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, Chaminade HS, 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 sprit, 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, Torrance, Hawthorne, El Segundo Michigan

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...

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: The Dark Knight, Scent of a Woman
Food: Filet Mignon
Quote: "Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right." -- Henry Ford, American Industrialist
Role Model: Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Musical Performer: Nine Inch Nails
Book: The Aeneid by Virgil

Read more about Joe... Less...      Back to Top

Kelsey Bradshaw
Assistant Director

B.A. Psychology
University of Southern California

California - Inland Empire

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 there of) 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
Correspondence, Home and Non-Traditional Schools

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, 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...

Oscar Cancio
Senior Assistant Director

B.A. English
Bates College

California – South and South Central Los Angeles
Massachusetts - North Shore Boston, South Shore Boston, Worcester
Rhode Island

I was born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles. Curiosity led me to attend college in Maine… the furthest (and coldest) state I could have possibly gone to. After graduating, I gave back to my alma mater by working in the Admissions Office for two years. I’m beyond ecstatic to have returned home and to be at USC.

Why USC?
You receive all the academic and social benefits of studying at a large institution while still getting that personalized attention. We’re also located in the best city in the world!

Admission Advice:
Be true to yourself… and to grammar, punctuation, and spelling!

Favorite Leisure Activity: Ice hockey
Favorite Food: Street tacos
Role Model: Atticus Finch
Favorite Quote: “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” --Nelson Mandela

Read more about Oscar... Less...

Sanjeev Chahal
Assistant Director

B.A. Psychology
University of California, Merced

M.Ed. Educational Leadership, Student Affairs
University of Vermont

California –Hollywood & Wilshire Areas of Los Angeles
New Jersey - Southern Counties

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was a founding class member of the University of California, Merced and it changed my life. As a campus tour guide I was bit with the bug to make sure that everyone got an awesome college experience just as I did. I went on to receive my Master’s degree in Education to make that happen and here I am…a Trojan!

Why USC?
USC will shape you to be an astounding scholar and provide you with unmatched opportunities. Plus, being a member of the Trojan Family is pretty awesome!

Admission Advice:
This is a huge step for you, so take your time and inform yourself. We are real people who want to hear your voice in the application, so let it shine!

Movie: Fight Club
Food: Everything and anything; especially sea critters
Role Model: Anyone following their dreams

Read more about Sanjeev... Less...

Becky Chassin
Senior Associate Director

B.A. Sociology
Pomona College

M.A. Communication Management
University of Southern California

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

Bay Area - Bellarmine College Preparatory, Henry Gunn HS, Leland HS,
Palo Alto 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.

Why USC?
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...

Vivika Demel
Assistant Director

B.A. International Relations and Sociology
University of Southern California

M.Ed. Educational Counseling
University of Southern California

California - City of San Jose
New Jersey - Northern Counties
New York - Central Hudson Valley & the Catskills

I was born and raised in Torrance, just outside of Los Angeles. Even though I planned on attending college on the East Coast, when the time came I couldn’t bring myself to leave and decided on USC. I loved my time at SC so much that I chose to stay for graduate school and became very involved in helping high school seniors apply to college. I enjoy exploring Los Angeles, finding new and interesting restaurants and traveling.

Why USC?
USC provides students with a unique experience. On campus, students obtain a first class education from renowned faculty, the ability to tailor academic programs to suit their needs, and the opportunity to immerse themselves in an energetic campus life.  Off campus, students are surrounded by the diverse and dynamic city of Los Angeles where they are able to learn about and experience new cultures and ideas. Students at USC quickly become members of the lifelong Trojan Family where they are supported as they grow personally, intellectually and professionally.

Admission Advice:
Take time to consider a topic for your personal statement. The personal statement is your opportunity to tell us more about who you are and what you are interested in. Try to be creative and detailed during the writing process and make sure you proofread before submitting.

Movie: Silver Linings Playbook
Food: Chocolate Cake
Quote: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”- Babe Ruth
Book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Read more about Vivika... Less...

Jessica Frey
Assistant Director

B.A. Theatre
University of Southern California

California - Sacramento County
Massachusetts - Berkshire, Frianklin, Springfield, Hampshire, Fitchburg, North Worcester County, Lowell, Concord, and Wellesley
New Hampshire
New York - Southern Tier and Upstate

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 running, 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:
Take your time with the application! Make sure you present yourself in the best possible way through the application. And most importantly, be yourself! Authenticity is key.

Movie: Forrest Gump
Food:Very spicy Mexican food
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: My hard-working, extremely supportive mom and dad.
Musical Performer: Zac Brown Band, 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 - India, South Asia, Middle East, Europe, Australia, New Zealand

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...

Marcos Garcia
Assistant Director

B.A. Chicano/a Studies
University of California, Santa Barbara

California - Central Valley

I was born in the metropolitan city of Guadalajara, Mexico but I was raised in Southern California in the port town of San Pedro.  After high school I decided to venture north to beautiful UC Santa Barbara to complete my undergraduate studies. However, Los Angeles will forever be my home, and I am glad to be back and be a part of the admission office at the University of Southern California. In my free time I enjoy watching hours of recorded fútbol on my DVR, exploring the many hiking trails Los Angeles has to offer and going to the gym to lift weights.

Why USC?:
The University of Southern California provides its students with resources to achieve their academic goals and the support that will prepare them for success. 

Admission Advice:
During the college search process, make sure to visit as many college campuses as you can. The feeling that you get when on a college campus will play a vital role in deciding which college you will attend. Most likely you will not choose the college campus, it will choose you.

Food: Anything with protein
Movies: The Notebook, Man on Fire, Gol  (I cried at the end)
Book:  Les Misérables, Always Running
Musical Performer: Kendrick Lamar, Luis Miguel, Frank Sinatra
Dream Job: Manager of FC Barcelona (Més que un club)
Greatest Invention: Internal combustion engine

Read more about Marcos... 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

California - Arcadia HS, Flintridge Prep, La Canada HS, Mayfield Senior School, Westridge School for Girls

I have been working in the college admission field, both at universities and at the high school level, for over fourteen years. My work has taken me across the country and overseas, but I chose to return to my native L.A., where I have been working at USC for the past eight years.

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: White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Read more about Maureen... 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 24 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 – North Orange County, Canyon Crest HS, Torrey Pines HS
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

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

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...

Bryan Hudson
Assistant Director

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

California – East San Gabriel Valley
South Carolina

I grew up in Los Angeles, and decided to stick around for college. In addition to studying Business and Film at USC, I worked as an Ambassador in the Admission Office and sang in the Saved By Grace Gospel Choir for four years. I loved working in Admission so much that I decided to pursue it after graduation. I really like helping students and families through the often stressful college process. In my free time I enjoy playing tennis, traveling, and trying new restaurants.

Why USC?
USC offers so many great academic programs, and students are encouraged to pursue studies outside their own majors. Additionally, living in Los Angeles, students are afforded the opportunity to intern at world renowned companies and gain relevant work experience. Lastly, I believe the Trojan Family is unmatched in higher education, and students and alumni are genuinely proud to be called Trojans!

Admission Advice:
This sounds pretty simple, but be yourself! Students often alter who they are to try to appeal to an admission committee. I’m just a person, and I enjoy learning about the interesting things our applicants do. Also, do your research, and know what you want out of your college experience.

Movie: Singin’ In the Rain, The Talented Mr. Ripley
Food: Seafood, French Toast
Quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou
Musical Performer: Carrie Underwood
Book: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hunger Games
Fictional Character: Phil Dunphy

Read more about Bryan... Less...

Yamilet Medina Lopez
Associate Director

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

California – Marin County, Bishop Montgomery HS, Chadwick School
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
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

Arizona - Phoenix
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...

Corey Marquetti
Senior Assistant Director

B.A. Psychology
University of California, Riverside

California - Long Beach

I grew up in South Gate, California which is just a few miles from USC. I spend my time outside the office working out and photographing the world. I love to bowl, play golf, and I attend a ton of concerts.

Why USC?
It’s a warm environment-- literally and figuratively.

Admission Advice:
Find a school that best fits you, demonstrate that fit in your application, and you’ll do great.

Movie: Lost in Translation & The Royal Tenenbaums
Food: Mexican Food
Fictional Character: Walter White from Breaking Bad
Greatest Invention: iPhone
Music: Radiohead
Role Model: Grandparents

Read more about Corey... Less...

Diana Moreno
Assistant Director

B.A. Ethnic Studies
University of California, San Diego

M.Ed. Educational Counseling
University of Southern California

California - Oakland, Alameda County
New Jersey - Middlesex and Monmouth Counties
New Mexico

I have lived in Southern California since birth and have loved every moment. I attended college in San Diego and then came to SC for my graduate degree. I was always a highly involved student, participating in numerous campus organizations, athletics and Greek life. My career aspirations have always revolved around education. I am passionate about serving students and truly value the college experience and the opportunities afforded to those who pursue higher education.

Why USC?
USC is a diverse institution that provides great opportunities to grow personally, academically, and professionally. The remarkable and distinct education you receive here will surely prepare you to become a leader in your field. In addition, the sense of community, pride and drive to excel that you see and feel throughout the campus is an experience in and of itself.

Admission Advice:
Take the time to really explore your college options and find the school that is most fitting for who you are and who you wish to become. When submitting your application, remember that it is a representation of you. Put forth effort, thought, and most importantly passion. Be confident, and be you.

Movie: Just Go With It
Food: Chocolate anything and my mom’s potato, chorizo, and cheese burritos
Quote: “Cut not the wings of your dreams for they are the heartbeat and the freedom of your soul” –Flavia

Read more about Diana... Less...

David Park
Associate Director

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

International - Asia (excluding China and Taiwan), Africa
Department of Defense Schools
State Department Overseas 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 - Archer School for Girls, Brentwood School, Crossroads School, Loyola High School, Marlborough School, Santa Monica High School, Windward 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 Penninsula HS

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, a city which I love because of its diversity and the fact that you can always find somewhere new to explore. I started working in student outreach during my undergrad, which led to the discovery of my passion for helping students go on to higher education. Although most of my experience lies in working with low-income and first-generation students, I believe all students should have the option and opportunity of going to 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. Apart from the opportunity at a great education, to me, the best part is the unique culture at USC. There is a great sense of community and school pride here.

Admission Advice:
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. Definitely do your research and make sure where you are applying reflects you and your interests. It’s all about what school fits you best.

Movie: American Beauty, Up
Food: Breakfast any time of the day
Quote: “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.” – “Vanilla Sky”
Role Model: My parents
Book: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Read more about Maria... Less...

Jesse Rueter
Assistant Director

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

California – Whittier and North Orange County

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

Born and raised in Southern California, I attended Northridge Academy High School before coming to USC. I worked as a 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 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: Mexican, Chocolate, Popcorn
Favorite fictional character: Neville Longbottom
Role Model: My parents
Book: Matilda, Wuthering Heights
Quote: “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” –Mahatma Gandhi

Read more about Neelam... Less...

Samantha Schreiber
Senior Assistant Director

B.A. Psychology & Spanish
Vanderbilt University

M.S.W. Social Work
University of Southern California

California - Central Coast
Texas - Austin, Central Texas, San Antonio and Houston areas
Jewish Student Outreach

I was raised in Southern California, traveled to the South for my undergraduate degree and have settled back in Los Angeles after receiving my master's degree from USC. As an undergraduate I was a member of a Greek organization, worked in a psychology research lab and at the student recreation center. I was also very involved with undergraduate admissions and recruitment and continued this work while at USC. I’m very happy to be pursuing admissions further as part of the Trojan Family.

Why USC?
USC has an undergraduate culture like no other. The academics are first rate and the amount of pride associated with being a Trojan is unparalleled anywhere else. USC also offers a diverse student body with varied interests and passions which provide a multifaceted experience in and out of the classroom. Our Los Angeles setting only expands all of the opportunities for growth both academically and personally.

Admission Advice:
Take a deep breath, be yourself and remember there is a person reading every piece of paper you send us so follow directions and proofread, please!!

Movie: Anything Pixar, Remember the Titans
Food: All things Mexican
Quote: “You’ll find you’re always tumbling over the things you’ve put behind you.” D.H. Lawrence.
Role Model: Mindy Kaling and Grumpy Cat
Musical Performer Depends… everything from Ke$ha to Bon Iver to Taylor Swift.
Book: Seven Types of Ambiguity by Eliot Perlman, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Read more about Samantha... Less...

Josh Selbe
Assistant Director

B.A. Public Relations
University of Southern California

M.S. Kinesiology
University of Georgia


I was born and raised in Orange County, California and am a proud alumnus of USC. I spent my childhood dreaming of what it would be like to be a Trojan. Little did I know that reality would exceed my expectations, make all of my dreams come true, and change my life in ways I never could have imagined. My belief in the importance of education and my love for this university have led me to this profession. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to influence future generations of Trojans.

Why USC?
This is a special place for special people. People come here because they want to be great. Students do not come here simply to exist and graduate, they come here to go on a life-changing adventure. And whether it is 90,000 strong in the Coliseum or Trojans from all over the world, there is no family quite like the Trojan Family.

Admission Advice:
As the great Dr. Seuss once said, “There is nobody youer than you.” The application is your opportunity to tell us what makes you special. Always compete.

Movie: Titanic, Peter Pan
Quote: “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Role Model: Mom and Dad
Favorite Music: Country Music
Book: The Great Gatsby

Read more about Josh... Less...

Whitney Sims
Assistant Director

B.A. Ethnic Studies
California State University, Fullerton

California - Anaheim
Arizona - Northern Arizona, Tucson

I was born and raised in Southern California. During college I worked in the corporate world and quickly realized that working for a financial institution was not the place for me. As an ethnic studies major and a first-generation college student, I developed a passion for higher education and wanted to be an advocate for the underrepresented population of students who are trying to gain college admission. I am ecstatic to be able to interact with such a diverse population of students from various backgrounds and all walks of life who have an interest in becoming future Trojans!

Why USC?:
At USC, a student can achieve any and everything they put their mind to. With our state-of-the-art and world class programs, the opportunities to achieve are limitless.

Admission Advice:
Be yourself! Be sure to express yourself clearly and make sure we get a sense of who you are through the writing sections of the application. We know that there is much more to a person than test scores and grade point average. We want to know what else you have to offer.

Movie: The Notebook
Musical Performer: Beyonce
Dream Job: Food Connoisseur
Food: Mediterranean
Fictional Character: Olivia Benson
Quote: “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” – Walter Bagehot

Read more about Whitney... Less...

Megan Skalbeck
Assistant Director

B.S. Italian Studies
Princeton University


I grew up in a small town in Iowa, and after four years of school on the East Coast, I decided it was time to check out the other side of the country. I moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 2013 and love the city--and the beach--completely.

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:
In preparing for college, you should be thinking beyond just how to make yourself a successful USC applicant, and instead focus on how to make yourself a successful USC student. Do things because they will provide you the true depth of knowledge and experience you'll need to thrive in a university setting, and not only because you think they will help your application.

Movie: Aladdin and anything with Cary Grant
Food: Ice cream
Dream Job: Stunt double
Book: A Tale of Two Cities--it's a classic for a reason

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
North Dakota
South Dakota

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
Assistant Director

B.A. International Relations and Psychology
Claremont McKenna College

California – Santa Ana and vicinities, Canyon Crest HS, Torrey Pines HS
Missouri - Kansas City & St. Joseph

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...

Tyler-Rose Veguez
Assistant Director

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

California – Greater Imperial Valley
Texas – Dallas and Fort Worth areas, El Paso, Panhandle, East Texas

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 Hallowsby 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
North Carolina

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...

Megan Wang
Associate Director

B.A. Magna Cum Laude, Psychology and Communication Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

Juris Doctor
Harvard Law School

International - China, Taiwan

Born and raised in China, I moved to Los Angeles after elementary school, and spent my high school and college years in sunny SoCal.  Seeking a change of scenery (and the seasons), I went to the East Coast for law school and later began my legal practice at an international law firm in New York City.  As my practice evolved, I realized it no longer agreed with my aspirations and goals.  Thus I returned to higher education, a field I have been passionate about ever since my days as a student academic counselor at UCLA.  An avid fan of the arts and literature, I am a zealous supporter of local museums, used bookstores, public libraries and concert halls.

Why USC?
This university believes in and advocates a combination of theoretical exploration with practical experience, as well as interdisciplinary learning across academic fields (such as art history and chemistry, or electrical engineering and operatic singing).  USC not only boasts these ideals, but also strives to achieve them year after year, class after class.   

Admission Advice
Be yourself (when writing the essays and short answers); read directions (when completing the application); be on time (when submitting the application and other documents).  The key lies in attention to details and spelling and grammar checks!

Movie:  Spirited Away
Book:   Dream of the Red Mansions
Quote:   “Know Thyself.” 
Musical Performers:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  (“Beethoven I take twice a week, Haydn four times, and Mozart every day!” – Rossini),and the Beatles (“We were just a band that made it very very big, that’s all.” – John Lennon)

Read more about Megan... Less...