Grads Share Memories and Advice

We asked some  recent grads — scholastic stars who earned coveted spots in the Order of the Laurel and the Palm — to reflect on their time at USC. They revealed their biggest surprises, fondest football memories and advice for undergraduate success.

Leah Singerman
Leah Singerman

What object could you not have done without at USC?

My blender! Before I learned how to make smoothies I was sick all the time because I was so bad at cooking. Getting a blender was probably the best thing I did for my health in college!

- Leah Singerman ’14 (psychology, minor in cinematic arts)

I would have to say the couch that my roommate and I have had for the past three years. I can take naps on it and rest from a long days work, but it also invites a lot of people into our apartment that we normally wouldn’t get to meet.

Brenton Caldwell ’14 (biomedical engineering)

My travel mug! Lots and lots of tea helped me through!

- Kiara Adams ’14 (business administration)

The red velvet cake at Lemonade. Oscar worthy cake, it was!

- Evangeline Alva ’14 (linguistics, with minors in consumer behavior & advertising)

Carlos Portela
Carlos Portela

My USC polo. Whether I was on campus on a beautiful game day or simply out playing a round of golf, my USC polo always showed how proud I was of being a Trojan and it sparked great conversations wherever I went.

- Carlos Portela ’14 (aerospace engineering & physics)

What was the most unexpected thing you did at USC?

I applied to travel to Ghana just after graduation with USC Global Medical Brigades. I’m not a premed student, nor does my major have anything to do with medicine. At USC, this is more common than not; students are pushed to explore their interests.

-Stephanie Aceves ’14 (computer science, minor in drawing)

I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and met my fiancé!

-Kirsten Rice ’14 (BS, civil engineering s, minor in photography, MS,  mechanical engineering)

I joined the USC Spirit Leaders Squad, which is doesn’t exactly fall in line with my personality! But it was one of the experiences I will treasure most because I grew comfortable being outside of my comfort zone.

- Kiara Adams ’14 (business administration)

Go to the Amazon forest and document a dying language. Who does that?!

- Evangeline Alva ’14 (linguistics, with minors in consumer behavior & advertising)

Melissa Linton
Mellissa Linton

I came out of the closet as a sophomore!

-Mellissa Linton ’14 (English literature & American studies and ethnicity)

Choosing all my different disciplines. I began USC as just a communication major and then slowly I added EALC and IR.

Alica Guo ’14 (communication & East Asian languages and cultures, minor in international relations)

I went to Belize with Problems without Passports the summer after my freshman year, which was COMPLETELY unexpected. I was just looking up environmental studies classes and saw one that looked cool but realized it was offered during the summer. I never thought I’d get in, but I did and it was absolutely the most amazing experience!

- Maya Raman ’14 (health promotion and disease prevention studies & biological sciences)

Alicia Guo
Alicia Guo

What is your fondest Trojan football memory?

Being thrown up in the air for this year’s UCLA vs. USC game’s first touchdown.

- Alicia Guo ’14 (communication & East Asian languages and cultures, minor in international relations)

Stanford beat us my first three years at USC, often by a tiny margin like a field goal. My senior year, the Stanford game was Homecoming, and we won the game at the very end by a field goal. Everyone was hugging and crying, and all the alumni who hadn’t beaten Stanford during their time at USC were there to rejoice with us.

- Leah Singerman ’14 (psychology, minor in cinematic arts)

Beating top-ranked 2013 Stanford team at the Coliseum is my favorite memory of a USC game. Students and alumni alike marched onto the field after that game, marking the beginning of a new era for USC football.

- Carlos Portela ’14 (aerospace engineering & physics)

What advice would you give to the Class of 2018?

Take advantage of USC’s resources during your breaks! Don’t just go home – do an Alternative Spring or Winter Break through the Volunteer Center, do a summer study abroad or get SURF research funding.

- Leah Singerman ’14 (psychology, minor in cinematic arts)

Adeel Mohammadi
Adeel Mohammadi

Don’t be afraid to have convictions and to fight for them, but also be open to the idea that four years from now, your convictions might radically change.

- Adeel Mohammadi ’14 (religion & biological sciences, minors in economics & Middle East studies)

Remain true to yourself and pursue what you’re passionate about! And always eat free food :)

Evangeline Alva ’14 (linguistics, with minoGradrs in consumer behavior & advertising)

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Dare to try new things and you will learn more about yourself than you would ever imagine.

- Brenton Caldwell ’14 (biomedical engineering)