Past USC Exchange Students

Fall 2018 – Martin Tran

Martin is a biology major from Westminster, California. While at USC, Martin served as a resident assistant in the Parkside Apartments community and sang tenor in the USC Thornton Concert Choir. During Freshers’ week, he joined the Queens’ College Chapel Choir to sing wide-ranging repertoire during choral evensongs, compline, and concerts in Cambridge and London. He grew close with other choir members by participating in formals at Queens’ several times a week. Martin also enjoyed visiting other colleges at Cambridge, going to orchestral concerts at West Road Concert Hall, and singing with MagSoc, the music society of Queens’ College.

This program was a deeply formative experience for Martin’s scientific growth. He first began doing research in developmental biology with Prof. Rusty Lansford at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles his freshman year, using transgenic quails to understand the origins of sperm and egg in the bird embryo. At Cambridge, Martin joined the lab of Prof. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz to study genome activation during the first two days of mouse embryonic development. During this time, he learned about their exciting recent advances in the creation of synthetic embryo-like structures, which might circumvent the need for precious mouse and human embryos. Enrolling in modules from the Dept. of Genetics and Dept. of Physiology, Development, and Neuroscience complemented his research, and participating in supervisions in the Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science allowed Martin to explore the ethics of working with human embryos in the lab setting. After graduating from USC, he will enroll in a PhD program to study this topic in greater depth, drawing from his valuable discussions during his time in Cambridge.

Fall 2017 – Anbar Aizenman

Anbar is an Economics major and International Relations minor. Anbar has extensive undergraduate research experience spanning emphasis areas that include public policy, climate change, and political propaganda analysis. Anbar has been involved with USC’s Joint Education Project with the International Relations Program teaching courses on Equality and Identity, Climate Change, and Competing Perspectives. Anbar will utilize the experience in Cambridge to continue developing a senior thesis exploring the relationship between financial services and labor market outcomes on an international scale.

Fall 2016 – Pablo Pozas Guerra

Pablo is an industrial and systems engineering major from Monterrey, Mexico. He is also pursuing an accelerated master’s degree in Global Supply Chain Management through USC’s progressive degree program. Throughout his time as an undergraduate, Pablo served as a campus leader in several capacities, including that of International Project Manager for Engineers Without Borders and of Residential Assistant for the Great Outdoors residential community. He is also an active member of Overflow A Cappella, the Men’s Futsal Club and Society 53. He is an avid adventurer and hiker, and he most notably completed a 500 mile trek in Northern Spain known as the Camino de Santiago.

Pablo said of his experience at Queens’: “I would describe my time in Cambridge as one made whole by a collection of small and unique experiences, like going out for a walk at dawn in the magical town that rewards the adventurous pedestrian, or getting to discuss a subject in supervision after spending countless hours doing independent research. And though there were plenty of exciting moments that I will remember – like the adrenaline rush of a rowing race or a last minute victory goal on the football field – the most transcendent part of it all will definitely be the relationships I’ve developed with my friends at Queens’. I will always feel a part of this college through the people I’ve met, and I’m excited to keep in touch with them as we move on in our academic and professional lives.”

Fall 2015 – Elizabeth Weir

Elizabeth graduated summa cum laude from USC in 2016 with a double-major in linguistics and theatre. During her time at USC, she was also selected as a Renaissance Scholar, a member of the Order of Troy, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa (Junior Election).

During the USC-Queens’ College Cambridge Exchange, Elizabeth read the Linguistics course. In addition to the excellent academics, she was impressed by the many extracurricular opportunities available to Queens’ students and by the truly warm welcome she received from her peers. During her time, Elizabeth especially enjoyed formal dinners, learning to row, and performing in various theatrical productions around Cambridge.

The Queens’ program was a key part of Elizabeth’s USC experience and continues to shape her career goals. Elizabeth is especially interested in the ways in which Medicine and Linguistics intersect. As such, after completing her undergraduate degree at USC, she continued into the USC Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program, to prepare for her matriculation into medical school. In the next year, Elizabeth plans to return to Cambridge (and Queens’ College) to pursue a Masters of Philosophy in Medical Science (Psychiatry). During this MPhil, Elizabeth will research the relationships between androgen hormones, endometriosis, and autism.

Fall 2014 – Matthew Prusak

Matthew Prusak graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations (Global Business). Matthew was a USC Presidential Scholar and served as editor-in-chief of both the Southern California International Review and the Social Justice Review. He also played a crucial role in helping to set the tone of the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study as a student-leader in charge of the undergraduate wing of the organization.  After his Queens’ experience, Matthew returned to USC to earn the Global Scholar distinction his final semester which blended his reflections from his time abroad in China, Indonesia and the UK, with his research on the need for economic engagement with North Korea.

Matthew currently works as a management consultant with Bain & Company’s Southeast Asia office, where he focuses on social impact and technology projects. In Fall 2016, Matthew was selected as a Schwarzman Scholar, a highly selective international scholarship program designed to prepare future leaders for success in a world where China plays a key global role. Following the Schwarzman Scholarship, Matthew plans to complete an MBA at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business before pursuing a career in international trade negotiation.

Fall 2013 – Grace Do

Grace graduated magna cum laude from USC in 2013 with a degree in social sciences (psychology) and minors in children and families in urban america and human rights.   Grace identifies as third-culture kid who was born in South Korea, raised in Sri Lanka, and is now living in the U.S. Her eight weeks at Queens’ College was one of the most significant and memorable periods of her life. Not only was she able to indulge in the magical fairytale experiences that many imagine when they think Cambridge – studying in the archaic libraries within castle-like structures, attending formal dinners in the grand halls dressed in robes, punting and rowing along the River Cam.  She also witnessed her own tremendous intellectual and personal growth.

With its greater emphasis on independent and self-directed study, Cambridge gave Grace the flexibility to pursue her own academic interests, and at the same time provided her close guidance through its notable supervision system. Most importantly, the program taught her to always seek to grow and challenge herself, a lesson that still influences the decisions she makes today. Since Cambridge, she spent five months on an educational ship traveling the world, three months interning at the Permanent Mission of Republic of Korea to the United Nations, and a year volunteering in an international NGO in Rwanda. Currently she is working as a barista by day and teacher by night while preparing to attend law school next fall with a vision to positively impact under-served and marginalized communities as an international human rights lawyer.

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