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Undergraduate Research News

Image of the Maya sun god as shark man, one of his several guises found on the frieze of the Temple of the Night Sun at El Zotz, Guatemala. Photo by Edwin Román, reproduced courtesy of Proyecto Arqueologico El Zotz.

Digging for Knowledge

January 30, 2013

Evening is falling on the ancient Maya kingdom of El Zotz deep in the dense undergrowth of the Guatemalan jungle. A dark tide of bats flows out of a large cave in the nearby mountainside as the last rays of the setting sun…

The Arch of Sorrow marking the entrance to the museum built on the site of The Akmolinsk Camp for the Wives of the Traitors of the Fatherland (ALZHIR). Photo by Azade-Ayse Rorlich.

Steppes Ahead

October 1, 2012

Descending from the upholstered comfort of their van into the vast, windswept steppe of Northern Kazakhstan, six USC Dornsife students gazed about them at an abandoned guard tower and the futuristic-looking Arch of Sorrow…

Last year, eight short films were entered in USC's first science-themed movie competition, organized by Clifford Johnson, professor of physics and astronomy in USC Dornsife. Shown here are stills from the films. Courtesy of Clifford Johnson.

Cinematic Science

September 25, 2012

Looking for an innovative, interdisciplinary classroom project? Now is the time for professors in all USC schools to motivate their students to enter the 2012 Science Film Competition. The deadline for competition…

During his research trip, USC Dornsife undergraduate Reid Lidow enjoys a weekend excursion to Bagan in Upper Burma. The city's prosperous economy built over 10,000 temples between the 11th and 13th centuries. Photo courtesy of Reid Lidow.

Exceeding Expectations

September 4, 2012

Reid Lidow, a junior political science and international relations major in USC Dornsife, had just arrived in Burma. Raindrops were creating quite a cacophony as they pelted the tin rooftop overhead. He was starting to get…

Caitlin Smith, a psychology doctoral student in USC Dornsife, leads sixth grade students in their final workshop in the Going for the Goal program. With guidance from USC Dornsife students, the program teaches middle schoolers how to set themselves up to achieve their goals. Photo by Michelle Salzman.

Going for the Goal

August 24, 2012

Soft-spoken and shy, sixth-graders Emily Cervantes and Nayely Gonzalez are best friends with a vision for their futures. Emily plans to be a fashion designer, Nayely an author. “I’ve actually had this goal for a…

Saving an Endangered Language

Saving an Endangered Language

August 14, 2012

As the old school bus wound its way through the steep mountain passes, the students gazed out the windows at the lush, tropical topography unfolding before them. At the outskirts of the village, the bus shuddered to a halt at…

"We want undergraduates, graduates and colleagues not to take their visual surroundings for granted. And to think intelligently and questioningly about what use we make of images. And, in a sense, the use that images make of us." - Kate Flint, Provost Professor of English and Art History, leader of the USC Dornsife 2020 research cluster “Seeing 20/20: The USC Visual Studies Research Institute."

The Future...Not What It Used to Be

August 2, 2012

USC Dornsife 2020 calls for professors to identify a theme of great societal importance for years to come and form research groups to investigate solutions. Each cluster includes faculty, undergraduate and graduate students,…

Studying in Jordan: Anna Miner

Seeking Peace in the Middle East

July 26, 2012

During her sophomore year in high school, Anna Miner read Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi’s autobiography and became fascinated with the complexities of Middle Eastern and South Asian states. “Before…

USC Dornsife junior and senior geology majors in Malaga, Spain. Photo courtesy of John Platt.

Spain Rocks

July 13, 2012

For some people, rocks are those pesky objects that sometimes find their way into your shoes. But for aspiring geologists, who study how rocks came to be, the aggregate of minerals provide a looking glass into the past. Was…

USC Dornsife senior Amy Rogers (right) and classmate Olivia White sampled a few ice cream flavors at Mateo’s Ice Cream in Los Angeles. The trip was one of several that Rogers made to restaurants, mercados and street vendors in neighboring cities throughout L.A. as part of lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese in USC Dornsife Sarah Portnoy’s course, “The Culture of Food in Hispanic Los Angeles.” Photo courtesy of Amy Rogers.

A Forkful of Culture

June 5, 2012

When the plate was set before her, USC Dornsife senior Amy Rogers timidly forked a piece of meat into her mouth and awaited her tastebuds reaction. The verdict: barbequed goat Oaxacan style was muy delicioso. “The meat…