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 18, 2022 from 3:00 – 4:30 pm (PST)
  • Part 2: Friday, August 19, 2022 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.

All confirmed registrants will receive the Zoom link for 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 2021 Micro-Seminar Topics categorized by school below. Unless otherwise specified, sessions will be conducted in-person.

Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism

Should College Athletes Get Paid? Reporting on the Changing Economics of College Sports
Gary Cohn, Adjunct Instructor (Journalism)

The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture in the Post-Trump Era
Joe Saltzman, Professor of Journalism and Communication; Director, Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture

Chan Division of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy

New School, New City: Creating Your College Bucket List
Amber Bennett, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy

Losing the Stress Habit: Building Resilience in Daily Life
Myka Winder, OTD, OTR/L, Associate Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy

Davis School of Gerontology

Diversity in Ageing: Fighting Ageism With Sex*
Paul Nash, Instructional Associate Professor of Gerontology

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences

Arts & Humanities

Art and Activism in the AIDS Crisis
Joshua Mitchell, Lecturer, American Studies and Ethnicity, American Studies and Ethnicity

What Do We Do With Our Dead Bodies and Why?: A Survey of Key Issues and Concerns
Diana Blaine, Professor (Teaching) of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Unequally Vulnerable: Food Justice and Systemic Racism in South L.A. During the Pandemic
Sarah Portnoy, Professor (Teaching) of Spanish, Latin American and Iberian Cultures

Creative Reading: Talking Back to Our Favorite Poems
Amy Cannon, Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Thematic Option

The “Hidden Curriculum” and Other Things No One Told You About College
Trisha Tucker, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Thematic Option
Elizabeth Galoozis, Head, Information Literacy, USC Libraries Exhibitions & Programming

Compelled Vaccination: the Law of Public Safety versus Personal Liberty
Antonio Elefano, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Writing Program

Dungeons and Drafting: What Role-Playing Games Teach About Writing
Mark Marino, Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Writing Program

WRITE ON! Writing the University Level Essay
Shefali Rajamannar, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Writing, Writing Program

Natural Sciences

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

Why facts don’t matter: How to change minds on our changing climate
Victoria Petryshyn, Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Environmental Studies

Life In the Universe???
Vahe Peroomian, Professor (Teaching) of Physics and Astronomy

Social Sciences

The Gift of Gab
Dani Byrd, Professor of Linguistics

Who do you trust? – societal trust as the foundation of political economy
Iva Bozovic, Associate Professor (Teaching) of International Relations

Emotional Flexibility: Changing How You Feel to Help You Succeed
Jonathan Stange, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Gould School of Law

Tricker Law: A New Legal Approach to Equitably Managing Natural Resources in a Changing World
Robin Craig, Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law

Negotiation: A Means to Achieve Equity and Justice
Barry Kaye, Lecturer in Law

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

Iovine and Young Academy

Making Visible the Invisible: Effective Graphic Communication of Information
Aaron Siegel, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Design

Models of Impact: Generating ethical and sustainable business ideas
Matthew Manos, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Design Strategy

Keck School of Medicine

The Opioid Crisis: Is There Such a Thing as “Proper” Pain Management?
Michael Bottros, Clinical Associate Professor of Anesthesiology (Clinician Educator), Anesthesiology, Division of Pain Management

Emergency medicine and public health: Leveraging 9-1-1 services to understand and address health disparities
Stephen Sanko, Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine
Tiffany Abramson, Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine

Maps, Babies, Coins, and Surgery: Investigating Health Disparities with Spatial Science
Kevin Hur, Assistant Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

Alzheimer’s Disease: Challenges and Opportunities
Zhen Zhao, Assistant Professor of Physiology & Neuroscience; Director, Cell Engineering & Regeneration Core

Understanding Homelessness through an intersectional, trauma-informed and social equity lens.
Brenda Ingram, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences (Clinician Educator); Director of Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services (RSVP)

Present, past, future at the same time: Intergenerational Trauma and Mental Wellbeing
Dakari Quimby, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & The Behavioral Sciences (Clinician Educator),

The Day and Life of a Pediatric Radiologist (online only)
Amit Sura, Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiology

Stem cells and regenerative medicine: an update
Francesca Mariani, Associate Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Clinical Trials during the COVID-19 Pandemic (online only)
Juliet Emamaullee, Assistant Professor Of Clinical Surgery; Associate Director – DoS Clinical Research, Surgery

Leventhal School of Accounting

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

Marshall School of Business

Remembering and (Re)Remembering Social Justice and Social Injustice in America: The Archive, Memory and Sustainable Agency
Ben Alexander, Master of Management in Library and Information Science

Learn to Network: Promoting Your Personal Brand and Harnessing the Power of the Trojan Family on LinkedIn and Beyond
Lindsey Bier, Assistant Professor of Clinical Business Communication, Department of Business Communication

Roski School of Art & Design

Unstuck: Creativity in Art and Life
Stephanie Sabo, Lecturer

Rossier School of Education

Congratulations ! You made it to college – now GET PAID to help others follow in your footsteps.
Nicole Jackson, Adjunct Assistant Professor

School of Architecture

Basic Concepts for Sustainable Architecture in Southern California
Scott Uriu, Adjunct Associate Professor

Find the Audience for Your Design Ideas Online
Lee Schneider, Lecturer, School of Architecture

School of Cinematic Arts

You Can’t Handle The Truth: How Hollywood Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin Tackles Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion for Stage, Film and Television
Deborah Seibel, Lecturer, John Wells Division of Writing for Film & Television

In the Beginning: Opening Sequences in New Cinema
Holly Willis, Professor and Associate Dean of Research, School of Cinematic Arts, Media Arts + Practice

Horrors and Solutions: The Climate Reality Project and how media can change behavior
Jeremy Kagan, Professor, Production

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

MASK IMPROVISATION – Imagination, Play, & Transformation in Acting
Christopher Shaw, Assistant Professor of Theatre Practice in Acting & Directing

School of Pharmacy

How Do I Get Started In Lab Research? Hands-On Skills To Get Into A USC Lab
Amanda Burkhardt, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacy

Structural Violence: How Crack and Opioid Addictions Have Been Framed Differently
Terry Church, Assistant Professor, Regulatory and Quality Sciences

Sol Price School of Public Policy

Housing Unaffordability & Homelessness: How did we get here & where to next?
Brandon McCall, Adjunct Instructor

Beginning at the End: Game Theory for Better Decision-Making
T.J. McCarthy, Associate Professor (Teaching); Vice Chair, Department of Public Policy

Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

Loud and Clear: Understanding Audism and Hearing Loss across the Lifespan
Michelle Zappas, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Nursing

Thornton School of Music

Music and Ecological Thought
Joanna Demers, Vice Dean, Division of Research and Scholarly Studies, Musicology

USC Bovard College

Understanding Climate Science: What It Means to You and What You Can Do
Mike Fanning, Faculty, Project Management
Ellen Dux, Associate Director, Office of Sustainability

USC Libraries

Data Justice: Sustainability and the Environment in Los Angeles
Andy Rutkowski, Visualization Specialist, USC Libraries
Stacy Williams, Head, Architecture and Fine Arts Library

Viterbi School of Engineering

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

Human-Systems Integration for Sustainability
Najmedin Meshkati, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Industrial Systems Engineering, and International Relations

Computer graphics (animation, games, much more…): how it works, how you can enter this wonderful field
Saty Raghavachary, Associate Professor, Computer Science Practice

Human-centered Machine Intelligence and its Interdisciplinary Possibilities
Shrikanth Narayanan, University Professor; Niki & C. L. Max Nikias Chair in Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Hack The Planet – Cyber Investigations When Everything Got Own3d
Joseph Greenfield, Associate Professor of Information Technology Practice

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.