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Kyle cubeformeintro

In most schemas of entrepreneurship, the prototypical representation of a college entrepreneur commonly entails an individual that has a business degree or an engineering degree. Of course, one must consider that prototypes, average representations of the “typical”, do not account for all cases. In mind and literal self, I am undoubtedly a Dornsife student, without formal academic involvement in the disciplines of business or engineering. Nonetheless, I am an entrepreneur (or at least an entrepreneur in the making). I write today to inform all who come across this blog post that you do not have to be a Marshall or Viterbi student in order to be involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Although it certainly helps to have a financial or technical skillset, there is much more to a start-up. In my own 3D printing start-up, CubeForme (check it out at, I have been responsible for the development of the business model and idea, forming and consolidating connections, handling all of the writing that goes into the website blogs and pitch competitions, among other things. I take a firsthand role in planning the timeline and framework of the business and facilitate communication internally with the team and externally with resources and consultants. Many of the numerous tasks in the forming of a start-up are distinct and broad enough to not require a specific academic path, such that a business student, engineering student and social science student are all on the same level. Naturally, more tech-based start-ups will require and thus place more importance on people in engineering and computer science, but one should keep in mind that there are other roles to fill and not all start-ups are tech-based. Above all, entrepreneurship requires people that get things done. And anyone, no matter what major they are, has the capacity to get things done.

With all of that being said, I encourage any and all with some potential interest in entrepreneurship to check out some of the many entrepreneurial programs or events at USC. I can tell you for a fact that these programs and events are very welcoming toward students of all majors. Before this semester, I felt disadvantaged and disinclined to get involved in entrepreneurship. Now, I cannot emphasize enough how wrong I was. Allow me to reiterate that being a Dornsife student and being an entrepreneur are NOT mutually exclusive. Becoming involved in the start-up culture at USC has been one of my best decisions thus far. So to all you Dornsife students interested in the intricacy and depth of conceptualization and creation (a.k.a. start-ups), go forth!

Then and Now

Kyle explore usc 2015Today, I am a proud Trojan. A year ago, however, I was a prospective student, checking out USC through its Explore USC program. I still remember those two days quite well. Loving the campus, having every possible question answered, meeting awesome people — the school spirit and extensive sense of involvement of USC were crystal clear to me. The USC students and faculty members running the Explore USC events gave me such a warm welcome. I could easily see how much time and effort went into Explore USC. And it was time and effort well spent. Put lightly, I really wanted to go to USC after those two days.

As an actual USC student now, I have been on the other end of the Explore USC program. Instead of experiencing it as a prospective student, I was now helping run the show. As a Dornsife Ambassador, I helped out at many of the program’s events. I answered pre-law questions at the mini Dornsife involvement fair, escorted students and parents from place to place, and helped out with interviews. As a freshman representative of the Trojan Scholars Society, I also led an ice cream cookie sandwich social. (Believe me, carrying several gallons of ice cream across campus is not as fun as it sounds.) Meeting and conversing with many of the prospective students, I could really relate to their excitement. It was weird, realizing how I was in their same position just a year ago. I wanted to make their experience as great as mine.

Even though it was a lot of work, I was happy to help out as much as possible. I felt an obligation to help. These prospective students represent the future of USC, a future which I want to be as bright and prosperous as possible. Like I said, I am a proud Trojan. And soon enough, many of those prospective students will be proud Trojans too. Fight on!

It’s midterm season here on campus, but —PLOT TWIST — I’m not dying. Here’s how to survive:Pooja Beach Sunset

1. I like me a good morning *jog*. I’m no runner (5k = death of me), but I like oxygen and so does my immune system.

2. Yoga. The best part is that it’s a 1-unit class I’m taking on campus so I can’t NOT do it, and also it will slightly bump up my GPA.

3. Vitamin C is the only mineral for me!! I take my daily tablet to fight off evil viruses and consume approximately 3 oranges a day.

4. I go hard (with my studying/homework) on the weekend. That saves me from sooooo much anxiety that I would experience during the week as my midterms are happening. I’ve never felt so good about 3.5 tests in one week :)4. Tea(s). I have quite the variety, which I am fairly proud of. It’s such an easy way to curb late night appetite, boost my immune system, and feel groovy.

5. Sleeping A LOT. Dreaming is fun, cuddling my USC teddy bear is fun, resting is fun. It’s a win-win-win situation. Also, it gets me pumped on the next day when I wake up on time to make crazy good oatmeal

There. Now you know how to not die. You’re welcome!


Jennifer F GiffordsI’m one of those people whose e-mail inboxes fill up ridiculously quickly. No, I’m not extremely popular; I just happen to wind up on every newsletter mailing list ever. And I must admit, I tend to regard most school-related newsletters, including the USC Hillel “News for Jews,” as one more unread message to skim as I scroll down this list.

Given my skimming habit, it’s probably a good thing that the event I attended this evening had a very straightforward subject line: “Gabrielle Giffords Coming to USC – Free Event!” I immediately opened the e-mail and learned that Representative Giffords and her husband, retired U.S. Navy captain and astronaut Mark Kelly, would be speaking about the role of Judaism in their lives at Town & Gown on March 8th. Upon asking my dad and sister if they were interested in attending (my dad is a huge space geek), I immediately RSVP’d, completely unaware of how inspiring this event would be.

Captain Kelly and Representative Gifford’s lecture marked the fourteenth annual Carmen and Louis Warschaw Distinguished Lecture, hosted by the USC Dornsife Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. A little over two hours after the event’s conclusion, I’m still positively in awe of these two incredible people. I thought the food at the reception was nice enough (Have you ever seen purple cheese? I know I hadn’t.), and it’s always a treat to sit inside the gorgeous Town & Gown building. Yet, the content of the lecture was so indescribably moving that I’d have sat in the middle of campus with the blazing LA sun on my back just to listen.Jennifer F Giffords Program

As if seeing these two role models wasn’t wonderful enough, Captain Kelly stayed for a few minutes afterward to answer questions. My sister and I kept prompting my dad to ask something, since he’s a huge fan, but, somehow, he managed to turn the tables on me. Before I knew it, Captain Kelly called out, “One more question!” My hand shot up and, for whatever reason, he gestured to me. Knees shaking, I asked Captain Kelly how university students such as I could use USC’s national influence to help advocate for safer gun control policy, a cause with which he and Representative Giffords work very closely. Everyone around me broke into applause, and I sat down, stunned. Pleased with my question, Captain Kelly informed me of his website and encouraged us all to reach out as individuals to our Congress representatives for any issue we feel passionate about.

I left that building brimming with inspiration, proud to align myself with the same religious identity as Representative Giffords and also incredibly proud to be a student of USC Dornsife. If you had told me two years ago that I’d find myself in a posh building of a top-tier university, speaking directly to such a venerated American hero, I’m sure I would’ve rolled my eyes and laughed. So to all you prospectives out there — believe it. USC is an incredible place (especially as a Dornsife major!), and my time here has been a dream come true.

Discover USC

Right before Thanksgiving break, I had the opportunity to participate in Discover USC with my fellow USC Dornsife Ambassador family! It was one experience that I will never forget! After weeks of preparation, learning from veteran ambassadors,Olivia Discover and completing Ambassador Training, I was ready for my first official USC event as a Dornsife Ambassador.

While walking on campus and seeing prospective students and their families, I reminisced about my own Discover USC experience. Two years ago, I was just like these students. I was excited, nervous, anxious, filled with questions, and a high school student hoping to attend my dream school. Specifically, I remember standing on the VKC steps and looking out onto the USC campus. As I stood there, my face was filled with light, because I knew that one day my time would come to attend USC.

As I talked to numerous students about Dornsife, being a Human Biology major, and my time at USC so far; I was filled with happiness. Many students and families asked me “Why did you transfer?,” How have you adjusted?, or “Do you think I have a chance to attend USC?” Out of all the above questions, the one that hit home particularly was “Do you think I have a chance to attend USC?” This was one particular question that I was always afraid to ask when applying to college, because I feared the answer. I felt that asking that question would deter me from applying to certain colleges and universities. However, it was encouragement. Just because schools have high stats regarding their averages for SAT scores, GPA, and AP scores; these numbers alone do not determine a student’s chance of being admitted to a prestigious university like USC. Therefore, when asked this question, I simply replied “Of course!”

To all my fellow and future Trojans, do not let questions similar to this one determine your future! Go for it! Life is too short not to explore, learn, and achieve greatness! FIGHT ON!

Open Doors

At the convocation at the beginning of the year, our USG class president gave us some excellent advice: “For all those living in dorms, keep your doors open.” This advice has proven to be so true. I live in New/North, which is a dorm located right nextto McCarthy Quad. With all the open doors, I have had the opportunity to meet so many different people who are involved in so many different things. Everyone is extremely open. Whether you need help in a class, someone to go out with, someone to run down to the cafeteria with, or just someone to watch a movie with, there is always someone to find in the dorms!

Maddie New North

Not only is it amazing to always feel welcomed into people’s rooms but also you can always find groups of people spending time in the lounges. I will admit that the communal bathrooms and twin beds are not ideal, but I have loved my dorm experience and am so thankful that living in the dorms has been such an open and inclusive experience. I echo our class president’s advice; take advantage of your time in the dorms, and always keep your doors open.

Cara RussiaSo, as of late, the main conversation on campus has been focused around Spring Break plans. While most students choose tropical locales or cabin weeks in Big Bear, I will be traveling to the ever welcoming and exotic….. Siberia. Yup, that barren land famous for Russian prison camps and nothingness is where I will be spending my Spring Break. “Why?” you ask, as you echo basically everybody else I have told about my upcoming adventure.

Well, through USC Dornsife, I am taking a 2-unit course: “The Trans-Siberian Experience” with Professor Akishina. We meet on a weekly basis leading up to spring break learning all about Russian culture, history, and a little bit of language before we head off for nine days. We fly into Moscow and stay for a night and then board the Trans-Siberian Railway for a three day ride into Siberia. We disembark in Irkutsk, dubbed the “Paris of Siberia” (ha!), and then spend the rest of the trip there, exploring Lake Baikal and Irkutsk through tours and research.

At the end of the class, I get to turn in a final research paper on a topic of my choice, and then I get course credit!! I am so excited for my adventure and the opportunity to learn and explore Russia first hand, while also getting hand-on research experience.

Stay tuned for if I survive; I’m sure my next blog will be VERY informative!!!

One Day in L.A.

Andrew Olvera StreetIt goes without saying that the city of Los Angeles is one of USC’s greatest assets. Few other universities provide students with such unique cultural, educational, and recreational opportunities only by virtue of its location. Throughout my freshman year, I began pursuing my ambitious, perhaps crazy goal to explore and know all of L.A.

While I’m still working on this goal every week, with the help of both public transit (it can be very accessible and convenient despite the delays) and friends’ cars, I now know enough to show people around this huge, exciting, and vibrant city of 3.9 million souls. In the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of showcasing L.A. to two of my closest friends from back home in San Diego – I had one day to share with each of them many of Los Angeles’ sights, sounds and tastes. It is no coincidence that these two days have been two of my most memorable at USC thus far.

Last fall, I met my friend Ryan as he arrived at Union Station. As we exited the station (which is really cool in itself!) we walked down Olvera Street, the oldest quarter of Los Angeles, home to some of L.A.’s best Mexican food and a variety of museums and murals. Purely by chance, we were there during a Ecuadorian cultural festival and got to experience their traditional food (which was amazing), music, and dance too! We proceeded to check out my other favorite spots in neighborhoods all over Los Angeles: from Amoeba Music in West Hollywood (imagine Costco dedicated to records) to Diakokuya in Little Tokyo, the Andrew Little Tokyoforemost Ramen and Rice Bowl restaurant on the West Coast.

This winter, my friend Brooke and I explored some other parts of L.A. But I’ll only share the most memorable spot we went to: Griffith Observatory. It requires a car to get there, but the trip is completely worth it. It’s nestled up in the Hollywood Hills and, despite the smog that sometimes swallows up Los Angeles, affords absolutely incredible views of the city, especially at sunset (see: classic Griffith Observatory photo).

At the end of each day I spend in Los Angeles, I’m exhausted, but always wish I had more time to see every nook and cranny I’m doomed to miss. Thankfully I’ve got another few years here, though, so I can’t say I have much to complain about.

Andrew Griffith Observatory

My family lives abroad in Beijing, China, so going home to see them for a five-day Thanksgiving break is a little difficult. I thought I would spend Thanksgiving dinner alone in my dorm room eating microwaved turkey and mashed potatoes. Instead,Pamela Thanksgiving I got an invitation from President C.L. Max Nikias to sit at his table at the annual Thanksgiving dinner he puts on for students on campus during the holidays.

The invitation asked for a short biography and a picture of myself for review, so I was a little intimidated. I wasn’t sure I had passed inspection when I arrived at the President’s beautiful residence in San Marino and walked up his beautifully landscaped driveway. I walked tentatively up to the “Reserved” tables in the front of the room where the President and his special guests usually sit. Surprisingly, I actually found my name on a place setting at the table with John and Julie Mork, the USC Chairman of the Board and his wife. I enjoyed a lovely home-cooked meal while talking to the Morks about their work in petroleum engineering and meeting other distinguished students sitting at our table. Both John and Julie seemed so interested in the aspirations and life stories of all the students whose education they helped provide. As soon as I came home from a lovely evening, I sent my parents the above picture and told them I was so thankful for them and that they let me come to USC, the only place where such a wonderful Thanksgiving away from home could have happened.

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