Meet the USC Admission Counselors

Timothy Brunold
Dean of Admission

B.A. Magna Cum Laude, International Relations/Political Science/German University of Southern California

I am a native Californian who grew up in Torrance. Although I had every intention of going to college outside California, I ended up choosing USC and loved every minute of my student experience. I stayed here after graduation and have spent most of my professional career serving in various roles across the university.

Why USC?
USC offers students an academic and social environment unparalleled in American higher education. It is large enough to have something for just about everyone, but is also a place where each individual is respected and receives personal attention. USC’s unmatched diversity, along with its values-driven philosophy and academic excellence, results in educational offerings that are truly relevant to the 21st century.

Admission Advice:
The college search and selection process are all about finding the right fit. Don’t become too narrowly focused on one institution. Broaden your horizons and keep your options open; there are more than 2,000 colleges and universities in the U.S., and there is certainly more than one that will be the perfect fit for you.

Movie: Star Wars
Food: Sausage pizza
Quote: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.” – Edward R. Murrow
Role Model: I have many. In the world of admission, it is Joseph Patrick Allen.
Musical Performer: The Clash (the only band that matters)
Book: Any non-fiction book about World War II

Read more about Timothy... Less...

Kirk Brennan
Director of Admission

B.A. Cinema-Television
University of Southern California

The Buckley School, Sierra Canyon HS, Oaks Christian HS

My roots are in south-central Pennsylvania, but my parents moved to Southern California shortly after I was born. I grew up mostly around Long Beach (a Millikan alum -- go Rams!), and attended USC. I studied filmmaking with a dream to change the world by telling stories that must be told, by bringing forward voices we all need to hear. A job I thought would be temporary became my dream career, for we in college admission work to change the world every day. What a wonderful, fortunate coincidence.

Why USC?
It felt right when I visited campus and experienced the spirit, felt the supportive atmosphere, and took in the beautiful campus. I still find it odd that my high school geography instructor encouraged me to go to Berkeley instead. For me that made no sense.

Admission Advice:
I believe the most successful applicants care not about advice of the admission counselors, but instead strive to expand their minds as best they can, while also seeking enriching life experiences. So I offer this advice anyway: Do your very best in the toughest classes you can handle.

Movie: I move between Apocalypse Now and African Queen. And here’s a weird coincidence: Both are anti-war epics, both were filmed under extremely difficult conditions, and both are set on a twisting, jungle river.
Food: Anything prepared by my wife, or by David Myers.
Quote: "I know what you’re thinkin’: 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being this is a .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head ... clean off ... you’ve got to ask yourself one question, 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"
Role Model: My old man.
Musical Performer: I like anything with genuine, sincere emotional expression: mostly rock, but also opera, hip-hop, punk, New-Wave, shouting, laughing, crying. The best is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Book: Love Gatsby, Mockingbird. Greg Rucka’s Kodiak series is fun. David Sedaris just kills me.

Read more about Kirk... Less...

Alexander Alvendia
Assistant Director

B.A. Environmental Studies
George Washington University

California – San Francisco, South Bay

I’m a recent transplant to Los Angeles by way of Washington, D.C. I attended college in D.C. wanting to influence politics from the seat of world politics, however, I made a quick turn into college admissions with my alma mater and have been in the field ever since. I’m excited to be leaving the cold winters and muggy summers behind and joining the USC admissions team.

Why USC?
The combination of rigorous academic programs and top-tier faculty coupled with USC’s location in Los Angeles offers a truly one-of-kind experience.

Admission Advice:
College is all about learning, most importantly about yourself as a person. Look for schools that can help you grow in all aspects of your life – inside and outside the classroom.

Movie: Children of Men
Food: Thai Food
Quote: “You create your own luck”

Read more about Alexander... Less...

Brittany Baker-Brousseau
Assistant Director

B.A. English
Williams College

New Jersey - Southern Counties, Middlesex & Monmouth Counties

As a headstrong teenager looking at colleges, I wanted to go somewhere as different as possible from my large high school in Long Beach, CA; a small liberal arts college in rural Massachusetts certainly fit the bill! After graduation, I spent four more years on the east coast working in New York as the administrative assistant in a college counseling office. I am excited to have made the move "across the desk" to college admissions and to be back in SoCal!

Why USC?
The opportunities for interdisciplinary study at USC are abundant and reflect a culture of inquiry and innovation. The university's dedication to creative problem solving truly sets it apart.

Admission Advice:
Become familiar with what the university can offer you in terms of academic and extracurricular experiences, but then think one step further. What do you offer the university? Imagine being here--how will you spend your time? What do you want to explore or improve? What will be your contributions to the community? Don't underestimate yourself! Articulating your potential impact will give us a better sense of who you are and whether USC is a good fit for you.

Movie: Some Like it Hot
Food: Crustaceans and carbs
Quote: "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." -Leonard Cohen
Fictional Character: Sherlock Holmes
Dream Job: Choreographer
Books: Emma, A People's History of the United States, Angels in America

Read more about Brittany... Less...

Kyle Beasley
Assistant Director

B.A. Urban and Environmental Policy
Occidental College

California - Long Beach

I was born and raised in Southern California and am a proud alumnus of Occidental College. As an undergraduate I had the opportunity to study abroad in Brazil, intern with an array of community-based organizations, and work extensively with the Occidental College Office of Admission. I am happy to be working in higher education and very excited to be part of the team here at USC!

Why USC?
USC provides a rich and engaging experience for its students. With Los Angeles as the setting, the possibilities and opportunities are limitless.

Admission Advice:
Do your research and make sure that you find the school that is the best fit for you. Choosing where to spend the next four years is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Remember, in addition to studying, you’re ultimately going to be calling this place your home, so you want to make sure that you are choosing an institution where you will feel comfortable.

Movie: Anything with Adam Sandler
Food: French Fries and Pizza
Quote: "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." – Maya Angelou
Dream Job: Philanthropist
Musical Performers: Drake, Common, and Sam Hunt

Read more about Kyle... Less...

Joe Beltran
Associate Director

B.S. Music Industry
M. Ed. Educational Counseling
University of Southern California

Archer School for Girls, Brentwood School, Crossroads, Santa Monica HS, Windward School

I was a small-town Texan who always dreamed of bright lights and busy city streets, and my high school academic and acting success helped garner a spot in USC’s entering class. As a student I worked very closely with New Student Orientation, and I am extremely happy to help interested students gain admission to my alma mater. My passion for education has inspired me to pursue a graduate degree in Educational Counseling at USC’s Rossier School of Education.

Why USC?
USC has the intimate interactions and support of a close-knit community with all the resources and grandeur of a large research university. To name a few - location, tradition, community, loyalty, and pride have kept me a devoted Trojan. 

Admission Advice:
Congratulations! You are about to embark on a great adventure that will begin the next big chapter in your life. Enjoy the search, and let us know how we can help.

Movie: Scent of a Woman
Food: Sundried Tomato Chicken Pasta
Quote: We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world and the best that we can find in our travels is an honest friend. -- Robert Louis Stevenson
Musical Performer: Nine Inch Nails
Book: The Aeneid by Virgil

Read more about Joe... Less...

Ryan Bouziane
Assistant Director

B.A. Print and Digital Journalism
University of Southern California

California – Anaheim area
Maryland, Delaware, Southern Arizona (including Tucson)

I went to my first USC football game when I was 8 years old. Carson Palmer led the Trojans past Arizona State, and I ate soft pretzels with ketchup like some type of insane person. The revelry of that day stuck with me and inspired my dream to become a Trojan. I graduated from USC in 2015, and started working in admission just a few months later. So, while I typically eat soft pretzels like a normal human person these days, not much has changed. I love USC, and the opportunity to give back to the community by working for the university is an amazing feeling.

Why USC?
With a strong academic reputation, a historic athletic tradition, a supportive community, a vibrant social scene, and a Panda Express on campus, USC has it all.

Admission Advice:
Take chances. Allow your application to be a true representation of who you are, not who you think we want you to be. By demonstrating your individuality – your quirks, your unique perspective, your heart – you will set yourself apart from other applicants.

Movie: Children of Men and Fight Club
Food: California Burrito
Quote: “Yesterday’s weirdness is tomorrow’s reason why.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Book: A Storm of Swords
Music: Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar

Read more about Ryan... Less...

Kelsey Bradshaw
Assistant Director

B.A. Psychology
University of Southern California

California - Riverside & San Bernardino Counties, Etiwanda HS

I spent the first 18 years of my life in West Linn, OR, but wanted to try something different for college. The first time I visited USC I fell in love and couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. Attending USC was the best decision I’ve made and once graduation came around, I didn’t want to leave. So I didn’t! I’m so excited to be a part of the USC office of admission and to see future generations of Trojans fall in love with USC the way I did.

Why USC?
The combination of the academic rigor, a lively social culture, athletic excellence, and amazing faculty gives USC students an outstanding foundation for whatever career path they choose to follow after graduation.

Admission Advice:
Choose a major that you are actually passionate about and want to pursue. Your interest (or lack thereof) for that field is obvious. If you don’t know what you’re interested in, or are still deciding, then choosing “undecided” is okay, you have plenty of time to figure that out.

Movie: Anything Disney
Food: Mediterranean
Quote: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” -Unknown
Book: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Read more about Kelsey... Less...

Aaron Brown
Associate Director

B.A. International Relations (Global Business)
University of Southern California

International – Canada, Scandinavia, United Kingdom

When I was a freshman, coming to USC and Los Angeles from a small-town suburb of Sacramento was quite a step outside of my comfort zone – though in hindsight one of the best decisions I have made. I became interested in admissions after working as an intern in the office while an undergraduate, and have been proud to serve my alma mater since graduation.

Why USC?
The combination of a first-rate academic and intellectual environment, unique and varied social and extracurricular opportunities, and the sense of community embodied by the Trojan Family make USC an unparalleled institution for an undergraduate education.

Admission Advice:
Follow directions; it tells us a lot about you.

Movie: The Lives of Others
Food: Anything Mexican
Quote: “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” --Winston Churchill
Role Model: My Parents
Dream Job: Top Gear presenter
Book: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

Read more about Aaron... Less...

Clay Busia
Assistant Director

B.S. Business Administration
University of Southern California

California – San Mateo County, South Orange County (Brea, Orange, Villa Park, Placentia, and Yorba Linda), West Los Angeles

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I am proud to be from one of the most dynamic, diverse, and vibrant cities in the world. As the child of educators, I believe there is no better tool in life than that of an education. My passion for empowering others through access to quality education led to my pursuit of a career in higher education.

Why USC?
With access to top-tier athletics, ground-breaking research, breath-taking displays of art, time-honored traditions, and a truly global perspective, USC is a world-class center of learning and discovery where students are accepted, valued, and encouraged to grow as leaders.

Admission Advice:
Do your research. Find schools with programs that support your interests both inside and outside of the classroom and communicate those interests in your application. While it is tempting to become set on one school or program, don't shut yourself off to other viable options during your college admission journey.

Food: Balkan and Mediterranean
Quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt
Role Model: My parents
Dream Job: Philanthropist

Read more about Clay... Less...

Hayley Camin
Assistant Director

B.A. Film Production
University of Southern California

California – Central Coast, Santa Barbara, West Ventura County
Missouri - Kansas City and St. Joseph

I was born and raised in Los Angeles and was determined to leave my home town for college. After researching and visiting many schools out of state, I found the perfect place for me, right down the road. I remained in L.A. to attend USC, and graduated with a degree in film production. I worked in television for several years, but I couldn't stay away from USC for long. Now I'm back on campus and thrilled to be working with prospective Trojans.

Why USC?
USC has the perfect balance of rigorous academics and a robust social scene. It's an environment that fosters growth both in and out of the classroom. And let’s not forget our unwavering school spirit.

Admission Advice:
Gather information, ask questions, and be open to new opportunities. Your top choice may end up being a school you never expected.

Movie: The Wizard of Oz or anything by Alfred Hitchcock
Food: Cheese, avocados and See's Candy
Musical Performer: The Beatles
Dream Job: HGTV host

Read more about Hayley... Less...

Becky Chassin
Senior Associate Director

B.A. Sociology
Pomona College

M.A. Communication Management
University of Southern California

Harvard-Westlake School, The Viewpoint School

I grew up in Arizona and have lived in Southern California for the last 14 years. When I’m not reading applications, you can find me at the yoga studio, in the kitchen baking, or trying a new restaurant.

Why USC?
USC has so many options for students: academic, social, and extracurricular. It’s easy to see why students are so excited about spending their college careers here.

Admission Advice:
Remember, there’s a person on the other end of your application; we’re just trying to get to know you.

Movie: Say Anything
Food: Chocolate chip cookies
Quote: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." --Ferris Bueller
Musical Performer: Death Cab for Cutie
Book: The Devil in the White City

Read more about Becky... Less...

Tammie Dedmon-Mason
Senior Assistant Director

B.S. Health Science with emphasis on Community Health Education
California State University, Long Beach

M.Ed Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs
University of Southern California

Bellarmine College Preparatory, Cupertino HS, Henry Gunn HS, Leland HS, Palo Alto HS, Presentation HS, Valley Christian HS

After working for several years in the not-for-profit sector, I found a passion for higher education. When I am not supporting students, you can find me getting inspired from the designers on HGTV.

USC mirrors the global and cultural diversity that Los Angeles embraces, has a unique sense of community, strong alumni connection, caring faculty and students who are intellectually curious and entrepreneurial.

Admission Advice:
The essay and writing prompts may be the only opportunity for the university to get to know you. Be descriptive. Be honest. Be concise and trust your instincts.

Food: Chinese Dumplings
Role Model: My Parents (50 years of marriage and counting!)
Musical Performer: India.Arie, Prince, Pink, Steel Pulse
Book: Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust
Dream Job: Philanthropist

Read more about Tammie... Less...

Jessica Frey
Senior Assistant Director

B.A. Theatre
University of Southern California

The Harker School
Hart HS
Homestead HS
West Ranch HS

I’m from Hollister, CA, a small town south of San Jose. I moved to Los Angeles for college and I have been here since. I discovered my passion for higher education while I worked in Orientation Programs as a student at USC. During my free time you can find me training for half marathons, relaxing on the beach, visiting Disneyland, and rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers!

Why USC?
The opportunities both inside and outside the classroom are limitless at USC. Students can major and minor in completely separate fields while also being involved in several student organizations. The sense of community within the Trojan Family makes USC a very unique and wonderful campus.

Admission Advice:
We are looking to get to know you the best we can in the application process, and the writing components are a way for us to get to know you outside of your academics and extracurricular activities. When trying to decide on an essay prompt, choose the prompt that speaks the most to you. We are most interested in learning something new about you, and you get to decide what that may be!

Movie: Forrest Gump
Food: Pizza, ice cream, and breakfast burritos
Quote:“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.” – Walt Disney
Role Model: Kristen Wiig and Lauren Fleshman
Musical Performer: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Read more about Jessica... Less...

Miloni Gandhi
Associate Director

B.A. International Development Studies
B.A. Geography
M.A. Social Sciences and Comparative Education
Ph.D. Social Sciences and Comparative Education
University of California, Los Angeles

International - Europe, India, Middle East, South Asia

I am a Southern California native and have spent some time living in Singapore, Spain, Chile, and Hawaii. Each of these experiences have contributed greatly to the way I view the world. Prior to joining the Trojan family I worked at UCLA researching heritage learning and study abroad, and serving as a counselor for students who wished to pursue international learning opportunities.

Why USC?
This is a vibrant thriving campus with limitless possibilities. You have the world at your fingertips being at USC and in the great city of Los Angeles!

Admission Advice:
There is no one answer on how to pick a school or write your essays. Do what feels most comfortable for you, stay positive, and let your personality shine. Don’t be shy and ask as many questions as possible to help guide your decisions. This is an important time in your life, but don’t stress too much.

Movie: Love Actually
Food: I love so many different things it would be impossible to pick!
Quote: “Don’t travel to escape life, travel so that life doesn’t escape you.”
Role Model: Mom and Dad
Book: Around the World in 80 Days

Read more about Miloni... Less...

Eric Gebert
Assistant Director

B.A. Cinematic Arts – Critical Studies
University of Southern California

California - Contra Costa County

Having been born in Minnesota and raised in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I felt a strong urge to leave the Midwest—and my winter jacket—behind to attend the University of Southern California. It was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m thrilled to be back working for USC and look forward to continuing my work in higher education.

Why USC?
People often talk in clichés and hyperbole about how your years as an undergraduate are the best years of your life. But, once you attend USC and explore all of the opportunities the university and surrounding Los Angeles area have to offer, you begin to truly understand why people talk this way. USC provides its students a diverse and wholly welcoming collegiate experience that rivals any in the nation.

Admission Advice:
So you’ve taken a rigorous academic course load, completed your standardized tests and participated in your extracurricular activities.  Those parts of your application are extremely important, but primarily in the past.  Use your time now to take advantage of what you can control: the essay and short answers.  We aren’t looking for safe, stock answers. Instead we want to read your application and immediately get a sense of your unique personality.

Movie: Either Apocalypse Now or Singin’ in the Rain, depending on my mood that day.
Fictional Character: Don Draper (Mad Men)
Greatest Invention: Motion picture camera
Music: Radiohead, The Rolling Stones, Grizzly Bear
Book: Revolutionary Road

Read more about Eric... Less...

Maureen Eagle Gelberg
Associate Director

B.A. Sociology
University of California, San Diego

M.S. School Counseling
California State University, Long Beach

Arcadia HS, Chadwick School, Flintridge Preparatory School, La Canada HS, Mayfield Senior School, Polytechnic School, Westridge School for Girls

I grew up in Southern California and went to UC San Diego to study Sociology.  While in college I worked for the Cal Soap program, helping underserved students apply to college, and I’ve been in the college admission field ever since. I love working on a college campus! After short stays in San Francisco, Michigan, and England I returned to LA. I currently live with my husband and two little boys, so in addition to cooking, yoga and reading, my hobbies now include Legos and building train tracks.

Why USC?
The university and its student body are an amazing combination of intellectual curiosity, spirit, athleticism, artistic talent, innovation and diversity.

Admission Advice:
Be yourself. Also, enter the college search process knowing there are many schools where you can be happy, not just one. It's true, and it takes the pressure off. You will bloom where you are planted.

Movie: Steel Magnolias
Food: Hot sourdough bread with melted butter. Add a little roasted bone marrow from Church and State in Downtown, and I am a happy woman.
Quote: “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” --Ralph Waldo Emerson
Role Model: My parents
Book: The Invisible Bridge, Julie Orringer

Read more about Maureen... Less...

Kellie Graham
Assistant Director

B.A. Public Relations
University of Southern California

California – Hollywood/Wilshire area of Los Angeles
Massachusetts (excluding Boston)

As a Southern California native, my early years were spent exploring the many vibrant communities in and around Los Angeles. With endless points of interest, a wide array of cultures and gorgeous weather year-round, staying in LA for college was an easy decision. After earning my degree from USC, I was able to spend several years working in Disneyland’s Entertainment Department with performers from all over the world. And now I’m back at my “Happiest Place on Earth” to work with the next generation of the Trojan Family!

Why USC?
While USC boasts rigorous academics, award-winning faculty, top tier athletics and hundreds of student organizations, the most extraordinary aspect of the university is something completely intangible. The Trojan Family. This network – made up of students, alumni, staff and faculty – is lifelong and worldwide. Whether you need academic support, a lead on career opportunities or just someone to watch the game with, your Trojan Family will be there for you and is what makes this university special.

Admission Advice:
Be authentic! If you aren’t passionate about the major you’re choosing, the essay you’ve written or even the college you’re applying to, it’s conveyed in your application. So do your research and present your best self to the admission department. And above all, please follow directions.

Quote: “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.” – Sam Ewing
Book: The Count of Monte Cristo
Food: Mexican food and any combination of chocolate/peanut butter
Greatest Invention: Band-Aids
Dream Job: Operating a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary

Read more about Kellie... Less...

Bruce Grier
Associate Director

B.A. Political Science
University of Southern California

California - San Diego, North San Diego County

I grew up in the Midwest. I was in the U.S. Navy and have worked at USC for 25 years.

Why USC?
Great education and a great environment.

Admission Advice:
Be patient and study hard.

Movie: The Godfather I & II
Food: Steak
Role Model: My father
Musical Performer: Early Bob Dylan
Book: Almost any history book.

Read more about Bruce... Less...

Natalie Guevara
Assistant Director

B.A. Anthropology
University of Southern California

California – Santa Ana (Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Santa Ana)
New York – Westchester County, Rockland County, Suffolk County, Central and Southern Nassau County

I grew up only 8 miles away from USC and was incredibly excited to join the Trojan Family for my undergraduate degree. As I experienced the support of numerous resources on campus I further grasped my love for higher education. The faculty, staff, and my peers played a huge role in my personal and professional growth and I was unable to stay away from USC for long. Now I have the opportunity to reach out to prospective students as they learn of the amazing opportunities available at USC.

Why USC?
There is a place at USC for almost every interest, major, quirk, and personality. The Trojan Family is genuine and not just friendly, but filled with various resources for academic and professional support. USC is a perfect place filled with students seeking professionalism, growth, the eclectic Los Angeles lifestyle, and a community that will always fight on.

Admission Advice:
There are various opportunities and many universities, but make sure that the schools you are applying to, you want to attend. When applying to USC, help us understand why USC is your best fit and the kinds of opportunities you hope to pursue here. Your personal statement, short answers, and quick takes are your best chance to help us get to know you, so don’t hold back.

Quote “Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Role Model: My grandmother, the epitome of being fierce, caring, and witty
Musical Performer: Beyonce
Book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Read more about Natalie... Less...

Michael Gulotta
Associate Director

B.A. History
Loyola University of New Orleans

M. Ed. Guidance/School Counseling
Louisiana State University

Arizona – Phoenix
North Dakota
South Dakota

I am a proud son of Chalmette, Louisiana, a pleasant suburb located just a few miles outside of New Orleans. I started my career as a high school counselor in Louisiana before joining the USC Office of Admission in 2007. After five wonderful years, I had the opportunity to join the Admissions team at American University in Washington, DC, and spent two terrific years in the nation’s capital before returning to USC in 2014. I love running, watching Seinfeld reruns, and telling people about how much I love the New Orleans Saints.

Why USC?
USC is a place that isn’t afraid to take risks. It is a university that is always looking for creative and innovative approaches to higher education, and it is such an exciting place to be.

Admission Advice:
I love working in college admissions because it provides the opportunity to work with students at such an exciting time in their lives. As I get farther removed from my own college years, I realize more and more that there is no better time than the college years to take risks, so whatever your interests may be, seek out universities that will give you the chance to pursue them. Use the college admission process to think about all the possibilities that lie ahead.

Food: Boiled Crawfish and Hubig’s Pies
Role Model: Drew Brees, Quarterback of the New Orleans Saints
Favorite Quote: “Pigs have flown! Hell has frozen over! The Saints are on their way to the Super Bowl!” – Jim Henderson, the voice of the New Orleans Saints, after Garrett Hartley’s field goal in the NFC Championship Game sent the Saints to their first Super Bowl appearance.
Book: Once a Runner, by John L. Parker

Read more about Michael... Less...

Rakin Hall
Associate Director

B.A. Journalism
Humboldt State University

M.Ed. University of Southern California

California - East Los Angeles, South San Diego County
Multicultural Recruitment

I grew up in Southern California. I attended college in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I have had the pleasure of living in the wonderful state of New Jersey, and now I am happy to be back home.

Why USC?
Culture, Climate, Diversity

Admission Advice:
Focus on your personal statement. Your personal statement gives me better insight into your passions, potential, and ability to persevere.

Movie: The Dark Knight
Food: Sushi
Quote: "Fight with a grin." --Winston Churchill
Role Model: Barack Obama
Musical Performer: Tupac Shakur
Book: From Superman to Man, J.A. Rogers

Read more about Rakin... Less...

Hillary Higgins
Assistant Director

B.A. English Literature
University of Michigan

Juris Doctor
Southwestern Law School

California - West San Gabriel Valley
West Virginia

As a native to Los Angeles, I believe there is no better city in the world. After spending four years in the mid-west, I immediately returned home and began a career in education via law school. As a member of the Trojan Family, I am excited to advocate for students and teach them all about the opportunities ahead.

Why USC?
USC is an incredibly diverse atmosphere both educationally and socially. Students can really find the area that suits them and delve in whole-heartedly. There are endless ways to get involved at USC and really find your home. I believe college is where kids become adults, and finding the right environment is the most important part.

Admission Advice:
Find the school the grabs your heart! There will probably be more than one, so make sure to do your research and find the best fit for you.

Book: Harry Potter
Movie: Mystic Pizza, The Notebook, pretty much any romantic comedy
Food: My mom’s matzo ball soup, pizza, dark chocolate, and frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles

Read more about Hillary... Less...

Kevin Hostetler
Associate Director

B.A. International Affairs and German Language and Literature
The George Washington University

China, Taiwan

I have loved the thrill of encountering cultures since I was a kid. The moments of intercultural connection, from learning to cook a new cuisine to practicing a new language with a stranger on a train, have led me to a career helping students from around the world to discover the beauty of our global world. After college, I started working in international admission at both The George Washington University and UCLA before finding my way to USC.

Why USC?
USC provides all of the benefits of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research institution. Add the global, diverse city of Los Angeles to the mix, and you have one of the most outstanding universities in the world.

Admission Advice:
Think of the application process as your first college class. You will be asked to do research, write papers, and be self-reflective on your future. Although it can be stressful, try to enjoy the experience. You are making a big, exciting decision that will change the trajectory of your life.

Movie: Atonement and The English Patient
Food: Mango Sticky Rice
Quote: "The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes." - Frank Lloyd Wright
Musical Performer: Celine
Book: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Read more about Kevin ... Less...

Yamilet Medina López
Associate Director

B.S. Recreational Administration
M.Ed. Counseling in Student Affairs
Texas State University

California – Marin County, Chaminade HS
U.S. Territories
Latin America (including Mexico)
Multicultural Recruitment

My roots are in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I left home to pursue college in Texas and since then have lived and worked in Texas, New York, Florida and now California. I have been working in college admission and Student Affairs roles for the past seven years and have loved every minute of it. I have had the opportunity to come across amazing students and wonderful families. I believe higher education changes lives! I am happiest outside: I love the ocean because I find it familiar and comforting. I really enjoy fútbol, running, learning other languages and traveling to new places. I have a very eclectic taste in music and I always miss Puerto Rico! I am, however, very happy to call sunny California my second home.

Why USC?
USC is an incredibly innovative place, if I had to describe it to a prospective student in one word I would have to say: Dynamic! Students have so many options in the variety of programs, abundant resources and opportunities available in the Los Angeles area, it is truly vibrant. The perfect mix of academic excellence along with a great social environment is the reason so many students are eager to pursue their college careers at USC.

Admission Advice:
Visit as many college campuses as you can and ask questions. Remember, this will be the place you call your second home for a while and you need to feel it is a place where you can be yourself and explore your potential. Trust your gut feelings.

Book: Tuesdays with Morrie, The Old Man and the Sea & The Alchemist
Food: Mofongo! And anything fruit and veggies!
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and If Lucy Fell
Role Model: My mother
Quote: “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You've got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense.” – Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist

Read more about Yamilet... Less...

John Marfield
Senior Assistant Director

B.S. Communication
Boston University

M.Ed. Higher Education
University of Southern California

M.S. Anthropology
Oxford University

Ph.D. Education
University of California, Los Angeles

California - Davis, Napa, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Vacaville, Vallejo, Antelope Valley High Schools
New York - New York City (all boroughs), Northern Nassau County

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but moved to Boston for my undergraduate years. After getting my fill of icy winters and humid summers, I scurried back to LA to begin my career in higher education.  Over the years I have worked in admissions offices at UCLA, USC, and NYU, and have picked up a few graduate degrees along the way. In my free time I like to try new restaurants, listen to live music, and travel.

Why USC?
This is a dynamic campus that offers numerous engaging learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. There is a lot of flexibility with our curriculum, and it’s easy to construct a college experience that works just for you.

Admission Advice:
Give a lot of thought to your personal statement and short answer questions. This is your opportunity to tell us about yourself beyond your grades and test scores, and we really value your life experience. Don’t write about something that you think we want to hear – just be yourself!

Food: French fries
Musical Band/Performer: Ben Harper
Book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, A Single Man, Motorcycle Diaries
Role Model: My dog, Goldie
Greatest Invention: Reality TV
Dream Job: Musician (with talent)
Fictional Character: Liz Lemon

Read more about John... Less...

Terri Morris
Assistant Director

B.A. Spanish and Italian

M.A. Social Sciences, with a concentration in Linguistic Anthropology
University of Chicago

California - Sacramento County
New York - Southern Tier and Upstate

I was born and raised in Santa Monica, California and attended UCLA where I studied Spanish and Italian. As an undergraduate, I studied abroad twice: a semester in Spain and a semester in Italy. After college, I continued my international travels and spent a year teaching English in the South of Spain. Before relocating back home to sunny Southern California, I picked up a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago. I love being in an academic environment and I am excited to be part of the USC admission team!

Why USC?
USC offers unparalleled research opportunities with world-renowned faculty, while maintaining a diverse and tight-knit community- and a ton of school spirit.

Admission Advice:
When writing your essay, be yourself. We genuinely want to get to know a little bit more about you. Also, college is a time about exploring your true interests. You don’t always have to pick the major that is the most “practical,” but the one that you feel most passionately about.

Movie: The Godfather and Clueless
Food: Sushi and turkey sandwiches
Book: East of Eden, War and Peace, I Served the King of England, and any of Pablo Neruda’s poetry
Music: Spanish Flamenco

Read more about Terri... Less...

Tina Nguyen
Assistant Director

B.A. Social Welfare

California - West San Fernando Valley
North Carolina

I was born and raised in sunny Southern California where I attended Garden Grove High School, Orange Coast College and later transferred to UC Berkeley. After earning my Bachelors, I returned back to the sun and warm weather because I simply couldn’t get enough of it. As a first-generation college graduate, higher education has always been extremely important within my household. Seeing my parents cross oceans to allow my sister and me to receive a better education drove my passion in higher education. With this, I want to continue being an advocate for all communities striving to gain college admission. I love staying active, immersing myself in music, traveling and most importantly, eating and trying out new hot spots. My motto is simple: think in years, live in days.

Why USC?
USC is located in the second largest city of the U.S. and holds endless opportunities for students and beyond. Its vision to allow students to receive an interdisciplinary education with a global perspective is what makes the university unique; it teaches students to be adaptive to its surrounding communities.

Admission Advice:
Don't be afraid; the college search process may be intimidating at first but stay hungry, be curious and ask questions! It never hurts to do so. Keep an open mind.

Movie: Pursuit of Happyness
Food: Veggies, fries, tacos and corn cheese
Dream Job: Traveler
Book: The Alchemist
Quote: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
Role Model: Mom & Dad

Read more about Tina... Less...

David Park
Associate Director

B.A. Religion and Philosophy
University of California, Berkeley

International - Africa, Asia (excluding China and Taiwan), Australia, New Zealand
DoDEA Schools

I grew up in Orange County and spent every summer in high school helping our family business in Downtown LA's Fashion District. In college I loved studying religion because it was the perfect fusion of art, history, philosophy, politics, and economics. I came back to USC's undergrad admission office after a hiatus working in the hotel industry and graduate admission at USC's Marshall School of Business. I love the energy at USC and it's a thrill to be here.

Why USC?

Academics -- Athletics. Local -- Global. Personal -- Professional. Geeks -- Greeks. Weather -- Location. Few universities in the world possess all of these wonderful elements. USC offers the most comprehensive higher education setting to expand your mind and widen your network. It's no surprise we are America's leading destination for international students. Every student can find his or her niche. Simply put, I think USC provides THE ultimate college experience.

Admission Advice:
Study hard, get involved, and plan ahead. The essays give you that rare chance to pause and reflect. If you don’t apply, you’ll never know!

Food: Mexican and Korean
Role Model: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Musical Performer: Dave Matthews Band
Movies: The Shawshank Redemption and Good Will Hunting

Read more about David... Less...

Lisa K. Rhone
Assistant Dean

B.S. Business Administration
M.A. Counseling Psychology
University of the Pacific

California - Loyola High School, Marlborough School

I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and attended college not far from home. After a short stint in corporate America, I returned to my alma mater to begin my career in admissions. After 18 years and three distinctly different institutions, I am enjoying my experience at USC.

Why USC?
USC offers students so many opportunities inside and outside the classroom. It is amazing to see what students accomplish while they are here. It is even more amazing to see what they do with their USC experience once they leave this campus as ambassadors of the Trojan Family.

Admission Advice:
Take advantage of all the information provided to you through the application process. Admission officers are here to be a resource for you during this time. And relax, there is more than one perfect school. Open your mind to find the places where you will thrive.

Movie: The Sound of Music
Food: Mexican food
Quote: Fight On!
Role Model: Mother and father
Musical Performer: Alicia Keys

Read more about Lisa... Less...

Maria Rodriguez
Assistant Director

B.A. Sociology & Chicano/a Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

M.Ed. School Counseling
University of Southern California

California – Far Northern Counties, Alexander Hamilton HS, Culver City HS, Palisades Charter HS, Palos Verdes HS, Palos Verdes Peninsula HS

I was born and raised in Los Angeles and I feel like I love it more and more every day – there’s always something to do, a concert to go to, a hiking trail to discover, or new food to try, among many other things. My personal favorites are Dodgers games, hiking up to the Griffith Observatory, and laying out in a park or on a beach with a good book. I started working in education while I was in college, which led to the discovery of my passion for working with students. I strongly believe all students should have the opportunity to attend college.

Why USC?
USC is a very exciting place to be. Not only is it an incredibly beautiful campus, but the opportunities for intellectual growth and student involvement are endless – our students do it all! However, the most unique thing about USC is its culture; there is a great sense of community and school pride here.

Admission Advice:
College is about fit. The schools you apply to should reflect your interests and personality. And don’t be afraid to show that personality! Instead of telling us about what you think we want to hear, don’t be afraid to be yourself and to showcase your unique experiences. The personal statement is my favorite piece of the application because it allows you to do just that.

Movie: Up, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Food: French fries
Quote: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
Role Model: My parents
Book:The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Read more about Maria... Less...

Jesse Rueter
Senior Assistant Director

B.S. Public Policy, Management, and Planning
University of Southern California

California – Whittier and North Orange County, Greater Imperial Valley

I grew up in Pasadena, California. After high school I spent a few years traveling and working with a non-profit in Oakland, California before being drawn back home to LA. Through Pasadena City College, I was able to transfer to USC where I studied at the Price School of Public Policy. I developed a love for USC that has driven me to work with the Admissions Office to help guide future Trojans.

Why USC?
USC offers more than just a great education. It offers the experience of living in one of the most culturally diverse cities, working with some of the most esteemed thinkers and professionals, and developing lifelong bonds with some of the most unique and interesting people in the world.

Admission Advice:
Be yourself. Be confident in your abilities and your passions and express them with sincerity.

Food: Barbeque (any)
Movie: The Matrix
Role Model: My Parents
Dream Job: Lakers General Manager

Read more about Jesse... Less...

Neelam Savla
Assistant Director

B.A. Psychology/Political Science
University of Southern California

California - East San Fernando Valley, Santa Clara County

I was born and raised in Southern California. I worked as a USC Tour Guide during my undergraduate years and found a passion for the Admission profession. I enjoy learning about new cultures and everything that comes with it – religion, music, and (of course) food. I like spending my time outdoors and going on new adventures. I spend much of my free time rooting for the USC Trojans and the Los Angeles Lakers!

Why USC?
USC has the perfect combination of world class academics and extracurricular and social opportunities. Throw in the unmatched Trojan Family, and you have a university that you can really call home. The number of opportunities students have available to them in all aspects of their education really create a unique and valuable experience that will have a lasting impact.

Admission Advice:
Spend some quality time researching the schools and programs you’re interested in and ask questions. Be yourself; we just want to get to know you.

Food: Chocolate, Popcorn, Paneer
Favorite fictional character: Neville Longbottom
Role Model: My parents
Book: Matilda
Quote: “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Read more about Neelam... Less...

Megan Skalbeck
Assistant Director

B.A. Italian Studies
Princeton University

California – City of San Jose
New Jersey – Northern Counties
New York – Catskills and Central Hudson Valley
Georgia – Northeast and western counties (excluding Atlanta)

After growing up in the Midwest and spending four years on the East Coast, I decided to head west and give LA a try. I couldn’t have made a better choice—it’s the perfect place for my obsession with the beach and anything outdoors. Since my own college application process, university admissions has been something I find fascinating, and I’ve been fortunate enough to discover that it’s an area in which I love working as well.

Why USC?
First and foremost, the people. Although I didn’t attend undergrad here myself, I’ve had the opportunity to work in a few different offices since coming to USC and have interacted with many more across the university. The remarkable quality of people I’ve seen engaged at every level internally, and the amount they care about the students, translate directly to the undergraduate experience.

Admission Advice:
Don’t do things in high school to set yourself up to be a great college applicant—set yourself up to be a great college student. Think beyond what you’ll be listing on paper to what will give you true preparation for pursuing the things you’re most interested in, both in and out of the classroom.

Food: Peanut butter
Dream job: Stunt double
Book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Quote: “The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea.” -- Isak Dinesen

Read more about Megan... Less...

Art Stenmo
Senior Associate Director

B.S. Physical Education
University of La Verne

M.A. Higher Education Administration & Policy Analysis
Stanford University

California - Campbell Hall, The Webb Schools
Massachusetts - Boston and Cambridge
Washington DC

I grew up in a small town about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. Although I stayed close to home for college, my higher education experience opened up a new world of possibilities. I studied abroad in England and traveled through Europe on my own, eventually making a pilgrimage to Norway to meet distant relatives for the first time in my family's history. Since then, I have been fortunate to travel the world and my career in admissions allows me to "boldly go" where I could not have imagined going before.

Why USC?:
USC’s emphasis on global education provides opportunities to understand other cultures through our academic programs and study abroad experiences. We have programs in more than fifty countries on five continents, so take advantage of those opportunities!

Admission Advice:
Think about what you want from your college experience and then decide which or universities best match your personal values and your educational goals. Visit campuses, ask questions, and most of all, have fun exploring the many college options available to you.

Movie: Goodfellas
Food: Italian & Mexican food
Quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
Role Model: My dad, the hardest working man I’ve ever known, and my mom, who always has enough love for everyone.
Musical Performer: Social Distortion; Foo Fighters; U2
Book: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Angela’s Ashes

Read more about Art... Less...

Risa Tewksbury
Midwest Regional Director

B.S. Business Administration
University of Southern California

Missouri - St. Louis & Springfield areas

I grew up in Southern California. Met my husband at USC, where I have worked in admission, financial aid and the Viterbi School of Engineering. I have two young children, and currently reside in the Midwest.

Why USC?
All the benefits of a great private education in a major urban setting with a warm climate. What’s not to like?

Admission Advice:
There is not one perfect school for each student. Keep your options open, and be yourself!

Movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Food: Dark chocolate.
Quote: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” --Mahatma Gandhi
Role Model: Yoda
Musical Performer: Indigo Girls
Book: Too many to pick one favorite, but I’ll recommend Tortilla Curtain by our own T. C. Boyle as one suggestion.

Read more about Risa... Less...

Kenley Turville
Senior Assistant Director

B.A. International Relations and Psychology
Claremont McKenna College

Texas - Austin, Central Texas, San Antonio and Houston areas
Correspondence, Home and Non-Traditional Schools

I am a small town girl from Bountiful, Utah. I moved to Southern California for college, eager to experience something new, and I have been here since. I love Los Angeles for its warm weather and opportunities, but I miss my Utah Mountains. When I’m not running or hiking, you’ll find me trying a new restaurant. I listen to NPR every day and I love to dance to any upbeat song.

Why USC?
At USC you have options. Academically there are so many majors, minors, and courses to choose from. You are not only allowed to pursue your interests, but you’re encouraged to, regardless of how diverse they may seem. But USC is more than an academic institution. You’ll have experiences here that will shape you into a person of character, who is able to think analytically and adapt to changes.

Admission Advice:
You can read and research as much as you want about any school, but the most valuable research you can do is visit a campus. Only then can you actually get a real feel for what the school is like. USC is full of positive, fun energy – visit if you can! College is the best experience, so make sure you take the decision seriously and make the best decision for you.

Food: Indian and Mexican
Fictional Character: Simba
Musical Performer: Tim McGraw

Read more about Kenley... Less...

Whitney Rollerson
Assistant Director

B.S. Kinesiology
B.A. Psychology
University of Southern California


I am a Southern California girl, born and raised. For college, USC was the last place I wanted to go—I did not even want to apply! But after attending Explore USC after I was admitted, I fell in love with this university and knew that this was the place I wanted to call home. While at USC, I worked in admissions and volunteered as an Explore USC student panelist and Explore USC student host. As a senior, I did not want to graduate and leave USC, but I found a loophole! Coming full-circle as an admission counselor, I could not be more excited to join the admission staff of my alma mater.

Why USC?:
USC is truly a place of opportunity; anything you want to do here, you can and more. USC has the perfect mixture of strong academics, cutting-edge research, historic athletic programs and an engaging student life. Our idea of the Trojan Family permeates throughout our campus life and city making USC your home not only for four years, but for life.

Admission Advice:
Be confident in knowing what you want to pursue academically, but still remain open to other possibilities for you never know what might happen. For the essay and short answer questions, let your personality and passions shine through. Letters and numbers only tell us so much about you, so use the writing portion as your chance to tell us who you really are. And finally, when choosing a college, choose the place that you can imagine yourself attending, the place that makes you happy.

Movie: The Bourne Trilogy and Pride and Prejudice Food: Anything Italian Musical Performer: Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Melanie Fiona Quote: "Man is made by his beliefs. As he believes, so he is" –Bhagavad Gita

Read more about Whitney... Less...

Tyler-Rose Veguez
Assistant Director

B.S. Business and Cinematic Arts
University of Southern California

California – Central Valley (North)
Texas – Dallas and Fort Worth areas

I grew up in the Beach Cities area of LA.  The moment I stepped onto USC’s campus, I knew it was the place for me.  I got my B.S. in Business and Cinematic Arts while working as a student in the Thornton School of Music.  After graduating, I traveled a bit and realized that I wasn’t done with USC.  It looks like USC wasn’t done with me either, because here I am!  I am thrilled to work with students and help them through this exciting time in their lives.  In my free time, I love taking my dogs to the beach, baking, traveling, and exploring LA – even when you’ve lived here all of your life, there is always something new to discover.

Why USC?:
I like to say that USC embodies the phrase “work hard, play hard.”  Academically, we challenge our students and give them the resources and opportunities they need to pursue a variety of academic disciplines.  Do you want to be an engineer AND a musician?  You can do that at USC.  At the same time, we have a vibrant campus culture.  You can go to a football game one day, a jazz concert the next, and everything in between during the rest of the week.  Not to mention the fact that we’re in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world, where the possibilities for culture and entertainment are endless.  It’s great to be on a campus where students really love their school.

Admission Advice:
Numbers only tell us so much.  Try to remember that there is a person reading your application, and we want to know who you are and what your story is.  Make sure to be yourself and use those essays and short answers to your advantage. That’s where we really get to know you.

Movie: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Food: Breakfast burritos, Thai food, and gelato
Book: The Thirteenth Taleby Diane Setterfield; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Role Model: Tina Fey
Quote:"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" - Albus Dumbledore

Read more about Tyler-Rose... Less...

Noel Viramontes
Assistant Director

B.A. Public Relations
M.A. Strategic Public Relations
University of Southern California

California - South Orange County
New Hampshire
Rhode Island

As a Southern California native, I couldn’t imagine a city with more possibilities than Los Angeles, or a school with more options than USC. After leaving the USC bubble to work in PR, I found myself back at my favorite place. This campus has seen me through so much and I think that’s why I love my job and the opportunity to help other people understand what USC can offer. Some of my favorite things to do are trying new cafes and restaurants, visiting the downtown LA flower market early mornings and writing (what I hope are at least) mildly comical comments, posts and blogs.

Why USC?
The options are endless. If you want to do it, you can and USC will encourage and support you academically.

Admission Advice:
You should be happy with your essay and confident in what you’re sharing about yourself. If you don’t like it, why would you expect a stranger to like it and understand it?

Food: Chocolate or cheese
Quote: "Follow your passion. Stay true to yourself. Never follow someone else's path unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path. By all means, you should follow that." - Ellen DeGeneres
Role model: Tina Fey
Dream job: Sitcom writer
Fictional character: Megan from Bridesmaids

Read more about Noel... Less...