University of Southern California

A Different USC
April 13, 2012 • by Caitlin Kirio

When I phoned home to Hawaii and told my father I was going to Dublin to study business as part of the LINC program my freshman year, he said, “You go to a different USC than I did.”

It's true that when he was at USC he never had a chance to study in Dublin or spend a semester in Hong Kong, as I just did. And he didn't have the opportunity to help solve an important issue facing a local non-profit, as I did through Los Angeles Community Impact (LACI). LACI matches Marshall School of Business and Leventhal School of Accounting students as consultants with nonprofit groups. My engagement was with AbilityFirst, an organization that provides employment opportunities for adults and children with disabilities. I loved the work, because it empowered people financially and helped them build self-esteem.

All of these things are part of the “different” USC that I've experienced. But my father recognized something about USC that has never changed: the tremendously strong community that we call the Trojan Family. He also recognized the dedication of the faculty, including Professor Merle Hopkins, who was my first accounting professor – and who remembered my father when he was a student. I became Professor Hopkins' teaching assistant and treasure his wisdom and support over the past four years.

On April 19th I will be honored with the Leventhal School of Accounting Student Excellence Award which is presented to the student with the highest GPA in the graduating class. I feel fortunate to be receiving this honor, but I didn't achieve it alone. I share it with my professors and classmates, whose guidance and support helped make it possible.

And now I'm looking ahead to a job that awaits me at the New York office of Ernst & Young. It is an exciting leap and USC gave me the wings to fly.

I hope you will join me in supporting the Leventhal School of Accounting and Marshall School of Business. Every year, USC grows into a “different USC” than the year before--a better USC. And, it's because of the support of people like you. Please help keep us evolving.

Fight On!
Caitlin Kirio
USC Leventhal School of Accounting, 2012