom of an approaching thunderstorm. Sounds such as these became important harbingers for migrants on the mid-19th century Overland Trail.…

USC Dornsife’s Brian Rathbun of international relations has put the study of diplomacy on the map with his new book, <em>Diplomacy’s Value: Creating Security in 1920s Europe and the Contemporary Middle East</em>, published by Cornell University Press. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Diplomatic Chess Game

November 6, 2014

The brutal murders of journalists and aid workers by terrorist organizations such al Qaeda and ISIS have propelled the issue of negotiation into the spotlight. With the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — ISIS…

Two USC Dornsife researchers used string field theory to try to validate quantum mechanics. Photo courtesy of astrophysics.pro.

Mechanics of String Theory

November 6, 2014

Two USC Dornsife researchers have proposed a link between string field theory and quantum mechanics that could open the door to using string field theory — or a broader version of it, called M-theory — as the basis…

Singer-songwriter and musician Aloe Blacc ’01 aims to create positive social change, including working to eradicate food deserts. Photo by Reid Rolls.

The Man

November 4, 2014

Before he was global Top 40 sensation and socially conscious singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc, he was Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, a linguistics and psychology major at USC Dornsife. Even then, Blacc was determined to use his…

USC alumna Barbara Saltzman holds aloft a Jester and Pharley doll as she helps launch a read-a-thon at Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School near USC. The read-a-thon, which is co-organized by the Joint Education Project's USC Readers<sup>Plus</sup> program, will benefit sick children. Photos by Susan Bell.

Release the Jester Within

October 30, 2014

Peals of laughter echoed off the walls of Lenicia B. Weemes Elementary School’s auditorium near USC’s University Park campus. Dozens of 5th graders were delighting in The Jester has Lost his Jingle. The children…

Virginia Carter in 1972 in her Aerospace Corporation lab holding a device to measure air density. The device would be bolted to a satellite, which circled the Earth, yielding data to improve the guidance of satellites. Photo courtesy of the  the <em>Los Angeles Times</em> photographic archive, UCLA Library.

Hollywood Via Aerospace

October 28, 2014

A bachelor’s degree with honors in math and physics under her belt, Virginia Carter was ready for the job market. She was living in her native Canada. The year was 1958. Her best offer? Working as a clerk at a…

Professional skateboarder and alumna Amelia Brodka produced <em>Underexposed: A Women’s Skateboarding Documentary</em> for her capstone project in the narrative studies program at USC Dornsife. Photo by Dan Sparagna.

Kickflipping the Story

October 28, 2014

Skateboarding professionally since age 16, Amelia Brodka was invited to compete as an alternate in the 2010 X Games’ skateboarding competition for women. Although the then-sophomore at USC Dornsife didn’t…

From left: USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay; Provost Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry Raymond Stevens; philanthropist and retired orthopaedic spinal surgeon Dr. Gary K. Michelson; USC President C. L. Max Nikias; president of Karlin Asset Management David Cohen; and USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. Photo by Steve Cohn.

Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience Ushers in New Era

October 23, 2014

USC broke ground today on the new USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience — soon to be the largest building on campus and perhaps the catalyst for a biomedical research corridor in Los Angeles.

 The center was…

Raymond Stevens (right) and Peter Kuhn’s laboratories will bring a cohort of approximately 50 researchers to USC. Their labs will be housed in the new USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, which broke ground on Oct. 23. Photo by Ryan Young.

USC Dornsife Recruits Renowned Leaders in Molecular Research

October 23, 2014

Raymond C. Stevens and Peter Kuhn have been named Provost Professor of Biological Sciences and Chemistry and Dean’s Professor of Biological Sciences, respectively. The announcements were made by Provost Elizabeth Garrett…

Undergraduates in USC Dornsife’s “Immigration in Spain” course visit the Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo in Toledo, Spain. It is one of three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain. Photo by Engie Salama.

A Wish Granted

October 22, 2014

Bonfires flickered like candlelights dotting the Spanish shores of Malvarrosa Beach. Thousands of Valencians were gathered at the beach to celebrate La Noche de San Juan, the night welcoming the summer season. Just a few days…

After an injury that ended his NFL career, USC Dornsife alumnus Thomas Williams raised himself up  to launch a successful new profession as a motivational speaker and author. Photos courtesy of Thomas Williams.

Permission to Dream

October 21, 2014

When Thomas Williams was 12 years old, his mother attended his 6th grade parent-teacher conference. There, Williams’ teacher told her that by the time her son was 16 he would be a gang leader, a drug dealer or dead.…

Alumnus Rodney Swan owns and operates Swan Farms, comprised of 4,000 acres of agricultural land in the vicinity of Blythe, California. Here, Swan’s daughter, Emma, stands in a field watching the thresher machine. Photo courtesy of Rodney Swan.

From Finance to Farming

October 21, 2014

Rodney Swan is most comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt. Not only did he grow up on a small family farm cultivating cotton near Blythe, California, as a young man he worked in the fields of several local farms. After earning a…

Interactive Maps for the Brain

Golgi Your Brain

October 20, 2014

What’s the route between smell and memory? Where’s the connection between habits and Parkinson’s disease? How does habit detour into addiction? To answer these and other complex scientific and medical…

USC Dornsife’s Scott Fraser (left) and Don Arnold, and Carl Kesselman of USC Viterbi School of Engineering, are redefining what is possible with their research mapping neurons in zebrafish to learn how new memories are formed. Fraser photo by John Livzey; Arnold photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou; Kesselman photo courtesy of Carl Kesselman.

$9.7 Million NIH Award

October 17, 2014

Three top USC scientists — Don Arnold, Scott Fraser and Carl Kesselman — will receive a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Transformative Research Award to map the neurons in the living brain of a zebrafish,…

Two children carry containers filled with water in Northern Uganda. Drinking unclean water can lead to many diseases. More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related causes. Photos by Justin Arana.

My Name Is Water

October 16, 2014

Justin Arana was traveling the world on a spiritual quest to find himself. The journey was spurred by his grandfather, who had asked if Arana would be happy with the worth of his life if he died the next day. It was 2008,…

In addition to writing, The Writing Program at USC Dornsife improves students’ communication and critical thinking, top skills employers look for in a job candidate.

Got English?

October 15, 2014

You think honing your writing skills prepares you solely for a writing career? Think again. For a wide range of industries, the most in-demand skill is writing. That is coupled with good oral communication skills, according…

John Wilson of spatial sciences leads the teaching of spatial technologies in the recently launched GeoHealth track — the first education collaboration of its kind. Photo by Geoffrey Kass.

A Space for Health

October 14, 2014

Seeking to reduce costs and increase efficiency, an East Coast hospital recently mapped the workflow of its radiology department. The process recorded the movement of staff between stations and the time it took them to…

The USC School of Religion at USC Dornsife will launch a doctoral degree with three tracks combining research with contemporary relevance.

Earn a Ph.D. in Religion

October 10, 2014

In 1879, Judge Robert Maclay Widney managed to secure 308 lots of land and assemble a board of trustees in order to establish a university in Los Angeles. The University of Southern California was founded the following year…

Chemistry major Beatriz “Abril” Lopez-Bermudez works in the laboratory of Brent Melot, assistant professor of chemistry (right). Melot’s team is researching ways to produce safer, higher-voltage and more compact batteries. Photos by Pamela J. Johnson.

Big Boost for the Bench

October 9, 2014

For Beatriz “Abril” Lopez-Bermudez, advancing energy efficiency is a cause near and dear. Growing up in Ayotla, a suburb of Mexico City, her family home and entire neighborhood were often without electricity for…

USC Dornsife Board of Councilormember Suri Suriyakumar (left) recently flew from Northern California to Los Angeles to lunch with his Gateway mentee, junior Mark Lee, who is majoring in psychology and business. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Map Your Future

October 9, 2014

As a young man in his native Sri Lanka, Suri Suriyakumar was apprenticed to be a marine engineer. Deciding that sailing was not for him, he soon switched to business. “I never went to college, so I had no formal…

Sunset at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina. Included in the blog, the photo is by Megan Hall, a Wrigley Institute 2014 Summer Fellow and Ph.D. student in the lab of Andrew Gracey of biological sciences.

In Their Own Words

October 8, 2014

Student researchers are contributing to a new blog that the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, housed in USC Dornsife, launched in June to feature graduate and undergraduate environmental…

Ilana (Tess Lina) meets brilliant but awkward student Suresh (Kapil Talwalkar) in <em>Animals Out of Paper</em>. Photo by Michael Lamont/East West Players.

Socially Conscious Actor

October 8, 2014

Any actor still in college would be thrilled to land a leading role in a big-city Equity production, sharing the stage with only two other actors, both of whom have lengthy stage and screen credits. And then to have the Los…

Scott Kanoski, assistant professor of biological sciences at USC Dornsife, is corresponding author on a new study indicating that consuming sugary liquids in adolescents may lead to memory loss. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Sugar Linked to Memory Woes

October 7, 2014

Studying rats as model subjects, USC Dornsife scientists found that adolescents were at an increased risk of suffering negative health effects from sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Adolescent rats that freely consumed…

Social psychologist Norbert Schwarz conducts research focusing on human judgment and decision making. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Schwarz Wins Lifetime Award

September 30, 2014

USC Dornsife’s Norbert Schwarz has been honored with the 2014 Donald T. Campbell Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). The Provost Professor of Psychology and Marketing received the award…

G.K. Surya Prakash of chemistry has worked in fluorine chemistry for 25 years. Recently, his research proved the existence of a long-lived form of the trifluoromethanide anion, which many chemists considered impossible. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Chemists Dispel Long-held Notion

September 26, 2014

In a recent study, USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute chemists have dispelled a long-held notion regarding the ubiquitous fluorine-containing trifluoromethyl group. The trifluoromethyl group is significant in chemistry…

From left, doctoral student Diane Kim, SPOT coordinator Troy Gunderson and doctoral student David Needham stand aboard research vessel <em>Yellowfin</em> with a Rosette water sampler equipped with sensors used to collect real-time environmental data. Photo by Cheryl Chow.

A Scientific Hot SPOT

September 25, 2014

At a station in the San Pedro Basin, a region between Los Angeles Harbor and Catalina Island, USC Dornsife faculty and student researchers study the physical, biological and biogeochemical cycles that define the coastal…

The American Political Science Association recognized Jane Junn's book, in part, for including innovative data analysis, which drew from five surveys. Photo by Lizzie Hedrick.

Getting All Sides

September 23, 2014

Jane Junn, professor of political science, likens her research on public opinion of immigration to a white light entering a prism — specifically the iconic image on the cover of Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side of…

Dawn Nagel, a postdoctoral researcher at USC Dornsife and lead author on a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, works in Steve Kay’s laboratory. Photo courtesy of Kay Lab.

Plants and their Stressors

September 22, 2014

Scientists have discovered a key molecular cog in a plant’s biological clock — one that modulates the speed of circadian (daily) rhythms based on temperature. Transcription factors, or genetic switches, drive gene…

Fabien Pinaud, assistant professor of molecular biology at USC Dornsife, is lead researcher on a study published in <em>Nature Communications</em> Sept. 18. Photo courtesy of Fabien Pinaud.

Converging Science and Engineering

September 18, 2014

A new microscopy technology allows scientists to view single molecules in living animals at higher-than-ever resolution, and in a trial run has revealed new findings on the causes of muscular dystrophy. Dubbed…

Robert Shrum (center) is presented with a chair bearing the university seal. From left to right: Dennis Chong, chair and professor of political science; Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Shrum; Hope Warschaw, daughter of Carmen and Louis Warschaw; and USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay. Photos by Steve Cohn.

An Expert in Practical Politics

September 18, 2014

During a ceremony to commemorate his installation as the inaugural Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at USC Dornsife, veteran political consultant Robert Shrum identified the one indispensable quality…

Winner of a vaunted humanities medal, Marjorie Perloff of English has long championed the work of avant-garde and experimental poets. Photo by Lawrence Wechsler.

Perloff to Receive Humanities Medal

September 18, 2014

One of the foremost critics of 20th- and 21st-century poetry and poetics Marjorie Perloff of USC Dornsife will be honored as the 2014 recipient of Washington University’s International Humanities Medal. The Florence R.…

Welcome New Faculty

September 16, 2014

USC Dornsife welcomes 30 new faculty members for the 2014–15 academic year. Hailing from universities around the world, this year’s group of scholars are some of the best and brightest in the nation, bringing…

Travis Longcore of spatial sciences is assessing the environment of Baldwin Hills, employing mobile technology, such as smartphones and computer tablets, for collecting data onsite. Photo by Jean Pongsai.

Close Look at Baldwin Hills

September 16, 2014

A state-of-the-art environmental assessment of Los Angeles’ Baldwin Hills is underway, led by Travis Longcore, associate professor (research) of spatial sciences at USC Dornsife. The 18-month project is a cooperative…

Halim Dhanidina, the first American Muslim judge ever appointed in California, shared his experiences in public service at the recent conference “American Muslims in Public Service.” Photos courtesy of the Center for Islamic Thought, Culture and Practice.

Embracing the Muslim American Identity

September 12, 2014

Addressing the audience at the recent “American Muslims in Public Service” conference, Halim Dhanidina recalled selecting a jury for a court case while he was Los Angeles County deputy district attorney. It was…

Matthew Dean of biological sciences, (left), and Jim Dines searched through more than 10,000 boxes of unsorted cetacean bones in search of pelvic bones. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Whale Mating: In the Hips

September 10, 2014

Both whales and dolphins have pelvic (hip) bones, evolutionary remnants from when their ancestors walked on land more than 40 million years ago. Common wisdom has long held that those bones are simply vestigial, slowly…

Cavan Concannon explores how St. Paul appealed to early Christian communities in Corinth by reinforcing a shared ethnicity rather than a shared religion, the latter a more modern social category. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Rethinking Early Christianity

September 9, 2014

Cavan Concannon likens contributing to the massive scholarship on Paul the Apostle to finding a spot on a New York City subway at rush hour. “All you can do is elbow your way in,” said the assistant professor of…

Going Up: Crafting Your Elevator Pitch

Perfect Your Pitch

September 9, 2014

Are you traditional or original? Tough or tender? Scheduled or spontaneous? Critical or accepting? These were some of the options sophomore Brian Lam, a biochemistry major, contemplated as he completed an online…

Senior Molly Fender has combined her love of gaming and her interest in children's brain development as a researcher in the USC Minds in Development Lab. Photo courtesy of Molly Fender.

Game On

September 4, 2014

Sitting at a desk, Molly Fender boomed her signature infectious laugh. Broadcasting via the online gaming platform Twitch, viewers watched as the senior cognitive science major at USC Dornsife prepared to play a bout in the…

Chemistry professors Mark Thompson, left, and Karl Christe will receive awards from the American Chemical Society for their groundbreaking research during a ceremony in March 2015.

Thompson and Christe Lauded by ACS

September 4, 2014

Two USC Dornsife Department of Chemistry professors are set to receive awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS): Mark Thompson, the 2015 ACS Award in the Chemistry of Materials, and Karl Christe, the 2015 ACS Award for…

A freshman team in the USC GeoScavenge event find a clue at Neil Armstrong’s statue. The event helped incoming students learn about the University Park campus. From left, Tayanna Todd, Molly Linder, Jennifer Wang and Sidrah Khan. Photos by Matt Meindl.

GeoScavenge Challenge

September 2, 2014

Freshman Sidrah Khan, a biological sciences major from Scottsdale, Arizona, peered at her smartphone. She was using it to scan the matrix barcode affixed to the base of the statue of astronaut Neil Armstrong in Archimedes…

University Professor Larry Swanson draws on 15 years of research for his new book, a comprehensive parts list that will aid researchers in their goal of mapping the human brain. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

A Lexicon of the Brain

September 2, 2014

In April 2013, University Professor Larry Swanson visited the White House in Washington, D.C., to hear President Barack Obama unveil his Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.…

The newly arrived 2014 cohort of Provost's Postdoctoral Scholars are, from left, Thomas Pashby, Anna Rosensweig, Jessica Rosenberg, James Thomas, Gina Greene and Simeon Man. Photos by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Meet the 2014 Provost Postdoctoral Scholars

August 28, 2014

Now in its third year, the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholars in the Humanities Program goes from strength to strength as USC Dornsife welcomes a new cohort of six outstanding scholars this Fall. The 2014 Scholars were…

At the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea, New York, Maymester art history course student Matthew Solomon visits the show, “No Problem: Cologne/New York 1984-1989.” Photos courtesy of Suzanne Hudson.

Sweet Trip

August 27, 2014

In the abandoned Domino Sugar Refinery on the Brooklyn waterfront — an iconic New York landmark — a monumental sphinxlike sculpture made of white sugar gazed out impassively over the East River. This…

Incoming psychology freshman Jessica Wynn (left) gives her younger sister, Jada Combs, who traveled from their home in Washington, D.C., to help her move in, a squeeze. Photo by Pamela J. Johnson.

Never Routine — Class of ’18

August 22, 2014

Smoothing a hand over the comforter and propping up a few pillows, Shermayne Hughes stood back. The bed was made. Her only child was officially moved into her new home at Fluor Tower. “I can’t believe my…

Alumnus Caleb Farro shows his Trojan pride while skiing Mount Cook in New Zealand. Photos courtesy of Caleb Farro.

Alumnus Goes Pro

August 22, 2014

While an undergraduate at USC Dornsife, Caleb Farro and the rest of the USC Ski and Snowboard Team would head to Mammoth Mountain each weekend and make videos of their ski trips. He could not have imagined these escapades…

“I have never been happier about being wrong,” said El-Naggar, corresponding author of a new study in the <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em> that shows the key feature in bacterial nanowires are not hair-like features, or pili. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Bacterial Nanowires Not Pili

August 20, 2014

For the past 10 years, scientists have been fascinated by a type of “electric bacteria” that shoots out long tendrils like electric wires, using them to power themselves and transfer electricity to a variety of…

Alumna and pearl biologist Tina Weier conducts an underwater environmental resource survey in the Cook Islands. Photos courtesy of Tina Weier.

A Pearl of a Job

August 19, 2014

Growing up in Florida, Tina Weier dreamed of being a marine biologist on a tropical island. “My mom has a picture book I made when I was in first grade that has a photo of me next to a giant fake shark,” she said.…

Two new online graduate certificates in geospatial information science and technology launched by USC Dornsife's Spatial Sciences Institute this Fall will offer GIST professionals additional expertise in leadership and geospatial intelligence. Image courtesy of Spatial Sciences Institute.

Mapping a Better Future

August 14, 2014

The Spatial Sciences Institute housed at USC Dornsife continues to set new standards in the study of geospatial analysis with the launch this Fall of two new online graduate certificates in geographic information science and…

During a Problems Without Passports trip to Washington, D.C., to gain insights about the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, students visited the White House. From left, Aaron Rifkind, Emily Kennelly, Kayla Foster, Wayne Glass, Kshitij Kumar, Laura Holgate, Kayleigh Axtell, Adela Jones, John Caton and Ian Beck. Photos courtesy of Wayne Glass.

Avoiding Mass Destruction

August 14, 2014

Attending a meeting at the Pentagon, students visited the 9/11 memorial where they stood in reverential silence as they read the names of the fallen. Then, at a Pentagon briefing with cyber security and missile defense…

A historian of international relations, Mary Elise Sarotte's research focuses on Untied States and European foreign policy in the 20th century, particularly during the Cold War. Photo courtesy of Mary Elise Sarotte.

From Berlin to Baghdad?

August 12, 2014

On the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, Americans were tuned to their televisions watching “NBC Nightly News” anchorman Tom Brokaw report from West Germany. It was a momentous occasion. The Berlin Wall, a 28-year symbol of…

A new book by Christelle Fischer-Bovet of classics, who has received two new fellowships for her research, sheds light on state formation in Hellenistic Egypt. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Exploring Hellenistic Egypt

August 12, 2014

After the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C., Ptolemy I declared himself pharaoh of Egypt. Originally from Macedonia — what is now Greece — Ptolemy’s rise to power marked the beginning of the…

Opposition supporters shout in their stronghold of Tahrir Square in Egypt. Photo by Reuters.

War of Words in the Middle East

August 8, 2014

In 2011, the Arab world exploded. Protests rippled throughout the region’s most repressive states, in some cases overturning regimes that had stood intact for decades. Middle East scholars like Laurie Brand watched with…

Oleg Prezhdo, a native of Kharkiv, Ukraine, joins the USC Dornsife Department of Chemistry this Fall as professor of chemistry. His research centers on efficient and cheaper solar energy production and biological nanotechnology. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

An Energetic New Professor

August 7, 2014

Growing up in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Oleg Prezhdo loved mathematics, not unlike his mathematician mother. But ultimately, his physical organic chemist father encouraged him to pursue chemistry. Prezhdo earned his Ph.D. in…

Michael Messner, who has taught sociology at USC Dornsife for 27 years, will be honored with the Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) Feminist Mentoring Award at an August 18 ceremony in San Francisco. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Messner Wins Feminist Mentoring Award

August 5, 2014

Michael Messner, professor of sociology and gender studies at USC Dornsife, will receive the Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) Feminist Mentoring Award on August 18 at a banquet and awards ceremony, held at the City Club…

PWP: GeoDesign

Dutch Lessons on GeoDesign

July 31, 2014

With a GoPro camera strapped to the front of her bicycle, Nicole Bosetti rode through the streets of Amsterdam. Whirring past brick-front cafes and canals, she captured footage of the safe and efficient bike paths available to…

Alumni and friends Dawn McDaniel and Marat Zanov work at Georgia-based Virtually Better, Inc., to develop virtual reality treatments for anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which frequently affects veterans. Both earned Ph.D.s in psychology at USC Dornsife. Photos courtesy of Marat Zanov and Dawn McDaniel.

Virtually Cured

July 31, 2014

Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience a cluster of symptoms, including flashbacks and nightmares, emotional numbness and hyperarousal, which results in difficulty sleeping, angry…

In her new book, USC Dornsife’s Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo of sociology examines the symbiotic relationship between immigrants and California gardens. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Paradise Transplanted

July 31, 2014

Tomatoes, radishes, chilies and corn flourish alongside avocado, mango and papaya trees in an inner-city Los Angeles community garden. This is where some of the city’s most marginalized newcomers — poor,…

The Moor's Account author Laila Lalami, who earned her Ph.D. in linguistics from USC Dornsife in 1997, speaks Arabic, Spanish and French in addition to English. Her linguistics training informs her writing. “When you’re a writer everything you experience goes into your writing,” Lalami said. Photo courtesy of Laila Lalami.

Estebanico’s Turn to Speak

July 29, 2014

In 1527, Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez led 600 men across the Atlantic Ocean to what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States. Their goal was to claim land for the Spanish crown. From the get-go, the…

“This has opened up communication and people are becoming more interested in working with results from our Mt. Wilson data study,” said Ph.D. physics and astronomy student Stephen Pinkerton, first place winner of poster contest in national contest, standing at the Mount Wilson Observatory in the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena. Photo by Steven J. Hale.

Pinkerton Wins Poster Contest

July 29, 2014

Physics and astronomy Ph.D. student Stephen Pinkerton has won first place in the 2014 American Astronomical Society Solar Physics Division Student (AAS-SPD) Poster Contest. Pinkerton’s award-winning poster described his…

Students from “The Global Performance of Healing” Problems Without Passports class in Brazil stand in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brasilia, a planned city that replaced Rio de Janeiro as the capital in 1960. Photo courtesy of Erin Moore.

A Healing Experience in Brazil

July 29, 2014

On the first day, we sat in a room meditating for four and a half hours. With my eyes closed, it could have easily been seven hours — or two. It felt timeless. This is how sociology major Sarah Newell describes her…

Elected as president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, USC Dornsife's Wendy Wood will lead the organization in exciting new directions. Photo by Laurie Moore.

Wood Elected SPSP President

July 24, 2014

USC Dornsife’s Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business and vice dean for social sciences, is the newly elected 2016 president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). SPSP promotes…

Henrike Moll (left) and Morteza Dehghani of psychology with books and toys they will use when they interview children for their study on how humans create alternative worlds to make decisions. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Pretending: Not Just Play

July 24, 2014

We all wonder what might have been. How would reality be different if a certain event had not occurred? If you had taken that job or married that person? “People especially tend to do this when a negative event happens,…

Students in the International Geobiology Course enjoy an afternoon of field study as a break from intense analytical work at the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. Photos by Letty Avila.

Where Earth and Life Sciences Merge

July 24, 2014

Ooids are sediment grains generally composed of calcium carbonate formed on the sea floor. They fascinate geologists because they have appeared throughout the planet’s evolutionary history. Traditionally, earth…

Emmanuel Caudillo's passion for education stems from the challenges he faced as a first-generation college student. Photos courtesy of Emmanuel Caudillo.

Increasing Educational Opportunities

July 22, 2014

Emmanuel Caudillo clearly remembers the challenges he faced applying to college as a first-generation college student. Some of the forms he found daunting, particularly the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA),…

Problems Without Passports: Forced Labor in Dubai

Far from Paradise

July 22, 2014

Invited into the living quarters of undocumented migrant domestic workers in the oil-rich city of Dubai, Lucero Noyola was shocked by what she saw. “Fourteen people were sharing one room,” said the junior majoring…

USC Dornsife's Donal Manahan (left), who served as chief scientist for many research expeditions to the Antarctic, has been awarded an honorary fellowship by Bangor University in Wales. Here, he stands with Bangor University Vice Chancellor John Hughes during the ceremony. Photo courtesy of Bangor University.

Manahan Named Honorary Fellow

July 22, 2014

Donal Manahan, professor of biological sciences and vice dean for students at USC Dornsife, has been appointed an Honorary Fellow of Bangor University in Wales. Manahan was honored for his contributions to science and in…

USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay, Hashem Pesaran, Kenneth Nealson and Ray Stevens are among those deemed by Thomson Reuters to have the most scientifically influential minds in the world.

World’s Most Influential Scientists

July 17, 2014

Four researchers at USC Dornsife have been named by Thomson Reuters as having “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” for 2014. Based in New York City, the multinational media and information firm…

USC Dornsife’s doctoral candidate Matthew Mendez (left) and Christian Grose, associate professor of political science, said they were shocked to find a nearly 20 percentage point gap among legislators who support voter ID laws based on the name of the ethnicity of the constituent. Photo by Susan Bell.

Identifying Bias

July 17, 2014

Groundbreaking research by USC Dornsife’s Christian Grose, associate professor of political science, and doctoral candidate Matthew Mendez has shown that lawmakers who support voter ID laws are more likely to show racial…

The clones for the library were taken from Arabidopsis, a flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard seen here. “You can think of <em>Arabidopsis</em> as the mouse of the botanical world,” USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay said. Photo by Dawn Nagel.

Kay Lab Creates First Vast Library of Master Genetic Switches in Plants

July 17, 2014

USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay and his researchers have created the first comprehensive library of genetic switches in plants, which will be available for scientists to use around the globe. The collection contains about 2,000…

Alumna Angela Johnson Meszaros works in environmental justice, focusing on air quality, as general counsel for the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles. Photo by Ana Mascarena.

Helping Us Breathe Easier

July 14, 2014

In Los Angeles and Orange counties in the past year, the oil industry has used more than 45 million pounds — 22,500 tons — of toxic air pollutants as part of its 477 hydraulic fracturing (fracking), acidizing and…

G.K. Surya Prakash, director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute at USC Dornsife, and new 2014 fellow of the American Chemical Society, has significantly advanced methanol chemistry and has helped the world develop viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Prakash Named ACS Fellow

July 14, 2014

G.K. Surya Prakash, George A. and Judith A. Olah Nobel Laureate Chair in Hydrocarbon Chemistry, professor of chemistry and director of the USC Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute at USC Dornsife, has been named a fellow of…

International relations alumna Rebecca Braun is in the Peace Corps working as a peer educator at a girl’s camp in Cameroon. Youths and one volunteer are pictured here making a “human knot” as a teamwork exercise. Photo by Rebecca Braun.

Having the Courage to Know

July 14, 2014

Now I'm not a journalist, I’m not sitting in on high level meetings, my Internet is not fast enough to allow me to do effective research, so I’m not an expert on the goings-on of Central Africa. But I do live here…

Writer and Composer

Celebrating Collaboration

July 10, 2014

“Writer and Composer” is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration that draws students from three graduate-level classes offered through USC Dornsife and USC Thornton School of Music. Student writers, vocalists and…

Students in Lori Meeks’ “Introduction to Buddhist Literature” Maymester class visit the Zenshūji Sōtō Mission, a Japanese Sōtō Zen Buddhist temple in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district. Here the Rev. Shūmyō Kojima speaks about his personal experiences as a Zen priest. Photos by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

The Many Faces of Buddhism

July 10, 2014

Lights low, the meditation room gives off an aura of peace. After removing their shoes, the students quietly file in. Each stands before a zafu, or meditation cushion, placed on top of a zabuton, or square mat. Guided by a…

Diversity Visionary Award-winner George Sanchez is a first-generation college student himself, whose parents emigrated from Mexico. Photo by Alexandra Bissonnette.

Sanchez’s Vision for Diversity

July 10, 2014

When George Sanchez, professor of history, and American studies and ethnicity, was offered the position of vice dean for diversity and strategic initiatives in 2009, he accepted on one condition — that he would not have…

With his Simons Fellowship, Bonahon will study new connections between two fields of mathematics: quantum topology and hyperbolic geometry.

Bonahon Named Simons Fellow

July 8, 2014

A mathematician’s foundation will give a USC Dornsife math professor and 39 others the creative foundation they need: a year to think. The Simons Foundation, established by noted mathematician, investor and 2014 USC…

USC Dornsife alumnus Theodore Roosevelt Gardner II found "Girl on a Swing," a bronze sculpture by British artist Sydney Harpley, at an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London. It became the first sculpture in Gardner's sculpture garden in Santa Barbara. Photo by Susan Levin.

He's Sculpting a Wacky Life

July 7, 2014

After graduating from USC Dornsife in 1956 with a bachelor's in communication, which was part of the College at that time, Theodore Roosevelt Gardner II became an award-winning novelist, essayist and newspaper…

The eternal flame of memory was used to launch Kwibuka20, the international commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide in which between 500,000 and a million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by extremist Hutus in 100 days. Photo courtesy of the USC Shoah Foundation.

Commemorating Genocide with Kwibuka20

July 7, 2014

Earlier this year, as Rwanda prepared to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the most painful period in its history, a single flame crisscrossed the central and east African sovereign state. The flame symbolized remembrance,…

USC Dornsife professor Manuel Pastor (from left), talk show host Tavis Smiley; Maria Brenes, executive director of Inner City Struggle; and Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, participated in Smiley's kickoff for a four-year initiative to address poverty in America. Photograph by Zon D'Amour.

Pastor Speaks on Poverty

July 3, 2014

Sharing bleak statistics during a recent kickoff for Tavis Smiley Foundation’s Ending Poverty initiative, professor Manuel Pastor pointed to the need to raise the public’s awareness about the high poverty levels in…

Ishan Shah, the youngest person and the first Indian-American to be elected to the Ohlone College Board of Trustees in Alameda County, California, will return to USC Dornsife in the Fall to finish his degree in political science. Photos courtesy of Ishan Shah.

A Student with Experience

July 3, 2014

Last Fall, Ishan Shah was a senior with only weeks left before he was due to graduate from USC Dornsife with a degree in political science. Then disaster struck. Shah’s mother was stricken with cancer. Interrupting his…

Deborah Harkness imbued characters from her All Souls Trilogy with a few autobiographical elements — from creating a character who is a historian to a house based on one she owned. Photo by Scarlett Freund.

Life Goes On

July 2, 2014

Deborah Harkness' #1 New York Times bestselling All Souls Trilogy ends with the publication of The Book of Life (Viking Adult) on July 15. The series, including A Discovery of Witches (2011) and Shadow of Night (2013), follows…

Sri Narayan focuses on the fundamental and applied aspects of electrochemical energy conversion. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Plugging into a New Battery

July 1, 2014

Scientists at USC Dornsife have developed a water-based organic battery that is long lasting and built from cheap, eco-friendly components. The new battery, which uses no metals or toxic materials, is intended for use in power…

This portrait of Christine Hameline was painted as part of The Face of Malibu project, which highlights some of Malibu’s biggest movers and shakers. Each honoree is painted in a single, live sitting. Portrait by artist Johanna Spinks.

Face of Interdisciplinary Success

July 1, 2014

A true Renaissance woman, Christine Hameline double majored in international relations and art history, graduating from USC Dornsife in 2008. Now she works as the managing associate of RE/MAX ELITE in her native Malibu,…

Bruce Zuckerman, front, his brother Kenneth and others at the USC West Semitic Research Project are pioneers in the use of digital photography for the preservation of ancient documents. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Digital Humanities at Its Finest

June 27, 2014

For Bruce Zuckerman, a picture is worth a lot more than a thousand words. As an authority on ancient Semitic and biblical texts, he can tell you how a letter worn off the surface of parchment — or even the leg of a…

Chris Lee, CEO of Kitson, who participated in the Joint Educational Project (JEP) while an economics major at USC Dornsife, is now giving back to JEP. Photo by Matt Meindl.

A Visionary Entrepreneur

June 26, 2014

An economics major at USC Dornsife in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Kitson CEO Chris Lee retains fond memories of participating in the Joint Educational Project (JEP) as a math tutor at Manual Arts High School near the USC…

Deborah Kolodji finds inspiration for writing haiku during a visit to the Japanese garden at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Garden in San Marino, California. Photo courtesy of Deborah Kolodji.

The Art of Haiku

June 26, 2014

Haiku poet Deborah P. Kolodji was recently caught in dense traffic on the 10 Freeway. Looking up, a V-formation of birds flew overhead. Nearby, an airplane cut across the sky. Things were in motion. She saw poetry: migrating…

While still children, both Erna and Andrew Viterbi fled Europe and came to the United States with their families before World War II due to growing anti-Semitism. Their $5 million gift to USC Shoah Foundation will boost efforts to share testimonies of Holocaust and genocide survivors around the world. Photo by Steve Cohn.

$15 Million Gift to USC Establishes Endowed Chairs and Fellowships

June 25, 2014

Trustee Andrew Viterbi, Ph.D. ’62, and his wife, Erna, have added to their rich legacy of philanthropy at USC with a generous $15 million gift to boost scholarship in engineering and genocide studies. The namesakes of…

Alumnus Richard "Jake" Jacobsen was director of the Mecklenburg County Department  of Social Services from 1994 to 2007, when the department became recognized as among the nation’s most effective urban social service agencies. Photo courtesy of Jake Jacobsen.

Helping People Help Themselves

June 24, 2014

As director of the Department of Social Services (DSS) in Charlotte, North Carolina, Richard “Jake” Jacobsen recalled a customer whose drug and alcohol addiction prevented her from holding down a job and caring for…

George Sanchez of history, and American studies and ethnicity, and vice dean of diversity, has been named president-elect of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association starting Fall 2014. Photo by Mira Zimet.

Sanchez Selected AHA-PCB President

June 24, 2014

A forthcoming book by George Sanchez, professor of history, and American studies and ethnicity, and vice dean for diversity and strategic initiatives at USC Dornsife, will focus on racial interactions in the Boyle Heights…

The Moore Foundation study includes computational expert Zhenfeng "Jay" Liu (left), who joined the project after earning his Ph.D. from Penn State, and USC Dornsife postdoctoral researcher Ramon Terrado, a Ph.D. from Université Laval (Québec, Canada). Photo by Richard Hoops.

Venus Flytrap of the Sea

June 19, 2014

A team of USC Dornsife biologists affiliated with the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies is working on a $1.2 million study of marine organisms that are the microscopic equivalent of the Venus…

Former senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Defense, alumnus Jeffrey Fields brings years of experience at the highest level of government to his new position at USC Dornsife’s School of International Relations. Fields will lead the new USC Dornsife Washington D.C. program. Photo by Susan Bell.

Politics Comes to Life

June 19, 2014

Joining USC Dornsife as assistant professor of the practice of international relations, alumnus Jeffrey Fields will direct a new program in Washington D.C. to be launched in Spring 2015. As a former senior adviser to the U.S.…

Tackling health issues from dental disease to cancer, faculty and students connect with people throughout the world. Illustrations by Richard Mia for <em>USC Dornsife Magazine</em>.

A Wealth of Health

June 19, 2014

After a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake ripped through Haiti in 2010, crews posted signs warning against drinking contaminated river water. But since most of the population could not read, the caution went largely…

Undergraduates taking a course in USC Dornsife's The Writing Program take a tour of the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles and speak with Santosh Sundaresan, community health programs section chair at the USC Dental Clinic set up at the mission. Photo by Caroline Lasersohn.

On a Mission

June 17, 2014

Led by instructor JJ Strong, undergraduates taking, “Writing and Critical Reasoning — Thematic Approaches” at USC Dornsife’s The Writing Program took a recent tour of the Union Rescue Mission in Los…

Artist Julie Selan’s reconstruction of Zanda fauna from the Pliocene epoch. Image courtesy of Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Arctic Fox, Woolly Rhino and Three-toed Horse

June 17, 2014

For the past 2.5 million years, the Earth has experienced millennia-long cold and warm cycles that collectively have become known as the Ice Age. During cold periods, continental-scale ice sheets blanketed large tracts of the…

The Fulbright Scholarship was established to increase the mutual understanding among the United States and other countries. USC Dornsife students and alumni who are 2014-15 Fulbright Scholars will study and teach throughout the world. Clockwise from top left, Fan Fan, Rebecca Ryan, Bijou Diem Tran Nguyen, Vivian Yan, Samantha Freitag, Samir Kumar, John Hernandez and Brendan McMahon.

A Fulbright Fête

June 17, 2014

Eight exceptional USC Dornsife students have been selected for the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship, awarded for academic achievement and commitment to cultural engagement. USC has been recognized as among the top 40 research…

The USC Equestrian Team with their coach Kathryn Burdett Griffiths. Photos courtesy of Taylor Osher.

Ride On

June 12, 2014

Sophomore Taylor Osher was nervous. It was almost her turn to demonstrate the horseback riding skills she had been refining all year. It was March at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center in Sylmar, California. Osher and her…

On-set shot of Frank Baxter, a professor of English at USC Dornsife who garnered Emmys for his TV shows in the 1950s and 60s. Photo courtesy of Wesleyan Cinema Archives.

Hats Off to Dr. Research

June 12, 2014

Frank Baxter was one of the most popular and genuinely charismatic professors ever to teach at USC. The bald, bespectacled Baxter, a professor of English literature, had such a great reputation that the Daily Trojan once…

Jason Wong, who graduated in 2003 with a double major in political science and history, now works as a federal prosecutor at the attorney general's office in Manhattan, New York. This month he will be presented with a Tommy Award by the USC Alumni Club of New York City. Photo courtesy of Jason Wong.

Law and Order

June 12, 2014

Growing up in Brooklyn, Jason Wong’s parents were frequently robbed, sometimes at knifepoint. One of his earliest memories is being with his mother at a subway station as a 5-year-old. Two thugs threatened to throw the…

David Albertson, assistant professor of religion at USC Dornsife, was honored with the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for his upcoming book on theologians Nicholas of Cusa and Thierry of Chartres. Photo courtesy of David Albertson.

Religion and Modern Science

June 10, 2014

David Albertson, assistant professor of religion at USC Dornsife, has been awarded a 2014 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise for his forthcoming monograph, Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and…

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,” said Valter Longo, corresponding author of a recent study in <em>Cell Stem Cell</em>. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf.

The Benefits of Fasting

June 10, 2014

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in the June 5 issue of Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against…

Flanked by her husband and daughter, Usman Chaudhry’s mother speaks at a vigil held on June 21, 2008, at the location of her youngest son’s wrongful shooting by an LAPD officer. The vigil was organized by Olu Orange of political science, and students from the USC Trial Advocacy Program. From left: Afzhal Chaudhry, Rukhsana Chaudhry, Usma Chaudhry. All photos courtesy of Olu Orange.

Setting a Civil Rights Precedent

June 10, 2014

Justice has been upheld and USC Dornsife faculty and students helped ensure it. On May 19, six years after police shot and killed a young autistic man, Mohammed Usman Chaudhry, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that…

Caleb Smith, a 16-year-old local high school student, won the opportunity to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, or ISEF. He developed his research working in the laboratory of USC Dornsife’s John Tower. Photo by Misty Mercier.

Encouraging Young Scientists

June 6, 2014

As Caleb Smith watched the video of a Sudanese land mine victim using a prosthetic arm to eat unassisted for the first time in seven years, he was struck by the ability of science to fundamentally change a human life. Smith,…

Before graduating, USC Dornsife undergraduates learn to roll up their sleeves and experience working in politics and impacting policy. Illustrations by Daniel Hertzberg for <em>USC Dornsife Magazine</em>.

Hearts in the Highlands

June 5, 2014

Standing on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Roxana Ontiveros had one thing on her mind: her Highland Park neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles. The daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first in her family to…

Natalie Tecimer with a hearing-impaired child during a 2012 family picnic at the John Tracy Clinic, a Los Angeles-based center for children with hearing loss. Photo courtesy of Natalie Tecimer.

Breaking the Silence

June 3, 2014

Junior Natalie Tecimer was born hearing impaired — yet she has never seen it as a disability. “To me hearing loss was this cool, unique thing,” said Tecimer, an international relations major at USC Dornsife…

The Winn family, from left, Kate, Jack, Cindy and Michael, at the Joint Educational Project (JEP) House. All are involved in JEP, with Michael and Cindy Winn donating money to JEP’s Young Scientist Program. Photo by Susan Bell.

It’s a Winn-Winn

May 29, 2014

In 1982, Michael Winn was a sophomore taking an anthropology class that offered extra credit for participating in USC Dornsife’s Joint Educational Project (JEP). Winn leapt at the chance. “At first I did it for…

Researchers in Provost Professor of Biological Sciences Scott Fraser’s laboratory use confocal microscopy to capture a 3D projection of a live, developing zebrafish heart at 54 hours post-fertilization. A mitochondrial protein (green) and the nuclei (red) of the heart muscle cells are visible by a protein-trapping approach developed by Fraser’s team. Photo by Le Trinh.

ConvURGENT Bioscience

May 29, 2014

Like an artist sharing her latest Starry Night, geneticist Le Trinh invited her colleague to come see her experiment. Hunched over a microscope, Vikas Trivedi watched what looked like tiny bumper cars meandering inside a…

USC Dornsife's Aaron Lauda of mathematics teaches high school senior Jailyne Olvera and another student how to solve the knot theory game he developed to show students how mathematical knowledge is developed and processed. Photo by Susan Bell.

Knot a Problem

May 27, 2014

In a USC classroom, Jailyne Olvera, a junior at Augustus Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles studied a knotted rope lying on the table, then stared at a chart of knots. “Wow, this is hard,” she sighed, her…

Research by USC Dornsife's Justin Wood showing how visual cognition emerges in the newborn brain could be used to develop new technology to help the blind. Wood has won an NSF award to further his research. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Early CAREER Award

May 27, 2014

Justin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at USC Dornsife, is interested in how humans and other animals learn to understand the world. His research, which examines the origins of knowledge by testing how cognition…

Lorraine Sadler, a technician at the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber at the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, samples kelp for the radiation study. Photo by Alexandra Winqvist.

Kelp Watch 2014

May 27, 2014

Researchers with the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, housed in USC Dornsife, will collect kelp in the waters of Big Fisherman’s Cove off Catalina as part of a scientific campaign to evaluate radioactive…

Kelly Miller will use her new NSF grant to continue her clinical research in attachment theory. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Top Thinker

May 22, 2014

You may think your relationship with your parents hasn’t had significant impact on your life, but your body may tell a different story. When Kelly Miller learned about this disconnect between mind and body while an…

Screening methods at Calibr include the use of sophisticated robotics seen here — making it possible to process thousands of experiments daily. Photo courtesy of Calibr.

Industry and Academe Team Up

May 22, 2014

The California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), a nonprofit organization founded by renowned chemical biologist Peter Schultz, has launched a research collaboration with USC Dornsife. The partnership will expedite…

USC Dornsife's Douglas Capone and Linda Duguay, both of biological sciences, traveled to Saudi Arabia to spearhead a collaborative research project with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Here they are pictured aboard a KAUST research vessel. Photos courtesy of Doug Capone and Linda Duguay.

Plunging into the Red Sea

May 22, 2014

Sailing across the Red Sea, USC Dornsife’s Douglas Capone and Linda Duguay hoped to get an up-close view of the reddish blooms created by cyanobacteria, which give the water its distinctive, eponymous hue. “The…

USC Dornsife alumna Tamara Espinet’s training at the Villa-Parke Boxing Program in Pasadena gives her an opportunity to mentor youths. Photos courtesy of Tamara Espinet.

Teacher, Scientist, Pacifist … Boxer?

May 20, 2014

Tamara Espinet maintains a daunting schedule. She is a full-time lecturer in the USC Dornsife human and evolutionary biology department and a Ed.D. student in higher education administration at the USC Rossier School of…

High school students in the Los Angeles Service Academy tour a construction site in Boyle Heights. Before the visit, Maria Cabildo, president of the East Los Angeles Community Corporation  and member of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, spoke to them about a new housing development being constructed. Photo courtesy of William Deverell.

So L.A.

May 20, 2014

One recent Saturday, USC alumna Laura Nelson, a transportation reporter for the Los Angeles Times, gave a talk to local high school students about the city’s vast transit system. For a group of freshly minted drivers in…

From left: Matthew Erskine (USC), John P. Burns (University of Hong Kong), Jiro Kokuryo (Keio University) and Jongryn Mo (Yonsei University). Photo courtesy of the University of Hong Kong.

Enriching East Asian Studies

May 19, 2014

USC students soon will join counterparts from other elite universities around the world in a unique study-abroad experience. Along with Cornell, Georgetown and Princeton universities; King’s College London and the…

Clockwise from top left: Zade Shakir, Jennifer Bou Lahoud, Sam Kosydar and Lucila Duarte. Shakir photo by Ricardo Galvez Photography. Bou Lahoud photo by Elias Tahan. Kosydar and Duarte photos by Pamela J. Johnson.

Great Expectations

May 16, 2014

Lucila Duarte: ‘I Can Do Anything’ Lucila Duarte. Before Lucila Duarte’s mother died of breast cancer while Duarte was preparing to finish high school, Lucila del Carmen Jurado de Duarte told her…

The 2014 Boren Scholars include Kayla Foster, Benjamin Miles and Linda Wang, who are tapped to play leadership roles around the world.

A Commitment to National Security

May 15, 2014

Three USC Dornsife students have been awarded 2014 Boren Scholarships, which will support them for a year of study overseas in countries critical to the United States’ national security: Japan, China and Senegal. The…

The highest academic degree is a doctorate. This year, 203 doctoral students earned their Ph.Ds at USC Dornsife.

Our Dazzling Doctorates

May 15, 2014

Jia Liu: Dancing Through Darkness Jia Liu. Photo by Lizzie Hedrick. At age 6, Jia Liu was preparing for her first televised performance with an elite dancing school in Inner Mongolia. As a reward for her success, her…

From left, salutatorian Jared Sokol, valedictorian Jana Shapiro and salutatorian Brian Lentz are all from USC Dornsife this year. Photos by Gus Ruelas.

Valedictorian and Salutatorians

May 14, 2014

This year’s valedictorian and salutatorians have two big things in common: all three are from USC Dornsife and all want to be doctors. Medicine is a tough profession that has come under fire lately, but Jana Shapiro,…

Wendy Wood, USC Provost Professor of Psychology and Business, and vice dean for social sciences at USC Dornsife, has led a study showing that women at their fertility peak do not seek out particularly masculine or genetically fit males.

What Women Want

May 13, 2014

Over the past two decades, studies in reproductive biology and psychology have purported to show a correlation between what women want in a male partner and their time of the month — demonstrating that which guy catches…

Members of USC’s Value Investing Group (VIG) met with USC Dornsife alumnus Arthur Lev, a managing director at Morgan Stanley, to present investment pitches and get feedback. USC Dornsife sophomores Daniel Clancy (left) and Kes Rittenberg (center) help present the group’s Dunkin’ Donuts stock pitch to Lev. Photo by Laura Paisley.

Taking Stock

May 9, 2014

“America Runs On Dunkin.’ ” Anyone who’s ever lived on the East coast is probably acquainted with the Dunkin’ Donuts slogan and their tangerine and hot pink color scheme. One of Starbuck’s…

President Barack Obama holds up his Ambassador for Humanity Award, presented to him by USC Trustee Steven Spielberg, founder of USC Shoah Foundation — the Institute for Visual History and Education. Photos by Getty Images.

‘Eternal Flame of Testimony’

May 8, 2014

In recognition of his efforts to protect human rights, his commitment to education and his work advancing opportunities for all people, President Barack Obama was presented May 7 with the Ambassador for Humanity Award by…

Youngmin Choe, assistant professor of East Asian languages and cultures at USC Dornsife, co-edited <em>The Korean Popular Culture Reader</em> (Duke University Press, 2014). Photo courtesy of Youngmin Choe.

The Korean Wave

May 8, 2014

From Psy’s “Gangnam Style” to American remakes of films like Oldboy, Korean pop culture has been inescapable in the past few years. For some American audiences, it might seem to have emerged overnight. But…

Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie directs <em>Unbroken</em>, the life story of war hero and USC Dornsife alumnus Louis Zamperini. The film will be in theatres on Dec. 25, 2014. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Courageous Comrades

May 12, 2014

Louis Zamperini just turned 97. This gets him reflecting on how to live a long life. “People always talk about diet,” Zamperini says. “But it’s not diet.” His disarming blue eyes twinkle. For a…

In a story published recently in <em>PLOS Genetics</em>, Matthew Taylor, Ph.D. student in molecular and computational biology (left), and Ian Ehrenreich, assistant professor of molecular biology, found that genetic variants can collectively affect physical characteristics. Photos by Erica Christianson.

Breaking the Genetic Code

May 7, 2014

Scientists at USC Dornsife have definitively demonstrated that large sets of variations in the genetic code that do not individually appear to have much effect can collectively produce significant changes in an…

Doug Capone's research looks at the role and importance of marine microbes in major biogeochemical cycles, particularly those of nitrogen and carbon. In particular, he has shown nitrogen fixation — the process by which nitrogen is converted to ammonia — to be a key biogeochemical process in several marine ecosystems. Photo by by Taylor Faust.

Capone to Receive Top Biosciences Award

May 5, 2014

Doug Capone, William and Julie Wrigley Chair in Environmental Studies and professor and chair of biological sciences, has been honored with the 2014 DuPont Industrial Biosciences Award in Applied and Environmental…

Senior Karissa Masciel holds up her Extraordinary Community Service Award at JEP’s recent 2014 Community Service Awards Dinner, with George Sanchez, vice dean for diversity and strategic initiatives, and professor of American studies and ethnicity, and history, and JEP Executive Director Tammara Anderson. Photos by Brian Morri.

Honoring Service and Learning

May 2, 2014

A religion major at USC Dornsife, Karissa Masciel saw a need to educate youngsters on various religions to give them the tools to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions. Two years ago, Masciel created the Interfaith…

Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement winner Simon Levin of Princeton University accepts his award during a banquet and ceremony at The Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, Calif., on April 25. Photo by Steve Cohn.

From Obstacles to Opportunities

May 1, 2014

How to balance growing economically with green responsibilities? Simon Levin draws from an unlikely source. “We are faced with insurmountable opportunities,” Levin quotes Pogo, the possum in the 20th century comic…

USC Levan Institute Director Lyn Boyd-Judson with students in front of the oldest door at the University of Oxford, where teaching has existed since 1096. From left, Boyd-Judson, Emmanuel Laboy, Andrew Molina, Mushfiqur Chowdhury, Anshuman Siripurapu, Marissa Roy, Alice Lee and Orli Robin. All are USC Dornsife students except Laboy of  Quinnipiac University, Connecticut. Photo courtesy of Lyn Boyd-Judson.

Humanitarian Spring

May 1, 2014

Ensconced in a lecture room at the University of Oxford’s Merton College, seven USC Dornsife undergraduates gazed about them at the venerable oil paintings adorning the walls. Through the windows, they could look across…

American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow Gary Watson is a leading expert in moral theory, moral psychology, philosophy of law, and moral and criminal responsibility. Photo by Matt Meindl.

Watson Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 29, 2014

Gary Watson, Provost Professor of Philosophy and Law, has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the world’s most prestigious honorary societies. The USC Dornsife scholar, who has a…

Senior Ryan Barner (right) speaks with Economics Leadership Council members Peter Resnick (left) and Terry Flynn. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Networking with Economists

April 29, 2014

USC Dornsife political economy sophomore Ali DeGuide came to a recent panel event hosted by the USC Dornsife Department of Economics dressed professionally and armed with constructive curiosity. Held at the Radisson Hotel…

Jacob Soll

A Case for Balancing Your Checkbook

April 28, 2014

As the United States was spiraling into one of its worst financial collapses in history, Jacob Soll found an interesting parallel in France’s “Sun King.” The USC professor learned that Louis XIV, better…

Thoreau Prize winner T.C. Boyle, shown here at his Santa Barbara home, said he is pleased to receive the Thoreau Award recognizing the environmental themes running through his work. "It’s nice to know that somebody’s listening," he says. Photo by Philip Channing.

T.C. Boyle to Receive Thoreau Prize

April 28, 2014

T.C. Boyle, USC Writer in Residence and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at USC Dornsife, has won a top prize for his exceptional talents in nature writing. PEN New England will present this year’s Henry…

Holocaust survivor Mira Becker and USC Trustee Steven Spielberg during an April 25 press conference at USC announcing the Center for Advanced Genocide Research. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Center for Advanced Genocide Research Announced

April 25, 2014

Seeking to build on USC Shoah Foundation’s 20 years of success in gathering testimonies of Holocaust and genocide survivors, the University of Southern California has established the Center for Advanced Genocide Research…

Recording artist and activist Akon and ONE representatives visited a classroom at USC recently to launch the #PowerProject Campaign Lab, which will combat energy poverty in Africa. International relations students presented original social media campaign ideas to a panel, shown here. Photo courtesy of ONE.

#PowerProject

April 25, 2014

How would you cook dinner without electricity? Or get your homework done after sunset without turning on the lights? And on a more crucial level, what if your local hospital had no refrigeration for medicine or power for…

Truman Scholar Oscar De Los Santos is currently studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. Here, he visits Seville, Spain. Photo courtesy of Oscar De Los Santos.

Oscar De Los Santos Selected as Truman Scholar

April 23, 2014

Oscar De Los Santos recalled lunching with President Barack Obama at a café near the White House. Both ordered hamburgers and french fries, Santos going with a strawberry milkshake while the president enjoyed a…

Renowned ecologist William Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., spoke to a packed audience of faculty and students at Joyce J. Cammilleri Hall inside the Dornsife Neuroscience Pavilion. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Averting the Apocalypse

April 21, 2014

In 1944, the United States Coast Guard released a herd of reindeer on St. Matthew Island off the coast of Alaska so top naval personnel could hunt them for recreation. The reindeer population grew exponentially. From the 29…

Alexander Zholkovsky (left) received the 2013 Russian Italian literary-critical “Bella” award for his essay "Poetics at the Tea Table." Marcus Levitt (right) took home the 2013 Marc Raeff Book Prize for his book <em>The Visual Dominant in Eighteenth-Century Russia</em>. Zholkovsky photo by Marianna Volkova. Levitt photo courtesy of Levitt.

Writing on Russia

April 21, 2014

Marcus Levitt and Alexander Zholkovsky, professors in the USC Dornsife Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, have been honored for their exceptional scholarship. Levitt, professor of Slavic languages and…

Comprised of recent alumni, this planet patrol toils diligently to combat forces working against environmental health. Illustration by Niklas Asker.

The Environmentalists

April 21, 2014

These young alumni from USC Dornsife’s dynamic Environmental Studies Program pursue a host of professional paths — from law to medicine, business and conservation — and are united by their shared interest in…

Trojan Guardian Scholars

Trojan Guardian Scholars Kickoff

April 17, 2014

Preparing to graduate with a bachelor’s in sociology next month, Jasmine Torres named seeing the USC Trojan Guardian Scholars (TGS) program evolve from vision to reality as the highlight of her academic…

From left: Casey Donovan, professor of biological sciences; post-doctoral scholars and lead authors MaryAnn Bohland-Matveyenko and Anne Jokiaho; and Alan Watts, professor of neurobiology. The research team's work on how the body detects hypoglycemia could have far reaching implications for the development of insulin therapies to treat diabetes. Photo courtesy of Casey Donovan.

The Diabetes Detectives

April 17, 2014

To the casual observer, the 14-year-old kicking a ball around in the park with his friends looked like he had energy to burn. But the boy has Type 1 diabetes, a chronic debilitating autoimmune disorder that commonly manifests…

Spatial Sciences Institute Director John Wilson’s 2014 University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) fellowship recognizes his extraordinary achievements in his field. Photo by Laurie Moore.

Wilson Receives Top GIS Honor

April 17, 2014

USC Dornsife’s John Wilson, director of the Spatial Sciences Institute, has been named a 2014 University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Fellow, joining a group of the most esteemed scholars in the…

USC Dornsife’s David Bottjer (right) receives the 2014 Moore Medal for Excellence in Paleontology from Evan Franseen, president of the Society for Sedimentary Geology, during a ceremony in Houston, Texas, April 8. Photo by Gary Barchfeld.

Bottjer Earns Top Paleontology Award

April 15, 2014

Recognized for his outstanding contributions to the fields of paleobiology and paleoecology, USC Dornsife’s David Bottjer has earned a prestigious award from the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), an international,…

USC Dornsife's Susan Forsburg, who conducts cancer research using fission yeast cells, earns a fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). Photo by Eric O’Connell.

Forsburg Earns New Fellowship

April 15, 2014

Susan Forsburg, professor of biological sciences at USC Dornsife, has been elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) for her scientific achievement and outstanding and original contributions to the…

As many as 150,000 guests attended the 19th annual <em>Los Angeles Times</em> Festival of Books held at USC April 11 and 12. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Music, Spirit and Truth

April 14, 2014

It’s that same pang of longing you feel after reading the last word in a great novel. You don’t want to close the book. The two-day Los Angeles Times Festival of Books celebrated creativity and the written word on…

Arieh Warshel poster contest winners from left: 1st place, 11th grader Raqibul Mollah, 17; 2nd place, 9th grader Jin Yi Wu, 14 and 3rd place, 9th grader Alexandra Canjura, 14. They display their winning posters at Bravo Magnet High School on March 25, 2014. Photo by Gus Ruelas.

Warshel Inspires Students

April 11, 2014

Since receiving the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Arieh Warshel of USC Dornsife is making an impact on neighborhood students. This year, Warshel’s transformative research in…

A man praying in Los Angeles, home to one of the world's most religiously diverse populations. The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, housed in USC Dornsife, received three grants that will enable the center to expand its work in the city and internationally. Photo by Jerry Berndt.

Three Times a Winner

April 10, 2014

Housed in USC Dornsife, the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) has received three major grants totaling more than $5 million — a testament to its sustained success. CRCC Executive Director Donald Miller,…

Brian Bernards, assistant professor of East Asian languages and cultures at USC Dornsife, was invited to speak to DreamWorks Animation staff about Chinese cinema and culture. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Cultural Translator

April 10, 2014

In fourth-century China, the clever daughter of a literati family disguises herself as a boy so she can attend school and study the Confucian classics. There she falls in love with a young man. Trying to convince him she has…

Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith '11

Most Valuable Trait

April 9, 2014

Tenacious. Physical. Nasty. That’s how Malcolm Smith ’11 describes playing defense. “It’s not something everybody can do,” he said. “There’s definitely a darker spot inside of you…

At the "Plankton Races" science station, students from Foshay Learning Center use pipe cleaners, cork, paper clips and other items to create plankton-like structures to study buoyancy, density and surface area. Their goal is to construct a form that will hover in a small tank of water without sinking or floating to the top to study how phytoplankton and zooplankton function in seawater. Photo by D.J. Kast.

H20 Robo Kids

April 8, 2014

At his playground, fourth grader Leonel Aquino ditched the jungle gym to construct from polyvinyl chloride pipe an underwater remotely operated vehicle — or ROV. “This is like making Legos but bigger,” said…

USC Dornsife’s Sonya Lee, an expert on ancient cave temples and researcher in the emerging field of eco-art history, has been awarded a three-year Mellon New Directions Fellowship to pursue specialized heritage conservation training.

Finding Light in a Cave

April 8, 2014

Sonya Lee became interested in cave temples in China when she was a teenager and has studied them extensively. Lee analyzes the architecture and artifacts found at these sites, many of which are more than a thousand years…

Students who participated in the Science of Sustainable Food Spring Break Program learned how to make compost out of food waste. In six to eight weeks the melon rinds, egg shells and paper napkins they combined will create a nutrient-rich soil for growing vegetables. Photo by Michelle Boston.

Food Revolution

April 7, 2014

As the sun shone against a clear blue sky on Catalina Island, 17  students gathered around a long, rectangular pit filled with dirt, garden clippings and bits of food — banana peels, lettuce leaves, waffles. Eleven…

Humanities professors Joseph Boone, Macarena Gómez-Barris, María-Elena Martínez and James McHugh were awarded fellowships for work in the areas of Melville's literature, enlightenment thoughts on race and sex, the effects of eco-tourism in Ecuador and the history of alcohol in India. Illustration by Letty Avila.

From Melville to Medieval India

April 3, 2014

Four USC Dornsife professors have been selected for yearlong research or writing fellowships that will take them as far as India and Italy. Their research topics won over hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of applications…

Douglas Greenberg delivers a lecture, "Memories of the Forgotten Holocaust," at the USC Ronald Tudor Campus Center on March 24. Photo by Erica Christianson.

The Forgotten Holocaust

April 3, 2014

During a recent lecture, Douglas Greenberg showed a slide of Anne Frank writing at her desk. Another slide showed the entrance to Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. A third showed the Warsaw ghetto. “This is…

James Brecher, associate teaching professor at USC Dornsife’s Writing Program (middle), is flanked by his students Taylor Fisher (left) and Natalie Tecimer, who are taking his advanced legal writing seminar. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Supreme Opportunities

April 3, 2014

As the USC Dornsife students filed into the California Supreme Court in San Francisco, they eyed the long line of attorneys in front of the building. Due to the importance and popularity of the cases, many waiting were turned…

USC Dornsife Ph.D. candidate James Askew in the field. He uses wireless microphone networks and drones to record male orangutan calls and listens to them while crouching under trees. Photo courtesy of James Askew.

Welcome to the Jungle

April 1, 2014

A USC Dornsife graduate student today embarks on an 18-month expedition to study orangutans in Southeast Asia, inviting colleagues and classmates to follow along via his blog on the Scientific American website. James Askew,…

Mark Thompson, professor of chemistry at USC Dornsife, and a pioneer in researching organic LEDs and organic solar cells, has received the Richard C. Tolman Medal for his outstanding contributions to chemistry. Photo by Max Gerber.

Color Him Smart

April 1, 2014

Chemist Mark Thompson’s innovative research into color technology has resulted in the development of energy efficient displays for smartphones. Thompson’s work in organic LEDs and organic solar cells has earned…

Key members of the new Chickpea Innovation Lab: USC Dornsife's Sergey Nuzhdin (center), professor of biological sciences Doug Cook (left), professor of plant pathology at UC Davis and director of the USAID research project, and Eric von Wettberg, assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at Florida International University. Photo by Susan Bell.

The Small But Mighty Chickpea

March 28, 2014

Bumping along the dirt roads of rural southeastern Turkey in a battered Jeep, Sergey Nuzhdin and his team of collaborators got an occasional glimpse of the plumes of smoke rising across the border in war-torn Syria. Their…

Alumnus Matthew Boone and his daughter, Emily, share the experience of participating in JEP while at USC. Photo courtesy of Matthew Boone.

JEP’s Circle of Life

March 27, 2014

When Matthew Boone showed his daughter Emily a photo of himself receiving one of USC’s first community service awards in the late 1970s, her reaction was direct. “You had a perm in those days?” Without that…

Meghan Miller’s research looked at the ancient geologic record of Eastern Australia, but it is applicable to the Pacific Northwest in the United States, the Mediterranean and southeast Asia. Photo by John Livzey.

Solving a Geologic Riddle

March 26, 2014

USC Dornsife scientist Meghan Miller is among an international team of researchers who used computer modeling to reveal, for the first time, how giant swirls form during the collision of tectonic plates, with subduction zones…

Researcher Josh West treks through a valley in Peru in search of evidence of chemical weathering of rocks as they erode. Photo by Mark Torres.

The Biggest Natural Recycler

March 21, 2014

Researchers from USC and Nanjing University in China have documented evidence suggesting that part of the reason that the Earth has become neither sweltering like Venus nor frigid like Mars lies with a built-in atmospheric…

“Wild or Farmed? How to Sustain the Options for Your Dinner Table” was the title of a March 10 discussion in Newport Beach, Calif., highlighting the ways USC Wrigley Institute researchers are investigating the opportunities and challenges of aquaculture.

Wild or Farmed?

March 19, 2014

Since the 1980s, the Earth’s population has ballooned to 7 billion — a nearly 2 billion increase over three decades. Meanwhile, seafood consumption has remained constant with demand outpacing the amount of wild…

USC Dornsife’s Pavitra Krishnamani is an embodiment of the USC experience, having taken leadership roles in many different groups, university-wide and in the community. Photo by Erica Christianson.

One Busy Student

March 18, 2014

Pavitra Krishnamani was 16 when she entered USC through the Resident Honors Program, but the teenager was wise enough to quickly get involved. “I think, in a way, I’ve helped build a curriculum for myself at USC,…

USC’s position as a global university with strong connections to many Pacific Rim countries such as China and Korea enhanced the attraction for a partnership between the New-York-based Institute of New Economic Thinking and USC Dornsife.

New Economic Thinking

March 17, 2014

Based in the Department of Economics, USC Dornsife will launch the USC Dornsife Institute for New Economic Thinking (USC Dornsife INET), which will bolster research in globalization, regulation of financial institutions and…

The gift from Shinnyo-en will enhance the center’s mission to promote the study of Japanese religions and culture at USC, and in the broader intellectual community of Japanese studies. It represents one of the largest gifts ever given to a center dedicated to the study of Japan in North America. Photo courtesy of Shinnyo-en.

A Deeper Connection

March 14, 2014

The Shinnyo-en Buddhist order has made a historic $6.6 million gift for the study of Japan to the University of Southern California. The newly named USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture was established in…

Douglas Keeney (economics, '73; MBA '76) has authored or coauthored more than a dozen historical books, which examine events such as D-Day and the Cold War. His forthcoming book is <em>Lost in the Pacific: Epic Firsthand Accounts of WWII Survival Against Impossible Odds</em>. Photo courtesy of Douglas Keeney.

True Tales of Survival

March 14, 2014

Buoyed by only a life vest, the young American pilot bounced and bobbed in the cold, dark waters of the Pacific Ocean. Forced to abandon his aircraft earlier that afternoon after it was shot down by Japanese destroyers, it was…

Zooarchaeologist Sarah Newman carefully sweeps the area surrounding the remains of prizewinning racehorse Native Diver. USC alumnus Richard Shapiro connected with USC Dornsife archaeologists to help recover Native Diver before a complex is built on the land where the horse was buried. Photo by Lynn Swartz Dodd.

A Racing Legend Revisited

March 12, 2014

This past weekend a team of USC Dornsife archaeologists and students recovered the remains of legendary race horse Native Diver, helping to preserve a part of Los Angeles history. Black gelding Native Diver, a member of…

Like many residents of Molochio, a small Italian town which has one of the highest prevalences of centenarians in the world, Salvatore Caruso, 108, maintained a low-protein plant-based diet for the majority of his life.

Hamburger Blues

March 11, 2014

That chicken wing you’re eating could be as deadly as a cigarette. In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during…

USC Dornsife undergraduate Thomas Honeyman (left) and Vincent Fong of the USC Marshall School of Business, co-founded FindMySong.com. Honeyman was a popular music student at the USC Thornton School of Music before switching to cognitive science. Photo courtesy of Vincent Fong.

Find Your Song — And Voice

March 11, 2014

For most college students, March Madness means basketball. For USC students Vincent Fong and Thomas Honeyman, it means business. USC Dornsife undergraduate Honeyman and Fong, an undergraduate at the USC Marshall School of…

USC Dornsife's David Ulin of the Master of Professional Writing program (far right) moderates a discussion about how the literary perception of Los Angeles architecture helped shape the city's identity. Ulin is book editor of the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>. From left: Jon Christensen, Alice Kimm and Christopher Hawthorne. Photo by  Gary Leonard.

Tales from Two Cities

March 6, 2014

For nearly 90 years, Los Angeles’ architecture has been seized upon by the city’s critics as an easy target, a way to reinforce its reputation as a shallow place without roots. Unjustly so, argued USC…

Arthur Stone, visiting professor of psychology, joins USC Dornsife as director of the new Center for Self-Report Science. In his role, Stone looks forward to collaborating with partners from across USC Dornsife and the university. Photo courtesy of Arthur Stone.

The Science of Self-Reporting

March 6, 2014

When you visit your doctor you typically fill out a medical questionnaire, or “self-report”: Are you allergic to any medications? Are you experiencing any pain? How would you describe your pain? While some of the…

Surveying the mountains of garbage surrounding her, alumna Julia McGinnis said, “I see energy. I see money.” Photos by John Livzey.

Trash Can

March 5, 2014

Smartly dressed in a sleeveless harlequin green fitted dress accented by jade-stoned, gold jewelry and patent leather high heels, Julia McGinnis gazed at a mound of waste 200-feet wide being smashed down by giant roaming…

After studying Renaissance literature, Elizabeth Cantwell who is earning her Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature at USC Dornsife, became a Renaissance student herself by combining science with poetry in her dissertation. Photo by Matt Wyatt.

Physics + Literature = Poetry

March 4, 2014

Many Ph.D. students find the dissertation writing process taxing enough to inspire a break after graduation, but Elizabeth Cantwell hasn’t broken her stride. She’s already on her way to turning hers into a book. A…

Senior Lucy Tew, holding her American Girl doll Kirsten, took the initiative and landed an internship with the international American Girl doll company, which informed her senior capstone project. Photo by Erica Christianson.

She’s an American Girl

March 3, 2014

On Christmas Day, 6-year-old Lucy Tew opened a gift from her grandfather and discovered a doll — a young pioneer girl from the mid-1800s named Kirsten. This wasn’t just any doll, but an American Girl. Instantly…

A recent paper in the journal <em>Brain Pathology</em> led by USC Dornsife psychologist Margaret Gatz provides more evidence that there may not be a single smoking-gun cause of Alzheimer’s, but rather a range of potential causes to which we may be susceptible largely depending on our genetics.

Twin Pathologies

February 26, 2014

Despite widespread use of a single term, Alzheimer’s disease is actually a diverse collection of diseases, symptoms and pathological changes. What’s happening in the brain often varies widely from patient to…

USC Dornsife alumna Alexis Jones is the cofounder of the nonprofit I AM THAT GIRL, which aims to inspire girls to overcome their insecurities and love themselves unconditionally. Photo by JerSean Golatt.

Girl Power

February 25, 2014

After a recent speaking engagement at a Texas high school, USC Dornsife alumna Alexis Jones was approached by a young girl in tears. An aspiring ballerina, the girl told Jones she felt so pressured she had been starving…

Marc Green, research lab technician at the USC Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMMA), offers training sessions for new users of the GE DeltaVision OMX Blaze. Photo by Robert Perkins.

Mind-Bending Microscope

February 21, 2014

Thanks to an interdisciplinary, cross-campus effort, USC Dornsife is now home to one of the most advanced microscopes in the world — a device that pushes beyond what was once believed to be the boundary of visible light…

Bita Shahian credits her liberal arts education at USC Dornsife for helping her to cultivate her diverse interests in technology, design and psychology. She aims to foster opportunities for minorities and women in the technology industry. Photo courtesy Bita Shahian.

Tech Talk

February 25, 2014

Bita Shahian believes the future lies in technology. Since she also believes in the future of college students, she wants to help them jump into the tech world. “Technology is transforming a lot of industries and making…

Professor of International Relations at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Iran, USC Dornsife alumnus Mahmood Sariolghalam is a specialist in Middle East politics, and Iranian foreign policy and political culture. Photo courtesy of Mahmood Sariolghalam.

Shaping Foreign Policy

February 21, 2014

A quick lesson in Farsi: Sariolghalam, literally, means “quick pen.” Apt nomenclature for a devoted academic who has written more than 68 articles and 11 books in English, Farsi and Arabic. Mahmood Sariolghalam,…

Selected as research fellows for 2014 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, USC Dornsife faculty members Christoph Haselwandter (left) and Dion Dickman are tapped to become leaders in the scientific community. Haselwandter photo courtesy of Haselwandter. Dickman photo by Erica Christianson.

Haselwandter, Dickman Earn Sloan Fellowships

February 20, 2014

USC Dornsife faculty members Christoph Haselwandter and Dion Dickman have been selected as research fellows for 2014 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Haselwandter and Dickman are among 126 researchers from the United States…

USC Dornsife’s George Sanchez,  professor of American studies and ethnicity, and history, and vice dean for diversity and strategic initiatives, speaks at the reception to announce the SACNAS 2014 National Conference, co-organized by USC Dornsife. Photos by Erica Christianson.

Commitment to Diversity

February 19, 2014

The excitement and sense of anticipation were palpable as guests mingled at a recent reception held at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to announce the largest gathering of underrepresented minority…

Senior Reid Lidow wins a Gates Cambridge Scholarship given to United States-based students. He receives a full scholarship for graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, where he will continue his research on Burma’s political and economic future. Photo by Jake W. Roberts.

Lidow Awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarship

February 18, 2014

Senior Reid Lidow, an international relations and political science double major, has been awarded a highly competitive Gates Cambridge Scholarship. This award grants him a full scholarship for graduate studies at the…

Associate Professor of Psychology and Linguistics Jason Zevin studies how people learn to read and speak, specifically how the brain’s architecture responds to what language is being learned. His recent research focuses on the similarities and differences between English and Chinese speakers. Photo by Michelle Boston.

Mind Your Language

February 18, 2014

Most teachers and parents will tell you that certain words prove more challenging to pronounce for a child learning to read. Jason Zevin explains why. Take the word pint. If young Scarlet is familiar with the words…

USC Dornsife Fulbright scholar Jasneet Aulakh is in India studying the effects of India’s 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1993, which mandates that village governments reserve one-third of seats for women. Photo by Laura Paisley.

Feminism: A Family Affair

February 13, 2014

When American feminist and activist Gloria Steinem took the stage at a literary festival in Jaipur, India, in January, USC Dornsife senior Jasneet Aulakh was there. Traveling through India for nine months on a Fulbright…

USC Dornsife senior Anneleise Azúa and her mentor George Sanchez, professor of American studies and ethnicity, and history, and vice dean of diversity, at the Rhodes Memorial on Devil's Peak near the University of Cape Town. Photos courtesy of Anneleise Azúa.

Mellon Mays in Cape Town

February 12, 2014

As a USC Mellon Mays fellow, I rang in the New Year by boarding a plane with fellows Rachel Jones and Adeel Mohammadi, and our mentor George Sanchez of USC Dornsife. We flew across the Atlantic Ocean and Africa and made our…

USC Dornsife's Madison Swayne (left) guides hikers from SC Outfitters near the Hollywood Sign in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains. Also a guide during the recent hike was Noa Ervin (right), a philosophy major at USC Dornsife. Photo courtesy of Madison Swayne.

Embracing the Detours

February 12, 2014

A competitive surfer and avid hiker, Madison Swayne arrived at USC looking to join a community of students who enjoy the outdoors. The San Clemente, Calif., native found what she was looking for in SC Outfitters, USC’s…

Students at USC Dornsife integrate computer technology into the activities of their scholarship. Photo by John Livzey.

$1.9 Million for Digital Humanities

February 4, 2014

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded USC a $1.9 million grant to support a program of graduate and postdoctoral training in the digital humanities. The foundation makes grants on a selective basis in the areas of…

USC Dornsife welcomes Naomi Levine (left), Gabilan Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Earth Sciences, and Smaranda Marinescu, Gabilan Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Levine's research explores climate change effects while Marinescu focuses on sources for clean, renewable energy. Photos by Erica Christianson.

Superlative Scientists

February 6, 2014

Although Naomi Levine has taken 20 cruises off Bermuda, she spent no time lounging by the pool. These were research trips she took as a doctoral student to collect microscopic organisms such as photoplankton and bacteria. Her…

USC Dornsife’s School of Philosophy has made two prestigious faculty hires this year with Professor John Hawthorne and Associate Professor Jonathan Quong. Photos courtesy of John Hawthorne and Jonathan Quong.

Developing a New Philosophy

February 4, 2014

People take notice when in the space of a few years, you surge to No. 11 from 46 in the national Philosophical Gourmet Report rankings, as USC Dornsife’s School of Philosophy has done. The school’s impressive…

In a recent Barbra Streisand Lecture, sociologist Eva Illouz said the interactive format E L James used to write <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em> allowed her to incorporate readers’ feedback, including their own fantasies and desired plot twists. Photos by Erica Christianson.

Hard Core Self-Help

February 6, 2014

Anyone who claims not to have at least heard of E L James’ erotic trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey is either fibbing or has been living on a remote desert island with no Internet access for the past three years. The…

Luis Chiappe is lead investigator of the research team on the ancient bird study; curator and director of the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum; and adjunct professor at USC Dornsife. Photo courtesy of the Natural History Museum.

When Dinosaurs Flew

February 4, 2014

A team of paleontologists affiliated with USC Dornsife and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has determined that birds were capable of modern flight patterns much earlier than previously suspected — at…

Boys sleep on the floor of a Edhi Foundation home in Karachi, Pakistan, praying and talking about how much they miss their families. This is a scene in <em>These Birds Walk</em>. Still courtesy of Valentina Canavesio.

These Birds Walk

January 30, 2014

Bathed in the golden hue of a few flickering candles, the boys lay barefooted on the cold stone -speckled floor. Huddled together, one asked, “Do you believe in God?” before they all whispered a prayer. “I…

The 190,000-square-foot USC Michelson Center will stand in the southwest quadrant of the University Park campus, home to most of the science and engineering buildings.

$50 Million Gift Funds Convergent Bioscience

January 13, 2014

Gary K. Michelson, retired orthopaedic spinal surgeon whose groundbreaking work generated more than 955 issued or pending patents worldwide, has donated $50 million to USC to fund the USC Michelson Center for Convergent…

USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay (center) with University of Bristol's Alistair Hetherington, Melville Wills Chair in Botany, and the university's chancellor The Right Honourable the Baroness Hale of Richmond. Photo by Ede and Ravenscroft Photography Ltd.

USC Dornsife Dean Receives Honorary Degree

January 30, 2014

A native of the British island of Jersey located off the coast of France, USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay remembers arriving at the University of Bristol on the United Kingdom’s mainland as a wide-eyed 17-year-old. Devoting…

USC Dornsife's Daphna Oyserman, Dean's Professor of Psychology, shares her research during a Jan. 22 Dean's Special Lecture, explaining why we often achieve less than we aspire to and offering solutions to help attain our goals. Photos by Matt Meindl.

Meet Your Future Self

January 30, 2014

“If it’s not cool for a teenage boy in inner-city L.A. to do his science homework, then how will he ever become a brain surgeon?” This thorny question was asked by USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay as he…

Arriving from the University of Oxford, philosopher Ralph Wedgwood is drawn to the abstract. His desire to ask the big questions and challenge the norm goes way back. Photo by Roger Snider.

On the Origin of Ralph

January 28, 2014

First you should know that Ralph Wedgwood’s first name is pronounced the old-fashioned English way so that it rhymes with waif. He explained the history of this pronunciation on his USC Dornsife School of Philosophy…

Hailing from China, history major Songyu Zhu is an aspiring writer and teacher who mentors elementary school students through USC Dornsife’s Joint Educational Project and preschoolers through USC's Jumpstart program. Photo by Michelle Boston.

From China to L.A.

January 28, 2014

The first time USC Dornsife senior Songyu Zhu visited her history student adviser Joseph Styles during her freshman year, she knew she was following the right path. “I still remember the red bricks of the Social…

The breakthrough research of USC Dornsife’s Moh El-Naggar has earned him the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stage of their careers. Photo by Matt Meindl.

A Presidential Honoree

January 28, 2014

USC Dornsife’s Moh El-Naggar first got an inkling he was being considered for a presidential award several months ago when he received an email requesting his permission to authorize an FBI background check. But it…

Joseph Hawkins is a professor of anthropology at USC Dornsife and director of ONE Archives at USC Libraries. But in a former life, he was at the epicenter of fine dining in Los Angeles. Photo by Dietmar Quistorf.

The Corner Booth

January 24, 2014

For students of USC Dornsife anthropologist Joseph Hawkins, fieldwork could require a reservation at Spago. Fortunately, Hawkins has the connections to make those kinds of arrangements. Wolfgang Puck’s legendary…

Volunteers might become more effective by spending the same amount of time as activists pressuring politicians to change policies, says Professor of Sociology Nina Eliasoph in her new book, <em>The Politics of Volunteering</em>. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Volunteering Vs. Activism

January 24, 2014

Volunteering is considered almost sacred in modern society. But in her book The Politics of Volunteering (Polity Press, 2013) Nina Eliasoph, professor of sociology at USC Dornsife, says that along with the good, volunteers and…

Nestled at the foot of Gemu Mountain on China’s Tibetan Plateau is Lugu Lake, the site of several villages where executive producer Ankur Poseria ’09 and a film crew lived with members of the Moso ethnic group for an upcoming National Geographic documentary. Photo by Ricky Qi.

On Lugu Lake

January 23, 2014

During an extended stay with the Moso people, a small ethnic group living in China’s Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces, Joseph Rock carefully detailed his observations for an early issue of National Geographic magazine. The…