University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

USC Class of 2017: A Student Smorgasbord

By Lillian Insalata Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Incoming freshmen engage in a group discussion at Orientation.Photo by Lillian InsalataIncoming freshmen engage in a group discussion at Orientation.

Hailing from all over the nation and the world, the newest members of the Trojan Family are anything but ordinary. The admitted freshman class, selected from a pool of 47,300 applicants, boasts a non-weighted 3.8 GPA and SAT scores of 2040-2250. Representing all 50 states and more than 50 countries, these freshmen bring a diversity of experiences, intellectual integrity and personality to USC. Meet some of the standout students who are joining the Trojan Family this fall. 

75 Films and Counting

Robert Smat, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, has been making films since he was 10, and estimates that he has produced more than 75. This past year, he produced, wrote and directed a feature-length mockumentary called “Group Project,” which he has submitted to film festivals nationwide. Smat was drawn to the USC School of Cinematic Arts for its reputation as “the best film school in the entire world.” When asked about his post-USC plans, Smat responded, “Put me down as working on ‘Star Wars’.”

Proving Her Point

Lorelei Christie, a Trustee Scholar from Fairfax, Va., had two jobs in high school —one at Carvel Cinnabon and the other as a tutor. As the head manager of her high school’s Writing Center, Christie extensively researched tutoring pedagogy and the “re-humanization of our educational system.” She has given presentations at national conferences on non-hierarchical, non-competitive learning environments for teachers, tutors and administrators. Christie is majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Law in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences because, she said, “I have this obsession with proof.”

WHO Hopeful

Kshitij Kumar is a self-described “bio-nerd” from Ferndon, Va., who will major in International Relations and Global Health at USC Dornsife. Fluent in French and Hindi, Kumar served as an intern for the State Department’s Office of Language Services, which included accompanying a French-speaking delegation to Africa. At his high school, Kumar helped establish Humanity Plus, a club where members could “talk about medical ethics and how technology is becoming symbiotic with humanity.” His dream job is working for the World Health Organization.

Teen Cancer Survivor

Jordan Hancock had just finished swimming at the 2012 Olympic trials when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Hancock, from Sugarland, Texas, then underwent a complete thyroidectomy and the removal of 24 lymph nodes. In the midst of grappling with health issues, Hancock took four AP classes and applied to 16 universities. “I’m someone who likes to try to accomplish things on my own,” Hancock said. “I’m a capable person when I persevere.” Hancock will continue to fight on as a pre-med Mathematics major at USC Dornsife and hopes to explore computational oncology at USC.

Vivacious Violist

Benjamin Chilton went from playing piano to violin to viola, which ultimately led him to the USC Thornton School of Music. Hailing from Lewisville, Texas, Chilton is attracted by the weather and cultural opportunities of Los Angeles, and is eager to experience life as a musician in a bustling urban center. When it comes to picking a favorite composer, Chilton said, “That’s like choosing a favorite candy — there are too many good ones!”

Languages and Laboratories

Ines Guinard is quadrilingual, having lived in Spain, France, Italy and Davis, California. The polyglot will be majoring in Biomedical Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and has already acquired practical experience through an internship in the UC, Davis biomedical engineering lab. Guinard chose USC because she was “impressed by how enthusiastic the faculty and students were about USC,” the high-quality athletics and the large number of international students.

From Nigeria to Washington to USC

Chetachinyere Okereke, a daughter of Nigerian immigrants, is interested in pediatrics and also African-American Studies. While completing the academically rigorous International Baccalaureate program at her high school, Okereke recalls that, “for any major papers we ever had to do, I wrote on something from African-American history.” In her hometown of Edmonds, Wash., Okereke volunteered as a tutor and mentor to schoolchildren and assisted ICU patients at Swedish Hospital. Okereke is majoring in Biology at USC Dornsife.

10 Responses to USC Class of 2017: A Student Smorgasbord

  1. Nour

    Proud Class of ’17 Trojan! Fight on!!!!!

  2. Haley Walraven

    What an incredible range of students! Looking forward to seeing Robert Smat’s films in theaters!!

  3. Thomas

    So prouuuud… Fight on!

  4. ed

    Glad to see more SC undergrads pursuing majors other than business.

  5. jun

    proud! Fight on,Trojan!

  6. Jim

    Welcome to the place that will change your life! FIGHT ON!!

  7. Rafael Vergnaud

    Extremely impressive! Fight on!!!!

  8. Letitia

    AMAZING!!! Fight on!!

  9. med

    We are students of film criticism audiovisual welcome you with us

  10. Elliscope

    Proud to be one of the Trojans!

    I will have my name posted like this in USC page one day!!

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