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My summer was so full of adventure and experience! I had the opportunity to travel a lot, which I am so grateful for! I was able to go to India for 3 weeks to visit my grandparents, which was amazing! I haven’t been in many years, and going by myself was a challenge. I got by on minimal Hindi knowledge, ie. what I remember from Bollywood movies, and hoped for the best until I got to their house. I visited new cities and had a relaxing time in my ancestral land! Here’s a picture of an elephant sanctuary we went to:

For the 5 weeks after that, I did research in the McCurry Lab to continue my experiment from the school year. I was a part of the SURE program for a bit, and was able to set new goals for my research and get ready to start writing our paper for publication! My PhD student mentor is defending her thesis this winter, so I’m excited to have more responsibility in our lab as well. Here’s me at Castle Rock Beach!

Lastly, but definitely not least, I had the incredible opportunity to go on a Julymester to London and Paris for the last month of the summer! I was in London for a week and Paris for 3 (writing this blog in Paris lol). We “bookpacked” our way through these cities, finding locations from A Tale of Two Cities and Les Miserables, which we were reading. This was a once in a lifetime experience: I highly recommend studying abroad while at USC, even if just for a month! I will definitely be back to live in both Paris and London, and I truly fell in love with these cities. Excited to get back to school, and start my junior year! Below are some of the most beautiful locations I went to in both London and Paris: St. Paul’s Cathedral in London; Saint Chapelle in Paris; The Palace of Versailles; The Eiffel Tower; and Eros and Psyche in the Louvre.

Vidya Iyer

MAJOR: Environmental Engineering YEAR: Class of 2025 HOMETOWN: Des Moines, Iowa PRONOUNS: they/them/theirs Outside of VSA, I am a co-Lead Organizer for Student Coalition for Asian Pacific Empowerment, volunteer at the LGBTQ+ student center, and I participate in activism across USC and LA! I'm looking to get into research this year as well, hopefully in water quality or CO2 recycling.