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Akash Intro PhotoI always get the best reaction when I tell people that I come from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. Kenya is the relatively small country in East Africa famous for wildlife and fast runners (no correlation; you should visit!). It is exactly like Los Angeles with its mild climate and in being an absolutely wonderful place to live in!

My name is Akash Shah. I am a freshman Physics major, and I spent my last summer home in the national parks casually admiring elephants and lions. Why Physics? I have been messing around with motors and circuits before I could eat solid foods, and I finally decided to get a more formal education in it. Additionally, I am an amateur astronomer and the sky is more than just a fascination with me, so physics is the obvious course for furthering my interests. You can imagine my constant excitement in living less than half a mile away from Space Shuttle Endeavor! Did I mention that Neil Armstrong completed his graduate studies at USC?

So far it has been less than two months since I moved in at USC and less than three that I have been in the United States, and yet the experiences I have had are comparable to the 18 years of the rest of my life. I have spoken with numerous faculty members, discussing the implications of the discovery of the Higgs boson; enjoyed fried oreos in typical American fashion at the Los Angeles County Fair; admired the 6-year old skateboarder absolutely killing it on the skate parks at Venice Beach… it is sufficient to say that I have had my mind blown on a daily basis and several times when there is a physics colloquium: a gathering of professors and students discussing their research.

There has been more than a few times when I have felt that the Earth’s rotation around the sun should perhaps slow down significantly to give us 42 hours a day. These extra hours would allow me to play golf, run a little, and of course, discuss ideas. In my free time I enjoy watching sports, playing League of Legends, discussing ideas, and reading (have you ever felt that every book is the best book?). I am also part of the Students Taking Action in the Name of Diversity (STAND) group at USC where I am in training for facilitating discussions based on diversity issues. There is always so much to do, but some personal reflection time is also necessary. As a new, extremely content student at USC, I strongly suggest you fight on!

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