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What Matters to Me and Why 2010-2011

What Matters to Me and Why is a program in its tenth year at USC, which encourages reflection about values, beliefs, and motivations. It aims to help students and others better understand the lives and inspirations of those who shape the University.

Presenters are encouraged to talk about choices made, difficulties encountered, and commitments solidified. They are also free to choose any other topic that fits their definition of "what matters to me and why."

Co-sponsored by the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics and the Office of Religious Life

Upcoming Speakers

2013-2014 Speakers

2012-2013 Speakers

2011-2012 Speakers

2009-2010 Speakers

Click here to nominate potential speakers

  • Fall 2010 Speakers

  • Justin Wood, Assistant Professor Psychology

    September 8, 2010 (12:00 PM - 1 PM)
    Ground Zero Performance Cafe
    What is important to someone who studies the origins and development of knowledge?
  • Josh Kun, Professor at Annenberg Scool of Communication & Journalism and American Studies & Ethnicity, USC College

    October 6, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1 PM
    Ground Zero Performance Cafe
    A journalist and Annenberg faculty member with a passion for Jewish American musical history, Kun discusses the things he finds meaningful.
  • Geneva Overholser, Director of USC's School of Journalism

    November 3, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1 PM
    Ground Zero Performance Cafe
    The award-winning journalist and director of USC’s School of Journalism discusses her priorities.

    Click here to see the video

  • James Collins, Assistant Professor at USC College

    December 1, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1 PM
    Ground Zero Performance Cafe
    What is important to someone who looks at philosophy as a lifestyle?

    Click here to see the video

  • Spring 2011 Speakers

  • Mark Marino (Assistant Professor, Writing Program)

    January 19, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1 PM
    Ground Zero Performance Cafe
    Mark Marino is an assistant professor (teaching) in the Writing Program at the University of Southern California. His classes explore writing and social media in the context of community service. He is the founder and editor of Bunk Magazine and is the Director of Communication of the Electronic Literature Organization. His recent scholarship launched and developed the explication of computer source code in the area he calls Critical Code Studies. Marino earned degrees in creative writing and literature from Brown University, Notre Dame, and Loyola Marymount University. He completed his Ph.D. at UC Riverside, where his doctoral research focused on chatbots, electronic literature, games, and other new media.

  • Alessandro Ago, Director of Programming & Special Projects, School of Cinematic Arts

    February 2, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1 PM
    Ground Zero Performance Cafe
    Alessandro Ago curates Outside the Box [Office], a screening series dedicated to bringing new international, documentary, and independent cinema to USC. He also oversees all Dean's Council Visions and Voices programming for the School of Cinematic Arts. Ago has produced festivals celebrating the work of John Wayne, Roger Corman, Costa Gavras, Maurice Jarre, Albert Broccoli and the James Bond franchise, as well as world cinema showcases focusing on Japan, Italy, Bollywood, and the Middle East. Both an Italian and American citizen, he grew up in Washington D.C. and Rome, Italy, and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees through the USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • Abe Lowenthal, Professor of International Relations

    March 2, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1 PM
    Ground Zero Performance Cafe
    Abe Lowenthal is a professor in the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. He studies policy issues in US-Latin American relations, with an emphasis on democratic governance. He is the founder and former president of the USC-based Pacific Council on International Policy, which supports an active visiting speakers program, a visiting scholar program, research seminars, and study groups. He also served on the Mayor's International Trade Advisory Council for Los Angeles. Lowenthal is the editor or co-editor of twelve books, and he has published more than a hundred scholarly articles. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and government from Harvard University.
  • Gayle Garner Roski

    April 6, 2010, 12:00 PM - 1 PM
    Ground Zero Performance Cafe
    Gayle Garner Roski studied Fine Arts at the University of Southern California and is a native of Los Angeles. Her vibrant watercolors have been exhibited extensively in museums and galleries from Southern California to Scotland. She bridges her fine art career with her civic dedication, and she has headed public art projects throughout Los Angeles, including the LA Angel Project. She is currently the Chairman of Art for the Cathedral of Los Angeles, and she serves on the Executive Board of the California Art Club and the USC School of Fine Arts, which bears her name. In addition to her participation in many art shows and exhibitions, Roski also illustrated three books this year – Luscious (USC’s cookbook); Thomas the T.Rex written by Michael Smith; and Meiling in China City written by Icy Smith.