Top Trojans of 2015

The most prolific among the USC’s Class of 2015 were honored at the Student Recognition Ceremony in Bovard Auditorium on Thursday, May 14.

Those distinguished graduates are listed below.

Order of the Laurel and the Palm is the highest honor for outstanding scholarship and leadership bestowed by the Division of Student Affairs and one unknown to its recipients prior to the event.

  • Ama Konadu Amoafo-Yeboah, a Psychology major and Children & Families in Urban America minor, served as Executive Director of USC Program Board, Executive Director for the Black Student Assembly and Co-Founder of the mentorship program, Product of My Dreams.
  • Catherine Brackett, a Political Science major and Psychology and Law minor, led the largest recruitment class in USC history and oversaw the first system-wide sexual violence/assault and diversity workshops as Vice President of Recruitment for the USC Panhellenic Council.
  • Tiffany Chang, an Accounting and Business Administration major, held leadership roles in Beta Alpha Psi, Taiwanese American Organization and the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association, and she has a popular YouTube channel on which she performs covers of pop songs.
  • Oscar De Los Santos, a Political Science major, Truman Scholar and USC Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellow, served as White House intern for Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for Economic Policy.
  • Nnenna Ezeh, a Health and Humanity major and Natural Science Health Care Studies minor, was one of 20 students selected to participate in the Problems Without Programs at Oxford University, and served as Assistant Director of USC EdMonth and Co-Chair of the African American Cultural Celebration.
  • Stephanie Fong, a Biomedical Engineering major and Digital Studies minor, received the USC Academic Achievement Award, served as Treasurer and Webmaster for the USC Triathlon Competition Team, and served as Ambassador Program Chair for the Society of Women Engineers.
  • James Freymuth, a Philosophy, Politics & Law major with a masters in Public Administration, was a Presidential Scholarship Recipient, member of Order of the Torch and Vice President of Recruitment and Director of New Member Education for the Interfraternity Council.
  • Nicholas Kosturos, an International Relations major and Applied Computer Security minor, was Director of Leadership and Professional/Academic Funding Boards in Undergraduate Student Government, Chair of the Center for Excellence in Teaching’s Undergraduate Fellows, and Academic Chair for the Trojan Knights.
  • Khulood Madany, an Accounting & Business Administration major, was the President of the Levanthal Student Honor Council, Interfaith Coordinator for the Muslim Student Union, and a Norman Topping Scholar.
  • Harleen Marwah, a Health Promotion & Disease Prevention major with a masters in Global Medicine, was Executive Director and Co-founder for the Keck Undergraduate Student Ambassador Program, and Vice President of External Relations for the Panhellenic Council.
  • Roxana Ontiveros, a Political Science and American Studies & Ethnicity (Chicano/Latino Studies) major, served on the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund governing board, as President of Chicanos for Progressive Education, and was a Presidential Fellow, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Phi Beta Kappa, and McNair Scholar.
  • Matthew Prusak, International Relations (Global Business) major, served as editor-in-chief of the Social Justice Review and the Southern California International Review, as a senator in the Undergraduate Student Government and vice president for the Los Angeles Community Impact Counseling.
  • Rachel Rehert, a Psychology and Spanish double major, was an active member of Troy Camp, volunteer at 32nd Street School, and member of Phi Beta Kappa and Psi Chi honor society.
  • Engie Salama, a Global Health major and Spanish minor, was mentorship coordinator for the Keck Undergraduate Student Ambassadors, supplemental instructor for Organic Chemistry and president of the USC Muslim Student Union and the USC Interfaith Council, received USC Remarkable Women and JEP Interfaith Service awards, and was a Trustee Scholar, Renaissance Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Sona Shah, a Neuroscience major and Two Dimensional Studies minor, was philanthropy chair of USC Mortar Board, member of USC Helenes, co-founder and president of USC Inter-Health Council, member of Order of the Torch, Undergraduate Student Government residential senator, director of Campus Affairs for USC Southern California Indo-Association, a Trustee Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Kathleen Siswanto, a Biological Sciences and Business Administration double major, served as president of the Trojan Scholars Society, activities chair for the Associated Trustee and Presidential Scholars, and co-founder of the Undergraduate Research Consortium.
  • Corinne Spears, an Industrial and Systems Engineering major, co-founded Ending All Roads to Silence (E.A.R.S.), was a member of Alpha Pi Mu Engineering Honors Society, Order of Omega, a USC spirit leader, vice president of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, and plays on the USC women’s ice hockey team.
  • Christina Stewart, a Cognitive Science and Human Biology double major, was awarded the Delta Omicron Zeta Excellence in Leadership Award, was a Trustee Scholar, held leadership posts for Alpha Phi Omega, Panhellenic Executive Board, and Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and led Alternative Winter Breaks through to Thailand and India.
  • James White, a Political Science major and Nonprofits, Philanthropy & Volunteerism minor, served as Diversity Affairs director for Undergraduate Student Government, chief of staff for USC PAHRC Residential Student Government, USC spirit leader, director of recruitment for USC Society 53, USC Dornsife and Sol Price School of Public Policy student ambassador and Norman Topping Scholar.
  • Xingzhou (Juno) Zhu, a Business Administration major and Communication Design minor, represented USC at several national case competitions in which she was awarded for her designs and business plans, and was an active member in the Trojan Marching Band and the Daily Trojan staff.

Seniors with the highest academic achievements were also lauded during the ceremony.

Valedictorian:

  • Alexander Yuen, who double-majored in biological sciences and health promotion and disease prevention studies and will pursue a medical degree at UCLA.

Salutatorian:

  • Carrie Moore, a creative writing major and American studies and ethnicity minor who has earned awards for her fiction and will pursue a master’s in English at Stanford University.

University Trustees Award is given for the highest scholarship average of all undergraduate men at the university.

  • Harrison H. Lee
  • Manan P. Shah
  • Jason C. Silverman
  • Alexander D. Yuen

Emma Josephine Bradley Bovard Award is given for the highest scholarship average of all undergraduate women at the university.

  • Sarah Anne Jackson

USC Provost’s Award recognizes the highest scholarship average of all undergraduate transfer students at the university.

  • Sakura Kato
  • Nicole Pearl Kleinman
  • Brandon Jaoquim Loureiro
  • Leslie Jay McCracken

Students selected to receive $10,000 awards as Renaissance, Discovery and Global Scholars were recognized.

Renaissance Scholars have exceptional scholarship in two or more widely disparate fields of study.

  • James Michael Bell, a Biological Sciences major and Spanish minor working on his Master’s in Global Medicine, has been an advocate for human rights in the fields of medicine and public policy.
  • Megan Goldring, a Psychology major and Spanish and Statistics minor, plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and conduct research in the fields of food behavior, obesity, and eating disorders.
  • Nathaniel Hsieh, a Philosophy, Politics and Law major and triple minor in Songwriting, Occupational Science, and Individuals, Society and Aging, will attend Stanford Law School and intends to practice in international disability and elder care issues.
  • Rachel Jones, a Political Science major and Interdisciplinary Archaeology minor, plans to pursue a PhD in Anthropology with a research focus on indigenous communities.
  • Jung-Gi Min, double major in Biological Sciences and Human Development and Aging, with a minor in Digital Studies, will attend Stanford Medical School with a focus on clinical research and primary care.
  • Sara Newman, English (Creative Writing) major and Psychology minor, will continue developing her craft as a novelist and poet while pursuing a Master’s degree in education.
  • Jori Richman, double major in Neuroscience and Cinematic Arts Film and Television Production and double minor in Screenwriting and Health Care Studies, plans to write and produce science fiction films on the natural world.
  • Kathleen Siswanto, Biological Sciences and Business Administration majors, plans to pursue healthcare finance, investing in companies that make society healthier.
  • Natasha Sosa, a Neuroscience major and Linguistics minor, will attend medical school and specialize in neurology and pediatrics.
  • David Zhang, a Computer Science major and Linguistics minor, wants to solve problems in natural language processing and communication.

Discovery Scholars have done outstanding original research or creative work.

  • Daniel Allas, of Thornton School of Music, for a portfolio of music compositions, which incorporate extra-musical sounds or “noise.”
  • Karen Arcos, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, for a psychology honors thesis on how a teacher’s understanding of what they know in a subject area impacts 8th-grade students’ performance in science.
  • Luke Bouma, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, for a research project establishing a computational model that accurately simulates the electronic and optical response of metallic nanostructures to laser light with applications in biochemical sensing and nanophotonics.
  • Sarah Herald, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, for a research case study examining the extremely rare condition of developmental phonagnosia, or the inability to identify people based on their voice.
  • Uriel Kim, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, for a research portfolio challenging existing government measures of quality food access and factors that have created food deserts in Los Angeles.
  • Yo-Yo Lin, of School of Cinematic Arts, for an animation project combining traditional and digital techniques on five screens following a man on a bicycle as he searches for signs and meaning in the memories of his life.
  • Zachary Matthews, of the School of Architecture, for a design portfolio exploring how architecture can physically re-engage people in a society addicted to personal technology.
  • Katherine McCormick, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, for an honors thesis on the evolution of the character of the rake in British popular culture and perceptions of male and female sexuality.
  • Carrie Moore, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, for a research paper exploring secondary characters in the narratives of freed slaves, and a creative portfolio of short stories of black middle-class experiences.
  • Christopher Sandino, of Viterbi School of Engineering, for a published research article establishing a method that to improve the accuracy of diagnostic MRI used to detect hemochromatosis in vital organs.

Global Scholars have completed significant scholarship both at home and abroad.

  • Thomas Armstrong, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, for an honors history thesis analyzing the relationship between Chiang Kai-shek and Franklin D. Roosevelt and why both men’s dream of postwar cooperative security failed.
  • Kelly Belter, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, for a research paper contrasting how Ingres’ paintings and Kang Sok-kyong’s fictional short stories define “oriental women’s” roles.
  • Rachel Bensimon, of Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, for a case study of mass gymnastics as propaganda in Communist Czechoslovakia.
  • Jason Finkelstein, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, for a research article identifying contradictions in rhetoric and action in three Arctic countries, Sweden, Russia, and Finland, as a result of new resources and shipping routes in the region.
  • Miki Fujiwara, of USC School of Architecture, for an architectural portfolio detailing the renovation of an Activity Center and rooftop to bring exercise, interaction, and a sense of freedom to children in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Alice Lee, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, for a photography book illustrating the life of a former major in the Lord’s Resistance Army.
  • Katelyn Masket, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, for a research paper focusing on the malleable meaning of secularism and the relationship between religion and democracy in Egypt and Turkey.
  • Danielle Pappas, of Keck School of Medicine, for a research paper on marginalization, discrimination, and violence toward the Ugandan homosexual community and its threat to the battle against HIV/AIDS in the region.
  • Linda Wang, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, for a multimedia project tracking historical hip-hop culture in Dakar, Senegal, its influence during the African diaspora and the region today.
  • Christina Zdawczyk, of Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, for a documentary of personal narratives from those whom survived the unprecedented series of natural disasters in Northern Japan in 2011.

Graduates who competed with students around the country to win highly prestigious national and international fellowships were also noted.

Humanity in Action Fellowship is awarded to support exploration of different national histories of discrimination and resistance to injustice.

  • Mushfiqur Chowdhury, a double major in International Relations and Middle East Studies.

Truman Scholarship is awarded to attend graduate or professional school in preparation for careers in government, the nonprofit sector or elsewhere in public service.

  • Oscar De Los Santos, a Mexican-American first-generation college student who plans to enter law school with a focus on the inclusion of marginalized people in the political process.

Fulbright U.S. Student Grants are awarded to support for one year of graduate study, research or teaching abroad.

  • Stefani Feldman, who will study clarinet performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music.
  • Maria Fish, who will teach English in Andorra.
  • Maracel Guevarra, who will pursue a master’s in screen culture studies at the Korea National University of Arts.
  • Andrea Valenzuela, who will teach English in Mexico.

David L. Boren Scholarship is awarded to participate in intensive language and cultural studies in regions critical to U.S. national security.

  • Jason Finkelstein, an International Relations and Russian double major, studied Russian in Irkutsk and St. Petersburg, and will be working in cooperative law enforcement with Russia.
  • Linda Wang, double major in Sociology and Philosophy, Politics and Law, studied French and Wolof at the West African Research Center in Senegal, and will work for the federal government before entering law school.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is awarded for advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

  • Luke Bouma, who majored in Mathematics and Physics, plans to pursue a PhD in applied physics, conducting research in physical electronics and optoelectronics for application in energy conversion and storage.

Finally, inductees into the Order of Arete and Order of Troy were named.

Order of Arete is the highest honor awarded to graduate students.

  • Spencer Levi Amansec
  • Gabrielle Aquino
  • Alexandria Arditti
  • Anubha Bang
  • Armando Barajas
  • Sahel Behpoornia
  • Lindsey Bittman
  • Keisha Brown
  • Fancois Cadieux
  • Roberto Campos
  • Richard Carranza
  • Michelle Castellanos
  • Brenda Covarrubias
  • Nils de Mol van Otterloo
  • Lindsey Etheridge
  • Joanie Evans
  • Lisa Fukuzato
  • Joanna Gamboa
  • Adriana Gamez
  • Keahn Gary
  • Sierra Gronewold
  • Ivy Hammond
  • John Hannaberry
  • Precious Harris
  • Jamie Herdt
  • Zuleima Hidalgo
  • Nayoung Hong
  • Susan Huynh
  • Reem Itani
  • Miriam Joya
  • Mariya Kalashnikova
  • Timothy Khuu
  • Vigor Lam
  • Angela Lara Lomeli
  • Joseph Li
  • Alida Liberman
  • Xingliang Liu
  • Crista Lopez
  • Carlos Madrid
  • Sable Manson
  • Aaron May
  • Simin Mehrabani
  • Arlan Mendiola
  • Peter Muhn
  • Molly Murphy
  • Harshavardhan Mylapilli
  • Vanessa Myrie
  • Andy Ng
  • Nehikhare Ogbevoen
  • Dilara Onur
  • Enrique Pantoja
  • Amy Patel
  • Pruthul Patel
  • David Schwartz
  • Casey Simon
  • Elise Smith
  • Autumn Tayor
  • Caitlin Tems
  • Kaveri Thakoor
  • Michael Toboni
  • Peter Tran
  • Ani Ucar
  • Samantha Valasek
  • Andrea Valenzuela
  • Jonathan Vales
  • Chloe Valmore
  • Christianne Wa
  • Lisa Werth
  • Greg Woodburn

Order of Troy is awarded to undergraduates for exceptional community service.

  • Claire Adams
  • Melia Albrecht
  • Raul Alcantar
  • Karen Arcos
  • Kathryn Arnold
  • Lyssa Ardua
  • Monisha Bajaj
  • James Michael Alberto Bell
  • Zach Bergenfeld
  • Breanna Betts
  • Trang Bi
  • Colin Boehnlein
  • Evan Brown
  • Anh Cao
  • Alison Chang
  • Jackie Chen
  • Steven Childress
  • Lorna Chiu
  • Haylie Chu
  • Kevin Chuang
  • Jacob Courtney
  • Maria Cuevas Delgado
  • John Davy
  • Jorge De Avila
  • Skylar Dunn
  • Hassaan Ebrahim
  • Casey Ellis
  • Justin Farshidi
  • Adam Feisst
  • Rafael Flores
  • Jheanelle Garriques
  • Jennifer Glaeser
  • Katherine Grabar
  • Leilani Graham
  • Maracel Guevarra
  • Meghan Heneghan
  • Fausto Hernandez Jr
  • Kaylee Ho
  • Kimberly Ho
  • Derek Horner
  • Meghan Howell
  • Nathaniel Hsieh
  • Emily Huang
  • John Ingram
  • Nicole Jamgotchian
  • Esmeralda Jimenez
  • Adam Joe
  • Michelle Kang
  • Andrea Kemp
  • Rayed Khan
  • Gloria Kim
  • Cindy Le
  • Alice Lee
  • Harrison Lee
  • Madeline Lees
  • Arshia Malekzadeh
  • Zach Mank
  • Naa Adei Mante
  • Sarah Maslechko
  • Patrick Mazuca
  • Casey McCloskey
  • Feibi McIntosh
  • Andrew Menard
  • Sara Ivette Merced
  • Kaitlin Mogentale
  • Andrew Molina
  • Jacqueline Molina
  • Morgan Muhonen
  • Elle Mustion
  • Rashelle Nagata
  • Jonathan Nguyen
  • Eric Ochoa
  • Princeton Parker
  • Justin Pearce
  • Maria Phoutrides
  • Elisabeth Plotner
  • Daisy Policarpo Hernandez
  • Christopher Reimann
  • Meaghin Riske
  • Anjuli Ayesa Roces
  • Denise Rockstroh
  • Elysia Rodriguez
  • Kristi Rogers
  • Amanda Schmitt
  • Henna Shin
  • Jade Simmons
  • Camille Smaby
  • Charlie Skaf
  • Chelsea Stone
  • Julie Stripe
  • Chang Andy Su
  • Melina Sutton
  • Vijeta Tandon
  • Richelle Tanner
  • Blair Threatt
  • Alyson Tsui
  • Leah Tsui
  • Christine Vargas
  • Annie Vu
  • Sarah Vu
  • Xuntao (Tony) Wang
  • Carolyn Windler
  • Cen Xu
  • Jocelyn Yip
  • Giovani Zelada