Alumni > Master of Liberal Studies > USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

MLS Alumni

MLS alumni are important mentors and advisors to current students.  All alumni are invited to be part of the Master of Liberal Studies Alumni Association. 

Illeana Brothers (MLS ’10)

Illeana Brothers was attracted to the Master of Liberal Studies Program because of its multidisciplinary nature:  “I believe the MLS Program is a metaphor for me. I am a melting pot. I’m the sampling of America.”

Because of Illeana’s multicultural heritage, she remains committed to expanding her knowledge on diversity issues and multidisciplinary studies.  As a staff member of USC’s Office of Equity and Diversity, Illeana feels that a masters degree in liberal studies has been advantageous for her profession.
Illeana communicates with faculty and students from all over the world who often express concerns that she will not understand their perspectives. She sees the MLS degree as an opportunity to broaden her globalization skills and help her connect more easily with the people she works with every day. 
For her summative project, Illeana explored the social phenomena in the African-American community called the “Brown Paper Bag Test” used to differentiate between lighter and darker-skinned African Americans.  She presented her research on this topic at the Third Annual Graduate Liberal Studies Symposium held at Stanford in June 2009.  lleana says, “I encourage all MLS students to have open minds to the diverse backgrounds of our classmates, as we have much to learn from one another.”

Daniel Hect (MLS ’10)

“I wanted to express my sincere appreciation for the Master of Liberal Studies Program.  The MLS degree has given me a broad educational platform that has allowed me to see the world differently and to be able to understand the many various challenges that face our world today.

“Immediately after graduation, I received two job offers.  Both offers are career enhancements that I would not have been considered for prior to completing my USC degree.  I truly believe the MLS program prepared me for these important career opportunities.

“Thank you, and fight on!”

Brett Thackston (MLS ’09)

From Army paratrooper to police SWAT leader to hockey player, Brett Thackston has had his share of experience in assessing rapidly changing environments, working closely with teammates with expertise different from his own, and acting with decisiveness.  When it came to his education, Brett followed his training.  After achieving a lifelong goal of becoming the first person in his family to obtain a college degree at Portland State University, he moved from Portland to Los Angeles expressly to obtain his Master of Liberal Studies degree.  

Brett shared, “After years of being a police officer, this program has reopened my mind and fulfilled a hunger inside of me for new knowledge.  My favorite nights of the week were class nights as I learned something new with each session.  Armed with this MLS degree, I see myself making a contribution again as I did with my military and police careers.  Teaching and consulting are among the many possibilities. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in such a great program.”

  • Master of Liberal Studies
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Mark Taper Hall, THH 355
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-0355