Are you curious about what a college-level class experience will be like? Imagine learning about cutting-edge research from USC faculty before the first week of school. Perhaps you want to discuss current political and social issues, explore creative works of art, or understand the cultural diversity of Los Angeles. These are just a few examples of the micro-seminars available to you as part of the USC Welcome Experience.

What are Micro-Seminars?

Micro-seminars are mini-workshops or small-group sessions that highlight a specialized topic in a short time. Structured as two 90-minute sessions, these seminars are designed to give you the chance to meet one faculty member and other first-year students and engage in an academic environment before classes begin. Attendance for most seminars is limited to just 20 students to ensure thoughtful discussion and the opportunity to meet peers with similar interests.

Faculty from across all schools and disciplines at USC are leading a micro-seminar. While you may attend a seminar that jump-starts your fields of study, you are not required to sign up for a seminar based on your major. This is learning for the sake of learning, so there is no required homework or grading. Some faculty may suggest short readings in advance to add to your understanding of the topic. 

Micro-Seminars have two parts. You select one topic that is presented over two days. You must attend both parts. 

  • Part 1: Thursday, August 17, 2023 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm (PST)
  • Part 2: Friday, August 18, 2023 from 10:00 – 11:30 am (PST)
    • Part 2 is a continuation of Part 1 – same professor, topic, and peers.


To register, you must login with your USC Net ID. You can only register in one micro-seminar topic. If a seminar is at capacity, you have the option to place yourself on the wait list. All seminar content and availability are subject to change. The last day to register is Sunday, August 13.

All confirmed registrants will receive information about the classroom location their Micro-Seminar about 24 hours before the start of the first session.

Questions? Contact Academic Honors and Fellowships at ahfstaff@usc.edu


There are no upcoming events at this time.

Seminar Topics

Fall 2023 Micro-Seminar Topics categorized by school below.

Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism

Building a Culture of Dialogue

Marcela Amiune, Adjunct Professor, Communications and Journalism

How to Write a Creative Brief

Rafael Bracero, Part-Time Lecturer of Communication

“Is This the Real Life?”: What Freddie Mercury Can Teach Us About Communication

Julianna Kirschner, Part-Time Lecturer of Communication

Was it Good for You Too? How We Do (and Do Not) Talk About Sex

Jillian Pierson, Clinical Professor of Communication and Director, Undergraduate Studies

Video Boot Camp (aka Introduction to Video Practices and Techniques)

Jonathon Stearns, Adjunct Instructor

Chan Division of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy

Neuroscience of Otherness and Belonging

Lisa Aziz-Zadeh, Professor at the Brain and Creativity Institute, the Department of Psychology, and the Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Know Thyself: The Art and Science of Self-Awareness

Ashley Uyeshiro Simon, OTD, OTR/L, MSCS, Associate Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy

Diego Lopez, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy

Davis School of Gerontology

Health Justice, Ageism, Intersectionality and…Sex

Paul Nash, Instructional Associate Professor of Gerontology

First Step to Successful College Life: Speaking and Listening from the Heart

Min-Kyuong Rhee, Instructional Assistant Professor of Gerontology

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences

Arts & Humanities

Art and Activism in the AIDS Crisis

Joshua Mitchell, Postdoctoral Scholar – Teaching Fellow, Department of American Studies and Ethnicity

Forging Shakespeare

Emily Anderson, Professor of English and College Dean of Undergraduate Education

Engaging South LA: An Introduction to Ethical Community Engagement for Social Sustainability

Emily Artiano, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Writing Program

Ben Pack, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Writing Program

Polish and Eastern European Video Game Industry-Cultural Analysis

Andrzej Brylak, Postdoctoral Scholar – Teaching Fellow, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Introduction to Urban Nature Poetry

Amy Cannon, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Thematic Option

Knowing What Not to Know: State Censorship and Civil Resistance in East Asia

Li-Ping Chen, Postdoctoral Scholar – Teaching Fellow, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Natural Sciences

The Branches that Lead to STEM: Increasing Access for Underrepresented Groups in the STEM Academic Pipeline

Rita Barakat, Lecturer in Neurobiology

The Obesity Epidemic: Current and Future Predictions: Problems and Solutions

Robert (Bob) Girandola, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Human Biology

Why Facts Don’t Matter: How to Change Minds in our Changing Climate

Victoria Petryshyn, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Environmental Studies, Environmental Studies Program

There is No “Planet B” in our Solar System

Vahe Peroomian, Professor (Teaching) of Physics and Astronomy, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Reimagining Plastics for a Sustainable Future

Barry Thompson, Professor of Chemistry

Megan Fieser, Gabilan Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Social Sciences

Struggles with Speech: Atypical Voice and Hearing

Dani Byrd, Professor of Linguistics

Face To Face: A Primer On Ethical Conversation

James Clements, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Writing Program

Religious Liberty and the New Supreme Court

Antonio Elefano, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Writing Program

Spotify vs. Vinyl: What Music Distribution Can Teach Us About the New Economy

Andrew De Silva, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Writing Program

Stress and the Mind-Body Connection

Darby Saxbe, Professor of Psychology

Mind, Body, Heart: Introduction to Mindfulness for Transgender, Non-binary and Gender Non-conforming Students

Martin Vitorno, Lecturer in Physical Education & Mind Body Health

Gould School of Law

The Art of Public Speaking: Rise to Greater Heights in Your Community Contributions!

Nicole Webster, Part-Time Lecturer, Law

Iovine and Young Academy

Lives Not Grades:  The Story of Frontida Records (Electronic Health Records for the Next 7 Billion)

Scott Armanini, Part-Time Lecturer

What’s Hot in Video Games Right Now

Chris Swain, Assistant Professor of Teaching

Keck School of Medicine

Key Concepts in Public Health Disaster Management and Response: Lessons Learned from the CoVID-19 Pandemic

Rita Burke, Associate Professor of Clinical Population and Public Health Sciences and Pediatrics, Population and Public Health Sciences

Humans 2.0: How Genetic Engineering and Stem Cells will Alter the Future of the Human Race

Gage Crump, Director of the PhD Program in Developmental Biology, Stem Cells, and Regenerative Medicine, Chair of the Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Creating LGBTQ+ Affirming Classrooms: Building Awareness + Communication Strategies

Riley Davis, Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences (Practitioner)

School Supplies: Learning How to Effectively Respond to Emotions and Challenges During College to Support Engagement and Success in College and Beyond

Michelle Dexter, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences (Clinical Educator)

Learning How To “Fight on” Using Positive Psychology

Kelly Greco, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences (Clinical Educator)

Present, Past, Future, at the Same Time: Intergenerational Trauma and Mental Well-being

Dakari Quimby, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & The Behavioral Sciences (Clinician Educator)

Befriend with Your Anxiety to Succeed in College

Jiyun Kang, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences (Clinical Educator), Student Health – Counseling and Mental Health Services

Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine: An Update

Francesca Mariani, Associate Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Accessible Eye Care: Creating Solutions for the World to See

Kent Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology

Leventhal School of Accounting

Learning the Risk Management Basics Through Elon Musk

Kristen Jaconi, Associate Professor of the Practice in Accounting

Accounting: The Real Deal-Meet your Future Employer

Zivia Sweeney, Associate Professor of Clinical Accounting

Marshall School of Business

How To Be More Uncertain: Statistical Thinking in the Age of Big Data

Jacob Bien, Associate Professor of Data Sciences and Operations

Sustainability and Food: A Growing Entrepreneurial Opportunity

Jeremy Dann, Part-Time Lecturer of Entrepreneurship

Roski School of Art & Design

Our Sustainability Challenge: Reimagining a Good Life

China Adams, Assistant Professor of Teaching

Jerome Chou, Senior Planning Principal, Kounkuey Design Initiative

Rossier School of Education

Climate Change at the Intersection of Sustainability for Environmental Justice

Paula Carbone, Teaching Professor of Education, MAT@USC

School of Cinematic Arts

Authenticity in Filmmakers & Creatives: Speaking About Yourself & Your Work

John Palmer, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Film & Television Production

Anatomy of An Impossibly Inclusive TV Show:  “POSE”

Deborah Seibel, Adjunct Associate Professor, John Wells Division of Writing for Film & Television

Sound and Music for the Movies in an Age of Discontent

William Whittington, Assistant Chair of Cinema and Media Studies

What’s In A Voice? Vocal Tips & Tricks To Make You More Confident, Successful, & Happy

Melissa Treinkman, Assistant Professor in Musical Theatre Vocal Performance

Sol Price School of Public Policy

Using Geography to Address Problems Across Many Disciplines Using Geographic Information Systems

Barry Waite, Adjunct Professor, Department of Public Policy and Management

Bonnie Shrewsbury, Adjunct Professor, Department of Public Policy and Management

Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Housing and Homelessness in LA County: A Unique Way to Create Affordable Homes

Samuel Mistrano, Associate Teaching Professor of Social Work

Thornton School of Music

Inspired or Infringing? Music in the Courtroom

Jane Davidson, Part-Time Lecturer in Music Industry

Music, Artificial Intelligence, and Intellectual Property Law

Joanna Demers, Professor, Musicology

Listen Until You Understand: Sounding and Hearing Black American Music

Jonathan Gomez, Assistant Professor, Musicology

USC Libraries

Exploring Los Angeles through Craftivism

Andrzej Rutkowski, Acting Head, LIPA Library and Visualization Specialist, USC Libraries

Viterbi School of Engineering

Hack The Planet – Cyber Investigations Where Everything Gets Own3d

Pierson Clair, Part-Time Lecturer of Information Technology, Information Technology Program (ITP)

Studying Engineering

Oussama Safadi, Professor of Engineering Practice, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Lives Not Grades – how to launch a social innovation startup while at USC

Daniel Druhora, Director, New Initiatives, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Artificial General Intelligence: Are We Close(r)?

Mayank Kejriwal, Research Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Information Sciences Institute

Generative AI: Digital Media Creation at a Crossroads

Saty Raghavachary, Associate Professor of Computer Science Practice

Wearables for Health and Mind

Yasser Khan, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Engineering is Life! And Why You Should Care

Melanie Johnson, Lecturer, Engineering Writing Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Micro-Seminars mandatory?

No. This is a fun opportunity to engage with a faculty member and other first-year students in an academic environment before the start of the school year.

Do I have to register for a Micro-Seminar?

Yes. Space is limited to about 20-25 spots for each seminar, so registration is required. Registration is first-come, first-serve and some popular topics can fill up quickly, so be sure to sign up early.

Is there a fee for the Micro-Seminars?

No. Micro-Seminars are free to attend.

Can I attend more than one Micro-Seminar?

No. All micro-seminars meet at the same time, so you can only choose one seminar to attend over the two days.

Are there any homework assignments for the Micro-Seminars?

Some micro-seminar instructors may ask that you read articles or other material for background information on the topic prior to attending. However, there is no extensive homework required for the micro-seminars.

Will I get a credit/units or a grade for the Micro-Seminars?

No. Micro-seminars are not for credits and do not involve any grading. It is designed for first year students to have fun and get used to the academic environment at USC.

Do I have to choose a topic related to my major?

No. You can sign up for any micro-seminar! You are not required to sign up for a micro-seminar related to your major. Feel free to choose any topic that interests you.

What is the difference between Freshman Seminars and Micro-Seminars?

A Freshman Seminar is a two-unit class that is part of your regular schedule and meets once a week throughout the semester. Micro-Seminars are not an actual class and meet for just two days before the start of the semester.