Harman Academy Graduates Thirty-Six New Fellows

On Thursday, May 14th, 2015, the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study inducted its newest class of Fellows, thirty-six in total, marking the largest cohort of inductees to date.

The ceremony opened with a welcome and remarks from the Dean of the USC Libraries Catherine Quinlan. Director of the Harman Academy, Professor Tara McPherson then welcomed the inductees and their families to the ceremony and gave a poignant review of the enriching year of programming.  She then introduced four student speakers: Matthew Prusak, Colin Conwell, Winona Leon, and Luke Bouma.

Matthew Prusak has been a part of the Harman Academy since the fall 2011 semester, helping to ignite the student-run Goethe Society and serving as one of the Academy’s first student assistants. Matt has accepted a position with Bain & Company in their Southeast Asia Office, as well as accepting deferred admission for an MBA at Stanford University.

Colin Conwell has been another integral member of the group of students who have participated in the Academy since its early days.  Most recently, Colin served as an integral member of the Student Planning Committee for our inaugural student conference, in addition to participating in many other signature events over the past four years. Colin is the recipient of the Boren Scholarship and will shortly be moving to Senegal, West Africa to work and research there.

Winona Leon was a student in the first offering of the yearlong Harman Academy Course – Los Angeles: A Polymathic Inquiry, now entering its third year in the university’s schedule of classes. Her research project for the course, an artistic rendering of racially contested spaces in LA, earned her a scholarship from the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society. Since graduation, Winona has taken her talents to the independent publisher Rare Bird.

Luke Bouma is yet another stalwart presence in the Harman Academy.   A dedicated member from the early days, Luke attended nearly every Academy event before and since his participation in the Weimar Émigré Workshop in August 2013. With impressive publishing credits to his name, Luke will continue his study of physics at MIT this fall.

These four student speakers are exemplary representations of the caliber of students that the Harman Academy has the privilege to induct as Fellows each year. All of our inductees have impressive, bright futures ahead of them ranging from graduate study at the University of Cambridge to numerous medical schools, to high-powered consulting jobs here in Los Angeles and throughout the world. The Harman Academy is pleased to have provided a space to foster a polymathic community for some of USC’s best and brightest throughout their time here on campus.  The induction ceremony was a time to celebrate and thank all thirty-six Fellows for their engagement and investment in the Harman Academy community. 

The ceremony concluded with the awarding of certificates and stoles, with Academic Director of Programs Professor Karin Huebner reading the names of each inductee. Professor Tara McPherson awarded the Fellows with their certificates, and Professor Ed McCann, leader of the Academy’s Quadrants Series, bestowed each new Fellow with a stole.

The ceremony was followed by a lovely reception, where Fellows and their families, together with invited professors and friends, reflected on their experiences in the Academy and their plans for the future.

The Harman Academy is pleased to welcome these thirty-six outstanding students to the ranks of its Fellows. This brings the total number of Fellows to ninety-one over the course of our first five years. In the coming year we will hold a reunion for the Harman Fellows, and what a polymathic gathering that will be!

USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study Class of 2015 Fellows:

Styles Akira, Kate Arnold, Arash Babadjouni, Sarah Beshir, Luke Bouma, Amelia Brookins, Noel Butta, Gurleen Chadha, Leslie Chang, Colin Conwell, Jennifer Der, James Freymuth, Shilpa Gollapudi, Karthik Gollapudi, Ifeanyi Ihenacho, Akshay Joshi, Uriel Kim, Nicholas Kosturos, Kevin Kou, Winona Leon, Samuel Loke, Ashish Gyanendra Kumar Mehta, Pierre Pandy, Rocio Pena-Martinez, Christine Preimesberger, Matthew Prusak, Yiwei Qian, Caitlin Sims, Zachary Smith, Rebecca Southern, John Timms, Amanda Weldy Boyd, Austin Welsh, Michael Windes, Sara Worth, Christine Xu