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Arriving from a C.L.E. Moore instructorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a year at Berkeley Quantitative, Sami Assaf became Gabilan Assistant Professor of Mathematics in Fall 2012. She specializes in algebraic combinatorics and combinatorial representation theory. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Sami Assaf

May 7, 2013

Sami Assaf sometimes uses a Rubik’s cube to demonstrate symmetry, among the most crucial ideas in mathematics. Twist the face of a Rubik’s cube and the cube keeps its symmetry — all sides are the mirror…

Assistant Professor of Sociology Jennifer Hook arrived in Fall 2012. A Fulbright scholar, Hook coauthored Gendered Tradeoffs: Family, Social Policy and Economic Inequality in 21 Countries (Russell Sage, 2011). She focuses on how social contexts, particularly social policies and work opportunities, impact individuals and families. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Jennifer Hook

May 7, 2013

Jennifer Hook decided to compare fatherhood in various countries after reading a study that found fathers in Norway spend about the same amount of time with their children as do fathers in the United States. The study…

An assistant professor of linguistics since Fall 2011, Khalil Iskarous spent a decade as a research scientist at Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, Conn. A Fulbright scholar, Iskarous was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. While in middle school, he and his family moved to New York. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Khalil Iskarous

May 7, 2013

The strongest muscle in the human body, the tongue is our sole muscle connected only on one end. Like an octopus arm, the tongue contains no skeletal support and uses its many muscle groups to contract, lengthen, bend and…

Founder of the Biological Imaging Center at Caltech, Scott Fraser joined the faculty in Summer 2012. The USC Provost Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, and director of science initiatives has a joint appointment at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Scott Fraser

May 7, 2013

Tiny brown eggs dotted with what looks like speckles of liquid dark chocolate rest atop nests, while fuzzy, baby quails chirp and waddle inside the glass incubator. Hanging above a laser-scanning confocal microscope, a poster…

David Treuer, professor of English in the Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature program, joined the faculty in Fall 2011. A Pushcart Prize winner, he has written five books of fiction and nonfiction. He’s interested in Native American literature, the 20th-century novel, modernism and creative writing. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: David Treuer

May 7, 2013

Born to an Austrian Jewish father and American Indian mother, David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. His siblings range from a brother who has straight, jet black hair and dark…

Kate Flint is Provost Professor of English and Art History, and chair of art history. She arrived Fall 2011 from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and before that taught at Oxford and Bristol universities in England, from which she hails. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Kate Flint

May 7, 2013

You wake up in the morning, make toast then tweet about it. Later, you tell your followers about standing in line at Starbucks and feeding the cat. Kate Flint is interested in the concept of the everyday and ordinary. What is…

Jacob Soll, professor of history who arrived Summer of 2012, has a joint appointment with the USC Leventhal School of Accounting. A MacArthur fellow in 2011 and Guggenheim fellow from 2009 to 2010, Soll was recruited from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Jacob Soll

May 7, 2013

You’re at a dinner party and the vichyssoise is a mere memory, the smoked velouté of partridge is gone and you’re deep into the butterscotch budino. What’s the one subject that has not been broached?…

Anna Krakus became assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures in Fall 2012. Interested in law and literature, she graduated from law school at Stockholm University before moving to New York to study literature as a Fulbright scholar.

Hire Purpose: Anna Krakus

May 7, 2013

As a 5-year-old growing up in Stockholm, Sweden, Anna Krakus learned English by watching The Sound of Music. “I became obsessed with the film,” said Krakus, who has Polish parents and spoke Swedish and Polish at…

Professor of Philosophy Gabriel Uzquiano arrived in Fall 2011 from Oxford University. Born in Majorca, Spain, he grew up in Tarragona. His expertise spans from philosophical logic and the philosophy of mathematics to metaphysics. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Gabriel Uzquiano

May 7, 2013

Countless have asked, but Gabriel Uzquiano sought to answer: How many angels can dance on the point of a needle? The question asks not what is the case, but rather what can be the case. Some philosophers take what can be the…

The USC Shoah Foundation is incorporating testimonies into its Visual History Archive from Rwandan genocide survivors and will soon include testimonies from survivors of the Cambodian and Armenian genocides. This photo of a Rwandan child is displayed as part of a gallery of genocide victims in the Kigali Memorial Centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo by Jason Reed and courtesy of Reuters.

Understanding the Universal

January 18, 2013

Freddy Mutanguha was 18 years old when his parents and four sisters were macheted to death by Hutu soldiers during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Mutanguha, a member of the Tutsi minority ethnic group, didn’t see the…