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Writing Talent Sought

Undergraduate writing conference sparks opportunities

By Sona Movsesian
March 2005

The Undergraduate Writer’s Conference, co-sponsored by the Academic Cultural Initiative and AngeLingo, was held in Mark Taper Hall of Humanities and the University Club on March 2. The conference began with student presentations of work and concluded with a banquet in the University Club.

Over 150 students from all majors submitted their work to the conference in four different categories—Analytical Essays, Research Essays, Creative Essays, and Essays on Professional Ethics.

“This conference brings together majors from all around the campus,” says Dr. Kathi Inman Berens, the conference director and a lecturer in the USC College Writing Program. “This is the only event of its kind to pool together writers from so many different disciplines. Certainly, it is unique at USC. But it also may be unique to USC.”

Speakers for the evening included Brad Berens, executive director of iMedia Communications, Scott Aversano, president of Scott Rudin Productions, and Steve Burkow, entertainment attorney at Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca. They spoke of the importance of creative writing within the entertainment industry.

The firms, along with CNN Entertainment News, DreamWorks Story Department and H.E.L.P. Group, offered internship opportunities to the participants in the Writer’s Conference.

“Our students are extremely well prepared for the rigors of professional writing—be it online, at a law firm or at a movie studio,” adds Berens. “The industry wants well-prepared, well-rounded college students. This fact, and their willingness to give our students internships, demonstrates college students are getting the skills that will get them excellent jobs.”

Complete List of Winners

Analytical Essay:
Mary Michelle Kim (Political Science) - “Grasping Time.”
Leif Waller (International Relations) -“Chasing a Girl.”

Research Essay:
Margaret Ren (International Relations) - “The Progress of Sexual Variance in India.”
Ashley Gragg (Neuroscience)- “The Addition of Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors….”
Kristen Wong (Biochemistry) - “A Step Closer to the Cancer Cure.”

Creative Essay:
Jeremy Benjamin (Creative Writing) - “Downstream.”
Asha Best (Comparative Literature) - “Untitled/Dear John.”
Christopher Edling (Psychology) - “Political Party Affiliation Instruction Manual.”

Professional Ethics:
Crystal Dizol (Biomedical/Mechanical Engineering) - “Boston’s Big Dig.”
Fiona Torrance (Business Administration) - “The Impact of Disney’s Boardroom Business Ethics”
Juan-Pablo Ramirez (Biomedical/Mechanical Engineering) - “Ethics of Animal Research in Biomedical Engineering.”