National Coming Out Day

USC is a pluralistic community, welcoming students from every race, creed, and background. And in honor of LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day, we interviewed a current student who self-identifies as part of the LGBT community on campus. Adriana describes her coming out experiences, identity, and life on campus. Our LGBT Resource Center is located in the Student Union, which is also the home to other cultural resource centers – El Centro Chicano, the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA), and the Asian/Pacific American Student Services Center (APASS). All of USC’s resource centers provide students, parents, faculty, and staff with programming, mentoring, education, and support. The LGBT Resource Center coordinates the following events and resources throughout the year: Lavender Graduation, Queer Rising Fall Retreat, LGBT Peer Mentoring Program, Safe Zone Training, and more!

Q: To start, can you share your name, where you’re from, what year you are at USC?
Adriana: I’m Adri! I’m from Austin, Texas but was originally born in Monterrey, Mexico. I’m currently a sophomore at USC.

Q: How would you identify yourself (i.e. ethnic identity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, etc.)? What have your experiences been like between the intersectionality of all your identities in your personal life and at USC?
A: I identify as a cisgender Latina queer woman. I’ve had to pick and choose what I’m more involved with, LGBTQ+ or Latinx cultural centers, mostly due to personal time constraints rather than availability. The Chicano Center is actually located right on top of where I work at the LGBT Resource Center, so, it’s not for lack of proximity. But I’m able to express my identities openly in both spaces and beyond them on campus, which is wonderful and I’m immensely thankful for it.

Q: Can you describe the first time you ever came out to someone?
A: The first time I recall was when I had my first crush on a girl going into middle school…I had butterflies in my stomach and told every one of my friends about her. They were a little confused (to be fair though, as was I), but incredibly accepting, and at the time, I didn’t even realize I was “coming out” by telling them.

Q: When did you come out at USC or do you feel like you came to USC already out?
A: Coming in, I immediately got involved with LGBTQ+-related organizations, as I have been pretty open about my sexuality since middle school. I come out in everyday situations still today merely by having a rainbow sticker on my laptop or bringing up queer life on campus.

Q: Did you know about any of the student clubs/organizations to support LGBTQ+ students before applying/matriculating to USC? If so, how did that impact your final decision?
A: Most definitely! I did my research and provided my own little guide to LGBTQ+ life on campus on the student blog, Trojans 360, to make it easier for incoming students to find the resources. I was aware of all the opportunities the Queer and Ally Student Assembly had for being involved on campus, and got involved with the First-Year Advocacy Board, a group for first-year LGBTQ+ students to come together, and applied to work at the LGBT Resource Center straight away (all puns intended!).

Q: What advice do you have for LGBTQ+ students applying to colleges now that you wish you had received during your college search process?
A: Make sure you find a place where you can truly be yourself as much as your heart desires. USC is, personally for me, a very accepting campus where I never fear openly talking about my sexuality or my extracurricular activities involved with LGBTQ+ matters. It’s the norm for me, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have found a campus that suits me in this way.

Q: Lastly, what are some fun/exciting things you are involved in at USC that future Trojans can look forward to?
A: If you’re interested in law, I’d highly recommend joining Phi Alpha Delta or the Journal of Law and Society! I’m personally involved in both and loved them. I worked with the student blog this last year, Trojans 360, which is an incredible resource for incoming students. Any organization under the Queer and Ally Student Assembly (QuASA) is wonderful — if you’re looking for volunteering opportunities, check out OUTReach, an LGBTQ+-oriented community service organization. If you like movies, QueerCut is great. And if you’re looking to celebrate your intersectionality, QPOC (Queer People of Color) is perfect. There’s a ton more to check out, but I’d recommend getting involved in at least one.

In addition to the clubs that Adri mentioned, here are some additional groups and resources for members of the Trojan Family:
Academic Organizations: Rainbow Scholars, a student-run organization for students living on the Rainbow Floor, one of our special interest residential communities; SCA Queer Cut, an LGBT Film Club in the School of Cinematic Arts; Queers in Engineering, Science, and Technology (QuEST), a networking club for LGBT students studying a STEM field
Political Groups: Price Queer Policy Caucus, a space for LGBT Sol Price School of Public Policy students and allies to network and discuss policies that directly impact the LGBT community.
Professional Resources: OUTLaw, a networking club for LGBT students interested in pursuing Law; and Trojan Alliance, a pre-professional association aimed at bringing networking opportunities and resources to LGBTQ students at USC.
Social Organizations: MedLambda: LGBTQIA+ Student Interest Group, a group that supports LGBT students, faculty, and staff in the health sciences through social events, activism, and programming; and Transgender Advocacy Group, a student-run organization for transgender USC students and their cisgender allies to mingle, discuss, and dismantle transphobia.

For more information about the LGBT Resource Center, programs, student organizations, and more, visit the LGBT Resource Center website: https://lgbtrc.usc.edu/ and the Campus Organizations website to get a full list of all of our registered club and organizations at USC: https://campusactivities.usc.edu/organizations/.

By: Marcel Hite
Assistant Director of Admission



A Day in the Life of An Admission Counselor: International Edition

KoreaGomabseubnida.

Yeonsujeungjuseyo.

Deo gimchi.

Google translate says that this is how you say “Thank You,” “Receipt, please,” and “More Kimchi” in Korean. All important phrases that were necessary during my recent recruitment trip to Seoul, South Korea last week. At USC, we have one of the largest international student populations of any college in the country, and we recruit heavily outside of the United States to spread the good word about the Trojan Family. Although this is my fifth year working in the admission office at USC, it’s my first recruitment trip abroad so I thought I’d bring you along the journey.

After a 13 hour flight, I landed in Incheon airport, where it is 16 hours ahead of Los Angeles. I took a red eye on Sunday night and landed on Tuesday morning. I’m never getting that Monday back. So sad. But when I landed I wanted to stay awake all day to get adjusted so I went to the Itaewon area of Seoul, which is known for good restaurants, shopping, and its international community. I hate to admit it, but I went to a taco place, which had some of the best Mexican food I’ve had. Hey, you can take the admission counselor out of L.A., but you can’t take L.A. out of the admission counselor.

Sheep

Over the next several days, I visited numerous high schools all over Seoul. Before I left, people would ask me about how different the schools are and if the students spoke English. Honestly, visiting high schools in Seoul felt very similar to visiting high schools in the United States. I’m mostly going to International schools, American Schools, British Schools, and the students are taking AP Classes or the IB Diploma program, just like many American students. The aspect of my interactions that felt the most different was the way in which I described the USC residential experience and the Trojan Family. The vast majority of students in Korea have not visited the campus and many have never been to California before. Being able to describe our vibrant campus life, which includes our residential college system, and our tight knit family feel was a lot of fun and the students were excited about having a smaller residential affiliation within the context of a large, research university. It is not assumed that these students are going to college in the United States, as many are looking at colleges in Canada, the UK, Australia, among many other places so they’re trying to figure out if USC and the American college experience in general is the best fit for them.

But none of this would have been possible without Mr. Junho Park, who drove me to all of my high schools. Taxi drivers in Korea aren’t known for their English fluency, so it was great to have someone who spoke English and could make sure that I got everywhere on time. He helped me on my pronunciation of “Gomabseubnida” and “Deo gimchi,” without explicitly laughing in my face. And for that, I thank him.

After my final day of high school visits I was able to have one solid day of tourism and I certainly made the most of it. I went to the beautiful Gyeongbokgung Palace where I saw numerous teenagers in traditional Korean dresses. I thought there might be a special festival or ceremony happening, but it was later explained to me that it’s now trendy for girls to wear traditional dress and take pictures for their social media at palaces and shopping districts. Instagram is officially the universal language.

Ok, I’m off to finish my travels in Jakarta and Singapore before heading back to Los Angeles so before I go I just wanted to say “Ssaul!” (Google Translate for Fight On!)



Things to do at USC

Students are always interested in what there is to do on campus.  Of course, there are clubs and organizations, athletics, Greek life, movie screenings, guest lectures, community service programs, and many other things. Two USC signature programs that I always highlight to prospective students are Visions and Voices and What Matters to Me and Why. These programs are unique to USC and are both manifestations of the values of the University as they seek to expand students’ perspectives through highlighting the diversity of experience that surrounds us all.

Visions and Voices was created in 2006 by USC President C.L. Max Nikias when he was the University’s provost. The program was designed to reflect the rich cultural opportunities of the city of Los Angeles, and beyond.  Visions and Voices is an arts and humanities program, and its events are designed to attract students from all disciplines at the University. Highlights of the series this year include a visit to the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA, a culinary tour of Thai Town, the three-day Comedy@SCA Festival, an evening with Romeo Dallaire the Canadian senator and humanitarian credited with saving 32,000 lives in Rwanda, and a performance by San Francisco’s LINES Ballet. And I can’t leave out one of the most interdisciplinary events, “Wonderland and the Mathematical Imaginary,” an entirely new look at Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, lead by a science writer, a math professor, and an English professor.

What Matters to Me and Why is a speaker series sponsored by the Office of Religious Life. The program is designed to give students the opportunity to learn a bit more about the values, beliefs, and motivations of those who shape the University today. This year students have had the opportunity to hear from; Reverend Cecil Murray, one of the most influential ministers in Los Angeles who is also on our faculty, and Professor Paul Frommer, the creator of the Na’vi language you may have heard in James Cameron’s “Avatar.” I had the opportunity to attend the talk by Elizabeth Garrett the current provost of USC.  Provost Garrett has had an epic career (and that may be an understatement).  One thing that I took away from her presentation was that she believed in the idea of being open to new and unexpected opportunities. She credits most of her career to taking advice from some of her teachers and professors in looking outside of her immediate world (which was Oklahoma at the time) and to take on interesting opportunities as they reveal themselves, rather than trying to stick to a set path. I loved that! This is one of my favorite events to attend at USC, and it’s not just because there is a free lunch involved, it’s because it is such a human and communal experience.

For both of those programs my explanations above are just the tip of the iceberg. I absolutely encourage you to check out their websites to learn about all of the great events they have coming up!