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CA L I F OR N I A AUT UM N 2 0 1 3


A DEGREE IN DISRUP T ION Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre partner with USC to spur the next generation of innovators


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The Women of Troy completed last season with their best-ever national performance when they finished fourth in the NCAA Division I Women’s Rowing Championships in June. Individually, rower Melanie Grindle became USC’s first-ever Pac-12 Rowing Athlete of the Year.


Celebrating O U R H E R I TA G E Tradition & Culture

Join us today in The Campaign for USC Get involved. Call us at (213) 740-4735. Paola Fernandez BA International Relations ’14

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Editor’s Note From education to policy, there’s hardly an aspect of Los Angeles that USC hasn’t shaped.


President’s Page President Nikias welcomes the Trojan Family back to campus.


Mailbag Pats, pans and other observations and opinions from readers.




News USC trustee endows center to fight cancer; football player takes the stage; alumna survives the Boston Marathon bombing; and more.


The Back Pack By Hope Hamashige Surgeons, physical therapists and other USC experts team up to ease the bane of spinal pain.


20 Next-generation Trojans

The Roads Scholars USC’s best policy and engineering minds help local transit agencies look around the curve. By Merrill Balassone


Essential LA USC faculty members curate the music, movies, moments and places of the City of Angels. By Robert Bradford

By Christina Schweighofer Meet two of the first crop of Mork Scholars whose global outlook will make the world a better place.

32 FA M I LY

A Degree in Disruption Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young (Dr. Dre) invest $70 million to nurture the next generation of prodigies. By Alicia Di Rado

47 Alumni News Read the latest from the USC Alumni Association, including awards and a conversation with Ramona Cappello.



The Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC builds brighter futures for LA’s kids in the classroom. By Candace Pearson

Class Notes Who’s doing what and where.

60 Ask Tommy

Tooth Squad


Los Angeles by the Book Three USC novelists draw from the city’s eccentrics and ordinary folk for their inspiration. By Diane Krieger

Questions and answers with Tommy Trojan.


Space School USC’s Space Engineering Research Center launches astronautical engineering into the future. By Katharine Gammon

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e d i t o r’ s n o t e

The quarterly magazine of the University of Southern California E DI TO R

Alicia Di Rado

Born in Los Angeles, 1880 Los Angeles is a cultural mecca. It’s a place in the American imagination for invention and reinvention, and serves both as a beacon of the Western United States and a gateway to the Pacific Rim. The motion picture and entertainment business in the county generates $48 billion a year in sales, and USC graduates in the arts, technology and business drive the industry. New opportunities in health, engineering, science and technology are influencing the region’s rapidly growing tech sector, too. Whether it’s education, medicine, law, policy or the environment, there’s hardly an aspect of LA that USC—California’s oldest private research university—hasn’t shaped. In this issue, we explore some of the people and places that make LA a vibrant, international city. It might bring back memories or a desire to come see what’s new (Reunion Weekend is Nov. 15–16, by the way). You might also notice some changes in this issue: more imagery of the USC you remember, as well as the USC that continues to grow and change. We hope our new features connect you to the Trojan Family and the stories our family members are writing in LA and across the world. As always, if you have feedback on what you see in these pages, please write to us at or Alicia Di Rado Editor, USC Trojan Family Magazine


Diane Krieger M ANAGI NG E DI TOR

Mary Modina


Sheharazad P. Fleming DE SI GN AND PRO DUCTION

Pentagram Design, Austin


Merrill Balassone

Annette Moore

Robert Bradford

John Morawiec

Greer Burton

Russ Ono

Liza Cherney

Candace Pearson

Allison Engel

Gerrit Ritt

Katharine Gammon

Michelle Salzman Boston

Paul Goldberg

Christina Schweighofer

Hope Hamashige

Lauren Walser

Sue Khodarahmi

Dongyi Wu

Timothy O. Knight

Claude Zachary

Ross M. Levine PUBLI SHE R



Kristy Day |

USC Trojan Family Magazine 3434 S. Grand Ave., CAL 140 Los Angeles, CA 90089-2818 | (213) 740-2684 USC Trojan Family Magazine (ISSN 8750-7927) is published in February, May, September and December by USC University Communications.

MOVING? Submit your updated mailing address at


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autumn 2013

p r e s i d e n t’ s p a g e

Rejuvenated b y c. l. m a x n i k i a s Autumn is always a special time at USC, as a new academic year gets off the ground and our faculty and staff eagerly receive returning students. There’s a certain enthusiasm on our campuses, a charge of energy brought by these remarkable students, enriched by summer jobs, internships and travel. Niki and I are very grateful to the USC Board of Trustees, as its members insist we take one month’s vacation each year. We spend our time in Sun Valley, Idaho, where we ride our bikes and listen to music, and I strategize for the coming year. The setting is so peaceful—with fast-running creeks, vast expanses of green and extraordinarily blue skies—and this serenity inspires fresh ideas. Niki and I ride our bikes almost every day, and this past summer we covered 801 miles in 28 days. As we cycle along the trails, we’re invariably greeted by “Fight On!” or “Go Trojans!” USC is truly everywhere. While we were in Sun Valley, The New York Times published a comprehensive ranking of colleges and universities based on the total number of Pell Grants awarded. The piece reported that 22 percent of USC students receive Pell Grants, placing us at the top of the list, alongside only a handful of elite colleges and universities. We take great pride in USC’s efforts to build a diversely talented class. One in eight students is a firstgeneration college student, and one in five is a SCion. Our incoming students hail from 51 different countries, with a significant increase from India, Canada and Italy. This is the first year of our World Bachelor in Business program, which partners our Marshall School of Business with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Bocconi University in Milan. As always, our incoming students include those who stand among a special class of scholars. You’ll read about our Mork Scholars elsewhere in this issue, so I’d like to acknowledge the other three: Trustee, Presidential and Stamps Leadership scholars. The scope of their talents is tremendous, and by briefly describing a few of these students, I hope to give you a sense of the entire group’s accomplishments. Among this year’s Trustee scholars we have Edward Naylor, who received a perfect 5 on nine different Advanced Placement exams. In the fourth grade, he built a robot using a soldering iron his parents gave him, and in seventh grade, his own computer. From there, the Dallas native wrote his own game for

smartphones. Edward is self-taught in multiple programming languages, first-chair trombonist in his regional marching band, and helped run a youth basketball camp. Our Presidential scholars include Kimberly Pedreza, the first in her family to attend college. She completed 11 Advanced Placement courses and worked every day after school for a mortgage business to supplement her family’s income. In her essay, she wrote that she “wants to learn about life through different perspectives.” A native of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., she intends to double major in psychology and religion, with plans to become a physician. Our Stamps Leadership scholars include Cameron Quon, who will major in broadcast and digital journalism at USC Annenberg. Both of Cameron’s parents graduated from USC, and he received straight A’s in high school. Cameron is from Santa Clarita, Calif., and has taken three mission trips abroad, including one to provide food and health care services to Iraqi refugees in Jordan. In his application, he wrote, “One day I hope to change the way others view our world with my lens and my laptop.” As Cameron and his fellow Trojans converge on our campuses, we stand ready to help them realize their dreams. Our spirits are rejuvenated—not just by our summers, but also by their creativity.

At Boxcar Bend, Big Wood River, Sun Valley, Idaho.

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My Fellow Trojans and Friends: I would like to thank you for all your continuing support for our athletic programs, teams and student-athletes. It has been my privilege and pleasure to lead the Athletic Department as it continues our great Trojan athletic tradition on the fields, on the courts and in the pool. As a part of the NCAA sanction directives, we are required to annually publicize the various violations and sanctions included in the NCAA’s June 10, 2010, report. The university has been publicly reprimanded, censured and placed on probation from June 10, 2010, through June 9, 2014. With regard to football, the NCAA reported violations involving agent and amateurism issues, lack of institutional control, impermissible inducements, extra benefits, exceeding coach staff limits and unethical conduct. The penalties included: post-season ban for the 2010 and 2011 seasons; one-year show cause penalty (through June 9, 2011) for an assistant football coach; vacation of wins and the individual records of a former football player from December 2004 through the 2005 season, and the reconfiguration of the records of the university and the head coach to reflect those actions; a limit of 15 initial scholarships and 75 total scholarships for each of the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons; a $5,000 fine; disassociation of a former football player; and prohibition of nonuniversity personnel from traveling on team charters, attending practices and camps, and having access to sidelines and locker rooms. In men’s basketball, the NCAA violations involved agent and amateurism issues, lack of institutional control, impermissible inducements and extra benefits. The penalties included: post-season ban for the 2009-10 season; a vacation of wins and the individual records of a former basketball player from the 2007-08 season and the reconfiguration of the records of the university and the head coach to reflect those actions; a limit of 12 scholarships for each of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons; one fewer coach permitted to recruit off campus in the summer of 2010; a reduction of recruiting days by 20 for the 2010-11 season; the return to the NCAA funds received for appearing in the 2008 NCAA men’s basketball tournament and forfeit any future scheduled distributions; disassociation of a former men’s basketball player and a representative of the university’s financial interests; the release of three recruits from their letters of intent; and prohibition of nonuniversity personnel from traveling on team charters, attending practices and camps, and having access to sidelines and locker rooms. With regard to women’s tennis, the NCAA sanctions involved lack of institutional control and extra benefits. The penalties included: a vacation of wins and individual records in which an ineligible women’s tennis player competed between November 2006 and May 2009, and the reconfiguration of the records of the university and the head coach to reflect those actions. Thank you for your continued support. Rest assured that we will be vigilant in complying with the rules and regulations of the NCAA and the PAC-12, and that we will compete and win with integrity and the Trojan spirit. Fight On, Pat r ic k C. Haden Athletic Director


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We welcome your feedback. Submit your letter to the editor at

Fan Mail

Autism Awakening

I compliment you on the best magazine ever: Summer 2013. Beautiful cover, interesting articles, improved format and creative photographs presented in an interesting manner—all work together to make this the best. I hope all future magazines are to this standard. M a r i ly n R e st D D S ’ 7 7 ( D EN ) Newport Beach, CA

“Neurodiversity and the University” (Summer 2013, p. 12) was absolutely amazing. You are right: Universities need to be safe and trustworthy for students with autism. I have a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. I use my disability for strength by magnifying the possibilities instead of dwelling in self-pity. I strongly believe that we are called to help those in need, especially individuals with autism. They are not people who came into this world by accident. They have a valuable purpose in this life, which should never be destroyed but embraced, especially in their academic futures. Dav i d C ol e s - P e r e z Marina del Rey, CA


Keep up with USC on social media. Go to usc. edu for links to Facebook, Twitter and more.



Perhaps nostalgia is simply part of the aging process ... but I don’t mind. As I read various issues of USC Trojan Family Magazine, it is wonderful to see how the university has expanded into one of exceptional stature with vast changes to the campus. But I wonder if today’s students can even imagine there was a time when you could park your car (with a little luck) on 36th Street, just outside the Student Union; when Julie’s was still a favorite watering hole; and when George Tirebiter came onto the field and sent the student body into a frenzy of wild cheering. It was another era. I miss it. L o ui s C . K ieber ’ 5 1 ( LAS ) Las Vegas, NV

Thank you and congratulations for the best USC Trojan Family Magazine that I’ve ever received. I go back to 1947 when I, too, would write a piece for the paper and exchange papers on the UCLA campus. Keep up the good work and “Fight On for Ol’ USC.” H e r m a n H . Ko st er ’ 5 5 ( ED U ) West Hills, CA

Last Look I read with interest the article on Irene Lentz (Last Look, Spring 2013, p. 52). Her brother, Kline Lentz, worked for my father for years as a compositor. My father owned the Early Hays Press. It still exists, but under different ownership (same name). Kline went to work at an early age so his sister could go to school to become a designer. She was highly successful at her profession, but she must have been very troubled because she took her own life by defenestration. Car oly n Hay s Kas s i an ’ 53 (BUS) Reseda, CA


Here’s a countdown of the five items most commented on, shared and liked in USC’s Facebook universe in recent months:

5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

It was absolutely wonderful to read Diane Krieger’s article and to learn about the opportunities for inclusion of students on the autism spectrum at USC. I feel grateful to be an alumna of a place that would recognize the potential in all individuals and find means of removing roadblocks for those living with autism. As a mother raising a daughter with autism, I hope the awareness that “500,000 children with autism will become adults with autism” will serve as a call to action among our schools and universities to create programming to support these individuals with vast potential. Dani Gi llman ’ 01 (MUS) West Bloomfield, MI


A new clock makes its first appearance on Hahn Plaza, as documented in a photo by follower @maiconrutz— USC_clock. Music and technology entrepreneurs Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre announce a major gift. Construction workers uncover centuryold tracks from Los Angeles’ Red Car railway system, which once passed through campus on McClintock Avenue. Follower @austint331 shares a photo of the Von Kleinsmid Center and McCarthy Quad at dusk— USC congratulates 2013’s graduating Trojans and their parents.



14,432 4,300

Estimated number of hours YouTube users spent watching a video on students’ favorite classes at USC—

Estimated freshmen and transfer students who arrived on campus in August to start the 2013-14 academic year. Go to to see why they chose USC.

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TROJAN THINK GLOBALLY Korean rapper Psy may have been the first artist to surpass 1 billion hits on YouTube, but Asia’s worldwide influence has grown far beyond pop culture. The USC Global Conference in Seoul, South Korea, in May showcased developments in governance, technology, education, art, public policy and business in Asia, as well as the university’s deep ties to the research community in the Pacific Rim.

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trojan news

Musical Kicks on 66 Dozens of artists held an “open source” music festival on America’s iconic road—Route 66—in July, and whether they played jazz, swing, classical guitar or rock, there was one common thread at the Music Licks on 66 festival: Most of the musicians were USC students, alumni or faculty. Sponsored by USC Thornton School of Music’s contemporary music division and spearheaded by USC studio/jazz guitar instructor Bruce Forman, the festival had an impromptu feel. Artists busked and performed at spur-of-the-moment locales along the road, which stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles. Forman now has toured the length of Route 66 four times with his cowboy jazz and bebop band, Cow Bop. The pilgrimages are a link to itinerant musicians of the past and to the musical and social media renaissance of today. “It gives me an appreciation for the hard work people do to keep their communities together and puts life, music and community in perspective,” Forman said. “This is what I want to share with my peers and students through this festival.”


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A Trojan Trustee John Mork ’70, MS ’12, founder and CEO of Denver-based Energy Corporation of America, is now chair of the USC Board of Trustees. He replaces Edward P. Roski Jr., who had chaired the board since June 2008. “For over a decade, USC has benefited enormously from John Mork’s boundless energy and passion for our academic mission, and from his family’s extraordinary generosity in ensuring that the life-changing gift of a USC education will be available to generations of young men and women far into the future,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. In 2011, Mork and his wife, Julie, gave USC $110 million—the single largest gift in the university’s history for undergraduate scholarships—to create the USC Mork Family Scholars Program (see page 20). The Morks previously provided the $15 million naming gift for the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. In addition to being among USC’s greatest benefactors, the Morks are Trojan parents: Their son and daughter attended USC. autumn 2013


RADIO WAVES KUSC’s Rich Capparela now ushers in weekends with LA flair. Every Friday, his 4–7 p.m. radio show turns into “KUSC at the Beach,” run out of his Santa Monica, Calif., home studio. Catch the show, including his 5 p.m. “Classical Anti-Road Rage Melody” and update on weekend events, at





Cancer Fighter A potential anticancer strategy unites U.S. and Taiwanese scientists. As chairman of Fubon Financial, the largest and most profitable financial group in Taiwan, USC Trustee Daniel M. Tsai is building his family business sensibly—with well-researched investments, dependable partners and a focus on satisfied customers. He’s taking the same savvy approach to his involvement in USC. Earlier this year, Tsai gave $1.5 million to the USC School of Pharmacy to create a research center that will pursue a promising strategy to fight cancer. The USC Daniel Tsai Fund for Translational Research in Pharmacy explores drugs that target a chemical in the body called monoamine oxidase, or MAO. These drugs, which interfere with MAO’s activity, are a tried-and-true standard in medicine, especially in treating neurologic problems. Doctors prescribed them as far back as the 1950s to treat depression. But recent studies hint that these same common drugs might also hinder the development of cancer. It’s the kind of influential cancer research—led by a globally recognized expert in monoamine signaling, USC University Professor Jean Chen Shih— that Tsai could support with confidence. The center not only will boost USC’s efforts to quickly move potential treatments to patients, but also will cement relationships in the Pacific Rim. Based both at USC and in Taiwan, the center involves the exchange of trainees, research findings and expertise. Tsai is big on trans-Pacific collaboration: He’s been an active supporter of USC’s outreach in Asia and served as a featured speaker at the university’s 2009 Global Conference in Taipei. “I believe international collaborations between expert researchers are one of the keys to developing new ways to treat disease,” Tsai says. “I am proud to support USC and, in particular, the

work of Dr. Shih to ensure these collaborations take place.” Tsai invests more than funds in USC; he also gives his time. He joined the USC Board of Trustees in April. A 1978 graduate of National Taiwan University, he received his master’s degree in law from Georgetown University in 1979. His wife, Irene, earned a master’s degree from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 1985,

and three of the couple’s four children are USC students. His gift is part of the Campaign for the University of Southern California, a multiyear philanthropic effort to advance USC’s academic priorities and expand the university’s impact on the community and world. The USC School of Pharmacy’s fundraising kickoff is Nov. 3.

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trojan news

Architectural Icons

#2 Walt Disney Concert Hall Frank Gehry ’54, Judge Widney Professor of Architecture at USC, designed this swooping, metal-bending home for great performances.

Los Angeles would look a lot different without the creativity of USC School of Architecture graduates. Many of their buildings are icons of modern-day LA. 2



#1 The Stahl House Also called Case Study House No. 22, this often-photographed modernist home was designed by Pierre Koenig ’52.


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#3 Universal CityWalk Jon Jerde ’64 masterminded this urban entertainment mecca as part of his specialization in creating “communal places with heightened experiences.”

#4 Caltrans District 7 Headquarters Opened on Main Street in downtown LA in 2004, this environmentally sensitive building helped earn Thom Mayne ’68 the Pritzker Prize the next year.

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Role Player

All eyes were on redshirt freshman football player Cyrus Hobbi a year ago. Playing backup center, he buckled under bruising tackles and the then-secondranked Trojans lost to Stanford. He could’ve brooded over it for years. But Hobbi had an unusual way to work through his frustration: He wrote a play. About 20 of his teammates turned out for his 15-minute solo performance in McClintock Theatre last December. “I kind of had a rough time after the game. I put a lot of blame on myself,” says Hobbi, a drama major. His professor recommended writing about it. “It was just my point of view—what I was going through during that week, after that loss, and what I learned. “And I had a great time doing it. I’d like to do more projects like that.” At 6 feet 3 inches and 285 pounds, Hobbi isn’t your typical drama student. “I guess you could say I stand out in the classroom,” he jokes. Make no mistake, though. He’s serious about acting. “It’s something I love,”

says Hobbi, 20, of Scottsdale, Ariz. “In high school I would always do skits for the guys on the team.” When college athletics programs were recruiting him, Hobbi focused on drama as much as football. “I chose USC for the education and the theater,” he says. Hobbi is the only current Trojan football player to major in the arts, but he hopes to change that. For his directing class last spring, he cast Trojan offensive tackle Nathan Guertler to play in a scene. “He did a really good job,” Hobbi says. “I encourage my teammates to get in some arts classes.” Hobbi sees connections between acting and athletics. “When you’re an athlete, when you’re playing a game, you get into a zone—you ‘ball out.’ It’s a similar thing in acting,”he says. “Whatever your character, it becomes a part of you. “At game time, I’m on stage.”

Cyrus Hobbi feels just at home on a stage as he does on the gridiron.

“When you’re an athlete, you get into a zone.… It’s a similar thing in acting. Whatever your character, it becomes a part of you.”


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trojan news

I (heart) LA Density maps show the amenities run along Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. They cluster in downtown Los Angeles, Koreatown, the Fairfax district, Westwood and the cities of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, creating a sort of cultural axis for the region. The published, validated research has won numerous awards. To Krueger, who now works in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s water geographic information systems group, the findings confirm what LA residents know about their city. They also reinforce that major cities of the world have their own unique urban character. “The center of Paris isn’t anything like Manhattan or Tokyo,” he says. “I don’t think Los Angeles has to look like Manhattan to be a real city. We have our own way of doing things.”

Polo Contendere The awards keep coming for USC’s water polo program. After USC’s men’s and women’s teams claimed NCAA championships in 2012–13, head coach Jovan Vavic enters this year with back-to-back National Coach of the Year honors. Last season, after the USC men went undefeated en route to a fifth straight national championship, Vavic guided the USC women to a 27-1 finish as the Women of Troy captured their fourth national title in May. In all, as head of the USC men’s and women’s programs, Vavic has now collected 12 National Coach the Year awards. For the Vavics, winning is in the family: Monica Vavic, now a sophomore, earned First Team All-American honors in 2013, and her brother Nikola Vavic, now a senior, won the men’s National Player of the Year award in 2012.


Writer Dorothy Parker once dismissed Los Angeles as “72 suburbs in search of a city.” But Samuel Krueger ’03, MS ’12 knows that LA has a heart. It’s just long. Really long. Like so many Angelenos, Krueger grew up elsewhere (Portland, Ore.), but he gets what makes LA tick. In his quest for his master’s thesis in USC’s Geographic Information Science and Technology program, he used science to explore the city’s urban core. “On an emotional level, I get tired of people saying that LA is not a real city, so I wanted to show that it has a center just like any other city,” says Krueger, who’s long been fascinated with how cities work. Krueger homed in on the location of buzz-worthy urban amenities such as entertainment, full-service restaurants, hotels and motels, trendy hangouts and high culture.


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’ 0 6,


’0 7

One Tough Survivor Liza Cherney ’06, MA ’07 was busy at USC. Along with studying gerontology, she was a Tri Delt officer, ran marathons, tutored schoolchildren through USC’s Joint Educational Project and was honored for her commitment to community service. Cherney then moved to Boston, where she received her MBA from Boston College in May. A month before graduating, she attended the Boston Marathon to support a friend. As she told USC Trojan Family Magazine’s Alicia Di Rado, the tragic bombing there would change her life forever.


FPO We wanted to get to the finish line to see our friend finish. We were running to see her, and then everything changed. I thought there was an electrical malfunction at the finish line. My friend immediately knew what it was, but I didn’t know it was a bomb until the second one went off. I dropped, and then I stood up. I looked down at my thumbnail. I’d just gotten one of those gel manicures and was upset because it was cracked. I think the gel saved my finger. At the time, I started to realize I might be hurt. I asked the closest person I could find, “Am I OK?” She looked at my face and said I had some cuts but seemed OK—and then she looked down at my leg and tried not to look panicked. They took me to the emergency room at Beth Israel hospital. There was a psych nurse there, and I told her I was by myself and she stayed with me throughout the whole thing. They did an X-ray of my leg and said they thought there was shrapnel, and a CT confirmed it. Almost immediately they took me up to surgery. In all, I had four surgeries on my upper leg. The last one was the day before my birthday. The whole experience made me realize I’m a lot tougher than I would’ve known. My friend says that while in the hospital I had a reckless abandon to get up and get going.

Cherney now works in San Francisco for Credit Suisse. To offer your support to her, visit

I wanted to get back to normal as soon as possible. I’m very active and love the gym and spinning, so being in the hospital was really hard. Now I try not to dwell on what happened and I don’t want it to define me. However, I know it will always be part of my past. I have to go to physical therapy, can’t walk like I normally did and have to rely on people more than I ever have. I’m not angry and I’m not bitter. I am just very thankful that I have such great people around me. One of my friends from USC flew out to Boston to help me. She’s a nurse and she stayed for four days. From the moment I stepped on the campus, I loved USC and I knew it was the school for me, and it was definitely because of the people. I made lifelong friends there. Through all of this, it’s been incredible to see that my friends in the USC community wanted to help however they could. Even people I haven’t talked to in years have gotten in touch. In addition, USC Trojans I have never met have sent me well wishes. This experience has taught me to let people help me a bit more. Also, at the beginning of my last year in business school, I remember thinking that before I go back into the working world, I need to toughen up. Through this, I learned I’m pretty darned tough already.

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trojan health

The Back Pack

USC Spine Center has appointments at Keck Medical Center of USC as well as at Keck Medicine of USC sites in Beverly Hills, La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena. Call 1-800-USC-CARE for an appointment.

Neurosurgeons, orthopaedists, physical therapists and other experts at USC team up to ease spinal pain. by hope hamashige The pain and numbness in Elena Blankevoort’s legs got so bad she stopped doing the everyday tasks others seem to take for granted. Bending at the waist became excruciating, so gardening was out of the question. Lifting and pushing things became so difficult that she avoided going to the supermarket and cleaning the house. As she underwent tests ordered by six different specialists, the pain in her legs grew more intense, but a diagnosis evaded her doctors. Then she was referred to Frank Acosta, a neurosurgeon at the USC Spine Center of Keck Medicine of USC. He spotted her problem right away. A series of incorrectly performed spinal fusions, done about 10 years ago, was causing gradual and debilitating pain and numbness in her legs, Acosta told her. “I could not believe that he figured it out so fast,” says Blankevoort, of Monrovia, Calif., who had reconstructive spine surgery. At the USC Spine Center, she found a group of doctors both with uncommon experience and a unique approach to spinal care: The physicians want to do less, rather than more, when it comes to invasive procedures. Orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons at the USC Spine Center work alongside physical therapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation physicians, radiologists, psychologists and physician assistants as a team to seamlessly offer a host of possible solutions—not just surgical ones—for patients. USC orthopaedic surgeon Jeffrey Wang understands that even when spine surgery is appropriate, no one wants to undergo a procedure. “I let patients know I’d never want someone to operate on my spine unless they have exhausted all conservative treatments. But when conservative treatment


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fails, surgery may be the best option,” says Wang, who left UCLA and joined Keck Medicine of USC in September as a professor of orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery and co-director of the USC Spine Center. John Liu, co-director of the center and professor of neurosurgery and orthopaedic surgery at the Keck School, agrees that surgery should be the last resort. “We don’t operate on the majority of the patients that we see,” Liu says. A TEAM APPROACH Back problems, which range in severity from lower back pain to severe spinal deformities or spinal cord injuries, can sideline people from life. People with back pain often miss days at work or stop seeing their family and friends. These hits to work, financial and social life can lead to other long-term problems, such as depression. So the Keck team strives to get to the bottom of the pain, even when others haven’t. Sometimes the most effective healing happens away from an operating room, says Wang. For some patients with chronic pain, Wang offers tough love mixed with encouragement: Quit smoking and get off the couch, for starters. He relishes each patient who gets better by committing to a more healthful lifestyle. Liu says having a multidisciplinary group of medical professionals at their disposal creates an uncommon opportunity for both the surgeons and their patients. “When we think there is a chance a person could improve through medications or exercise, we have people right here for them to see,” Liu says. The Keck team starts with the gentlest of possible solutions and gradually works up to surgery only if simpler treatments fail.

The group comes together to discuss relevant research or a program for a particular patient, explains Jeremy Smith, one of the orthopaedic surgeons at the USC Spine Center. “A collaborative effort is good for the patients, and the type of collaboration we have built is proving to be the optimal arena for both research and patient care,” Smith says. KINDLER, GENTLER SURGERY Liu knows a little something about taking the gentlest approach to surgery possible. He began performing what are called minimally invasive spinal surgeries—in which surgeons operate through small incisions in the skin and disrupt as little healthy tissue as possible—more than 10 years ago at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he first worked with Acosta. The two surgeons, both originally from the Los Angeles area, embraced the techniques while much of the profession was still skeptical that they were anything more than a fad. “A lot of people called it gimmicky in the beginning, but it is here to stay because the techniques are getting better and better,” Liu says. The results speak for themselves. Minimally invasive spinal surgeries pose less risk of complications, and patients recover more quickly than those who undergo traditional surgery. “The surgeons at the Spine Center prefer to use less invasive techniques whenever possible to decrease pain and facilitate a faster recovery,” says Wang. Unfortunately, some procedures can only be performed through traditional, open surgery, and some patients have such severe problems that open surgery is their only option. But even for the toughest cases, autumn 2013


surgeons at the USC Spine Center are finding ways to improve outcomes. PUSHING TREATMENT FORWARD Both Liu and Acosta joined Keck Medicine of USC from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles in February. Part of the draw, says Liu, was the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers at USC. Another attraction was working alongside the team of surgical veterans at the USC Spine Center, which includes neurosurgeons Thomas Chen and Patrick Hsieh and orthopaedic surgeon Mark Spoonamore. For Wang, the decision to leave UCLA after 23 happy years was difficult, but USC’s energy and aspirations drew him across the city. “At USC, they’re supporting initiatives to improve patient care, and they help us as physicians accomplish what we want for patients,” Wang says. “I’m getting to understand this whole ‘Trojan Family’ thing.” The research potential at USC also excites the physicians. Science will be critical to improving treatments for spinal problems, according to both Liu and Wang. Both see promise in stem cell research and in collaborating with the staff at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. Already, scientists around the world are studying the potential of stem cells to regrow cells damaged in spinal cord injuries. “I do not expect us to be doing things in the same way five

As co-directors of the Spine Center of USC, John Liu, left, and Jeffrey Wang aim to get to the bottom of patients’ spinal pain.

years from now,” Liu says. “I expect things to advance, and I believe we are going to be part of that.” Says Wang: “You’re going to see good cutting-edge research coming from USC.” A LAST, BEST HOPE The surgeons and staff at the USC Spine Center are often the last stop for people with failed surgeries. And many patients come to USC after other doctors turned them away. “When we operate, they leave here thankful that someone was finally able to do something for them,” says Smith. “That’s why we do this job.” And that is why Acosta smiled so broadly when Blankevoort walked into his office a few weeks after her surgery, standing taller than she had in years. The numbness in her legs that nobody else could diagnose is receding more quickly than Blankevoort expected. She’s eager to go into physical therapy—and anxious to get back into her garden. usc trojan family





N U M B E R S :


A Top Option for Pain Back and neck problems aren’t just painful: They hurt productivity. Back pain is a leading reason people miss work. Fortunately, most people don’t need surgery for back or neck pain, but there’s no way to know for sure unless you see an expert. Keck Medicine of USC physicians at the USC Spine Center can help you understand what kind of pain can be relieved with medication and exercise, and which conditions require more involved treatment by highly trained specialists. It all starts with understanding how the spine works. The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae, and the spinal cord runs through a channel in the center of these bones. The spinal cord is protected by these bones, as well as discs, ligaments and muscles.

The spine has four regions: 7

cervical or neck vertebrae


thoracic or upper back vertebrae

Common Reasons for Surgery

5 lumbar vertebrae,

• HERNIATED DISC: damage to pads cushioning vertebrae, the bones of the spine • DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE: breakdown of these cushioning pads • SPINAL STENOSIS: narrowing of spinal canal • SPONDYLOLISTHESIS: vertebrae slip out of place • VERTEBRAL FRACTURES: when vertebrae break

The sacrum and coccyx, a group of bones fused together at the base of the spine

which we know as the lower back

30 to 50 People typically suffer back pain as they age, and pain is most common from ages 30 to 50. Aging is the biggest risk factor for degenerative spine disease: the loss of cushioning tissue between the bones of the spine.

Number of surgeons at the USC Spine Center

Sources: USC Spine Center; U.S. Public Health Service; 2005 ABC News/USA Today/Stanford University Medical Center survey; National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; American Academy of Pain Medicine


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25% Proportion of people whose last bout of pain came from their back

Keck Medicine of USC surgeons offer six different kinds of minimally invasive spine surgeries. These are surgeries done through small incisions instead of a traditional open procedure. Minimally invasive surgeries generally mean less pain and lower risk of complications. Some of the minimally invasive surgeries offered include: microdiscectomy (removal of herniated disc material); microlaminectomy (removal of the back part of a vertebra); spinal decompression; interbody fusion; posterior spinal fusion; and percutaneous spinal fusion for degenerative spine diseases.

HOT OR COLD? Heat packs reduce muscle spasms and pain. Cold helps reduce swelling and numbs deep pain. Using hot or cold packs may relieve pain, but neither fixes the cause of chronic back pain.


Different locations in Southern California where you can see a USC Spine Center specialist: Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena. Visit spine. to learn more.

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family keck medical center of usc

As one of the eight original comprehensive cancer centers in the US, our mission is to treat and prevent cancer by advancing and integrating education, research, and personalized patient care. For 40 years, we have been revolutionizing cancer research with innovative surgical techniques and novel cancer treatments. Our breakthroughs and discoveries in the field of epigenetics have led the way to a greater understanding of the underlying causes of cancer and new methods of prevention, detection, and treatment. With a multidisciplinary team of over 250 dedicated scientists and physicians, we offer patients hope in the battle against cancer.


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trojan students

Next-generation Trojans Steven Strozza and Akilah Booty are just two of the USC academic all-stars with a global outlook and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. by christina schweighofer

AKILAH BOOTY: WHERE CULTURES MEET Learning Arabic was top priority for Akilah Booty the first semester of freshman year. Booty already was conversational in Spanish and French, and she’d just finished an intensive summer course in Chinese. Why the fixation for foreign tongues? Growing up in a Dallas suburb, she’d always been drawn to other cultures. Then her middle-school French teacher told Booty and her classmates that American kids trailed European students in learning. “I threw everything into French,” Booty says. At USC, Booty is double-majoring in East Asian area studies and Middle East studies with a minor in political science. But it wasn’t until she saw the ethnic diversity of Los Angeles and USC that she understood how languages can bridge cultural divides. Through the International Language Exchange Program, Booty befriended a Saudi Arabian student, opening her eyes to Arab culture. Another program, USC’s


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Joint Educational Project, took Booty to the Dr. Theodore T. Alexander Science Center, an elementary school, as a teacher’s aide. The children’s experiences there shocked her. “There were fourth graders who needed other students to translate my instructions,” she says. “There were kindergartners with family issues who just weren’t motivated.” With the shock came insight: Booty realized she wanted to work with disadvantaged people and non-native English speakers. She now interns for the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center, where she experiences firsthand how cultural differences contribute to conflict. Looking ahead, the USC junior wants to experience life abroad. This much is certain: Her home will be wherever cultures meet. STEVEN STROZZA: RENAISSANCE MAN A biological sciences and international relations major with a taste for haute couture? That’s Steven Strozza. Strozza contributes regularly to The LA Fashion Magazine, and he interns as an editorial assistant for WGSN, an international fashion-trend forecaster. Until recently, he was the USC correspondent for the blog College Fashionista. Strozza is also active in USC student government: He chaired the funding board that allocates resources to student organizations, and he belongs to Society 53, the leadership program of USC’s Student Alumni Society. Biochemistry and student government. Foreign relations and fashion. How do they tie together?

“My parents put a high premium on having us be developed as worldly individuals,” says Strozza, now a junior. All three Strozza children grew up steeped in culture and were expected to excel academically. And all three became Trojans. Nick Strozza ’13 graduated with a degree in business administration. Danielle Strozza just began her freshman year—also as a Mork Scholar. Steven Strozza was valedictorian of his high school in Reno, Nev., and a National Merit Finalist. He was accepted by 16 elite universities, but USC offered him a Mork Scholarship. Thanks to a USC study-abroad program, Strozza will spend much of 2014 in Spain and hopes to write a thesis on how Muslim immigration has affected the European health care system. (Besides his two majors, he’s seeking a minor in global health.) Sometimes he feels so lucky he wants to pinch himself. “I’ll be walking on campus, and I’ll stop between Bovard Auditorium and Doheny Library and just think, Oh, my goodness, I get to be a student here!” he says. “I am in this beautiful setting, getting to do these wonderful, amazing things. This is my life.” Go to to learn more about Booty, Strozza and the program. You can help other promising students by donating to the USC General Scholarship Endowment Fund at

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“Great young people who will make the world better”— those are the types of Trojans John Mork ’70, MS ’12 and his wife, Julie, vowed to support when they gave USC a $110 million endowment for undergraduate scholarships in 2011. Talented, academically driven, and motivated to lead and serve, these Mork Family Scholars would receive full tuition at USC and an annual $5,000 stipend regardless of need. Today, the first class of 20 scholars is halfway through college. USC Trojan Family Magazine caught up with two of them.

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The Roads Scholars As Los Angeles builds public transit at a furious pace, USC’s best policy and engineering minds look around the curve and invent better ways to commute. BY MERRILL BALASSONE I L LUS T R AT I O N S BY J O S H C O C H R A N

Los Angeles has long been known as a car-obsessed city, a place where residents’ love affair with the automobile is matched only by their deep hatred of traffic. So what a sight it was on an April morning to see city streets teeming with bicyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders and pedestrians—with not a car in sight—on a 15-mile stretch from downtown Los Angeles to Venice Beach. Called CicLAvia, a celebration of life without the car, “it would have seemed flat-out crazy 30 years ago,” says USC Price School of Public Policy Professor Marlon Boarnet. A nonprofit partnership now stages the daylong celebrations several times a year. “If I had walked around this city, or any other city, 30 years ago and said, ‘Hey, there’s going to be a day and 200,000 people are going to take over the streets of LA and ride their bicycles everywhere!’ someone would have said, ‘Marlon, there’s some medication that can help you.’” CicLAvia may be the most visible example of LA pushing back against gridlock, but the city also is in the midst of perhaps the most ambitious rail-building program in North America. The city’s newest rail line—the Expo Line—opened a year ago, connecting USC’s University Park campus north to downtown and west to Culver City. The Expo Line eventually will extend to Santa Monica. The most recent push for rail expansion began in 2008, when Angelenos voted for a sales tax increase to raise $40 billion for public transit upgrades over the next 30 years, including the “Subway to the

Sea,” which officials say will carry travelers from downtown to Westwood in 25 minutes. Currently, that trip can take drivers 45 minutes in heavy traffic. By 2020, Los Angeles is expected to have more miles in rail lines than Washington, D.C., does today, an achievement both substantive and symbolic for a city that rivals Detroit for its car culture. “Los Angeles was the first prototypical automobile city in the world. It’s now leading the world out of the automobile era,” says Boarnet, who is among USC’s most optimistic minds on the subject of LA’s rail construction push. “This is the decade when public transit in Los Angeles will become a very meaningful thing for a lot of people.”

MARLON BOARNET A professor in the USC Price School of Public Policy, Boarnet believes Los Angeles can lead the world out of a car-driven age in transportation.

CHASING THE DREAM While Los Angeles County spans more than 500 square miles, it’s not low-density sprawl connected by endless freeways, as conventional wisdom would suggest. The greater Los Angeles area is, on average, the most densely populated area in the country, with one-third more residents per square mile than greater New York City. This density presents a unique challenge for LA. It’s too compact for cars to move quickly, but overall, isn’t dense enough for public transit to work at its best. Add to that the pattern of where jobs are located: Some are in busy places like downtown LA or Santa Monica, but most are spread throughout the region. This combination of factors makes the Southland one of the most difficult transportation puzzles to solve. usc trojan family


#1 THE EXPO LINE The remainder of the line is under construction from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica.


#2 SUBWAY TO THE SEA An extension of the Purple Line is currently under construction from Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue to Westwood.

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#3 TRANSITORIENTED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS New apartments, retail shops and hotel rooms have sprung up around stops on the Red Line in Hollywood.

#4 PARKING In downtown LA and Hollywood, drivers can find open parking spaces through a smartphone app, and parking prices change based on demand to reduce cruising for spots.

#5 DOWNTOWN LA STREETCAR A fixed-rail system will offer convenient transportation connecting many of downtown LA’s historic and entertainment locales.

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#6 BIKE LANES Long Beach invested in protected bike lanes, 130 miles of trails and new bike racks around town in an effort to be America’s most bicycle-friendly city.

#7 A “LIVING” STREET Lancaster’s historic downtown was in decline but has become an attractive destination thanks to pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and crosswalks, outdoor dining, single driving lanes, trees and public art.

#8 CAR-SHARING Several South Bay cities have approved or are considering contracts for a car-sharing service that would give residents access to more than 300 SmartCars across the 35-square-mile area.

#9 ORANGE COUNTY A new rapid bus line with fewer stops opened this summer to shuttle passengers between north Costa Mesa and Fullerton in 45 minutes.

#10 RAPID BUS TRANSIT Buses can travel more quickly and directly through dedicated bus lanes and by having priority at traffic signals in Los Angeles. Routes also are planned for Riverside, San Bernardino and other areas.

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“If you talk to politicians who drive the transit program, many have been influenced by the pleasure they’ve gotten by going to Paris or New York, getting places easily by public transit and enjoying those cities,” says Randolph Hall, USC’s vice president of research. “They have this dream they’ll come home to LA, and if we invest in a rail system, it will suddenly become like Paris or London. But it’s not easily translated.” Yet Hall, who has lent his expertise to creating public transit scheduling algorithms with colleagues in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, says LA’s public transit already may be more effective than people give it credit for. He found a natural experiment in the 2003 transit strike, when thousands of bus drivers, railway operators and mechanics walked off the job for more than a month. During that time, Hall monitored several major freeway arteries and found that average speeds plunged and rush hours grew much longer. Most notably, average driving speeds on the 101 Freeway, a major commuter artery, dropped from 54 to 44 miles per hour. And on Interstate 5, the length of the normal evening traffic crush increased from about an hour and 45 minutes to more than five hours. THE BREAKUP Los Angeles is among the most trafficclogged cities in the country, according to sobering statistics released yearly by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Second only to drivers in the nation’s capital, the average Angeleno wastes more than two and a half days each year stuck in traffic. But the automobile may be occupying a less vaunted place in the lives of younger Americans. Teenagers are waiting longer to obtain the traditional ticket to freedom: the driver’s license. And for the first time in decades, the amount of time Americans spend behind the wheel has declined, most notably so for Millennials. Driven by Internet-savvy consumers, companies like Uber and Lyft, which allow users to book rides through mobile apps, have flourished. The recent economic crunch has likely kept some drivers off


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CicLAvia Thousands of Angelenos take to the LA streets by bike and on foot in a carnival-like celebration several times a year.

“If all we do is talk about traditional public transit versus car, we’re really missing what’s happening out there.” —Genevieve Guiliano, USC Price School

the roads, but experts also suspect that car ownership is becoming less important for young adults. “It’s a revolution going on that no one’s paying attention to,” says Genevieve Giuliano, a USC Price School professor who has published extensively about public transit for more than three decades. She ticks off a list of new ridesharing, bike-sharing and private bus companies that have sprung up in recent years. “If all we do is talk about traditional public transit versus car, we’re really missing what’s happening out there,” Giuliano says. Take Washington, D.C., for example. There, gridlock spawned a practice called “slugging,” where drivers cruise by designated spots and pick up total strangers who need a free ride. The passengers enable drivers to gain access to coveted carpool lanes. This practice inspired USC engineering professor Maged Dessouky to create what he calls the “eBay of transportation,” where drivers can put their empty seats up for bid and turn their cars into taxis. Dessouky, director of the Daniel J. Epstein Institute at the USC Viterbi School, and his colleagues hope to bring this realtime, dynamic ridesharing system to the marketplace within the next five years. “The goal isn’t just getting people to take trains or buses. It’s getting people to stop riding in cars by themselves,” Dessouky says. IF WE BUILD IT … Yet some transportation experts disagree with LA’s public transit plans, notably rail. In 1976, USC economist Peter Gordon wrote that rail was “probably the worst step Los Angeles could take to improve transportation,” and he hasn’t changed his mind. Only in recent years has overall public transit ridership approached levels seen in 1985, when LA had no rail service at all. Critics say investment in rail in LA in the 1990s came at the expense of the heavily used bus service, both then and now the second-largest system in the country. On an average weekday, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, known as Metro and led by USC autumn 2013

Go to for more on the future of public transportation in LA.

alum Art Leahy MPA ’82, counts 1.1 million boardings by bus and 350,000 boardings via rail. Rail costs far more to build and operate than bus service. Expanding rail has forced Metro to shrink bus service, forcing more riders off buses than appear on trains, says James Moore, director of the USC Transportation Engineering Program. He argues that bus service is not only cheaper, but routes also are more flexible and can be adjusted to meet need. “Rail will be a white elephant forever,” Moore says. A recent USC Price School of Public Policy/Los Angeles Times poll seemed to show this disconnect: huge public support for spending on public transit upgrades but little evidence that people were changing their own travel practices. The poll showed a stunning 49 percent of Angelenos favored funneling money to public transit upgrades versus 35 percent who wanted money spent fixing freeways and streets. But two out of every three people surveyed hadn’t used the city’s public transit within the last month. “We sell transit to the voters as an option for the other person,” Moore explains. “Our public agencies come to us with the message ‘tax yourselves ever more intensively and we will build a system your neighbor will want to use, and you can have your freeway back.’ When car owners and users support transit, they are, in their own minds, supporting open roads.” A NEIGHBORHOOD EFFORT As Angelenos envision their neighborhoods of the future, their transit discussions differ from one neighborhood to the next. In Hollywood, newly built apartments cluster around stops on the Red Line, a rail line that stretches to downtown LA. Long Beach is aiming for the title of America’s most bicycle-friendly city by opening 130 miles of bike roadways and lanes where bikes and cars share the road. And residents of South Bay cities including Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance are leaving their cars in the driveway and experimenting with the use of small electric vehicles to get around town. Many USC researchers say an idiosyncratic network of transit solutions catering to each neighborhood’s unique needs may be the most effective one. As LA builds more rail and cities experiment with bicycle sharing and electric cars, USC scholars will be watching to see what works. Boarnet is studying households in the shadow of the new Expo Line, outfitting residents with GPS monitors to measure whether they are traveling more by rail, walking more or driving less and thus emitting fewer greenhouse gases. “Fifty years ago our transportation job was to do one thing—build highways to support this new product, the car. Now our task is developing lots of small neighborhood-oriented solutions, and in that world, we need to get really good at evaluating them,” Boarnet says. “This is what we as a faculty do: We’re looking out beyond the curve and developing ideas that will be important five or 10 years down the road,” Boarnet says. “It’s a central way in which USC helps improve the lives of people.”

People Movers USC researchers study and influence the future of LA’s public transportation in many ways. Here are a few of the players. THE ACTIVIST SCHOLAR: NAJMEDIN MESHKATI Initial plans called for the Exposition light rail line to run past Dorsey High School—which enrolls more than 1,600 students—with trains speeding up to 55 miles per hour before crossing Farmdale Avenue. Engineering professor Najm Meshkati MS ’78, PhD ’83 volunteered hundreds of hours alongside community activists, conducted extensive research, wrote long testimonies and appeared at hearings to call for increased safety measures. The activists didn’t get their firstchoice solution, but they were happy with a compromise: a station next to the high school that would bring the train to a full stop. “It was David against the big Goliath,” Meshkati says. “We prevailed, we won the battle.” Meshkati is also among a research team of USC Viterbi scholars working with commuter line Metrolink to evaluate its implementation of “positive train control,” which would potentially avoid collisions by overriding unsafe decisions made by train crews. THE PASSENGER: LISA SCHWEITZER The USC Price School’s Lisa Schweitzer takes public transit nearly everywhere. In fact, she doesn’t know how to drive a car. “This gives me a unique perspective,” Schweitzer says. She recently analyzed how people across the country talk about their public transit on Twitter, and found that the closest analogue to the overwhelmingly negative comments was the ire the public directs toward uncomfortable airplane seats. “There are so many things that would surprise people if they were to prioritize transit access where they choose to live,” Schweitzer says. For example, LA’s Metro, which has higher ridership than the San Francisco Bay Area’s venerated BART system, is remarkably peaceful, Schweitzer says. “I really wish people would just try it.” THE INVENTOR: PETROS IOANNOU A USC parking structure houses engineering professor Petros Ioannou’s tricked-out Audi A8, equipped with sensors, radar, cameras, Wi-Fi and a trunk full of computers. Ioannou is nearing the end of three years of research with Volkswagen Group’s Electronics Research Laboratory and colleagues from three other top universities to create a smart car that will help drivers find parking and predict and avoid traffic congestion. The “intelligent assist” system would also link real-time traffic data with bus or train schedules to tell a driver when it’s faster or cheaper to take public transit, Ioannou says.

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our guide to los angeles culture

Essential LA USC experts on local lore give their lowdown on Los Angeles culture. BY ROBERT BRADFORD

Where do you begin to capture the essence of a place that has been interminably referenced in popular culture? Does it start musically—with the Doors’ “L.A. Woman” or Tom Waits growling about “Heartattack and Vine”? Maybe it’s Randy Newman’s tongue-in-cheek anthem “I Love LA.” USC Trojan Family Magazine asked six faculty members to settle that question and many more: What are the fi lms, books, places and moments that define USC’s home of Los Angeles? The faculty members come from vastly different backgrounds, but they all live in Los Angeles and have long thought about the ethos of this enigmatic place.

CHRIS FREEMAN, associate professor (teaching) of English at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Freeman, who teaches USC’s popular “Los Angeles Stories” class, fell in love with Los Angeles when he first came to the city 20 years ago.

ASK THE DUST by John Fante “Fante chronicles life in Bunker Hill in 1930s downtown. A great comingof-age story in the early history of Los Angeles.”


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A SINGLE MAN by Christopher Isherwood “It anticipates multicultural LA in every way. Breezy, beautiful, poignant.”

IF HE HOLLERS LET HIM GO by Chester Himes “This is a furious book about black LA in the 1940s—the literary equivalent of Boyz N the Hood. Himes tells a history of LA that you can’t find anywhere else.”

PLAY IT AS IT LAYS by Joan Didion “It’s more of a Hollywood book than an LA book. It really captures the culture of late 1960s Hollywood.”

LOVE, WEST HOLLYWOOD: REFLECTIONS OF LOS ANGELES Edited by Chris Freeman and James J. Berg “A collection of very personal stories that sheds light on the history of gay LA. Contributors range in age from 16 to 85.”

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Five LA books that everyone should read


A Defining Cultural Moment: Marvin Gaye Sings the National Anthem

Five essential LA films LEO BRAUDY, University Professor and Leo S. Bing Chair in English and American Literature at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Braudy is among America’s leading cultural historians and film critics.

L.A. Confidential “Director Curtis Hanson provides a superb sense of place for the neighborhoods of 1950s LA.” Chinatown “Roman Polanksi’s powerful tale of the early development of Los Angeles and its love-hate relation with water.” Kiss Me Deadly “This classic Mike Hammer detective story has so many great LA locations, especially in Bunker Hill, that were later destroyed in the 1960s.”

Rebel Without a Cause “People often don’t think of this as particularly an LA movie, but it brilliantly captures the youth and car culture of the city in the 1950s.” Mulholland Drive “David Lynch’s ambitious movie is about the dream and myth of Hollywood. I really like his use of garden apartments, which are so typical of LA.”

“In 1983, Marvin Gaye strolled out to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in Inglewood for the NBA All-Star Game. Cool as a polar bear’s toenails, rocking a slick double-breasted suit and wearing a pair of mirrored sunglasses, Marvin infused this ritual of American sports with a laidback yet soulful essence, while casting a musical spell over the crowd. This fusion of hipness and basketball was now cast in stone. At the height of the Reagan era, Marvin Gaye had remixed the American Dream with his voice, turning what could have been another clichéd performance into one for the ages. As he reached the last verse, some shouted, while others clapped along in unison. The All-Stars gathered on the floor were most visibly moved. Suffice it to say, Marvin Gaye had taken the Forum to church. “Viewers fully recognized that they had just witnessed history. Then-Lakers Coach Pat Riley, who was coaching the Western Conference All-Stars that day, would say later of Gaye’s performance: ‘When he took off, I morphed into an American.’” TODD BOYD, the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for Study of Race and Popular Culture at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. A distinguished scholar, prolific author, ubiquitous media commentator, consultant and producer, Boyd is an expert on race, media, hip-hop culture and sports.

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See a complete list of top 10 LA albums and films at tfm.usc. edu/2013-essentialLA and submit your thoughts on iconic LA books, music and more at

JOSH KUN, associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He recently collaborated with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles to create the Southern California Sheet Music Collection of the Los Angeles Public Library, which is featured in his new book Songs in the Key of Los Angeles.


BOPLAND The Legendary Elks Concert (1947) “A rare live glimpse of one of the most legendary nights in Central Avenue jazz history, featuring the breakout horn battle between Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray that helps cement LA as a bebop laboratory.”

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THE BEACH BOYS Smile (1966-67) “The Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks masterpiece of hallucinatory sandbox pop—‘a teenage symphony to God’—that is still best known as the most influential unreleased album of all time.”

X Los Angeles (1980) “The galvanizing spark of the LA punk scene, produced by The Doors’ Ray Manzarek, that served up a city on fire, nauseous and angry and a glorious mess.”

NWA Straight Outta Compton (1988) “Equal parts South Central documentary, critique and mythology, the album that put gangsta rap on the national map and prophesied the LA uprisings five years later.”

LOS LOBOS Kiko (1992) “The Chicano icons who once called themselves ‘just another band from East LA’ perfectly captured LA as a corner of Latin American and Pacific Rim culture and aesthetics on this landmark mix of the real and surreal.”

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Five iconic LA albums

our guide to los angeles culture


The Los Angeles you never knew

Where do you take Uncle Frank from Brooklyn?

LAURA PULIDO, professor of American studies and ethnicity at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and a thirdgeneration Angeleno. Pulido, with colleagues Laura Barraclough and Wendy Cheng, wrote A People’s Guide to Los Angeles, which offers alternatives to LA’s tourist destinations focused on power. Here are three.

DOWNEY BLOCK, 312 N. SPRING ST. “During the 1850s and 1860s, LA’s indigenous people were routinely incarcerated for loitering, drunkenness and begging. On most Mondays, a local administrator auctioned off imprisoned Indians for one week of servitude. The ironically named California Act for the Government and Protection of Indians of 1850 allowed any white person to post bail for convicted Indians, whom he could then require to pay off the fine by working for him—a new form of slave labor. According to [historian] George Harwood Phillips, in 1850 the Los Angeles Common Council declared, ‘When the city has no work in which to employ the chain gang, the Recorder shall, by means of notices conspicuously posted, notify the public that such a number of prisoners will be auctioned off to the highest bidder for private service.’ The location is now the site of a federal courthouse.” MUSICIANS UNION HALL (LOCAL 47), 817 VINE ST. “Local 47 was the first musicians union in the United States that, from segregated origins, became racially integrated. Local 47, the white or, more accurately, non-black union (it allowed Mexican Americans), was established in 1897, and Local 767, the ‘Negro Local’ was formed in 1918. In recognition of the membership’s general desire to eliminate segregation, both locals voted for amalgamation. On April 1, 1953, all Los Angeles union musicians became part of Local 47.”

AMERICA TROPICAL OPRIMIDA Y DESTROZADA POR LOS IMPERIALISMOS MURAL, 644 ½ MAIN ST. “America Tropical (for short) was painted by David Alfaro Siqueiros, one of the great Mexican muralists, and is considered to be the first outdoor public painting in Los Angeles. City elites wanted Siqueiros to depict a colorful (and apolitical) scene of Mexican peasant life that would appeal to tourists. Instead Siqueiros, who painted the mural while in exile in Los Angeles, featured a crucified Mexican laborer under the boot of U.S. capitalist interests. Within a week of its unveiling, it was whitewashed. In 2012 a viewing station and exhibit were completed that allow the public to learn more about the mural and its history.”

“When friends or family come in from out of town, my husband and I take them on a car tour. We start at Union Station, go north to Cesar Chavez, hang a left on Sunset, and continue to the Pacific Ocean. On the way back, we take Mulholland Drive until we reach the end and make our way back on Cahuenga. Along the way, you get a sense of the varied LA architecture, places and restaurants. You get a sense of the iconic neighborhoods of Hollywood, Echo Park or Beverly Hills. There’s the Church of Scientology building, the Viper Room, Chateau Marmont, Rodeo Drive. The views from Mulholland Drive are spectacular—you’re simultaneously looking at the Valley and at Los Angeles and the city feels so expansive and atmospheric. Driving is the best way to see LA, and this drive really shows you the city and its many contradictions—affluence and seediness, natural beauty juxtaposed to urbanity, the real Los Angeles and the imagined.”

ELIZABETH CURRIDHALKETT, associate professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy. She has written extensively about arts, culture and economic development in LA and New York.

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A DEGREE IN DISRUPTION Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young (Dr. Dre) invest $70 million to prepare USC students who’ll shape the future. BY ALICIA DI RADO

Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young (aka Dr. Dre) are music industry titans. Young is an iconic music producer and artist who has sold millions of records. Iovine has produced some of the seminal albums in rock and pop history and co-founded one of the most successful record companies. Together they created a thriving business empire combining design and sound engineering. But the tie that binds these business partners and friends goes beyond music: It’s their ongoing quest to develop creative genius in others. When they’ve sensed brilliance in artists, they’ve coaxed and challenged them toward greatness. It was Young who pushed Eminem to perfect the raw rhymes that made the rapper a breakout star; it was Iovine who spent countless bleary-eyed hours at a console teasing out the right bolts of sound for the likes of classic rock icons such as Tom Petty. PHOTO BY DAVID ZENTZ

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Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, set to enroll its first students in fall 2014. Nikias describes the academy as an environment for unique undergraduate students whose interests span fields including marketing, entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design, and the arts. The four-year program will draw students who want to create new art forms, technologies and business models. “The lines between technology and the arts are starting to become blurred—in a great way,” Iovine told the media. To take advantage of these intersections, the academy brings together top faculty from the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Roski School of Fine Arts, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Thornton School of Music. Industry experts also will appear as visiting faculty and guest speakers. Erica Muhl, dean of USC Roski, is the academy’s inaugural director. Muhl remembers when Iovine and Young first approached USC with the idea. Iovine told her about two technically gifted employees at Beats who also keenly understood the arts and pop culture, and he wished there were a way to identify and develop students with similar promise. “He thought a lot about how, in this generation, there are probably a lot of kids who share these types of ideas, these backgrounds and these abilities and interests,” Muhl says, “and how amazing it would be if there were some place that was dedicated to allowing them to grow their skills and to giving them the perspective to apply those skills in innovative ways.” Muhl was on the same wavelength as Iovine and Young immediately. As someone who grew up in the entertainment industry, she keenly understood intersections among the arts, business and technology, and their ability to shift culture. She also knew that USC was ready to bring these worlds together.

INTRODUCING THE ACADEMY The news hit broadsheets and mobile phones before sunrise May 16. “Two Musical Minds Seek a Different Kind of Mogul,” declared The New York Times. put it simply: “Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre Donate $70 million to USC.” Later that morning, USC President C. L. Max Nikias stepped to a podium at a press conference at a recording studio in Santa Monica, Calif. Nikias was eager to announce Iovine’s and Young’s gift, one of the most recent highlights to the $6 billion Campaign for the University of Southern California and the impetus for a new program. “When you look across the landscape of USC’s history, you can point to a handful of milestones that have transformed our entire academic community. Today we mark the beginning of something revolutionary—something disruptive that will provide a unique education for a very special type of student,” Nikias told reporters. He was introducing the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for

NO LIMITS Nikias likens the USC Iovine and Young Academy to Plato’s Academy, an exclusive 4th century B.C. club for great thinkers that tackled questions from politics to science. Perhaps USC’s academy is an entrepreneurial version for the modern world. Its mission certainly fits with USC’s increasingly interdisciplinary ambitions. Nikias and fellow USC leaders are committed to fostering experimentation in the arts as well as collaboration among engineers,


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Victorious Erica Muhl, left, Jimmy Iovine, Andre Young and C. L. Max Nikias are eager to watch USC students’ creativity flourish.


Their quest for uncompromising authenticity and cultural relevance propelled the pair in their music careers. But it also launched them to nearly immediate success as they’ve expanded into other fields—most notably when they started Beats by Dr. Dre, a high-end audio product line that’s the standard-bearer for their company, Beats Electronics. Iovine and Young believe the cultural, technological and commercial horizon “The lines bebelongs to innovators who cross boundaries tween technolwithout fear. It’s in the grasp of those who spot the next Lady Gaga in a sea of artistic ogy and the sameness. It’s the domain of those who, arts are startlike Apple’s late Steve Jobs, recognize that ing to become the combination of design and technology blurred—in a can change the world. great way.” But the two men also recognize a challenge: It’s hard to find these innovators. —Jimmy Iovine Where are the brilliant problem solvers with an eye for business, technology and the arts—the passionate people who’ll form the lifeblood of burgeoning entertainment and media ventures like Beats? Where are the convention-defying wizards who can squeeze the zeitgeist and shake out the digital future? To nurture the next generation of prodigies, Iovine and Young turned to a Los Angeles partner that has unique expertise and, more importantly, a similar ultimate goal. They found USC.

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scientists, humanists and entrepreneurs. Among the examples: USC Viterbi launched an effort with a Silicon Valley venture capital firm and a top Beverly Hills, Calif., talent and literary agency to launch startups among USC students and alumni; and USC’s video game program combines engineering, cinema, design, entrepreneurship and storytelling. Ultimately, the academy’s collaborative teaching aims to arm USC’s students with the skills, inspiration and vision to predict future-shaping technologies and artistic trends. “Flexibility is a hallmark of USC, and the academy’s curriculum is incredibly adaptive,” Muhl says. “The curriculum was created to take full advantage of a newly designed, revolutionary educational space that will offer students very powerful tools. Academy students will have the freedom to move easily from classroom to lab, from studio to workshop, individually or in groups, and blow past any academic or structural barriers to spontaneous creativity. “The academy’s core education will create a common, multilingual literacy and fluency across essential disciplines,” she continues. “This ‘big picture’ knowledge and skill will equip graduates with a leadership perspective that is unparalleled in an undergraduate degree, and that will be applicable to virtually any industry.”

Honorary Doctor Commencement speaker Jimmy Iovine urged USC graduates in May to work their way up from the bottom and take advantage of opportunities.

AT HOME IN LA Los Angeles, a global center for the arts and new media and a technology hotbed, is a natural home for the academy. After all, one of the academy’s namesakes is Straight Outta Compton. That’s the title of the landmark 1988 hip-hop album by N.W.A., the group that first shot Dr. Dre to music fame. His Compton, Calif., hometown lies just south of USC’s University Park Campus. He was an architect of West Coast rap; in 1992, he released his solo debut, the G-funk masterpiece The Chronic, which Rolling Stone hailed as one of the greatest albums ever made. With the launch of his own record company, Aftermath Entertainment, in 1996, Dr. Dre went on to discover and nurture such next-generation hip-hop superstars as Eminem, Snoop Dogg “Flexibility is and Kendrick Lamar. a hallmark Though Iovine hails from Brooklyn, N.Y., and got his start of USC, and at a New York recording studio, he’s now a Los Angeles fixture as well. The co-founder of Interscope Records is one of the music the academy’s industry’s most accomplished and respected leaders. Iovine began curriculum his four-decade career as a recording engineer, working with the is incredibly likes of John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. As record producer, he was instrumental in the career breakthroughs of artists such as adaptive.” Patti Smith, U2, Stevie Nicks, Dire Straits and The Pretenders. —Erica Muhl Interscope has been the home to some of music’s greatest artists, including Lady Gaga, Eminem, U2, Nine Inch Nails and The Black Eyed Peas as well as his now-business-partner, Dr. Dre. In 2008, Iovine and Young co-founded Beats Electronics, a high-performance headphone and sound transmission company intent on recapturing the fidelity of the studio. About 40 percent of the billion-dollar headphone industry now belongs to Beats, and the company is now expanding into computers, smartphones and car audio systems. Despite the company’s success and the duo’s Grammy Awards and their influence on pop culture, Young understands that their best work may lie ahead of them. Says Young of the academy: “I feel like this is the biggest, most exciting and probably the most important thing that I’ve done in my career.”

HARD WORK AND HUMILITY Jimmy Iovine received an honorary doctorate and delivered the commencement speech at USC in May. A video of his full speech can be found at, but this excerpt encapsulates Iovine’s drive to innovate. I was lucky enough to get to know Steve Jobs from Apple. I was representing Universal Music dealing with iTunes. After three years of hanging around Steve and the team at Apple, I thought I could learn a lot from these guys. They were breaking new ground. They were changing the game. And they were winning. I noticed how Steve took all the music and videos from the world and built a beautiful shiny white thing called the iPod to play them on. We loved this shiny little white thing. The only part my friend, Dr. Dre, and I didn’t like was the shiny white earbuds that came with the shiny white iPod because they sounded terrible. Sound wasn’t Apple’s focus. So we thought, What if we make a beautiful shiny black thing so you can properly hear what’s in Steve’s shiny little white thing? So with my friend, Dr. Dre, there we had the beginning of Beats. It wasn’t that simple, but you get the idea. I learned even at 50, I had to be a beginner again—and that’s as Zen-like a statement as you’ll ever hear from me. So who believed that Dr. Dre and I could sell hardware? No one. But we believed in ourselves. We harnessed our fear into power and turned it into action. Today each one of you has an excellent reason to believe in yourself. You’ve earned a degree from USC. You are graduating from one of the greatest universities in the world. Remember when you grew up hearing about people who are privileged? Congratulations, you are now officially privileged. Because you know what privileged means—it means you have an edge. And whatever your background, wherever you come from, you now have the undeniable edge of a first-class education. But please remember this—your diploma does not represent the end of your education, but the beginning of your continuing education. Continue to listen and learn with humility, not hubris. Because that diploma you hold in your hands today is really just your learner’s permit for the rest of the drive through life. Remember, you don’t have to be smarter than the next person. All you have to do is be willing to work harder than the next person.

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Visit to learn more about how Ostrow dentists make a difference.

Tooth Squad USC dentists are giving LA’s children more than just a bright smile: Studies now link oral health to school success. by candace pearson

Two-year-old Joseph Pacheco shakes his head—a definite “no”—when USC volunteer dentist Vanessa Beer asks him to open wide for a dental screening. Joseph doesn’t know it, but he’s part of an ambitious community intervention by the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, which is determined to reach more than 46,000 disadvantaged Los Angeles kids over the next five years and improve their odds of success in life—one healthy smile at a time. Beer gently encourages Joseph, who squirms in the lap of his mother, Claudia Castellano, at the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) St. Andrews Place Clinic in South LA. Beer introduces Joseph to a friendly stuffed dragon toy and offers him a giant toothbrush to brush the dragon’s teeth. “Fun!” Joseph laughs, and willingly opens his own mouth. “That’s the kind of reaction we want— a positive experience that will pave the way for lifelong dental visits,” says Michele A. Aeck, clinical professor and outreach director of the Ostrow School’s newest kid-centric program: Children’s Health and Maintenance Project Plus (CHAMP+). With CHAMP+, the school is getting the word out that the earlier a child sees a dentist, the better. The American Dental Association recommends the first dental visit take place by age 1. Beer’s advice to Joseph’s mom could shape Joseph’s childhood health and more. She advises Castellano to avoid letting Joseph fall asleep at night with a baby bottle in his mouth—and to replace cavityproducing milk or juice with water. Beer also shows her how to examine her children’s teeth using a plastic dental mirror provided in the goodie bag that each family receives after a visit.


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The Ostrow School team also gives her a CHAMP+ card and a list of referrals to community dentists. The goal: to make sure each family finds a permanent “dental home”—an affordable dental office they’ll visit regularly for care and prevention. “If we can give families with young children information about oral health and help them locate dental homes, we can use education and prevention to stop disease before it starts instead of repairing the damage,” says Roseann Mulligan MS ’87, associate dean for community health programs and hospital affairs at the Ostrow School and principal investigator of the CHAMP+ project. In 2000, a landmark report by the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that disadvantaged children face a “silent epidemic” in oral health, with dental decay being the single most common childhood disease. Nearly three of every four disadvantaged children countywide in 2010 had dental caries or tooth decay, according to research by Mulligan and Ostrow School co-investigators Hazem Seirawan MS ’04 (now in private practice) and Sharon Faust. Last year, a follow-up to that study found that kids who reported tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average and missed significantly more school than children without dental problems. According to the LA Unified School District, dental pain is the No. 1 reason given for absence from school— which influences everything from school funding to test scores. “Common wisdom tells us that pain leads to poor performance,” Mulligan notes. “Now we have the evidence to prove it and to intervene.” In its first year, the precursor program

to CHAMP+ saw about 3,000 kids. Now the program aims to screen about 15 times that many, thanks to more than $18 million in funding from First 5 LA, a nonprofit organization that invests state tobacco tax revenues in services for children from birth to age 5. USC’s effort is part of First 5 LA’s children’s dental health project, which aims to serve at least 95,000 children and their families in Los Angeles County over the next five years. It means USC can deploy more teams to screen and teach low-income families about oral health at WIC and Early Head Start centers throughout LA. CHAMP+ teams include dental professionals, promotoras (primarily Latino educators who promote health in the community), benefits enrollment counselors and interns from the USC School of Social Work. USC dental health advocates will also see patients at a new, four-chair dental clinic at the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center. The collaboration with the Violence Intervention Program will provide a dental home for 15,000 kids in foster care. The Ostrow School will also ramp up anesthesia services at the dental clinics operated by St. John’s Well Child and Family Centers near USC. CHAMP+ grew out of the Ostrow School’s longstanding tradition of community involvement, dating back to 1965, when its first community clinic opened after the Watts Riots. The school’s “program on wheels” debuted in 1968 with the USC Mobile Dental Clinic, which travels throughout Central and Southern California. Today, the Ostrow School’s initiative has grown into one of the largest, most robust efforts of any dental school nationwide, delivering more than $7 million in free oral care to people of all ages. At least 75 percent of its community services target underserved youth. These programs include the USC/QueensCare Mobile Dental Program, a collaboration that brings free comprehensive dental care to low-income children in grades 2-5 in Hollywood elementary schools. Through the Neighborhood Mobile Dental Clinic—the only preventive mobile program in LA—dental hygiene students visit 15 USC partner elementary schools to offer dental screenings, oral health educaautumn 2013


tion and preventive sealants. “For many of these kids, this is their Brush Up first time in a dental setting—that’s huge,” says Carlos Sanchez ’08, Ostrow School dentist Vanessa Beer gets program co-director. Joseph Pacheco (left USC experts reach out to community physicians, nurses and image) and Jasmine dentists with information about the special dental issues of very Aguilar (bottom right) young kids, in hopes of encouraging more dentists to treat the started early on dental care. underserved. This is important because many dentists don’t take the kind of insurance (Denti-Cal) these families can get, so many kids don’t receive the care they need. The school has also added two more spots in its postdoctoral pediatric dentistry residency program, with the goal of inspiring “Participating more students to enter the specialty. in the clinService to disadvantaged kids and adults is a routine part of clinical training. But Ostrow School students regularly volunteer ics definitely for community service far above the school’s requirements. And makes you they clearly appreciate the real-world skills they learn. In 2012, 88 a better denpercent of graduating seniors ranked community health programs as one of the school’s greatest assets in preparing them to practice. tist—you gain “Participating in the clinics definitely makes you a better a better undentist—you gain a better understanding of patients. That’s espe- derstanding of cially important in working with kids,” says Conan Teng DDS patients.” ’13. “Besides, it’s fun!” Sumeet Srivastava DDS ’13 also volunteered for community —Conan Teng programs during his time at USC. For three years, he coordinated the USC Dental Humanitarian Outreach Program, a student-run nonprofit that organizes trips to serve the dental needs of poor communities around the world.

This spring, Srivastava treated a 15-year-old boy who’d been coming to the USC Mobile Dental Clinic since he was 8. At first, the boy had lots of cavities, but now, as a teen, he’s in perfect dental health. And he’s even thinking about going to dental school. “You’re able to have an impact on kids’ futures beyond dental health,” Srivastava says. Back at the WIC center in South LA, 3-year-old Jasmine Aguilar is contemplating her future. Should she take home a Winnie the Pooh toothbrush or a Toy Story toothbrush after her screening? She carefully watches Beer, her USC dentist, count the dragon’s teeth. Then she lets Beer count her own baby teeth, too. After Jasmine’s dad gets a quick lesson on brushing techniques and encouragement to take Jasmine to a community dentist, the little girl jumps off the dentist’s chair. Her decision is made: Winnie the Pooh will be helping her brush her teeth from now on.

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Los Angeles by the Book Three highly regarded USC novelists draw from the city’s eccentrics and ordinary folk for their inspiration. But that doesn’t mean they have LA all figured out. BY DIANE KRIEGER PHOTOGRAPHS BY CODY PICKENS

It was the 1970s and Judith Freeman was living in Sun Valley, Idaho, a ski instructor and horse wrangler by day, an aspiring writer by night. She’d never set foot in Los Angeles, yet she knew instinctively she needed to go there to become a serious wordsmith. “For me, Los Angeles was the only choice,” says the now-established novelist, nonfiction author and USC faculty member. “Not San Francisco. Not Seattle. Los Angeles is the place of reinvention. If you turned America up like a tea kettle and poured it out, this is where we would end up.”

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Why LA? Playwright Brighde Mullins, chair of USC’S Master of Professional Writing program, posed that question to fellow authors on a Los Angeles-themed panel at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last spring. Why this place? For novelist Dana Johnson ’92, an associate professor in English and creative writing at USC, it was purely an accident of birth. Born in South LA and coming of age in nearby West Covina, Johnson can conceive of no other backdrop for her fiction. “All I know is it’s my home,” she says of the city. “I love everything about it. I love the landscape, the culture, the fact that you can’t pin it down.” For novelist Richard Rayner, a lecturer in USC’s Master of Professional Writing program, it began with an adolescent crush of sorts. Marooned in an “industrial hellhole,” as he describes his home of Bradford in northern England, Rayner found escape, Judith Freeman, left, beauty and solace in the noir fiction of Dana Johnson and Richard Rayner have Raymond Chandler and the sunbaked used their experiences gloom of writers Nathanael West, Christo- to inform their writing. pher Isherwood, Joan Didion and Thomas Pynchon. “I became infatuated with Los Angeles first through books, not movies; I conceived of the city as a literary artifact,” he wrote in a 2011 article for the Los Angeles Review of Books. The transplant. The native. The expat. Freeman, Johnson and Rayner are but three voices in a chorus of thousands paying cacophonous homage to the city through words. Each different, each seeking to understand Los Angeles, hoping—through keen observation and deft storytelling—to “LA is full distill its essence. of yearnWatching them at work, you begin to ing—people appreciate the enormity of the task. What London was to the 19th century wanting to and New York to the 20th, Los Angeles is transform to the present day—the meeting place and themselves.” melting pot of the postmodern world, a sprawling landscape of 10 million souls, —Judith Freeman exuberantly multiethnic, doggedly multifaith, incomprehensibly polyglot. It all seems so unknowable. Yet novelists do try to know it, intimately, neighborhood by neighborhood, voice by voice.

“Everybody comes to this city for a reason,” says Freeman, who arrived in a pickup truck in 1977. “The trope is to ‘reinvent yourself.’ But what does that really mean? To change yourself from a ski instructor to


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a writer. A Vietnamese refugee to a doctor. LA is full of yearning—people wanting to transform themselves.” Freeman’s first novel, The Chinchilla Farm, mirrored her own journey from a narrow Mormon upbringing to the kaleidoscopic variety of LA. “Sometimes an outsider comes at it with a tremendous curiosity and freshness,” she says of her peculiar vantage point on the city, “a willingness to cross all kinds of boundaries.” She took to the mean streets with fearless abandon, befriending groups of homeless men in Lafayette Park, taking snapshots of drug users, prostitutes and ordinary people on her daily bike rides through the Rampart neighborhood. Marriage to noted Los Angeles photographer Anthony Hernandez, a Boyle Heights native, helped Freeman see in new ways. After 30 years living in their MacArthur Park flat, she knows the area well. Johnson, as a native Angeleno, didn’t have to go looking for material. She sketched what she’d observed her whole life—the habits of ordinary, working-class people. “I’m tired of Hollywood,” she complains. “I’m interested in stories that are less about billboards and driving down Sunset Boulevard, about nightclubs and Bimmers. For lots of natives, particularly natives of color or working-class natives, that has nothing to do with anything we know about our hometown.” As a black writer, she’s also responding to a dearth of stories about the post-civil rights era African-American experience in California. “I feel our challenge as writers is to not do the default thing and write about the familiar territory that’s already been covered,” says Johnson, who teaches fiction workshops and a General Education course on girlhood, and has taught courses on the graphic novel and on ethnic-American literature. Sitting in her Taper Hall office, behind her sturdy bookshelf overflowing with fiction, her collection of “I Love Lucy” memorabilia artfully arranged on a low cabinet, Johnson seems at ease, on home turf. She is, after all, a USC alumna, and the university is a recurring backdrop in her 2012 debut novel, Elsewhere, California. Ten years in the writing, the book received unanimous praise. It traces a single day in the life of 40-year-old Avery—a beguilingly complicated woman—interspersed with formative memories from her early childhood through young adulthood. autumn 2013

Her current project is set in downtown LA. Still in the early stages of composition, Johnson is mum about the details. “I’ve lived downtown for eight years now,” she says, “and it’s so different from when I first moved there. I’m really fascinated with the architecture, the history, who lived there when, who moved out when.”

Learn more about these USC authors at, where you’ll find book excerpts and tidbits about LA’s literary scene. Share your comments on this story at

Though best known as the world’s entertainment capital, Los Angeles also has a distinguished literary tradition. What Charles Dickens did for London, Honoré de Balzac for Paris and James Joyce for Dublin, a trio of Los Angeles authors arguably accomplished in 1939. Raymond Chandler, Nathanael West and John Fante each published an urban masterpiece that year, putting the city firmly on the literary map with The Big Sleep, The Day of the Locust and Ask the Dust. Freeman, who has taught writing courses at USC since 1996, credits Chandler with revealing the city to her. She returned the favor by revealing Chandler to the city. Her 2012 nonfiction book The Long Embrace investigates Chandler’s unconventional marriage to a much-older woman and the couple’s vagabond existence in the “We’re going Southland, moving more than 40 times in 30 years. to go on seeChandler is a figure of fascination for USC’s Richard Rayner ing more and as well. Rayner wrote several detective novels in the 1990s inspired by Chandler’s Philip Marlow mysteries. Rayner’s most recent more defininonfiction book, A Bright and Guilty Place (2009), resurrects the tions of what crime and corruption of Chandler’s day. the LA novel Like Rayner and Freeman, Chandler was an outsider. Born can be. It can in Chicago, he spent his formative years in Great Britain. Both transplant and expat, he transformed himself by some weird be anything.” alchemy into the troubadour of mid-century LA noir. Elevating —Richard Rayner the hackneyed genre of detective fiction to new heights, he—along with West, Fante and F. Scott Fitzgerald—pioneered what we now think of as LA literature. Johnson’s favorite LA writer is also an expat and transplant: Henry Charles Bukowski. The German-born, South LA-reared poet and fiction writer, whom Time magazine dubbed the “laureate of American lowlife,” was the subject of the film Barfly. “I always thought of LA as having a million different genres of writing,” Rayner says. “There was very obviously the Hollywood novel, the expatriate novel, the immigrant novel, the workingclass novel …” Recently, Rayner was struck anew by the infinite possibilities. He points to one of his MPW students, a young man from a Filipino immigrant family who is currently crafting an LA gay novel. “We’re going to go on seeing more and more definitions of what the LA novel can be,” Rayner says. “It can be anything.”

As Freeman puts it, “Writers are gleaners—we gather material.” And in Los Angeles, there’s no better place to glean than the city bus. She, Rayner and Johnson each regularly climb aboard Metro, ears primed and notebook in hand. “When you are on the bus, you really hear the voices of the city,” Freeman says. A novel with the working title Bus has long been on her to-do list. Rayner’s first novel, LA Without a Map, is heavily indebted

to public transportation. Based on the author’s real-life fling with a Playboy bunny—“a love affair gone horribly wrong, like a Marx Brothers comedy”—the novel conjoins the love affair with many notebooks’ worth of reporting he did on the bus. He likens the final product to “Evelyn Waugh meets Hunter S. Thompson.” For Rayner, riding the bus was a matter of necessity, not choice. He never learned to drive. In his earliest LA writing gigs, celebrity interviews for Time Out magazine, glitz collided with grit on his long bus rides from downtown to Bel Air. “Without thinking about it at the time, I knew this was a very good way to see the city,” Rayner says. His passenger’s-eye view of the city grew darker as a breaking news assignment found him riding through South LA during the 1992 LA riots. Later, a 1995 investigative piece for the New York Times Magazine landed him and a photographer in the backseat of police squad cars. “We spent two weeks in Venice waiting for a murder to happen, and then when we got to Rampart we saw someone die in front of our eyes in 30 seconds,” he says of that experience. His books fed off his reporting, moving into the realm of detective fiction and true-crime histories. But Hollywood still fascinates Rayner, who is married to Finnish filmmaker Paivi Suvilehto. (Their oldest son is now a sophomore at USC, double-majoring in music and international relations.) Today, Rayner has one foot in the literary world, the other in Hollywood. His last nonfiction book, A Bright and Guilty Place, was optioned by Christopher Nolan (of Man of Steel and the Dark Knight trilogy). His current project resurrects the brilliant but wildly controversial filmmaker D.W. Griffith, and it’s already been optioned by filmmaker Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, the Bourne series), a college friend of Rayner’s from Cambridge. But writing about this city is more than noir, grit, glitz, the ordinarily everyday and the extraordinarily bizarre. “LA writing means so many different things,” says Rayner. Like the city itself, the literature only gets richer and harder to pin down. usc trojan family


S PAC E S C H O O L In Los Angeles, the aerospace industry gets a boost from USC graduates with hands-on experience. Here’s how a unique program is taking off. BY K AT H A R I N E G A M M O N

CAERUS SERC’s first CubeSat launched December 2010 on the Falcon 9 Dragon mission by SpaceX. It was a rapid-response mission designed, manufactured, integrated and tested within six months. Photos courtesy of USC’s Space Engineering Research Center.


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Tim Barrett is crouched over a desk in his garage with a countdown in his head. “It’s coming in two minutes,” he warns, furiously typing into one of three laptops precariously balanced on the wheeled desk in the alley behind his Playa del Rey home. A few feet away, a 10-foot parabolic tracking antenna pointed skyward starts to swivel. The antenna is following a miniaturized satellite called Aeneas—a USC student project built with both purchased off-the-shelf and custom-made circuits— that’s about to pass overhead in low earth orbit, beaming down its digital vital signs. “Every day is a new day,” Barrett says with a laugh. “And one of these days it’s going to stop talking to us.” After all, three months is generally considered the lifespan of a CubeSat, a satellite about the volume of a quart-sized carton of milk. As Barrett waits for it, Aeneas (named after the Trojan warrior who personifies duty and courage, naturally) already has flown for more than nine months. With a blip on the screen, accompanied by a modem screech, the satellite comes through. “It’s talking to us, telling us, ‘I’m alive. My batteries are OK,’” says Barrett, associate director of USC’s Space

Engineering Research Center (SERC). In lines of code, the satellite sends back its rudimentary heartbeat and vitals in a series of six messages. Only a few universities nationwide could host this kind of student-driven space project. USC is the only university in the U.S. that offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in astronautical engineering, and SERC drives innovation by giving young engineers the tools to put their fresh ideas into practice. Part of SERC’s strength comes from its location in Los Angeles, historically a hub of aerospace and astronautics. The local space industry has changed dramatically since the Cold War, as large companies with military ties have gotten leaner and adventurous private firms such as SpaceX, in El Segundo, Calif., have moved in. But one requirement of the industry remains constant: its need for skilled and highly trained engineers who dream of shooting their ever-more-powerful handiworks into space. Before economic belt-tightening hit the field, it cost $6 million just to build a satellite and $20 million to launch it. That’s changed. As the space industry autumn 2013

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moves toward building smaller, cheaper and smarter projects that draw on the creative thinking of engineering minds, USC is uniquely poised to jettison graduates into a brave new space world. A ‘TEACHING HOSPITAL’ FOR SPACE RESEARCH In 2006, SERC grew out of a need for hands-on training for the aerospace industry, says Joseph Kunc, the center’s director. “The reason industry likes it so much is that when the students enter the labor force, they have been trained to work on all subsystems in a rotating manner. You work on the power, on the engine system, then on the communication system and so forth.” Students who work with SERC get a unique experience by building and testing equipment and systems that will actually fly in space. They learn from industry engineers who come to USC from local firms. Kunc points out that the center is nimble enough to move as industry changes direction, so students are prepared for different projects. “We keep very intense and close ties with industry to create training that’s


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In Orbit USC’s first CubeSat, Aeneas, was named after one of the greatest Trojan heroes. It was launched in September 2012 atop an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Aeneas orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes and has the world’s largest parabolic antenna to deploy from a CubeSat-class microsatellite.

exactly what they want,” says Kunc, professor of astronautics, aerospace engineering, physics and astronomy. The students say that their experiences working with professors and guest teachers from different space groups—from SpaceX to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory—make learning fresh. “It’s not stale academics to them,” says Michael Ortega ’13. “It’s the things they are working on that week at work.” Ortega’s experiences working on an innovative lunar lander at SERC facilities at USC’s Information Sciences Institute in Marina del Rey, Calif., make him want to seek out a job as engineering lead in flight operations or systems operations. “I want to work a full life cycle of a project and take a lead role, and that’s something I wouldn’t have known about before SERC,” he says. “Testing things before flight—that’s where you break things. That’s cool.” Pieter Kranenburg ’13 says working on Aeneas has been uniquely rewarding. “Sending a craft into space and not having it be a tumbling piece of junk is one of the most difficult feats to accomplish,” he says. Since LA is both the birthplace and current hub to cutting-edge aerospace development, “this gives USC students a leg up because of what we can learn just from being surrounded by this community.” The idea is similar to that of a teaching hospital, says SERC engineering technician Jeffrey Sachs, who worked for 26 years at Hughes Aircraft before joining the center. “I love building spacecraft. Someone trained me, and now it’s my turn to teach others.” Over the life of one engineering project, Sachs explains, several classes of students will work on the project. The older autumn 2013

Visit to learn more about the center, and go to to learn how to support SERC and related projects. Visit to leave questions or comments about this story.

students are expected to teach the younger ones as they would in a teaching hospital. Alums also point to the breadth of knowledge they gained at SERC. Working on Aeneas required flexibility and the ability to complete all parts of a project, says Maria Marcela Guzman ’10, MS ’11, who’s now a systems engineer at Raytheon. Guzman says that it’s often difficult for new hires to understand how designing a project and building it fit together—something she implicitly knew from her time at SERC. “You have to understand what’s going on in all the different departments,” she says. Sometimes limitations can be helpful, Guzman says. “One key factor is that SERC has low-funded projects, which makes you really creative. I learned how to build fixtures that are cheap but that actually work. That opens your mind and helps you to think outside the box.” SATELLITES NEXT TO SAILBOATS At SERC’s space in the heart of Marina del Rey, students are hard at work in the clean room at the lab despite the lure of summer outside. Only steps away, sailboats cruise through still waters. Sachs carefully unwraps the first-of-its-kind, half-meter antenna that makes Aeneas so remarkable. The custom-built mesh antenna can gracefully unfold in space, using a Wi-Fi transceiver to get signals from the ground. “It’s the largest parabolic antenna to deploy from a CubeSat,” he explains. Satellites used to be really oddball shapes. But launch operators now want small satellites that are uniformly shaped, like cubes, so they can put them in standard launch containers and get them into space easily and more economically. The trick is to stow unique equipment in the small container and release it on orbit. The 10-pound Aeneas satellite is unusual in other ways, too. It’s got technology that may help track cargo around the world in the future. Right now, cargo-tracking technology loses its signal when cargo containers are a mile from shore—leaving questions about what happens in the open ocean. Technology in Aeneas, though, allows it to track moving cargo from space. Unlike typical satellites that are generally pointed toward a star or another fixed location, Aeneas can stabilize in three different directions, allowing it to

In-house Help Students at SERC work closely with experienced engineers and technicians.

Teamwork This recent student team in USC’s microsatellite lab was mentored by Joseph Kunc (far left) and Tim Barrett (far right).

rotate and accurately track cargo containers as they move. These sorts of satellites could boost the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to monitor the movement of goods worldwide. The group also planned a secondary payload for Aeneas: a new generation of space-borne computer, the Maestro 49-core processor chip, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and designed by Boeing. One potential use of such computing power, says Barrett: “You could take images of the ground with a camera and use those images to recognize where you’re trying to fly.” In a way, it’s going back to the way pilots got their bearings, using visual information to point the way and provide a better flight path. It’s likely that the project will fly in 2015. Soon, students will be able to track their satellites through a dish atop a building at USC, rather than one outside Barrett’s house. Though Aeneas brought many late nights sitting in his garage with the laptops, Barrett remembers fondly the excitement of the satellite’s first beeps home. “The signals are like a string of pearls going across the sky,” he says. “Finding the satellite the first time is a crazy-huge deal.” Like the satellites, students from SERC take off from USC with years of care and training poured into them. They get the best of all worlds—theoretical training combined with experience building electronics, tracking satellites and testing objects that reach space. “Training with hands-on exposure is rare,” says Sachs. “We get the students dirty.” usc trojan family


2003 1988 1983 1973 1963 Is this your year to celebrate? Join us to relive Trojan memories, create new ones and support USC with your class, family and friends! 2013 Reunion Weekend celebrations are for the undergraduate classes of 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988 and 2003. For registration and reunion class giving information, visit or call (213) 740-2300.

November 15-16 Together with Homecoming




CARDINALCOLORED GLASSES It’s always an endless summer at the USC Bookstores. Needless to say, you can find sunglasses for sale (also available in white, black and—no surprise— cardinal). Here are our best bets for where to spot Trojan sunglasses: Frisbeetossing on McCarthy Quad, a game on the sand volleyball courts, bike rides down Hoover Street to the University Park Campus and, of course, Trojan Marching Band performances at the Coliseum.

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family news

The Envelope, Please USC Alumni Awards honor dedicated members of the Trojan Family.

From left, back row: Jerry Neely, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Rebecca Soni, Barbara Cotler, Mitchell Lew; front row: Patrick Auerbach, Linda Givvin, Frank Fertitta, C. L. Max Nikias, Geraldine Knatz.

Seven extraordinary Trojans were honored at the USC Alumni Association’s 80th annual Alumni Awards on April 27. Co-emcees Patrick E. Auerbach EdD ’08, associate senior vice president for alumni relations, and Mitchell Lew ’83, MD ’87, president of the USCAA Board of Governors, welcomed more than 600 Trojans and friends, including USC President C. L. Max Nikias and his wife, Niki C. Nikias. Meet the honorees:

ASA V. CALL ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD This award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the university and the community and whose outstanding accomplishments have brought honor and recognition to USC.

ALUMNI MERIT AWARD This award recognizes alumni whose remarkable accomplishments speak well for the range and quality of a USC education. Geraldine Knatz MS ’77, PhD ’79 Executive director, Port of Los Angeles


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“The teaching assistantship I had here gave me the ability to do back then what USC does so well today: engage in interdisciplinary studies. It was an opportunity I never could have afforded without this institution’s unyielding support. And it’s really gratifying to think that my work at USC paved the way for the leadership opportunity I was given to help shape our port’s efforts in reducing diesel particulate emissions by 70 percent in six years.” The Honorable Mark Ridley-Thomas PhD ’89 Member, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Second District “This university is by far the region’s premier asset—and the best is yet to come. It has been my high honor to collaborate with you [USC

and the Trojan Family] as we seek to make Los Angeles a beacon for many to admire and emulate and celebrate for its diversity … and [see] USC as a model for universities across the length and breadth of the United States and even the world.” YOUNG ALUMNI MERIT AWARD This award recognizes the achievement of an alumnus or alumna under age 35. Rebecca Soni ’09 Six-time Olympic medalist in swimming “Over both of my Olympic experiences, in 2008 and 2012, I’ve really felt so much support from all of the USC community, which has been behind me 100 percent. Your pride in me has lifted me up and given me so much joy. Sharing my accomplishments with you has autumn 2013


Frank Fertitta III ’84 Member, USC Board of Trustees; Chairman and CEO, Fertitta Entertainment and Station Casinos “My days at USC were some of the best times of my life. It was my first—and only—choice in terms of where I wanted to attend college. In 1984, I graduated from the USC Marshall School of Business, which provided the tools, skills and real-world business education that have allowed me to be successful in business. USC also provided me an overall college atmosphere and experience second to none.”


really made everything feel twice as strong. Sometimes I didn’t even know if I was racing for Team USA or Team USC!” ALUMNI SERVICE AWARD This award recognizes alumni for outstanding volunteer efforts on behalf of the university. Barbara Cotler ’60 Member, USC Athletics Board of Counselors; Member, USC Alumni Association Board of Governors; Executive board member, USC “Spirit of Troy” Trojan Marching Band “In the early ’70s, [my husband] Ken began to champion the need for the marching band to raise funds so they could travel to the away games. He knew I would take some convincing. I have never forgotten his sales pitch. He said, ‘Think about it. What gives you more pure pleasure than the TMB?’ I couldn’t think of a thing! Today, the band performs all over the world, [serving] as wonderful ambassadors for USC.”


Linda Givvin ’70 Past president, Town and Gown of USC; Member, USC Alumni Association Board of Governors; Member, USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy Board of Councilors “USC has given me so much more than I can ever repay. With a great sense of pride, I am a USC Dornsife College girl and a graduate of the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. And so what inspired me to ‘Come Home to USC’ is what keeps me coming back for more: the unique Trojan Family spirit, the pride and traditions of USC, and the priceless lifelong friendships.” Jerry Neely ’58 Member, USC Board of Trustees; Mentor, USC Marshall School of Business “The Trojan Family has been very important in my life for more than 50 years. I am very honored and beyond proud to be included among this year’s honorees. And I am also mindful of all the USC Alumni Award honorees over the last 80 years … there could be more than 600 of them. That indicates how broad, how inclusive and how durable the university’s support groups are, including the [USC Alumni Association].”



15-16 Reconnect with old friends and revisit your favorite campus hangouts. Kick the flagpole for luck before the USC-Stanford Homecoming game. Snap a pic with friends and family members in front of Tommy Trojan. What’s on your USC nostalgia checklist? You’ll certainly be able to check off a few items at Reunion Weekend 2013 on Nov. 15-16. Members of the undergraduate classes of 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988 and 2003 will gather at the University Park campus for a twoday celebration of Trojan Family ties. Sponsored by the USC Alumni Association, Reunion Weekend 2013 features a wide variety of academic, social, creative and family-friendly activities that will recharge your Trojan spirit. Reunion Weekend 2013 coincides with Homecoming, which is expected to draw 80,000 Trojan faithful to the Los Angeles Coliseum on Nov. 16 for the football game against Pac-12 rival Stanford. Along with a USC Alumni Association tailgate, the pre-game festivities will include the new Trojan “GameZone,” face painting, giveaways, prizes and booths. To learn more about Reunion Weekend 2013 or register online, visit

ERRATA The caption for a photo in the Summer 2013 issue picturing Jaime Lee ’06, JD ’09 misidentified her role with the USC Women’s Conference. She was a host committee member for the event.

Alum at Helm of USC Alumni Association Patrick E. Auerbach EdD ’08 has been named associate senior vice president for alumni relations. As the university’s chief alumni relations officer, Auerbach is responsible for managing all USCAA operations and serving as USC’s primary representative to its worldwide alumni membership of nearly 350,000. Under Auerbach’s direction, the USCAA advances the university’s mission by developing and implementing programs, events and services that engage USC alumni. Auerbach also works closely with the USCAA Board of Governors on such priorities as strengthening the university’s engagement with key alumni communities; increasing outreach to more members of the Trojan Family; enhancing the benefits and services for alumni; and promoting alumni participation in and support of the Campaign for the University of Southern California. Auerbach’s USC career began in 2000 with USC Athletics, where he became the first director of basketball operations and marketing for the Women of Troy. In 2008, shortly before earning his doctorate from the USC Rossier School of Education, he joined the USCAA staff as a member of the department’s senior management team. “It is my honor and privilege to be leading the USC Alumni Association and serving our great university in this capacity during a pivotal time of spectacular growth and evolution,” Auerbach says. “By meaningfully engaging our tremendous alumni constituency of the Trojan Family, we will continue to propel USC forward among the ranks of the world’s top research universities.”

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family news anything with hard work. The Trojan Family embodies all of these ideals. A N D


Singing USC’s Praises “A Cappello” A conversation with alumna volunteer Ramona Cappello When Ramona Cappello ’81 first stepped onto the USC campus as a young girl, she knew she was home. Th ree decades after graduating from the USC Marshall School of Business, Cappello still considers USC her home—a place that invigorates her and brings her immense satisfaction as a volunteer. Her latest “labor of love” is serving as president of the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors for the 2013–14 term. She recently spoke with USC’s Cheryl Collier about being a lifelong Trojan. What is your fondest memory of USC? I have so many special memories, starting with attending USC football games as a young girl. We would usually drive down early from our hometown of Bakersfield so we could also visit campus or one of the museums near the Coliseum. While a student, I traveled with the International and Comparative Management Program—we visited companies in the U.S. and Europe, gaining firsthand insights into the business world. It actually led to my first job after graduation two years later. Also, participating in Songfest all four years and winning it one year, on my 21st birthday, were among my favorite Trojan experiences. How did your USC education prepare you for what you’ve accomplished in your professional life? My major was business administration with an international marketing management emphasis—exactly


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my path to entrepreneurship. I started my career with Carnation/Nestle as a marketing manager. After a career of developing and running several businesses, I founded Corazonas Foods, making heart-healthy foods in honor of my father, who had died of heart disease. The leadership and management skills I learned at USC provided a great foundation, and from there I relied on my many Trojan friendships to grow the company until its recent sale. Why do so many of your family members have ties to USC? USC represents an ideal and a set of values consistent with our upbringing. My father and uncle (my mom’s brother) were best friends at USC, so that started our Trojan legacy. It was a privilege to share my years at USC with all three of my brothers. We were raised to value family, loyalty and friendship; to live honestly; and to believe we could achieve

What drew you to the USCAA Board of Governors and what are your priorities as president? I am honored to lead this group of inspiring Trojan leaders, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with for many years. The ways we engage with each other have changed. Now is the ideal time to enhance our USC alumni experience by incorporating the ways we connect and communicate today, both technologically and philosophically. Let’s help Trojans do business with other Trojans! We want to offer networking opportunities organized by the way alumni live and work, not just by grad year or school. This can easily be done with technology and information that evolves into events and other programming. What drives your passion for volunteering, and how do you inspire others to give back? I have never been prouder of my alma mater than I am today. USC is making academic history in so many ways, and getting to experience that momentum firsthand is invigorating. I become energized by the accomplishments of USC students and alumni, and invite all alumni to connect with the university and one another at The excitement is infectious, and once we reconnect, we each find the best way to personally get involved. The value of our degree has never been higher. It is our responsibility to ensure that it continues to appreciate by contributing our time, talent and resources to this great university.



Check out photos from recent USC alumni events at




#1 HEART AND SEOUL OF THE TROJAN FAMILY Alumni leaders from China, Mexico, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Thailand gathered to network and share best practices at the USC Alumni Association’s second annual International Alumni Leaders Symposium in Seoul on May 22, the day before the start of the 2013 USC Global Conference. Al Checcio, senior vice president for University Advancement, and Patrick E. Auerbach EdD ’08, associate senior vice president for Alumni Relations, spoke at the symposium, where incoming 2013–14 USCAA Board of Governors President Ramona Cappello ’81 outlined her priorities for the coming year. #2 MAKING IT PERFECTLY CLEAR The Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Calif., provided an appropriately presidential backdrop on May 1 for a discussion on the first 100 days of President Obama’s second term. Dan Schnur, director of the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and a veteran political and media strategist, led the spirited conversation, which was co-hosted by the USCAA and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Alumni Relations Program.

#3-4 POMP AND BBQ Class of 2013 grads marked two milestones—commencement and their new status as alumni—at this year’s Senior SCend Off on May 2. Co-hosted by the Student Alumni Society, Society 53 and the USCAA, the celebration brought 1,200 seniors to Argue Plaza (next to Widney Alumni House) to enjoy a free barbeque and live entertainment.







#5-6 TROJANS TAKE MANHATTAN The USC Alumni Club of New York celebrated the extraordinary contributions of Trojans to the Big Apple at its fourth annual Tommy Awards on June 10. From left, this year’s Spirit of Troy honoree was Leigh R. Bass ’90, a dedicated volunteer for the USC Alumni Club of New York, while Tommy Award winners included Stephen Liguori MBA ’81, General Electric’s executive director of global innovation and new models; Heliane Steden ’86, Merrill Lynch managing director and threetime All-American tennis player; and Danny Strong ’96, Emmy Awardwinning actor/ writer (HBO’s Game Change, AMC’s Mad Men). Several USC alumni with Broadway credits provided musical entertainment for the event, which raised money for the alumni club’s scholarship fund.

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Educate Your Palate. Introducing the Trojan Wine Collection—a new program featuring limited-release, custom-labeled wines hand selected especially for the Trojan Family, with a new collection released every year. Order today at Proceeds support the programs and services of the USC Alumni Association.

In partnership with



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family class notes

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Sorrell Trope JD ’49 (LAW) received the California State Bar’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Family Law Executive Committee and was inducted by the Half Century Trojans into the USC Alumni Association Hall of Fame. He founded his Los Angeles-based firm, Trope and Trope, in 1949.

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Robert B. Broadbelt III JD ’84 (LAW) was appointed by California Gov. Jerry Brown to fill a seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court. Rangaswamy Srinivasan PhD ’56 (LAS) of IBM Corp. was presented with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement, by President Barack Obama. He laid the groundwork for laser eye surgery.

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The organization consists of as many as 200 U.S. members and 25 international associates who are elected on the basis of outstanding scholarship or outstanding contributions to education. As a researcher, Rueda focuses on sociocultural factors in learning and motivation. He’s currently working on projects ranging from identifying cognitive and motivational factors in academic achievement among urban high school students, to examining friendship and peer relationships as factors in bullying. An internationally recognized expert in literacy and language minority students in special education, Rueda has served on several national panels, including the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth. Michael Williams ’75 (LAS), JD ’80 (LAW) was appointed Texas’ top education official by Gov. Rick Perry, becoming the first African-American to be named state education commissioner. Robert Beltran MD ’76 (MED) recently accepted a position at Citizen Choice Health Plan in Cerritos, Calif., as senior medical director. Barry Kerzin MD ’76 (MED) is the personal physician to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. A monk, practitioner and teacher, he has lived in India for 23 years, where he provides medical care on a charitable basis. John Naber ’77 (LAS), USC swimming champion and Olympic gold medalist, was inducted into the Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame.


Robert Rueda Robert Rueda MSW ’74 (SSW) joined the National Academy of Education in April. Rueda, Stephen H. Crocker Professor in Education and professor of educational psychology at the USC Rossier School of Education, is the only USC Rossier professor elected to the prestigious academy.

Aura Kuperberg MSW/MS ’79 (SSW/GRN), PhD ’94 (SSW) was recently featured in the Jewish Journal for establishing Teen Impact, a group at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles that helps teens facing cancer. She has been working at Children’s Hospital for 33 years.

Class notes appears online. Read news about each graduate at and send your news to

nominated to serve as Labor Department commissioner by New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan. He has practiced law in the state for 30 years. Dee Dee Paakkari ’80 (MUS) received the 2013 Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award for her work as director of the symphony orchestra and popular music department at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles. Neil Macready ’81 (LAS) was appointed senior associate dean for advancement at USC Dornsife. He was previously vice president for university relations at the University of Redlands and director of development at USC Dornsife. Suzie (Roh) Freeman MPT ’82 (BPT) recently retired from a sports medicine clinic in Huntington Beach, Calif., and continues traveling the country teaching Astym treatment, a therapy that regenerates soft tissue. Jackie Lacey JD ’82 (LAW) was elected Los Angeles County district attorney, becoming the county’s first female and first African-American district attorney. She joined the district attorney’s office in 1986, having previously served as former District Attorney Steve Cooley’s JD ’73 (LAW) chief deputy. John J. Kennedy ’83 (LAS) was recently elected to the Pasadena (Calif.) City Council. Since 2011, he has served as senior vice president of government and external affairs with the Los Angeles Urban League. Prior to that, he worked for Southern California Edison as director of special projects. Tate Donovan ’85 (DRA) stars in the new CBS television show Hostages. He also stars in, and has directed several episodes of, the NBC series Deception.

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Esther Kia’aina ’85 (LAS) was appointed deputy director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources by Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

James Craig ’80 (LAS), an attorney and former House Minority Leader, was

Grant Heslov ’86 (DRA) produced the 2012 film Argo. He lives in Sherman Oaks, Calif. usc trojan family


We welcome updates from our fellow Trojans. Go to to submit news through your school’s online form or to your school’s listed contact.

family class notes Joe Bogdan JD ’88 (LAW) was appointed assistant professor and coordinator of the Live and Performing Arts Management concentration at Columbia College Chicago. He recently launched Silvershift, a legal and consulting firm. Laura Skandera Trombley PhD ’89 (LAS), president of Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., was appointed to the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board by President Barack Obama.

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Kirk DeMicco ’91 (LAS) wrote and directed the 2013 DreamWorks Animation film The Croods. He lives in Los Angeles. Zev Brooks JD ’92 (LAW), an estate planning, probate and trust attorney living in Fountain Valley, Calif., is the co-writer and executive producer of The Yankles, an independent feature film about an Orthodox Jewish baseball team. The film has won nine film festival awards and played in 10 countries. Carol Tang MS ’93 (LAS), PhD ’96 (LAS) was one of 12 women in California chosen as “exemplary role models for California women and girls” in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at the California STEM summit in San Diego. She is director of the Coalition for Science After School. Betsy Trapasso MSW ’93 (SSW), an endof-life guide, was featured in an April 15 article in the Los Angeles Times for holding Los Angeles’ first death café, which convenes a group using life’s end as a conversation starter. Jeff Bernhardt MSW ’94 (SSW) of Van Nuys, Calif., wrote and directed the play Therapy, which humanizes the counseling profession. The play ran for three weeks, and he won the National Association of Social Workers’ Social Work Image Award, given to those who have advanced the profession through their work.


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Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana PhD ’95 (EDU) retired from her position as superintendent of Santa Ana (Calif.) Unified School District and later became the top education adviser to the mayor of Los Angeles. She was formerly assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education for the U.S. Department of Education and led the Pomona (Calif.) Unified School District. Don Shalvey EdD ’95 (EDU), deputy director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founder and board chair of Aspire Public Schools, was named a 2013 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow. He lives in Linden, Calif. Brandon Martin ’96, ME ’02, EdD ’05 (EDU) recently accepted the position of athletic director at California State University, Northridge. Danny Strong ’96 (DRA) is writing the last two installments of The Hunger Games films. His political drama, Game Change, won the Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television award at the 70th Annual Golden Globe and Producers Guild of America awards. James Lewis ’97 (SPP) is city manager of Pismo Beach, Calif. Previously, he served as the assistant city manager and president of the Office of Economic Development for the city of Atascadero, Calif., where he lives with his wife and two children.

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Julie Makerov MM ’01 (MUS) made her LA Opera debut in March, performing in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. Tracy Dooley ’02 (ENG) was promoted to head of global support and operations at Novartis Diagnostics, a company that specializes in blood transfusion safety. She lives in Sonoma, Calif. Andrew Norman ’02, MM ’04 (MUS) is the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s composer-in-residence.



USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences USC Leventhal School of Accounting USC School of Architecture USC Marshall School of Business USC School of Cinematic Arts USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism USC Kaufman School of Dance Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC USC School of Dramatic Arts USC Rossier School of Education USC Viterbi School of Engineering USC Roski School of Fine Arts USC Davis School of Gerontology USC Gould School of Law USC Libraries Keck School of Medicine of USC USC Thornton School of Music Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy USC School of Pharmacy Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy USC Price School of Public Policy USC School of Social Work

Kelley O’Connor ’02 (MUS) recently played the role of Mary in Peter Sellars’ staging of John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Judith Burnfield PhD ’03 (BPT) led a team that developed the Intelligently Controlled Assistive Rehabilitation Elliptical training system, which recently won the international da Vinci Innovation Award. She lives in Lincoln, Neb. Janet (Kirby) Gangaway DPT ’04 (BPT), assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Conn., received the Aquatic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association’s Judy Cirullo Award for 2013 in recognition of outstanding promotion of aquatic physical therapy. John Coffey ’05 (DRA), a talent agent for the Kohner Agency in Beverly Hills, Calif., was named to the “Top 10 to Watch” list in Variety’s New Leaders issue. David Verdugo EdD ’05 (EDU) retired from his position as superintendent of Paramount (Calif.) Unified School District, for which he was recently presented the autumn 2013






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The Lights of Broadway Sands’ costar Billy Porter took the leading-man honors, but praised Sands. “You are my rock, my sword, my shield. Your grace gives me presence,” Porter said in his acceptance speech. “I share this award with you. I’m gonna keep it at my house! But I share it with you.” Sands acknowledges his rigorous training at USC—and some good fortune—for his career successes. “When I would step out to auditions with this solid theater background, I always walked in really well prepared,” he says. The actor realized his passion at USC, particularly as the lead in Pippin during his last year of college. Being in the spotlight as the musical’s namesake set him up in a big way, driving him to learn quickly and to realize his love of theatrical acting. “I always mention USC because it’s a big part of where I am in my career, and another part of it is just luck,” he says. Sands was also featured in Joel and Ethan Coen’s film Inside Llewyn Davis, an official selection of this year’s Cannes International Film Festival. Other film roles include Flags of Our Fathers, Pretty Persuasion and Chasing Liberty. Off-Broadway he has performed in Twelfth Night and The Tempest, and on television he has landed guest roles on Nip/Tuck, Six Feet Under and Generation Kill.



Stark Sands BFA ’01 is revisiting the same situation he was in 12 years ago: playing the lead role in a big musical. But instead of performing in the USC School of Dramatic Arts’ production of Pippin, the alumnus now stars on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre as the main character in the Tony Awardwinning musical Kinky Boots. “The stars have really aligned for me, and I’m not sure why, but I’m very grateful,” says Sands, whose Broadway credits include lead roles in American Idiot and Journey’s End. In Kinky Boots, Sands

(pictured above right) plays Charlie Price, a man who inherits his family’s shoe factory and must find a way to keep the business afloat. Price runs into a drag queen named Lola who suggests producing highheeled boots that can support a man’s weight. “On the surface, it’s a drag musical, but what’s nice and surprising about it is that it has real heart. There’s a lot of storytelling,” Sands explains. “I hope people can take something away from it, maybe make them think differently about people who they

wouldn’t even try to understand otherwise. I know it’s a big ask, but if we can touch one person every night, then it’s mission accomplished.” Sands was nominated for a Tony this year for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical, his second Tony nod since 2007. He was previously nominated for best featured actor in a play for his work in Journey’s End, a performance that also won him a Theatre World Award. Kinky Boots took home six Tony Awards in June, more than any other production.

usc trojan family


family class notes Outstanding Educator Award by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

collecting $4,000 in donations. Combined with funds from the local community, Berns raised $21,500 to construct three new classrooms. She also launched a scholarship program to help young women achieve their education goals.

Marc Berman ’08 (LAW) was elected to the Palo Alto (Calif.) City Council. He is of counsel at the law firm of Merino Yebri LLP.

Brittany Berns Brittany Berns ’08 (LAS), USC Dornsife international relations alumna, led an effort in the village of Toucountouna, Benin, Africa, to fund and construct a school building.

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When Berns arrived in Benin as a Peace Corps volunteer, she quickly realized that the school desperately needed more room. More than 1,000 students packed into 12 classrooms to study, and older students had to travel to neighboring villages to finish coursework. Berns turned to a Peace Corps program that allows volunteers to post projects online to collect donations. She also hired a tailor in the village to create bags, computer cases and iPod covers with colorful fabric from Toucountouna’s marketplaces. She sent the bags home to her family and friends,

Elizabeth Ruckert DPT ’08 (BPT) was featured in the May 2013 edition of PT in Motion, a publication of the American Physical Therapy Association. She is an assistant professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C. Miriam F. Glover MFA ’09 (DRA) played the role of Betina in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film Django Unchained. Juthamas Judy Suwantanapongched JD ’09 (LAW) founded the Thai American Bar Association in November 2012. She is an associate with Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLC and is the executive vice

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Charles Ralston ’06 (ENG) was recently hired as director of operations at KSSRetail, a company specializing in shopper insights and science-based pricing intelligence. He lives in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Patrick Auerbach EdD ’08 (EDU) was named associate senior vice president for alumni relations and executive director of the USC Alumni Association.

Class notes appears online. Read news about each graduate at and send your news to

It’s not just travel. It’s Trojan Travel. Discover the culture and flavors of Cuba on this once-in-a-lifetime trip. POSTCARDS ; SOUVENIRS ;  LIFELONG MEMORIES AND FRIENDSHIPS ; WITH FELLOW TROJANS

Seeing the world is more fun when you can share the experience with good friends. Join us in 2014 for exciting excursions to Cuba, Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, the 70th anniversary D-Day celebrations in Normandy and much more. Visit or call (213) 821-6005 for more information and to book your next Trojan Travel adventure.


family class notes president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles. Jared Vagy DPT ’09 (BPT) is a sponsored rock climber and spent part of last year scaling rock faces in South America. He recently returned to Los Angeles and is completing a yearlong movement fellowship at Kaiser Permanente in West Los Angeles.

director of the Instructional Leadership and Clear Credential programs at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, was named an Emerging Leader by Phi Delta Kappa International. Anthony Sparks PhD ’12 (LAS) scripted Walt Disney EPCOT’s first AfricanAmerican art and history exhibit, Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection. He lives in Los Angeles.

Obituaries of members of the Trojan Family appear online at

Jennifer (Reynolds) Carr DPT ’10 (BPT) and Tim Carr, a son, Brendan Edward.



A L U M N I Merwyn C. “M.C.” Gill ’37 (ENG), Pasadena, Calif.; May 30, at the age of 102.

2 0 1 0 s M A R R I A G E S

Maximillian Raymond Gaspar MD ’40 (MED), Seal Beach, Calif.; Oct. 7, 2012 at the age of 97.

Katie (Weimer) Gill DPT ’05 (BPT) and Allen Gill.

Delta Murphy ’47 (LAS), Fullerton, Calif.; May 5, at the age of 86.

Nicholas Borrelli MSW ’12 (SSW) developed a peer mentorship program through the Travis Manion Foundation to help veterans readjust to civilian life. A Marine Corps veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq, he lives in Encinitas, Calif.

Lindsay (Fujinaka) Graham DPT ’10 (BPT) and Tyler Graham.

Leonard L. Murdy ’48, MS ’50, EdD ’62 (EDU), Anaheim, Calif.; Nov. 15, 2012 at the age of 90.


Lenore “Lenny” Krusell MA ’67 (BPT), Los Angeles; Jan. 24, at the age of 95.

Kristen Kavanaugh MSW ’12 (SSW) of San Diego was selected as a member of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council, a competitive leadership development program for those who honorably served in the military and defense communities.

Mary Elizabeth Smith ’96 (LAS) and Jeff Giron, a son, Ethan.

Marylu C. Mattson PhD ’69 (LAS) Guerneville, Calif.; Dec. 30, 2012, at the age of 79.

Sarah Gise ’11 (DRA) won leading female performance at the 2013 LA Weekly Awards for her work in Ensemble Studio Theatre/ LA’s The Belle of Belfast.

Devery J. Rodgers EdD ’12 (EDU), the Fritz B. Burns Endowed Chair of Education and

Laura (Tampanello) Thoene DPT ’03 (BPT) and Christopher Thoene ’03, a daughter, Marley Kaia Thoene, joins brother Noah, 3.

Lillian Hawthorne MSW ’71 (SSW), Brooklyn, N.Y.; Feb. 20, at the age of 88.

Brissa Sotelo-Vargas MPP ’07 (SPP) and Anthony Vargas, a son, Anthony Troy. He joins sister Brooklyn.




Robert L. “Bob” Baker Palos Verdes, Calif.; Nov. 15, 2012, at the age of 85. Harriet Hay Storm Lake Forest, Calif.; June 15, 2012, at the age of 90. William Van Cleave Idyllwild, Calif.; March 15, at the age of 77. Dallas Willard Woodland Hills, Calif.; May 8, at the age of 77.

Former Secretary of the Navy Paul Ignatius ’42 received an unusual honor: a U.S. Navy ship will be named after him. An Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer currently under construction, similar to the one shown here, will bear the name USS Paul Ignatius. It’s scheduled for completion within three to four years.


usc trojan family

Susan Bell, Andrea Bennett, Erin Connors, Jane Hahn, Maria Iacobo, Mike McNulty, Jane Ong, Sara Villagran Palafox, Glenda Silva, Stacey Wang and Teresa Marie Whitaker contributed to this section. autumn 2013

Redefining care from discovery to recovery. The most complex medical needs require the expertise and care of private university hospitals and health systems. That’s why Keck Medicine of USC is pioneering insights into the human genome, stem cells, nanotechnologies, molecular medicine, and more to advance treatment in locations across the Los Angeles area. Our private hospital system is home to more than 600 leading physicians with a single vision: to offer you convenient access to the most influential medical center of the Los Angeles area. To make an appointment at a location near you, visit or call 800-USC-CARE.




family q & a

Got a question? Ask Tommy Trojan. Submit your question about USC past or present and I might answer it in a future issue. Be sure to include your name, degree, class year and a way to contact you. Write to Ask Tommy at magazines@usc. edu. Questions may be edited for space.

Ask Tommy Questions and answers with Tommy Trojan

Relations in “houses divided” were tested in 1988 when USC marched past a Troy Aikman-helmed UCLA.

Dear Tommy, I run into Trojan alumni all the time in California, but I was wondering where else USC alums are living. Where are the biggest populations of Trojans? And are there clubs for people in other states?


usc trojan family

Dear T Tommy, D My fiancé is a Bruin. I know I can’t be the only USC alum to marry someone from UCLA, but how are we going to survive football season? Any tips? Sure. Take a friend with you to games at the Coliseum, send your fiancé over to the Rose Bowl with one of his Bruin friends, and on rivalry weekend (Nov. 30 this year), go to neutral ground: Hawaii. If that fails, just be satisfied with the knowledge that USC leads the season series against UCLA with 46 wins to UCLA’s 29. If he makes a comment about academics, let him know we’re holding our own. In the fall 2012 semester, 128 USC student-athletes across all sports made the Dean’s List—the most since 2000. Thirty Trojans were named academic all-confer-

ence first teamers. And quarterback Matt Barkley ’12 became USC’s first National Football Foundation scholar-athlete since 1999. At the end of it all, be gracious. Remember that if the Spirit of Troy’s drum major can forgo stabbing the UCLA logo at a football game, surely you can live with your fiancé’s Bruin loyalty for a few months out of the year. What about you, readers? Are you a Trojan cohabitating with a Bruin? Write in your advice for keeping the peace at home, and I’ll share a selection of responses. FIND TOMMY: I’m hiding somewhere in this issue. Can you locate me? Tweet your sighting using #findtommy, or check our next issue for the answer.

autumn 2013


There’s a reason you’re around a lot of alumni: California is home to more Trojans than any other state. Of the alumni reachable by mail, nearly 194,000—nearly three-quarters—live in the Golden State. They must have liked it enough here to stay here, or maybe they just couldn’t bear to part with their season tickets at the Coliseum. But the next two highest-ranking states in population might surprise you: Texas, with more than 6,000 alumni, and Washington, with more than 5,200. Judging by the numbers on career website LinkedIn, big employers like the University of Texas and Chevron are putting the Troy in Texas, while Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon draw alumni to the Pacific Northwest. Outside the U.S., if you guessed that Taiwan, India and China boast the most Trojan alumni, you’d be right. They’re followed by South Korea and Hong Kong. As for clubs: Good question! There are clubs for alumni all over the world, from São Paulo to Saudi Arabia, as well as across the U.S. Go to for the latest list. You might even find a group to watch a game or network with during your next road trip.



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Trojan Family Magazine Autumn 2013  
Trojan Family Magazine Autumn 2013  

University of Southern California's Trojan Family Magazine (Autumn 2013). Features: Road Scholars (USC policy and engineering minds collabor...