GUEST BLOG: I am a Renaissance Scholar

This week we will hear from Kirsten, a senior at USC who is double majoring in English and Narrative Studies with a minor in Psychology and Law?  Sound cool?  Read more to find out about how she discovered all of these awesome subjects and what she’s been able to do with them.


My name is Kirsten Greenwood, and I’m a senior originally from London, England. I came into USC as an English major. Since then, I have found my specialty in Creative Writing, added a double major in Narrative Studies and a minor in Psychology and Law. One of the many reasons I have loved my time at USC is because I have been able to explore such different topics and fields. In fact, not only does USC allow me to study in different fields, but it also has rewarded me for it. After adding my minor, I found that I was eligible to be, and am now certified as, a Renaissance Scholar. The Renaissance Scholarship program at USC recognizes students who pursue studies in vastly different fields. Personally, the ability to study such different subjects, while still having time to pursue other activities, internships, spend time with friends, and still graduate on time, has made my university experience so exciting and rewarding. I am receiving recognition for studying in disparate fields on my transcript. I will also wear a ribbon at graduation and apply for a $10,000 grant given to ten Renaissance Scholars to put towards graduate study or research.

One of the original reasons I chose USC was because of the incredible interdisciplinary studies. Although I knew I wanted to major in English, there were so many things I was interested in but hadn’t had the opportunity to study in high school. I wanted to take classes in anthropology and neuroscience, languages and the cinematic arts. When I arrived at USC, I immediately started taking classes in different academic schools. I loved taking “Introduction to Cinema” and “Brain, Mind, and Machines: Topics in Neuroscience.” The cinema class inspired me to pick up a double major in Narrative Studies, a major that focuses on how stories are told across different mediums. With Narrative Studies I was able to take more cinema classes, and even a music class, as part of my major requirements.

I had also always been fascinated with psychology, and how our minds work and can malfunction. Adding a minor in Psychology and Law allowed me to take classes like “Mental Health Law” and “Social Psychology” and even an anthropology class called “Cross Cultural Research on Urban Gangs.” I have found that my majors in English and Narrative Studies compliment my minor in Psychology and Law. My understanding of literature has become so much more powerful with a basis of knowledge about how humans think and why they behave the way they do. The two fields enrich each other, and provide a lovely balance of creativity and evidence-based study to my university experience. And to put a cherry on top, my mother was so proud — her father, my grandfather, had always spoken about the importance of being well versed in a variety of fields. He studied inorganic chemistry, but always knew everything about the arts and culture. Sadly, he passed away before I started university, but it meant so much to know how proud he would be to know his granddaughter was a Renaissance Scholar

I have loved every minute of my studies at USC. From taking an English class taught by a National Book Award Winner to a Mental Health Law class where mental health professionals, judges, and former inmates of psychiatric institutions came to talk to us. I have had an incredibly diverse and exciting experience. It means a lot to me that USC appreciates and encourages so much interdisciplinary study, and has rewarded me for pursuing my academic goals at university.