Seminar Topics

View Fall 2020 Micro-Seminar Topics categorized by school using the links below.


Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism 

An Introvert’s Guide to the Classroom and Workplace
Melanie Cherry, Adjunct Instructor (Public Relations)

Documentary as a Tool for Social Change
Nicholas Moor, Adjunct Instructor (Journalism & Communication)

“Is this the real life?” What Freddie Mercury can teach us about communication
Julianna Kirschner, Lecturer (Communication)

Sports Investigative Reporting: An introduction to covering the biggest sports stories that take place off the field
Jillian Pierson, Adjunct Instructor (Journalism)

Your Brand Matters: Branding yourself in the digital age
Adriana Lacy, Adjunct Instructor (Journalism)


Chan Division of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy

Creativity: Importance for Health and Future Success
Kimberly Morris-Eggleston OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy

Foundational Habits: Incorporating Self-Care to Optimize College Performance
Kristy Payne OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy


This was a great experience because it allowed me to engage in a conversation with a faculty member in my field in a low pressure, comfortable setting


Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences

Arts & Humanities

Animals, Aliens, AIs, and Enemies: Who Matters Morally?
Sharon Lloyd, Professor of Philosophy and Law

Music Streams & Globalized Seas: What Spotify Tells Us About the New Economy
Andrew De Silva, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing

True Crime: A California History
Adrian De Leon, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity

Unequally vulnerable: Food Access and Systemic Racism in South L.A. during the Pandemic
Sarah Portnoy, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Spanish

We do not live in a simple world: Mary Oliver and Poetry for Everyday Life
Christopher Freeman, Professor (Teaching) of English

What Ancient Plagues Teach Us About Modern Pandemics
Cavan Concannon, Associate Professor of Religion

WRITE ON! Writing the University Level Essay
Shefali Rajamannar, Associate Professor of Writing

Natural Sciences

California Dinosaurs: Paleontology Research and Outreach at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Nathan Smith, Adjunct Associate Professor, Earth Sciences

Darwin in a Test Tube: Harnessing Evolution to Engineer New Drugs for COVID-19
Terry Takahashi, Assistant Professor (Research) of Chemistry

Mindfulness for College Students: Tools to Thrive in School and Life
Linda Yaron, Lecturer, Physical Education

Social Sciences

China’s “Belt & Road” Initiative: Grand Strategy or Simply Grandiose?
Carol Wise, Professor of Political Science and International Relations

Economics of Happiness: Redeeming the Dismal Science
Maggie Switek, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Economics

Foreign Money in American Politics
Brett Carter, Assistant Professor of International Relations
Erin Baggott Carter, Assistant Professor of International Relations

Globalization After the Pandemic
Iva Bozovic, Associate Professor (Teaching) of International Relations


I loved my experience and its given me a lot of great new ideas that I’m excited to look into!


Gould School of Law

Lawyers and Secrets
Clare Pastore, Professor of the Practice of Law

What to Expect When You’re Expecting to go to Law School
Ian Fusselman, Lecturer of Law


Keck School of Medicine

Alzheimer’s Disease: Challenges and Opportunities
Zhen Zhao, Assistant Professor of Physiology & Neuroscience

At-home DNA Tests for Ancestry and Traits: Pros and Cons
Enrique Velazquez Villarreal, Assistant Professor of Research Translational Genomics

Cancer and Its Spread: a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Josh Neman, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine: An Update
Francesca Mariani, Associate Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Team-Based Care: Addressing the Global Impact of Ocular Diseases
Kent Nguyen, Assistant Professor Of Clinical Ophthalmology

The gift of life: challenges and opportunities related to living organ donation
Juliet Emamaullee, Assistant Professor Of Clinical Surgery
Navpreet Kaur, Assistant Professor Of Clinical Surgery

Unusual Cases in Neurology and Psychiatry: The Borderlands of the Brain and Behavior
Jonathan Santoro, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology


Leventhal School of Accounting

Accounting: The Real Deal-Meet your Future Employer
Zivia Sweeney, Associate Professor of Clinical Accounting


Marshall School of Business

Optimal use of data: How to come up with better predictions
Adel Javanmard, Assistant Professor of Data Sciences and Operations


Beforehand I never really knew much about the topic; I just thought it was cool! After this seminar, I’m really considering looking more into the field – maybe even a research opportunity.


Roski School of Art & Design

Art and the Environment
David Kelley, Associate Professor of Practice, Art

The Art & Science of Failure: Learning to Fail Forward
Laurie Burruss, Adjunct Faculty


School of Architecture

Deep Dives and Close Readings: The Architecture of Domestic Space in Los Angeles
Gary Paige, Professor of Practice, Architecture

Slums and the City
Faiza Moatasim, Assistant Professor of Architecture in Urbanism and Urban Design


One of the most interesting topics I’ve ever learned about, very well presented.


School of Cinematic Arts

Beyond the Trope: How to Craft Great Characters
Lindsay Stidham, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Getting Great Performances: Helping Actors (and Yourself) Remain in the Moment
Bradford Barnes, Adjunct Assistant Professor

Photography, Film and Identity
William Whittington, Assistant Chair of Cinema and Media Studies


School of Dramatic Arts

Directing for American TV (Sit-com, Half-hour Comedy and One-hour Drama)
Paul Lazarus, Adjunct Lecturer

Yes And: Better Living Through Improv
Kristin Eggers Adjunct Lecturer


School of Pharmacy

COVID-19: How Did We Get Here and Where Do We Go From Here?
Daryl Davies, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education & Professor of Clinical Pharmacy
Amanda Burkhardt, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

Mysterious Deaths: the Dark Story of Poisons and Men
Martine Culty, Associate Professor in Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Terry Church, Assistant Professor of Regulatory and Quality Sciences


Sol Price School of Public Policy

Essential Mobility
Seth Contreras, Adjunct Instructor

Universal Health Care: Has Its Time Come?
Ian Spatz, Adjunct Instructor


Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Lady Gaga: Breaking stigma of “differentness”
Derrick Kranke, Adjunct Lecturer

Social justice: Why social work and public health are more important now than ever
John Blosnich, Assistant Professor of Social Work
Jeremy Goldbach, Associate Professor of Social Work


I really enjoyed this seminar it sparked a new interest in me that I wish to further pursue in my academic career.


Thornton School of Music

Music, Image, Text and Meaning
Adam Knight Gilbert, Associate Professor of Musicology, Director of the Early Music Program


USC Bovard College

When Black Swan Events Become White Swans: Dealing with Uncertainty and Risk in a COVID-19 Environment
Michael Fanning, Faculty, Project Management


USC Libraries

Data Justice: Ethical approaches and methods for using data
Stacy Williams, Head of Architecture and Fine Arts Library
Andy Rutkowski, Visualization Specialist

Viterbi School of Engineering

Human Spaceflight – Recent Past and Near Future
Garrett Reisman, Professor of Astronautics Practice

Human-centered Machine Intelligence: From understanding human behavior to technology applications in health, media arts and beyond
Shrikanth (Shri) Narayanan, Adjunct Professor

What’s Hot in Video Games Right Now
Chris Swain, Lecturer of Information Technology Program


Amazing experience and loved every minute of it. Time flew by and felt much shorter because it was so interesting.