Black Student Lives at USC Viterbi

Student Stories

Hear from Cameron Cole, CSBA 2023
Read about USC Viterbi student experiences

When I was going through the college application process, I really wanted to see myself in the engineering students at different schools across the country.

Cameron Cole, CSBA, Class of 2023

Hi There!

When I was going through the college application process, I really wanted to see myself in the engineering students at different schools across the country. It was important to me that I see successful Black engineering students because it would make it that much easier to envision myself in their shoes, while also giving me the confidence that engineering was for me. Through my process, I found that oftentimes this was easier said than done, and it shouldn’t have been. My fellow Black Trojans and I wanted to change this for you, so we took our time to document our stories as Black Engineering students at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering to give aspiring engineers the perspective we never had.

I hope we can help answer some of the questions you may have about the journey that Black engineering students take, what challenges we may have overcome, and the supportive communities we’ve found along the way. Remember: engineering is for everyone regardless of background and upbringing.

Fight on!
Cameron Cole
USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Computer Science (Business Administration), Class of 2023

Student Stories

Mark Parent

Diamond Bar, CA
Mechanical Engineering ‘22, Product Development Engineering ‘22

On campus, I dedicate most of my time to the National Society of Black Engineers and have served as the Executive Assistant and Senator on the executive board the past few years. I am also part of the Global Investing Society, the Formula Electric team, and the Rocket Propulsion Lab.

Read Mark's Story

Princess Anita Ilo

Los Angeles, CA

Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2025

I went into high school thinking I wanted to be a doctor but later I realized I had more interests. I spent all four years only focused solely on medicine, so the summer after my junior year, I decided to try engineering, and participated in the Johns Hopkins Engineering innovation summer program. I learned from that experience that I wanted to be a biomedical engineer.

Read Princess's Story

Aaron Shields

Washington, D.C.

Computer Science / Business Administration, Class of 2024

I was drawn to USC because of the unique location and the desire to help low-income families in Los Angeles. My goal is to create a program that studies which companies will most benefit low-income communities around the United States and encourage them to work with local governments to decrease income and health disparities in those communities. 

Read Aaron's Story

Elena Ikeocha

Middletown, DE

Chemical Engineering, Class of 2022

The diversity in general that I found at USC, is higher on average than I would have found at some of the other universities I was interested in on the east coast. Although I am the only black person in my class, I am not the only female nor are there few females. Viterbi surprised me by having so many females in engineering. I was truly expecting to be one of the few girls if not the only girl in my class, which is how it would have been if I had chosen any other engineering school.

Read Elena's Story

Oju Ajose

Grand Praire, TX

Computer Science, Class of 2023

During the time I’ve spent in NSBE, I’ve been able to find more of who I wanted to be in college. I was able to find friends and people to rely on in my computer science classes. I found mentors in the upperclassmen who went after what they wanted and succeeded beyond their goals.

Read Oju's Story

Terrence Ameya

Los Angeles, CA

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2023

Hi there, my name is Terrence, I’m a junior from Los Angeles studying mechanical engineering at USC. On campus, I am most involved with the USC National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter in which I’m a senator. Growing up I’ve always enjoyed problem solving…

Read Terrence's Story

Jevon Torres

Mount Laurel, NJ

Computer Science / Business Administration, Class of 2024

Outside of classes, I am most involved in our school’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, as well as our Black Student Assembly. Both of these organizations, alongside my academic interests aid my pursuit of furthering diversity efforts in fields where students like me have frequently been neglected and underrepresented.

Read Jevon's Story

Kenya Foster

Kansas City, MO

Astronautical Engineering, Class of 2022

Hi there! My name is Kenya Foster, and I am an undergrad senior at USC pursuing my masters through Viterbi’s Progressive Degree Program. I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri before I moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school. I had applied to USC as an Aerospace Engineer, but quickly switched to Astronautical Engineering to chase after my dream of travelling to space.

Read Kenya's Story

Taofeeq Rasaki

Chicago, IL

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2023

Even though I had little knowledge of  engineering, I could actually do this, and it all started from taking a second to understand that  you can’t stop believing in yourself. No matter how hard classes become, or how lost you feel in  the moment, there should always be that one constant in every equation—that you believe you  can become an engineer.

Read Taofeeq's Story

Victoria Pinkett

Inglewood, CA

Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2024

While I am not the kind of person that always knew I wanted to be a Mechanical Engineer, or even an engineer in general, I have always been interested in how things work and are developed, from CGI, cars, to phones…

Read Victoria's Story

Cameron Cole

Chicago, IL

Computer Science / Business Administration, Class of 2023

My name is Cameron Cole. I’m a junior at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering studying Computer Science/Business Administration and I’m from Chicago, IL. Here at USC I’ve been involved in our National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter, USC Global Investing Society, and the Formula SAE racecar design team. Outside of school I’ve had internships at both Chevron and Microsoft during the summer.

Read Cameron's Story

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