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College of Arts and Sciences

Here’s to the class of 2024!

We asked, you answered! Hear from members of the College of Arts and Sciences’ graduating class as they share their best memories, advice and hopes for the future.



Emma Bassett

Major: Art History

How USC changed my life: I’ve always lived in South Carolina, but I don’t think I really appreciated my home state until I started attending USC. The campus is beautiful and is home to a wealth of resources and people who are waiting to become lifelong friends.

What played a role in my success: The College of Arts and Sciences manages to be so supportive of its students, and I have met faculty which have helped to shape my future career. Dr. Amanda Wangwright supported me without fail, mentored me and always encouraged me to continue my current career path. Coy Gibson took me in at the Anne Frank Center and encouraged me to think outside the box and create my own opportunities for research.

Nora Bruhn

Major: Psychology

Advice for incoming students: Try something new. You only get to do college life once, so make the most of it. Study hard and enjoy every experience. Go camping with your class, rush Greek life and sign up for Thursday-after-dark activities. 

What played a role in my success: I took classes with so many professors who made an impact on me. Dr. Jim Brown, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Evans, Professor Rantin, Emma Reabold, Dr. Decker, Amy Maier and Dr. Armstead worked with their students to make sure they were successful in every capacity.

What’s next: After getting married, I will start training as an early intervention specialist in the Charleston area. I’ll be working with families that have children birth-5 months old through Baby Net.

Sophie Conrad

Major: Media Arts and English

How USC changed my life: Attending USC was one of the best decisions of my life. As an English and media arts student as well as being a member of the Honors College, I have had the opportunity to interact with a variety of professors and students that have provided me with direction and focused passion in my studies.

What I’ve learned about myself:  I have learned that I am capable of achievements that may, at first, seem impossible. I have been pushed and challenged to be the very best version of myself both in my academic and personal life, and this motivation has allowed me to flourish into the high-achieving and well-rounded person that I am today.

Alexandria Forster

Degree: Analytical Chemistry Ph.D.

How USC changed my life: Graduate school helped me become a better version of myself. I had to step out of my comfort zone on a daily basis.

Who played a role in my success: Professor Susan Richardson pushed me to a level of excellence that I’ve never experienced before. She set high expectations that have opened so many doors for me. I feel prepared to succeed in my career for years to come.

A favorite memory: I’ve had the opportunity to mentor undergraduates in their research. I loved getting to see them grow as individuals and in their confidence to do hard things. Two of my undergraduates are authors on a research paper, and one is pursuing her Ph.D. in chemistry at USC.

Emelyn Guild

Major: Art Education

How the College of Arts and Sciences changed my life: The College of Arts and Sciences gave me a community of people with my same interests. In my classes I was able to share knowledge and ideas with my peers and professors, and I’ve never grown so much as an artist, teacher and person!

What I learned about myself:

I found my passion for teaching and sharing art with children. I learned how rewarding it is when I can share my love of art with an audience who is just so excited and willing to learn it too!

What’s next: I have accepted a position at Sandhills Elementary school teaching art to 3rd and 4th graders! I look forward to giving my students unique opportunities to grow and learn.

Zechariah Kitzhaber

Degree: Analytical Chemistry, Ph.D.

How USC changed my life: My time at USC has shaped me as a scientist and as a person. I have made many valuable friendships that I will hold on to throughout my career.

Advice for incoming students: Don't be afraid to seize opportunities. Looking back, I am so glad that I took the opportunities I did, because even if I was too busy, I may never have those opportunities again.

Who helped me succeed: I am very grateful to my advisor, Dr. Michael Myrick, for all of his guidance. A major portion of my research involved collaborative projects through the Clean Water Institute, and I am grateful to the faculty involved in that collaboration.

Olivia “Liv” Miller

Major: Political Science

How USC changed my life: I would not be me without USC. South Carolina has given me countless opportunities to grow and learn, professors and mentors who cheer me on and life lessons to carry into my future. I could thank USC for so many things, but at the end of the day, it's the people here who have changed my life. Gamecocks are world changers, and I am so lucky to be a small part of something so special.

Advice for incoming students: Stay authentic and get involved. College brings a lot of change, and USC is a place that pushes you to express your opinions, pursue your interests and chart your path. You cannot do that without staying authentic to yourself.

Catherine Min

Degree: Master of Earth and Environmental Resource Management

Advice for incoming students: Dream big and do not be afraid to reach out and grab the opportunities that you want, like research and internships. Don't be afraid to meet with professors outside of class or request mentorship from them. So many of the growth opportunities that are available for you come outside the classroom, and they are yours for the taking if you try.

Who helped you succeed: Dr. David Fuente was the most influential mentor during my time at USC. As the primary advisor for my thesis work, I met with him several times per month, and he always saw me as a whole person and took seriously my professional development, happiness as a student and future plans.

Brooklyn Nevarez

Major: Political Science

How USC changed my life: I am so grateful to have called South Carolina home over the last few years and am proud of myself for taking a chance and immersing myself in our student life, which has molded me into a strong and dedicated leader and community servant.

What played a role in my success: The biggest contributor to my success was my involvement with the Multicultural Outreach Student Team (MOST) in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Being involved with this initiative and serving as the president has enhanced my passion for serving underrepresented minority communities. MOST has given me the skills and experiences necessary to succeed as a professional and as an advocate for my community.

Mary Price Pitts

Major: Mathematics

How USC changed my life: USC taught me not to be afraid to ask for help, to take risks and to have fun – but most importantly what it means to be a Gamecock.

Who helped me succeed: My advisor George Androulakis gave me guidance not only in advising but as a professor. With his help, I learned how to study better, and I have applied the techniques he taught me in related courses.

What I’ve learned about myself: I learned how to ask for help. Going to office hours and asking questions made me more confident in the work I was doing. I ended up serving for six semesters as a Supplemental Instruction Leader on campus, offering help to other students.

Brianna Smalls

Major: Political science

How USC changed my life: I have been given numerous opportunities to grow on an academic, personal and professional level. My studies truly challenged me to become the best version of myself. Having studied at this institution for the past three years, I will forever cherish every memory and opportunity that USC has given me.

Advice for incoming students: Through my experiences, I have learned the importance of taking on every opportunity that comes your way. It is essential to be confident that you are capable and worthy of pursuing opportunities you may have previously had self-doubt about. To grow as a person, you must be willing to take a leap of faith. Remember that an unapplied opportunity is a denied opportunity.

Desiree Solenberger

Major: Visual Communications with Art studio minor

How the College of Arts and Sciences changed my life: It is exhilarating to discover a group of people who share your passions, and even more special to work with them. In The Design Studio, we collaborated on projects for real-world clients, and this unique experience opened doors for internships.

What I’ve learned about myself: I came to USC with a commitment to put myself out there. I am learning to accept failure as a part of the process, as uncomfortable steps are necessary for growth and change.

Who helped me succeed: I was fortunate enough to work with Meena Khalili on my Honors College thesis project where she continually challenged the boundaries of the project and supported my progression in the design field.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.