These graduates embraced opportunities here in Columbia, throughout South Carolina and beyond, from research in the lab and in the field, to collaborations over Zoom and around the world, to athletic wins and a thriving campus community.
Now they graduate with new perspectives as artists, scholars, scientists and visionaries.
Meet six of this year's graduating Arts and Sciences students, who are heading out into the world to make a difference.
Graduating? Share your story.
Celebrating someone else’s graduation? Share your congratulations.
On the stage and in the lab
Alana Averett has been dancing since she was three years old and is auditioning to go pro. But after less than a year at USC, she almost hung up her dance shoes for good.
At the time, the COVID-19 pandemic led to canceled dance performances. So Averett, a double major in dance and psychology, focused on her other passion.
“The pandemic definitely shaped my college experience,” she says. “I got way more involved in my psychology degree because I could do more with it during all the isolation.”
Averett worked with a USC lab researching interventions in child psychology. She co-authored a paper and has considered graduate school in psychology.
“Someday,” she says. “But I wanted to get back on stage.”
Her junior year, Averett went all in on dance performance and choreography. Last summer, she trained with the renowned Alvin Ailey Company in New York. Her final Capstone project is a film examining Black bodies in dance and the visibility of performance.
"The film is both personal to me and representative of my culture,” she says. “There aren’t as many Black dance majors, but I found supportive faculty at USC who helped me step into the spotlight.”
Prelaw to the beat of his own drum
A lifelong Gamecock fan from Columbia, Blake Walker knew he wanted to go to USC, and then attend law school.
When he heard that philosophy students score among the highest on the LSAT, that led him to an unexpected choice.
“Having no idea what philosophy even was, I decided to major in it. I could not have made a better decision,” says Walker, who is headed to Emory University School of Law.
In addition to his studies, Walker interned with a corporate law firm, tutored student athletes and performed in USC’s drumline and the Carolina Basketball Band. He was also the drummer for the band Bleeding Trees, which has a following among USC students.
Walker says pursuing music during his time at USC helped him connect with the community in a way that was meaningful for him as a person and valuable for his future career.
Pioneering in cyber intelligence
Caroline Boozer is named for her home state, but when she started at USC, she had spent more time living in France than in South Carolina. Her many years living abroad gave her a global perspective on her future career in cybersecurity.
Boozer is the first woman to graduate from USC with a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Intelligence, one of the first programs of its kind in the U.S. She also is receiving a degree in computer science.
“The cyber intelligence program provides insight into world relations,” says Boozer, who aspires to one day work for an international organization like Interpol.
She is well on her way to launching her career. A research project she completed for the U.S. Office of Naval Research has led to numerous job offers with industry leaders.
“My professors encouraged critical thinking and provided a deeper understanding of current issues,” she says. “I feel USC truly helped me become world-class in the computing field.”
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Science and mentorship
When Amaya Calloway was still deciding where to go to college, she attended USC’s Summer Seniors recruitment program. That was how she learned about all that the university had to offer her personally, professionally and academically – and her appreciation only grew during her time here.
“I have met so many great people and experienced life-changing opportunities,” says Calloway, who embraced campus life and became a mentor for other students.
Through her studies as a biology major, Calloway learned just how diverse the STEM fields can be — both the people and the opportunities. Her professors advocated for her abilities, connected her to research and helped her find employment on campus, including being a student ambassador.
Calloway says working as an ambassador helped her improve her public speaking and networking skills. She represented the college to prospective students who may be on the fence about choosing a college, like she once was.
“I was an intricate part of diversifying the recruitment of new students, which is important to me. I love making that impact on others.”
After graduation, Calloway will conduct research for the Association of Public Health Laboratories by way of the CDC.
A million views
Archie Crowley has always been fascinated by how language shapes the world. That curiosity brought them from Long Beach, California, to USC’s Linguistics program where they merged their interest in language with their background in anthropology and Spanish.
The Ph.D. graduate will soon bring their expertise in language to Elon University as an assistant professor of linguistics, but you don’t have to be a student there to learn from Crowley.
In 2020, Crowley spoke at TEDxUSC, about their work with myths about grammar rules and the fluid nature of language and gender identity. The talk was later featured on the TED homepage, and it has garnered nearly 1.5 million views.
Crowley says their time at USC has led to professional opportunities and greater visibility of their work as well as some resonating personal impacts.
“Some of the most meaningful outcomes come from people who have told me that they showed the video to their parents, friends and students, and that it helped them have conversations about language with people in their lives,” Crowley says.
Diego Morales is the first in his family to graduate from college. Being away from loved ones was a challenge at first, but that didn’t stop him from building an impressive extracurricular record. The marine science major made the most of his time at USC, taking on multiple leadership roles and diving headfirst into the student experience.
Morales served as an ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences and president of the Marine Technology Society Student Section. He also participated in research on marine autonomous technology and coastal sand dune resiliency, gaining valuable experience for his future career in oceanography.
After graduation, Morales plans to apply for graduate school in coastal engineering, and he credits his faculty advisors for helping him prepare.
“They have served as wonderful mentors for my academic and career interests, as they’ve made various opportunities available for me to thrive in this environment,” he says.
With all he’s accomplished during his time at USC, Morales says he's now looking forward to seeing his family on campus for graduation and then spending some time back home. Because of COVID restrictions, Morales went for long periods without seeing his family in Virginia and hopes to make up for lost time.
You inspire us
You are dancers, historians, scientists, philosophers, artists and linguists. You are prepared to become educators, lawyers, researchers, and more. We know you will live out the Gamecock values, whether you work in business or education, a laboratory or a studio.