Salutatorian Shreya Daniel looks to do it all after graduation
Shreya Daniel is one of USC’s 2022 salutatorians. (Photo: Gus Ruelas.)

Salutatorian Shreya Daniel looks to do it all after graduation

Medical school is next for the USC Dornsife graduate, along with a side hustle that has so far raised nearly $15,000 for charity.
ByGrayson Schmidt

There are few people who could say they’ve squeezed more into their four years of college than Shreya Daniel.

She’s a student ambassador at the USC Admission Center, the director of camp programming for Troy Camp, a research assistant in the Innovations in Neurodevelopment and Sensory Processing Research Lab, and a tutor in undergraduate physics. Not to mention, she started her own nonprofit, More Good Ahead, while on the pre-med track.

To cap it all off, this week Daniel graduated from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences with her Bachelor of Arts in health and human sciences and an occupational science minor — and as one of two salutatorians for the Class of 2022.

“At USC, not only is it possible to do all of these things, but it’s encouraged. It’s the culture and the norm, and what makes USC so special,” Daniel says.

Originally from Chicago, Daniel initially thought herself destined for a college on the East Coast, but she ended up taking a closer look at California. For her, the real selling point of USC was the interdisciplinary experience offered. From music classes to dance, theater and cinema, Daniel has been able to explore all her interests at USC while staying on her career track.

“It’s not just that you happen to like other subjects, or you like when they interweave together, but that’s a real approach to education,” she says. “It’s important to look at things from different lenses and explore all your interests.”

Daniel took that to heart outside of the classroom, throwing herself into every student group that piqued her interest. As someone with camp counselor experience, Daniel asked about Troy Camp when she spotted social media posts from the group.

“It sounds like it’s just a summer camp, but really the philosophy behind Troy Camp is long-term mentorship,” Daniel says.

Ultimately, she wants to be a developmental behavioral pediatrician, a specialty that primarily works with children with disabilities. Daniel acknowledges that the area is niche even for the medical community, but it’s the sole reason she wants to be a doctor. Growing up, her elementary school had a deaf and disabled program, and she befriended many of her classmates in those classes, learning sign language in the process.

One night, early in the quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, Daniel decided she needed a project. She had been looking for an excuse to revisit her artistic side, so she began making jewelry, clothes and other pieces to pass the time. Upon seeing how the world responded to the pandemic, as well as the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, she decided to start selling the items and donating the money to various charities, and before long More Good Ahead was born.

“That was like the biggest passion project of my life, and I never would have done it if I was fully in school,” Daniel says. “That year really helped me develop bravery, and I never thought of myself as a brave person.”

So far, More Good Ahead has raised nearly $15,000 for different charities — The Arc, People Assisting the Homeless, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective.

See USC News for the full story >>