Order of the Torch Home



The Order of the Torch exists to facilitate the communication between students who share the core Trojan values. Together these students will emanate the ideals of a Trojan to all students and the USC community through positive programming and activities.


2011-2012 | 2010-2011 | 2009-2010 | 2008-2009 | 2007-2008 | 2006-2007 | 2005-2006


Name: Nina Gordon-Kirsch
Major: Environmental Sciences, minor in Marketing
Hometown: Berkeley, California
Campus Involvement: Troy Camp, SC Outfitters, Mortar Board, Club Ultimate Frisbee Team, Inter-Service Council, USC Office of Sustainability
Plans for After Graduation: No set plans yet, but hoping to learn about sustainable lifestyle practices by living on an ecovillage and then coming back to teach urban dwellers about what I learned.
Favorite USC Memory: Putting my “V” for victory into the air as I stood on the Bovard stage during the Parade of Scholars, looking out at my Trojan Family and for the first time truly understanding how much that family really means to me.
Advice for Entering Freshman: No dream is too big. USC can help you make anything happen – you’ve just got to find the right program, funding source, or mentor to aid you in your endeavor. The resources are out there, you just have to find them.

Name: Milana (Mimi) Grozdanich
Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Munster, Indiana
Campus Involvement: Alpha Phi- President, Director of Member Development, and Director of Sisterhood; Female Undergraduates Educating and Leading in Science (FUELS)- VP Membership; Spirits in Action- Volunteer Recruitment Chair; New/North Building Government- Vice President; JEP Chemistry; Nuzhdin Molecular Biology Lab Undergraduate Research Assistant
Plans for After Graduation: Training for and beginning a career in pharmaceutical sales with Eli Lilly and Company
Favorite USC Memory: There are so many good ones- living in New/North, wearing my afro, meeting Jane Goodall, sailing to Catalina Island for class, attending the home basketball and football games, leading special Alpha Phi ceremonies as President- but the best by far has been finally welcoming my little sister into the Trojan family as a student this year!
Advice for Entering Freshman:
- Go big.  This is college.  These four years will fly by.  Apply for whatever position, job, team you want- you'll never get it if you don't try.  You are here for a reason, find it.
- Talk to everyone, especially strangers in EVK - you'll be amazed at how many friendly and interesting people you meet and what you learn from them, and even more amazed at how your paths will cross throughout the rest of your years at SC.
- You'll grow up and change a lot in the next four years- never forget where you came from, the manners you were raised with, and the things that make you special.  

Name:  Elton Kwok
Major: Civil Engineering, Business Administration Minor
Hometown:  Diamond Bar, CA
Campus Involvement: Order of the Torch, Mr. USC; Undergraduate Student Government – Treasurer 11-12; Director of Philanthropy Fund 10-11; Assistant Director of University Affairs 09-10;  Alpha Phi Omega – President 10-11;  Vice President of Finance 09-10;
Inter-Service Council – Co-Founder and  Executive Director 11-12
Society 53 – 10-12
Webb Tower Building Government – President 09-10
Construction Management Association of America – Vice President 10-11
Emerging Leaders Program 08-09
Los Angeles Community Impact 08-09
Parkside Arts and Humanities Building Government – Programming Director  08-09
Plans for After Graduation: I will be working at Bank of America
Favorite USC Memory: USC vs Stanford game in 2011! I have never felt so much energy in the crowd and Colissieum.
Advice for Entering Freshman: “Success is when preparation meets opportunity” Take advantage of every resource and opportunity that comes to you, it will only help you prepare for the future.  Only say no to an opportunity or task when you absolutely cannot do it.

Name: David McAlpine
Major: Broadcast and Digital Journalism, Neuroscience
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Campus Involvement: Annenberg TV News, Neon Tommy, Resident Advisor (Birnkrant), Phi Gamma Delta, Undergraduate Student Government, Annenberg Ambassadors
Plans for After Graduation: Pursuing a career in news production.
Favorite USC Memory: Being on the sidelines of my final game as a student at USC, watching the Trojans beat UCLA 50 - 0.
Advice for Entering Freshman: If something feels right, go with it, because there's probably something there. There's always going to be a lot of pressure to be successful in the "traditional" ways: lawyer, doctor, accountant, etc., but that's not the only way to be successful. If you find your passion and you love what you're doing, you're going to thank yourself much later down the road.

Name: Joey Orton
Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Piedmont California
Campus Involvement: Troy Camp, Break on 2: Latin Fusion, USC BEATS
Plans for After Graduation: Booker for arena in SF Bay Area/Song writer for publishing company in LA
Favorite USC Memory: Troy Camp in the summer of 2010
Advice for Entering Freshman: Get involved!


Name: Neelam Savla
Major: Psychology and Political Science, Environmental Studies (minor)
Hometown: Northridge, CA
Campus Involvement:
USC Office of Admission: Tour Guide, Training Coordinator
USC Orientation Programs: 2009 Orientation Advisor, 2010 Session Coordinator, 2011 Special Projects Assistant, 2012 Orientation Coordinator
Center for Excellence in Teaching: Undergraduate Fellow, Chief of Staff
Dornsife Ambassador
Mortar Board National Honors Society: Co-Tappings Chair
Undergraduate Student Government: Associate Justice
Alternative Spring Break: Isla Mujeres 2011
Problems Without Passport: Belize 2011
Research Assistant, Dr. Carol Prescott's lab
Plans for After Graduation: No final plans yet but I would like to work in higher education for a couple years before going back to school for my Masters in Education
Favorite USC memory: Waking up at 4:30 in the morning and waiting for about 10 hours in McCarthy Quad and Alumni Park to hear President Barack Obama speak. It was one of many times I realized how lucky I am to be attending one of the best universities in the world.
Advice for Entering Freshmen: Don't wait to get involved, the organizations that you join and the people you meet through them will be some of the best friends that you make at USC. Don't be afraid to try new things but make sure that you're not so busy that you forget to take a moment and enjoy your USC experience. Your four years will fly by faster than you could have ever thought.

Name:   Matt Schaefer
Major:   Creative Writing
Hometown:   Grass Valley, CA
Campus Involvement:   USC Troy Camp, Orientation, ResEd
Plans for After Graduation:   Volunteer at a local non-profit working with and mentoring inner-city youth.
Favorite USC Memory:  My first homecoming football game, where we got to bring all of the children involved with Troy Camp to sit with us in the stands.  Getting to not only enjoy all of the excitement and fun of the band, the fans, the cheers, and a shutout victory, but also to share that with a group of incredible kids that mean the world to me, was magical.
Advice for Entering Freshman:  Try everything.  Every new food option, even if its raw eel. Every adventure, even if you end up walking four miles along Hollywood Boulevard for an ice-cream cone.  Every class that looks incredible.  They will all add to your education, Sailing and Ping-Pong included.  And every club and organization that catches your eye.  The ones you fall in love with, give them your everything.

Name: Paige Selby
Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
Campus Involvement
Delta Gamma Sorority: President
Delta Gamma Sorority: VP Foundation (Philanthropy)
Delta Gamma Sorority: Honor Board Member-at-Large
USG: Board member of Philanthropy Fund Committee
USG: Greek Senator Aide
USG: Board member of Academic Affairs Committee
Joint Education Project
Institute of Industrial Engineers
Society of Women Engineers
Structured Curriculum Program, Orientation Speaker
Rho Lambda Honor Society
Plans for After Graduation:  Strategic or management consulting and pursuing higher education in engineering.
Favorite USC Memory: On Thursday, December 22, 2012, 1pm at Heritage Hall, being present at Matt Barkley's press announcement to his commitment to USC and our outstanding football program.   The Trojan spirit fulled the room as much as the sound of the Fight song from the greatest marching band in the world.  The reporters confused me for his girlfriend.  
Advice for Entering Freshman
Embrace the diversity and richness that USC has to offer and get to know other people from their various backgrounds and cultures.
Ask more questions than you answer and be confident when you speak.
Just show up!  (On time, of course) Your presence already shows huge commitment.  

Name: Amanda Tran
Major: Public Relations, International Relations Minor
Hometown: Columbus, Indiana
Campus Involvement: 
Resident Advisor (Pardee Tower)
Delta Omicron Zeta Co-Ed Leadership Fraternity 
USC Troy Camp
Senior Interviewer - Annenberg Office of Admissions
USC Global Fellow 2011
Alternative Spring Break Salinas 2011 - Team Leader
University Residential Student Community - Public Relations Coordinator
Colleges Against Cancer - Survivorship Chair
Cardinal Gardens Building Government - President
Neon Tommy - Staff Writer
Alpha Lambda Delta - Freshman Honor Society
Marks Tower Building Government - Secretary
Plans for After Graduation: Teaching Pre-K in the Bay Area with Teach For America!
Favorite USC Memory: All the times that have reminded me of how lucky I am to be part of the Trojan Family - attending my first football game, serving the community through Troy Camp and Alternative Spring Break, doing the SoCal spell out on top of the Great Wall of China...the list goes on and on.
Advice for Entering Freshman: Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and don't be afraid to fail. Everyone falls down; it's how you pick yourself up that defines who you are. Discover your passions and let them guide you. Don't forget to say "thank you." Most importantly, don't be afraid to shine. Many people fear their own success -- you shouldn't. Celebrate your accomplishments and continue to strive for better. Work hard. Be kind.

Name: Vina Vo
Major: Business Administration
Hometown: Little Saigon, California
Campus Involvement: Los Angeles Community Impact, Marshall Student Ambassadors, Fluor Tower Building Government, Pardee Tower Residential Advisor, Undergraduate Student Government: Assistant Director of Community Affairs and Director of Professional Academic Fund, A.C.T.I.V.E., Troy Camp, Global Business Brigades, USC Helenes.
Plans for After Graduation: Pursuing an Urban Planning graduate degree at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Favorite USC Memory: Leading my first retreat for A.C.T.I.V.E. 
Advice for Entering Freshman: Be honest with yourself about you want for your future. You are the person who is living your life--not your parents, not your friends, not society. You are the leading man/lady in the production of your life and everyone else plays a supporting role. Shine and be a star. 

Name: Alayjah Watson
Major: Theatre
Hometown: West Orange, NJ
Campus Involvement: Co-Executive Director of Troy Camp, Director of Management of YEP, Member of USC Helenes
Plans for After Graduation: To pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Favorite USC Memory: Growing up, the name Spielberg was a common name spoken in my house. It felt like his movies were just another part of my family. E.T. seemed to be permanently lodged in my VCR. Hence, I will forever remember THE day Steven Spielberg came to my CTCS 469 class. I felt not only honored to be studying his work at USC but also incredibly grateful that he stayed for two hours - out of his incredibly busy schedule - to talk to us. And not just to talk - but to really offer advice and wisdom. It was a complete out of body experience. I then realized I liked him even more, for we had something in common! A genuine love of USC and a commitment to being a Trojan for life.

Name: Greg Woodburn
Major: History; double-minor in Entrepreneurship and Painting
Hometown: Ventura,CA
Campus Involvement: Founder and President, Give Running; Men's Track and Field Team; Co-President, Trojan Athletic Senate; x
Plans for After Graduation: Work with a social enterprise or non-profit organization.
Favorite USC Memory:
My favorite memory at USC is not a single event, but rather is a single person: my older sister, Dallas, opened my eyes to the Trojan Family and continues to inspire me every day. Dallas, who was a member of the Order of the Torch and graduated from USC in 2009, has always been my role model and best friend; her love for USC was the greatest possible college endorsement in my eyes.
I was fortunate to be accepted into my dream school, and was likewise blessed that my hero was in her senior year when I was a freshman. Our once-a-week lunches and occasionally bumping into each other on campus are memories that are – like USC – truly second-to-none.
Everywhere I look I am reminded of my sister and the Trojan Family she helped me become a part of; Dallas reminds me who I am and encourages me to strive to make a positive difference every day.

Advice for Entering Freshman: Listen to your conscience to find your passion. Live your passion to make each day your masterpiece. Share your passion with others and help others to make the greatest gift of your passion.