Scholar Distinctions

USC Renaissance Scholars, Discovery Scholars, and Global Scholars are academic honors awarded upon graduation that recognize graduating seniors who meet the criteria. Interested USC undergraduates may apply and receive the distinction(s) upon commencement. Scholars receive a medallion to wear at graduation, have their distinction noted on their final transcript from the University, and may be in consideration for the Prize Competition (see below). Seniors can earn more than one distinction but must meet the criteria for each application.

Application Timeline for Graduating Seniors

When to Apply

  • May and August graduates apply during their final spring semester (aside from the Renaissance Scholar Certification deadline in December).
  • December graduates apply the spring following their graduation (defined by undergraduate degree completion, not walking).

Follow all specific deadlines and updates listed for each Scholar Distinction application.

General Scholar Distinction Timeline for ApplicantsDownload or View PDF

Upcoming Deadlines for Submissions

About Scholar Distinctions

Seniors apply separately for consideration to be Renaissance Scholars, Discovery Scholars, and/or Global Scholars. Interested undergraduates should thoroughly review the eligibility and requirements for each distinction and prize competition.

Steven & Kathryn Sample Renaissance Scholar Distinction

In honor of former University President Steven Sample and his wife Kathryn, the Renaissance Scholar distinction recognizes undergraduate students who have excelled in their studies while completing a major and a minor (or two majors) in widely disparate fields of study. The objective is to achieve breadth and depth in two widely separate fields of thought. Learn More

Global Scholar Distinction

The Global Scholar distinction honors students who excel in their studies both at home and abroad. Students must spend at least 10 weeks abroad during their undergraduate studies and complete a capstone project related to their international experiences. Global Scholars participate in activities that expose them to new perspectives, and challenge the status quo. Learn More

Discovery Scholar Distinction

The Discovery Scholar distinction honors undergraduate students who excel in the classroom while demonstrating the ability to create exceptional new scholarship or artistic works in any major concentration offered at the University. Learn More

Scholar Distinction Prize Competition

Each distinction hosts a Prize Competition and selects ten graduating seniors to receive a $10,000 prize. Students may apply for or be considered for more than one Prize Competition, but can only be awarded one prize.

For Renaissance Scholars, all certified graduating seniors are invited to apply for the Prize Competition. Applying for the Prize is not required to earn the distinction.
For Global and Discovery Scholars, applicants who meet the deadline are reviewed by their School to earn the distinction and/or prize nomination. All prize nominees are forwarded to a university-wide review panel and, if not selected, will still earn the distinction.

Prize Winners may request funds for up to 5 years (6 for Architecture graduates) after bachelor’s degree completion to fund graduate school anywhere in the U.S. or abroad; and may be able to propose creative projects relevant to career goals. A request may be submitted through Academic Programs after the recipient has enrolled and passed the third week of a graduate program through the fall semester 5 years (6 years for Architecture) post-graduation. Prize award requests cannot go towards funding for pre-graduate school preparatory courses or exam fees, or towards a completed graduate degree.

Email ahfstaff@usc.edu for assistance with prize disbursement.

Previous Prize Winners

Each year, an exemplary group of ten graduating seniors from each of the Scholar Distinctions is selected to receive $10,000 prizes towards graduate study. Below is a list of Prize Winners for previous years.

Renaissance Prize Winners

USC Steven and Kathryn Sample Renaissance Scholars are students who graduate in two or more widely separated fields of study with both a major and minor, or two baccalaureate degrees. Renaissance Scholars must meet requirements for superior academic performance, including no less than a 3.5 overall grade point average, and no less than a 3.5 grade point average in their respective programs of study.

StudentMajor(s)Minor(s)Year
Alexa BlanchetMajor: Architecture (B.Arch)Minor: Dance2021
Stella GrimaldiMajors: Theatre (B.A.); Law, History and Culture (B.A.)Minor: Musical Theatre2021
Yinghui “Linda” HeMajors: Psychology (B.A.); Applied and Computational Mathematics (B.A.); Computer Science (B.S.)2021
Astoria HoMajor: Lifespan Health (B.S.)Minor: Computer Programming2021
Haley HsuMajors: Linguistics (B.A.); Russian (B.A.); Mathematics (B.A.)2021
Sheetal MadnaniMajor: Chemical Engineering (Sustainable Energy) (B.S.)Minor: Political Science2021
Tejas RamdasMajor: Computational Neuroscience (B.S.)Minors: Philosophy, Mathematics2021
Janis StuurmanMajor: Comparative Literature (B.A.)Minor: Jazz Studies2021
Oksana TrifonovaMajors: Economics (B.A.); French (B.A.); Narrative Studies (B.A.)2021
Emily YangMajor: Quantitative Biology (B.S.)Minor: Sociology2021
Jeffrey ChoMajor: Linguistics (B.A.)Minor: Education and Society2020
Alexandra FamigliettiMajors: Global Health (B.S.); History (B.A.)2020
Megan GoodmanMajor: Neuroscience (B.A.)Minors: Theatre; Cinematic Arts; Health Care Studies2020
Abigail JacksonMajors: Computational Neuroscience (B.S.); Philosophy (B.A.)2020
Kanak KapurMajor: English (Creative Writing) (B.A.)Minor: International Relations2020
Sina KarachianiMajors: Computer Science (B.S.); Composition (B.M.)2020
Catherine KnoxMajor: Engineering (Environmental Engineering) (B.S.)Minor: International Relations2020
Micah LightMajors: Anthropology (B.A.); Art (B.A.)2020
Emily LiuMajors: English (B.A.); Political Economy (B.A.)Minors: Applied Computer Security; Environmental Studies2020
Ryan MorenoMajor: Computer Science (B.S.)Minor: English2020
Katarzyna PilchMajor: Cognitive Science (B.A.)Minor: Two-Dimensional Studies2020
Catherine AtkinsonMajor: Political Science (B.A.)Minor: Environmental Science2019
Kate CrellinMajors: Choral Music (B.A.); Law, History and Culture (B.A.)2019
Serena JarwalaMajors: Political Science (B.A.); History (B.A.)Minor: Classics2019
Yasmine KahsaiMajor: Art (B.A.)Minor: East Asian Languages and Cultures2019
Morgan KuligowskiMajor: Neuroscience (B.A.)Minor: Classical Perspectives2019
Lindsay MartyMajors: Human Biology (B.S.); Spanish (B.A.)Minor: Musical Studies2019
Autumn “Mai” MizunoMajors: International Relations (B.A.); Philosophy, Politics and Law (B.A.)2019
Zharia O’NealMajors: Public Relations (B.A.); Narrative Studies (B.A.)Minor: Theatre2019
Nikita ShirsatMajor: Human Biology (B.S.)Minors: Dance; Science, Health and Aging2019
Jonathan SussmanMajors: Performance (Flute) (B.M.); Biomedical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering ) (B.S.)2019
Haochen WangMajors: Astronomy (B.S.); Mathematics (B.S.)Minor: Musical Studies2019
Julianna ColemanMajors: French; Neuroscience (B.S.)2018
Sabrina EnriquezMajor: Mathematics (B.A.)Minor: Human Rights2018
Andy GuMajors: Philosophy; Computer Science2018
Max KapurMajors: Jazz Studies; East Asian Languages and Cultures2018
Carson KlasnerMajor: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention StudiesMinor: Theatre2018
Roberto NazarioMajor: Physics (B.S.)Minor: German2018
Alejandro SchugurenskyMajor: SociologyMinors: Spatial Studies; Education and Society2018
Vivek ShahMajors: Biochemistry; Philosophy2018
Samantha SharkoffMajors: English (Creative Writing); Economics/Mathematics2018
Matthew SolowanMajors: Economics; ItalianMinor: Dance in Entertainment2018
Jordan KondoMajor: Human Biology (B.S.)Minor: East Asian Languages and Cultures2017
Carnie LewisMajor: Occupational TherapyMinor: International Relations2017
Andrew MorrisMajors: Mathematics (B.A.); Cognitive ScienceMinor: Spanish2017
Clayton RountreeMajor: Industrial and Systems EngineeringMinor: Business Finance2017
John RunburgMajors: Physics (B.S.); Philosophy2017
Isabella SoehnMajors: International Relations; Economics/Mathematics2017
Beau SylvesterMajor: Neuroscience (B.S.)Minor: Political Science2017
Maral TavitianMajor: Print and Digital JournalismMinors: Human Rights; Entrepreneurship2017
Amanda ZhouMajor: Human Biology (B.S)Minor: Musical Studies2017
Brian ZukotynskiMajor: BiochemistryMinors: Health Care Studies; Musical Studies2017
Michelle CheeMajors: Neuroscience (B.S.); Spanish2016
Margarette (Maggie) DeagonMajors: Social Sciences (Psychology); SpanishMinor: Korean Studies2016
Sydney FishmanMajor: Environmental Studies (B.S.)Minors: International Policy & Management; Geohazards2016
Shelief JuarezMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Political Science2016
Gabriella (Rica) MaestasMajors: Narrative Studies; Cognitive SciencesMinor: Communication Design2016
Luke NunnellyMajor: EnglishMinor: Neuroscience2016
Evan PensisMajor: Performance (Piano)Minor: Linguistics2016
Mackenzie PostelMajor: Biological Sciences (B.S.)Minors: Classics; Musical Studies2016
Sulekha RamayyaMajor: Biomedical EngineeringMinor: Business Finance2016
Andrew TungMajors: Biological Sciences (B.S.); Performance (Piano)2016
James Michael BellMajor: Biological Sciences (B.S.)Minor: Spanish2015
Megan GoldringMajor: PsychologyMinors: Spanish; Statistics2015
Nathaniel HsiehMajor: Philosophy, Politics and LawMinors: Individuals, Society and Aging; Occupational Science; Songwriting2015
Rachel JonesMajor: Political ScienceMinor: Interdisciplinary Archaeology2015
Jung-Gi MinMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Human Development and AgingMinor: Digital Studies2015
Sara NewmanMajor: English (Creative Writing)Minor: Psychology2015
Jori RichmanMajors: Cinematic Arts Film and Television Production; Neuroscience (B.A.)Minors: Health Care Studies; Screenwriting2015
Kathleen SiswantoMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Business Administration2015
Natasha SosaMajor: Neuroscience (B.S.)Minor: Linguistics2015
David ZhangMajors: Computer ScienceMinor: Linguistics2015
Kausar AliMajors: Neuroscience (B.A.); Religion2014
Claire BazleyMajor: Neuroscience (B.A.)Minor: Economics2014
Morgan CheeksMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minor: Philosophy2014
Brendan ColvertMajor: Aerospace EngineeringMinor: Philosophy2014
Grant DixonMajors: Interdisciplinary Archaeology; ReligionMinor: Digital Studies2014
Brandon MartinezMajors: English; Political Science2014
Karissa MascielMajor: ReligionMinors: German; Sociology; Thematic Approaches to Humanities and Society2014
Adeel MohammadiMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.); ReligionMinors: Economic; Middle East Studies2014
Kaitlyn YimMajor: PhilosophyMinor: Natural Science2014
Alyssa ZhouMajor: Biomedical Engineering (Electrical Engineering)Minor: Business2014
Christie AmreinMajor: SpanishMinors: Children and Families in Urban America; Applied Theatre Arts2013
Marguerite BowenMajors: Business Administration; Spanish2013
Karen FangMajor: Biomedical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering)Minor: Philosophy2013
Arielle GillmanMajors: Art History, Neuroscience (B.A.)2013
Janice KitchenMajor: AnthropologyMinor: Theatre2013
William McGareyMajor: Chemical Engineering (Environmental Engineering)Minor: Theatre2013
Sara MeghjiMajors: Biological Sciences (B.S.); Spanish2013
Aadrita MukerjiMajor: EconomicsMinors: French; Screenwriting2013
Robert RosecransMajors: Comparative Literature; PsychologyMinors: Neuroscience2013
Brandon WolfeMajor: KinesiologyMinor: Architecture2013
Julie GuerinMajors: Neuroscience (B.A.); PsychologyMinor: Art History2012
Sonam KapadiaMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Health Promotion and Disease PreventionMinor: Sociology2012
Lauren MaldonadoMajors: Art History; Biological Sciences (B.A.)2012
Cody NelsonMajors: Biochemistry, History2012
Tran NguyenMajors: Mathematics (B.A.); Philosophy2012
Noa OldakMajor: AnthropologyMinors: English; Human Rights; Spanish2012
Michael SalvatoreMajors: Anthropology; Fine Arts (Studio Art)2012
Dorie WangMajors: Biological Sciences (B.S.); Economics2012
Gregory WoodburnMajor: HistoryMinors: Entrepreneurship; Painting2012
Alexandria YenMajors: Art History; Interdisciplinary ArchaeologyMinor: Occupational Science2012
Samantha AnconaMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Music Performance (Oboe)2011
Cara BickersMajor: Biological Sciences (B.S.)Minor: Classics2011
Ava CasadosMajors: Fine Arts (Studio Arts); Psychology2011
Morgan DameronMajor: Cinematic Arts (Film and Television Production)Minor: English2011
Alicia LuMajors: Neuroscience; Sociology2011
Zara LukensMajors: International Relations; NeuroscienceMinor: Spanish2011
Kevin PlattMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Sociology2011
Sarrah ShahawyMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); French2011
Jeremy TannerMajor: NeuroscienceMinors: Natural Sciences; Business2011
Monish UllalMajors:Biological Sciences (B.A.); Philosophy2011
Christina ChenMajors: Neuroscience; Philosophy (Ethics Law and Value Theory)Minor: Classics2010
Edward GonzalesMajor: Electrical EngineeringMinor: Philosophy2010
Joshua LangMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minor: Cultural Anthropology2010
Nichelle MegowanMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minors: Art History; Business2010
Lisa MengwallMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); NeuroscienceMinor: French2010
Natasha NaikMajor: Biochemical EngineeringMinor: Spanish2010
Lynette TanMajor: NeuroscienceMinor: Classics2010
Katheryn WilhelmMajors: Comparative Literature; EconomicsMinor: French2010
Heming XuMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); NeuroscienceMinor: Art History2010
Pauline YangMajors: Music Performance (Piano); Political Science2010
Robin AchenMajors: English; Neuroscience2009
Kevin ChangMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minor: Medical Anthropology2009
Marie Anne CuevasMajors: Chemistry (B.S.); ReligionMinor: Ancient Religion and Classic Languages2009
Alexander EliasMajors: Economics; PhilosophyMinor: Mathematical Finance2009
Nathaniel GoMajors: Linguistics and East Asian Languages and Cultures; Political Science; Writing for Screen and Television2009
Andrew GoldmanMajors: Neuroscience; Performing Arts (Piano)2009
Kevin IkutaMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Chemistry (B.A.); Philosophy2009
Katherine PlemmonsMajors: English; TheatreMinor: Education in a Pluralistic Society2009
Andrew PouwMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Comparative Literature2009
Robyn StrumpfMajors: Mechanical Engineering; Political Science2009
Jason BattenMajor: Health and HumanityMinors: Musical Studies; Natural Science2008
Elizabeth CookMajors: History; TheatreMinor: Business2008
Colin Field-EatonMajor: BiophysicsMinor: Russian2008
Julianne GaleMajor: Computer ScienceMinors: Theatre; Applied Theatre Arts/Education2008
Matthew GetzMajor: BiochemistryMinors: History; Religion2008
Andrew HorningMajor: Chemistry (B.S.)Minor: Comparative Literature2008
Christina MaMajors: Biological Sciences (B.S.); Spanish2008
Jeanie PaikMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); International Relations2008
Deborah RhoMajor: Economics/MathematicsMinor: Philosophy2008
Laura SimurdaMajors: Astronomy (B.S.); History; Print Journalism2008
George DingMajor: Cinema Television (Production)Minor: East Asian Languages and Cultures2007
Christina FrenzelMajors: Cinema Television (Production); Psychology2007
Tina HuynhMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Comparative Literature2007
Mary KimMajors: Comparative Literature; Political Science2007
Colin KoproskeMajors: Humanities (Music); Political Science2007
Douglas MasonMajors: Music (B.A.); Physics (B.S.)2007
Amelia PaukertMajors: Geological Sciences; International Relations2007
L. Nathan PerkinsMajor: NeuroscienceMinors: Law and Society; Thematic Approaches to Humanities and Society2007
Lauren SchenkmanMajors: English (Creative Writing); Physics (B.S.)Minor: Neuroscience2007
Gabriel WynerMajors: Mechanical Engineering; Music Performance (Vocal Arts)2007
Ramona DavoudpourMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minor: Painting/Drawing2006
Daniel GoldmanMajor: PsychologyMinors: Business; Philosophy2006
Adam JohnsonMajor: Electrical EngineeringMinor: Musical Studies2006
Sarah LevyMajors: Gender Studies; Political Science; Religion2006
Michelle MartinezMajor: Political ScienceMinor: Photography2006
Genette McGrewMajor: ChemistryMinors: East Asian Languages and Cultures; Sculpture2006
Henry MeckeMajor: Computer Engineering & Computer ScienceMinor: French2006
Anita ScottiMajors: Psychology; English (Creative Writing)2006
Kavitha SivaramanMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minors: Bioethics; International Relations2006
Christina ToMajor: Chemistry (B.A.)Minor: Sociology2006
Howard ChiangMajors: Biochemistry; PsychologyMinors: Gender Studies; Musical Studies2005
Charlotte GopinathMajors: English; Music Performance (Violin)Minor: International Relations2005
Brittany HallMajors: English (Creative Writing); PsychologyMinor: Spanish2005
Anita NageswaranMajors: Biological Sciences (B.S.); Religion2005
Brent NashMajor: Computer Engineering and Computer ScienceMinor: Classics2005
Elizabeth NewmanMajors:Communication; Political ScienceMinor: Cinema Television2005
Ryan OishiMajors: Business Administration; English (Creative Writing)Minor: Philosophy2005
Jennifer RoglaMajors: Anthropology; PsychologyMinor: Spanish2005
Alison VicksMajors: English (Creative Writing); International Relations2005
Jennifer YamtichMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minors: Painting/Drawing; Spanish2005
Jonathan BoydMajor: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention StudiesMinors: Classics; Natural Science2004
David ChackoMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Business Administration2004
Nathaniel DumasMajor: Cinema-Television (Critical Studies)Minor: Cultural Anthropology2004
Evan JeschMajor: Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minors: History; Musical Studies2004
Malinda LinMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Sociology2004
Salil ShahMajors: Economics; Philosophy2004
John TanMajors: American Studies and Ethnicity (Asian American Studies); Biological Sciences (B.A.); Political Science2004
Dianna TruongMajors: English (American Literature); Political Science2004
Neil VoraMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); International RelationsMinor: Philosophy2004
Nilay VoraMajors: Interdisciplinary Studies; Mathematics (B.A.)Minor: Natural Science2004
Deepika BainsMajor: American Studies and Ethnicity (Asian American Studies)Minors: Natural Science; Urban Neighborhood Studies2003
Laura BalcerzakMajor: Chemistry (B.A.)Minor: Art History2003
Nicole CondrickMajors: Comparative Literature; Political Science2003
Akta PatelMajors: Biological Sciences (B.S.); Religion2003
Melissa PattersonMajors:Biomedical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering); English (Creative Writing)2003
Brad PenteluteMajors: Chemistry (B.S.); Psychology2003
Dara PurvisMajor: Political ScienceMinor: Theatre2003
Matthew StofferahnMajor: Music CompositionMinor: Natural Science2003
Paul TillbergMajor: Comparative LiteratureMinor: Musical Studies2003
Michael WiserMajors: Biochemistry; PsychobiologyMinor: History2003
Maryanna AbdoMajor: Cinema-Television (Critical Studies)Minors: French; Political Science2002
Eric AltmanMajors: Cinema-Television (Production); Comparative Literature2002
John ArroyoMajor: Public RelationsMinor: Urban Planning and Development2002
Carolyn BevanMajor: TheatreMinor: Neuroscience2002
Tejal BhirudMajor: American Studies and Ethnicity (Asian American Studies)Minors: Natural Science; Spanish2002
Andrew BulbrookMajor: EconomicsMinor: Musical Studies2002
Katherine FitzSimonsMajors: Broadcast Journalism; SpanishMinor: Cultural Anthropology2002
Mahmood GhaffaryMajors: Computer Science; Political Science2002
Liliana LoofbourowMajors: English (Creative Writing); Music; Psychobiology2002
Susan MackieMajor: BiochemistryMinor: Russian2002
Thomas MeierMajor: PhilosophyMinor: Theatre2002
Cecilia MoMajors: Interdisciplinary Studies; MathematicsMinor: Economics2002
Steven OkamotoMajors: Computer Science; Mathematics (B.A.)Minors: Multimedia & Creative Technologies; Philosophy2002
William PaoMajors: East Asian Languages and Cultures; Economics; Political Science2002
Jessica RobertsMajor: Political ScienceMinors: French; Law and Society; Theatre2002
Justin WarrenMajor: Aerospace EngineeringMinors: East Asian Languages and Cultures; German2002
Judith WongMajors: Chemistry (B.A.); Music2002
Neelu AroraMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Social Sciences (Economics)2001
Jason BeckMajors: Cinema-Television (Production); Anthropology (Visual Anthropology)2001
Shashank BengaliMajors: Broadcast Journalism; French; Political Science2001
Angie ChenMajors: Print Journalism; East Asian Languages and CultureMinor: Animation2001
Alden ChiuMajors: History; Biological Studies (B.A.)2001
Egbert DawkinsMajors: Communication; Linguistics and Psychology2001
Grace FongMajors: Music Performance (Piano); Public Policy and ManagementMinor: Business2001
Jaspaul GogiaMajors: History, Biological Sciences (B.A.)2001
Caroline HennenMajor: International RelationsMinor: Natural Science2001
Geoff KeighleyMajor: Business AdministrationMinor: Philosophy2001
Fereshteh KermanshahiMajor: Biological Sciences (B.S.)Minor: Gender Studies2001
Ashwini LakshmananMajors: Biological Sciences (B.S.); Social Sciences (Economics)2001
Natalie MoniagaMajors: Biological Sciences; Gender Studies2001
Paritosh PrasadMajors: Psychobiology; Political Science2001
Pradeep PrasadMajors: Biological Sciences (B.S.); English (American Literature)2001
Monika RoyMajors: Comparative Literature; Biological Sciences (B.A.)Minor: Cinema-Television2001
Stephen SohnMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); English (Creative Writing)2001
Michael VaughanMajors: Cinema-Television (Critical Studies); History2001
Achi YaffeMajor: Business AdministrationMinor: Natural Science2001
Jacob ChackoMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); GerontologyMinor: Health Policy Management2000
Tatyan ClarkeMajor: Biological Sciences (B.S.)Minor: Theatre2000
Peter DanenbergMajors: Classics; PhilosophyMinors: German; Musical Studies2000
Sally HaMajors: Art History; Business Administration2000
Lindsay HarrisonMajors: Gender Studies; Political ScienceMinor: Cinema-Television2000
Adam LevineMajors: Biomedical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering); English (Creative Writing)2000
Mary LewinskiMajors: Philosophy; Political ScienceMinor: Russian Language2000
Alex LinMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Political Science2000
Devin MitchellMajor: Biological Sciences (B.S.)Minor: Classics2000
Aditi NagMajor: EconomicsMinor: Natural Science2000
Han NguyenMajors: Biomedical Engineering (Biochemical Engineering); Political ScienceMinor: Economics2000
Rebecca OrozcoMajors: Psychology; Spanish2000
Joshua WolfsohnMajors: Biological Sciences (B.A.); Humanities (Music)2000
Jenny YieeMajors: Anthropology; Biological Sciences (B.A.)2000