USC in the News

USC in the News 8/9/2011

The Australian (Australia) featured USC's transformation under USC President Emeritus Steven B. Sample. "Today, USC is a pin-up college of American higher education. From 1991 to 2008, USC jumped an unprecedented 28 places to 23rd position on the highly influential U.S. News & World Report rankings," the story stated. Sample established USC as a pioneer in interdisciplinary research and education, and the school now attracts more international students than any other American university, the article stated. "Dramatically improving every aspect of undergraduate education was the highest priority of the USC strategic plan, starting with a complete overhaul of the undergraduate program. Innovations included an interdisciplinary approach, senior academics teaching freshmen in intimate settings, and reducing undergraduate places by 500," the story continued. Sample also implemented a three-tiered, merit-based scholarship program which worked spectacularly well, and USC now out-competes Harvard University, Yale University and Stanford University for the best undergraduate students, the article stated. "Offering responsible, careful, middle-class families with striving children a small amount of merit-based aid that recognized achievement regardless of need resonated like a thunderclap," said James Moore of the USC Viterbi School.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that Jack Knott, dean of the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, helped represent universities in conversations with the federal government as it drafted new regulations designed to facilitate students' entry into public service. The existing system wasn't conducive to bringing in this younger cohort, Knott said. "Some of our best students who were interested in federal employment were very frustrated in actually trying to get a job," he added. "And when you see disasters like the recent financial crisis or Hurricane Katrina, you know you don't want a federal work force that's not as capable and competent as it might be." Knott said that he's glad to see a clear signal from the administration "that getting good people into government is a top priority."

Science Channel's "Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman" interviewed Valter Longo of the USC Davis School about his research on prolonging life span. Longo has found a way to extend the life span of baker's yeast to 10 times its normal length, the story reported. He then began studying the equivalent genes in mice, and found that he was able to double their normal life span.

Asian News International featured research by Lisa Collins of the USC Dornsife College, who has provided new insight on how the ocean impacts climate change. Collins spent four years collecting samples from floating sediment traps off of the Los Angeles coast. She found that that the majority of the particulate organic carbon falling to the basin floor is marine-derived, not the result of rainfall runoff, which means that the ocean off the coast is taking carbon out of the atmosphere via phytoplankton and locking it up in sediment. "It's all tied to climate change," Collins said. She began the research as a graduate student working under William Berelson of the Dornsife College.

L.A. Weekly featured research by Pin Wang of the USC Viterbi School, who has created a virus that hunts down HIV-infected cells. The virus marks those cells so that drugs can then better target them for destruction. In laboratory tests, the virus resulted in the destruction of roughly 35 percent of existing HIV cells.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlighted work by Randye Semple of the Keck School of USC and a colleague, who created an effective model of therapy for children with greater-than-normal anxiety. The story quoted Semple about the 12-session program, which uses hands-on activities to show kids who worry how to observe -- rather than judge -- the thoughts and feelings that increase their anxieties.

The Canadian Press (Canada) highlighted Paul Frommer, professor emeritus of the USC Marshall School, who created the language Na'vi for the movie "Avatar." Frommer initially developed 1,000 words for the language, but in response to fan demand, he gathered a committee of eight experts in the language to extend the vocabulary. "It's been astonishing to me, the response that it's gotten, really worldwide," Frommer said. The Globe and Mail (Canada) and Ming Pao (Canada) also highlighted the work.

KPCC-FM ran Q&A with Jody Agius Vallejo of the USC Dornsife College, who is writing a book on the Mexican American middle class. She has spent the past few years studying this group, which is larger and wealthier than many people imagine, the story noted. "It is not only important for immigrants to work towards wealth accumulation as individuals," Vallejo said. "It is critically important that we lift societal barriers so that immigrants and their children can succeed. We need to institute policies that help immigrants and their children, who are the future of this country, secure their economic status so that we can work towards closing gaps in income, education, occupation, and wealth."

The San Diego Union-Tribune featured Gilbert Castellanos of the USC Thornton School, who performed with his band at Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay in San Diego. "As a band leader, teacher and the leader of countless jam sessions here over the past 16 years, Castellanos is almost unrivaled as San Diego's most significant jazz musician-cum-mentor," the story stated. "To me, the stage is like the altar of joy where you get to share this music," Castellanos said. A friend added that it is important to Castellanos to teach at USC and have students interested in carrying on the jazz tradition.

The New York Times quoted Martin Kaplan of the USC Annenberg School about audiences' appetite for disaster movies during the Cold War and today.

The Washington Post, in an Associated Press story, quoted Jonathan Taplin of the USC Annenberg School about people using social media to organize criminal flash mobs.

Los Angeles Times quoted Lawrence Harris of the USC Marshall School about the stock market crash. Harris was also interviewed by Univision, ABC News Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV, CBS News Los Angeles affiliate KCAL-TV and City News Service.

Los Angeles Times, in a Reuters story, quoted David Carter of the USC Marshall School about a decline in Los Angeles Dodgers attendance.

Phoenix Television (China) interviewed Aris Protopapadakis of the USC Marshall School about the debt crisis.

Health quoted Robert Kloner of the Keck School of USC about the relationship between the lining of blood vessels and erectile dysfunction.

National Review cited Julie Slayton of the USC Rossier School regarding the Los Angeles Unified School District routinely granting tenure to new teachers after cursory reviews.

ABC News Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV interviewed Aris Protopapadakis of the USC Marshall School about the S&P downgrade.

ABC Radio interviewed Lois Banner of the USC Dornsife College, author of MM -- Personal," about an auction of a short film that purportedly shows Marilyn Monroe having sex.

KPCC-FM's "Patt Morrison" interviewed Dorian Traube of the USC School of Social Work about a study finding that modern playgrounds are too safe and negatively affect children's risk-taking behavior.

Bloomberg News cited a 2008 op-ed co-written by Warren Bennis of the USC Marshall School, on President Obama's charisma.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Navdeep Mundi of the USC Marshall School on how the strongest brands connect with consumers.

KQED-FM's "The California Report" interviewed Morgan Polikoff of the USC Rossier School about President Obama announcing that he's willing to offer waivers for schools that fail to meet "No Child Left Behind" standards.

The San Diego Union-Tribune cited Richard Green of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate about the potential impact of the stock market drop on housing markets.

Big Think cited a Q&A with Margaret Gatz of the USC Dornsife College on her Alzheimer's disease research.

The New York Times reported that the National Endowment for the Humanities announced $40 million in grants, including a grant to Bruce Smith of the USC Dornsife College and a Bryn Mawr College colleague to develop a portable electronic application called Mobile Shakespeare Scripts.

The New York Times cited research by Lee Epstein of the USC Gould School on the decisions of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

MSNBC reported that NASA has awarded a $100,000 grant to a team headed by Behrokh Khoshnevis of the USC Viterbi School, for a plan to build a lunar settlement using 3-D printing technology.

Times & Transcript (Canada) highlighted research by Martin Hilbert, USC Provost's Fellow at the USC Annenberg School, who calculated that humanity is now able to store at least 295 exabytes of information.

McClatchy Newspapers cited the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education's oral history collection as an extensive repository of Holocaust information.

The Fresno Bee cited the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, which found that a majority of Californians favored moving the state's full- time Legislature to part-time status with part-time pay.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) highlighted research by scholar David Neal conducted while he was at the USC Dornsife College, which found that using Botox to smooth forehead wrinkles can affect people's ability to understand others' emotions.

Asia Times (China) reported that Daniel Lynch of the USC Dornsife College was one of the signers of open letters to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou regarding justice and democracy issues.

BNET mentioned the median salaries of USC Marshall School M.B.A. alumni five years after graduation.

The Virginian-Pilot covered the Grammy Camp, a two-week camp at the USC Thornton School for high school students interested in musical careers.

South Bend Tribune mentioned that USC alumni John Storie and Perry Smith formed the New West Guitar Group while studying music at the USC Thornton School. Santa Barbara Independent also highlighted the group.