Bennis Scholars Class of 2020: Cohort 3

Blake Ackerman

Blake is a junior majoring in Business Administration. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Undergraduate Student Government. His personal passions include encouraging student involvement and improving our overall campus climate. Blake is a member of USC’s Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and served as a Campus Engagement Intern for Hillel @ USC. Last summer, Blake interned at NBCUniversal in hopes of developing his career path in the legal field. In his free time, Blake loves to travel, attend concerts, and spend time at the beach.

Catherine Atkinson

Catherine Atkinson is a junior studying Political Science and Environmental Studies while working towards a Progressive Masters degree in Public Policy. Raised in Surrey, England, Catherine moved to the United States when she was thirteen, living in Omaha, Nebraska and Savannah, Georgia before coming to USC. On campus, Catherine is the Director of Sustainability Affairs for the Undergraduate Student Government, a Trip Lead for Peaks and Professors, a research assistant for two political science labs, and an active member of Troy Camp, Delta Phi Epsilon, and Society 53. In her free time, Catherine enjoys backpacking, through forests and countries alike, hammocking, reading, and acting. After college, she hopes to pursue a fellowship abroad, explore more of the world, and eventually attend law school, with a long-term goal of changing environmental policy in the U.S.

Jack Cagney

Jack is a junior from Allendale, New Jersey pursuing a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a minor in Public Health. On campus, Jack serves as Head Tour Guide in the USC Office of Admission, Leadership Chair for the Klein Institute for Undergraduate Engineering Life, and an Academy Coach for the Viterbi School of Engineering. He is also an active member of Troy Camp and a research assistant in the USC Mind & Society Center. During his time in college, Jack has continued his educational and professional experiences abroad, working as a sales intern for a start-up in London and as a research fellow at Taipei Medical University in Taiwan. In his free time, Jack loves to travel and explore Los Angeles with his friends (especially if food/coffee is involved).

Han Cai

Han Cai is a junior from Ningbo, China studying Business Administration. She is the founder and CEO of a cleantech startup, Apeiron Technology. She has been pursuing entrepreneurial efforts in clean energy field aiming to tackle Climate Change since freshman year. She spearheaded the research and development efforts of Apeiron’s technology, which extracts the carbon from natural gas to make it zero-emission, while turning the carbon into a valuable wonder material called graphene. She wishes to devotes her career to solve sustainability problems with social entrepreneurship. She is a foodie, travel enthusiast, and film lover.

Anahita Dalmia

Anahita Dalmia is a junior from New Delhi, India majoring in Narrative Studies while double minoring in Entrepreneurship and Cinematic Arts. Specializing in event management, she serves as Assistant Director of Special Events Committee for the Undergraduate Student Government and can be found ‘everywhere’ – theatre shows, games expos, food fests, museums or creepy abandoned places with creepier histories (this one wasn’t an event.) Beyond USG, on campus she is involved with the Rotaract, Trojan Visions and the Polymathic Community. Majoring in Storytelling, she has dabbled in every kind of narrative format – reading, writing, film, television, augmented reality, virtual reality, alternate reality and mixed reality. Her dream is to create immersive stories that inspire people to change lives – their own and those of the people around them. In her free time… what free time?

Lisa de Ràfols 

Lisa de Ràfols is a junior from Reno, Nevada double majoring in Economics and International Relations. She works as a research assistant for the Lab on Non-Democratic Politics and is currently researching Russian and Ukrainian lobbying strategies. At USC, Lisa serves as an editor for the Southern California International Review, the External Vice President of the professional foreign service fraternity Delta Phi Epsilon, a Trip Lead for Peaks and Professors, and a Dornsife Ambassador. She is also an active member of the Secular Student Fellowship and the USC Climbing Team and in her spare time can be found cooking for her friends, hiking, and reading Russian literature. After graduation, Lisa hopes to receive a fellowship abroad and pursue a PhD in international political economy, with the longer-term goal of becoming a professor and policy advisor.

Margaux Gjurasic

Margaux Gjurasic is a junior double majoring in International Relations Global Business and Public Relations.  Half French and half American, Margaux has lived around the world growing up between Asia, Europe, and America. Over the past few years she has held internships in London, Brussels, Hong Kong, Seattle and L.A. in both public and private sector organizations. Since coming to USC Margaux has been exploring the local political landscape having campaigned for Robert Lee Ahn, interned in the office of city council member Mike Bonin as well as counseling for the Ignite group for women in politics. On the academic front, she worked with USC faculty on research regarding Tunisian educational reform after the Arab Spring. Margaux hopes to use these experiences to continue pushing global cooperation and integration while working at an international organization like the EU or the UN. Margaux is a member of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi, the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta, and Delta Delta Delta, where she is points-chair.  In her down time, Margaux can be found socializing, reading Flipboard, exercising or just relaxing with Madam Secretary.

Rachel Glait 

Rachel Glait is a junior from Carmel, Indiana studying Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Dramatic Arts. Rachel is as a Viterbi Student Ambassador and a member of the W.V.T. Rusch Engineering Honors Program. During her time at USC so far, Rachel has served as a Resident Assistant in McCarthy Honors Residential College and has held multiple positions on the cabinets and executive boards of various organizations. She currently acts as President of one of USC’s comedy improv troupes, “prettyNotbad” and Secretary of Phi Alpha Delta, USC’s professional pre-law fraternity. In her free time, Rachel enjoys performing improv and stand-up comedy, exploring nature, and traveling whenever she has the opportunity.

José Guillermo Gutiérrez 

José is a junior from Mexico City majoring in Philosophy and Political Science. On campus, he serves as President and Co-founder of defrACT, Director of Student Safety at Undergraduate Student Government and Director of External Relations of Unruh Associates. Previously, he taught action civics to high school students through the Unruh Institute’s Civic Engagement Program and played trumpet for the Trojan Marching Band. In the future, he aspires to work on urban development at a think tank and write professionally. Whenever he can scrape up some free time, José loves taking photographs with his friends, traveling and drawing.

Montana Houston 

Montana Houston is a junior double majoring in Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Change and East Asian Languages and Cultures with an emphasis in Japanese. She also has a minor in Management Consulting. This year, Montana is excited to serve as the Executive Director of the Academic Culture Assembly and create programming that enriches the academic experiences of USC’s student body. She will also continue to serve as Executive Vice President of Marshall Women’s Leadership Board and Event Coordinator for Fisher Fellows, an organization that supports first-generation students in service and study-abroad endeavors. Montana has also served in several leadership positions, such as Black Student Assembly, Parkside Building Government, and USG Diversity Affairs Committee. After graduation, Montana aspires to create a consulting firm advising Global 500 companies in leadership and organizational change practices that promote ethical leadership and corporate social responsibility. Additionally, she hopes to start a non-profit that facilitates leadership development in underserved communities. Out of class, you can find Montana binge-watching her favorite TV shows (The Walking Dead or Parks and Rec, anyone?), at the beach with friends, practicing Japanese, or playing The Sims. Fun fact: Montana recently conducted research on Black experiences in Japan during the Global East Asia Maymester.

Inkoo Kang

Inkoo Kang is a junior from Kansas City, Kansas pursuing a major in International Relations with a minor in Communication Policy and Law.  On campus, Inkoo is a member of USC’s Air Force ROTC program, currently serving as its Physical Fitness Officer and Head of Recruitment. He is also the current Secretary of USC’s prestigious pre-law honors society, Blackstonians. In his free time, Inkoo has a deep passion for exploration and traveling, which has fueled his life-long ambition to become a polyglot. He also is an avid sports and cinema fan. After graduation, Inkoo hopes to attend Law School and commission into the U.S. Air Force as a Judge Advocate General. However, he believes his true calling is outside the military, where hopes to apply his skills to advocate on behalf of education and immigration reforms.

Debbie Lee 

Debbie is a junior from West Los Angeles, California majoring in Political Science with a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. She currently serves as the 2018-2019 Student Body President for USC’s Undergraduate Student Government, with personal passions and initiatives in promoting campus wellness and enhancing the overall student experience. In the future, she hopes to pursue careers in nonprofit organization management, impact investing, and law. When not on campus, Debbie loves exploring coffee shops, reading, and petting dogs.

Christopher Lindsay

Christopher Lindsay is a junior from Honolulu, Hawaii pursuing a B.S. in Astronomy, a B.A. in Environmental Studies, and a minor in Jazz Studies (Drums). At USC, Christopher is a Trustee Scholar and member of the Resident Honors and Thematic Option Programs.  He served as a resident assistant this past year in the brand-new McCarthy Honors College and will continue serving as an RA next year. Christopher works in Dr. Edward Rhodes’ helioseismology research group, studying the solar interior using data from satellites and ground-based telescopes on Mount Wilson. Christopher’s upbringing in Hawaii instilled in him a passion for protecting the world’s wild bodies of water. For the past five years, Christopher has been working on designing and testing inexpensive underwater time-lapse camera systems to better monitor sensitive marine ecosystems all over the world.

Kai MacLean

Kai MacLean is a junior from Boston, Massachusetts majoring in Global Health at the Keck School of Medicine. On campus, she loves welcoming prospective students to USC as a Tour Guide and connecting with first-years as a second-year Resident Assistant in the McCarthy Honors Residential College. In addition, she is a member of the USC Helenes, Troy Camp, and InterVarsity Trojan Christian Fellowship. In her free time, Kai enjoys running, baking treats, and exploring the diverse food options LA has to offer.

Michaela Murphy 

Michaela Murphy is a junior from Cupertino, California pursuing her degree in Public Policy and Law. She currently serves as a senator in the USC Undergraduate Student Government, the Director of Outreach of Trojan Advocates for Political Progress, and the President of the Society of Women in the Law. She also frequently consults for and serves on various local political campaigns, most recently as the Field Director for the Doug Chaffee Campaign for Orange County Supervisor. Post-graduation she hopes to become a civil rights attorney fighting against workplace harassment and discrimination, as well as continue to the work in community organizing, specifically surrounding issues of public education, infrastructure, and the environment.

Tianna Shaw-Wakeman

Tianna Shaw-Wakeman is a junior from Charleston, South Carolina studying psychology with a minor in social entrepreneurship. Fueled by her love of people and our shared environment, Tianna is a Co-Director of The Environmental Core, she is going on her third year as a volunteer with Visions & Voices, and her second year as a sustainability intern in USC Housing. Last summer she interned at TRU Integrative Health and Wellness Clinic in Atlanta, GA and this year she is beginning a venture as a research assistant studying the therapeutic properties of video games in USC’s psychology department. She hopes to meld her love of environmentalism and psychology in her future pursuits. In her free time, Tianna enjoys hitting the road with her friends and seeing where it takes her.

Rachel Solomon

Rachel Solomon is a junior from Atlanta, Georgia studying Computer Science. Rachel has been involved as a pro-bono student consultant for nonprofits through Los Angeles Community Impact, and she currently serves as their Vice President of Human Resources. She also works in the USC Interaction Lab, and serves as the Executive Vice President for the USC Chapter of the Roosevelt Institute. In her free time, Rachel enjoys running and training for new races, as well as going on hikes and to the beach. Rachel is interested in the intersection of data science and public policy, and hopes to pursue a graduate degree or fellowship after college.

Jack Tenney

Jack Tenney is a junior from Greenwich, CT, majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. Around campus, he is involved as a member of Society 53, the President of the Interfraternity Council, Philanthropy Chair for his fraternity, and a counselor for Camp Kesem USC. He was also chosen to represent USC as a Global Fellows Scholar, living and working in Taipei, Taiwan for the summer of 2018. When he’s not at school, Jack likes to travel as much as he can and hopes to pursue a socially responsible career in an exciting international setting.

Mimi Tran Zambetti 

Mimi Tran Zambetti is a Junior from San Jose, California majoring in Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation. On campus, she is a part of Spark SC’s core team. She previously launched Break to Make, a weekend-long all women’s makeathon. In her freshman year, she and her team created Tommy Bot, a campus chatbot for USC. Currently, she’s interested in improving diversity & inclusion in the workplace and access to mental health services. In her free time, she likes to frequent modern art museums, collect funky socks, and people watch.

Kurt Weatherford 

Kurt Weatherford is a junior from St. Louis, Missouri majoring in International Relations and Political Economy with a minor in Spatial Studies. On campus, he works as a tour guide, serves on the E-Board of the Swim Club, and chairs a committee in an organization called Trojan Advocates for Political Progress. Outside of these activities, he conducts research for professors in both the International Relations and Economics departments, and teaches in local high schools through the Teaching International Relations Program. During the Summer of 2018 he will be studying and improving his Spanish in Cuba before attending a consortium on human rights and ethics at Oxford University and volunteering in a refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece. In his free time, he enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, traveling, watching soccer, and exploring new neighborhoods in Los Angeles.