Our Sparklets are finally here, and we'd love for you to meet them! We've put together some of their responses to our written application, along with answers to some additional questions to introduce you to them the same way we got to know them in January.
- Editor's Note
- Ariana Deng
- Tell us about your life journey.
- Where do you want to see yourself by the time you leave USC?
- What is something you can talk about non-stop and why?
- What resonates with you most about being a part of Spark?
- Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
- Dea Kurti
- Emeka Emetuche
- Ethan Jones
- Eujue Lee
- Ire Omitowoji
- Jai Bhavani
- Jess Wang
- Richa Krishna
- Tobi Ogunyankin
- Victor Ye
- William Higbie
Ariana Deng is a sophomore studying global health and considering minors in international relations. She has a certain fixation with pop-culture memes.
Tell us about your life journey.
"YOLO SWAG." I’d never thought that a random phrase I started saying last September would shape my actions and slowly become a life motto I hope to live by.
Before USC, I spent my summers at Red Cross Leadership Development Camp (getting more mosquito bites than I hope to admit), and did business clubs during the school year. I was able to develop leadership skills and take initiative in improving my school and community. Despite these incredible experiences and the support systems I developed, I chose paths I felt comfortable in.
But, if Zoom University has taught me anything, it’s that much of the world is uncertain and that tackling it head on and unafraid is where I can learn the most. College has provided me great chances to be vulnerable, go beyond my comfort zone, and try new things. From making friends on Zoom dm’s to paving an untraditional health student path, I’ve become more confident in myself and received unforgettable experiences.
No longer do I see college as just another classroom, but rather a creative environment where I discover more and collaborate with others. You live only once and I’ve never truly internalized it before becoming a Trojan.
Where do you want to see yourself by the time you leave USC?
Within my first week of freshman year, I learned that context and empathy are key characteristics in both global health (from my Global Health class) and in marketing (from a USC senior). Despite what I thought were two completely separate fields, I found a connection that I hope to explore. By the time I leave USC, I aspire to be in a challenging environment that thrives on empathy-driven work, and whether that be product marketing or consulting with the WHO, I want my future to be about connecting with and understanding other people.
Throughout college, I want to find collaborative, innovative environments and join communities focused on supporting others. I care about people and the world, and I am excited for the opportunities to meet diverse individuals and work to better the USC campus, building upon my interests and acting as stepping stones to my future goals.what I know.
What is something you can talk about non-stop and why?
Running around Target this past Christmas Eve is where I spotted it: my future (current) airfryer. Despite it being a gift from my sisters and I to my parents, I cannot stop talking (honestly, raving) about the airfryer and what an incredible invention it is. From chicken nuggets, spring rolls, to even naan, the airfryer is able to conveniently cook a wide range of foods to full crisp perfection. Especially with my limited cooking ability, the airfryer in my gateway to have Pinterest-level food.
Maybe, I’m at an age where kitchen appliances excite me, but really, please get an airfryer.
What resonates with you most about being a part of Spark?
Thursdays at 5pm - my Lunar Gala calls.
After a long day of classes, this is a Zoom meeting I’m genuinely excited about. Partly, from Anika and Elise’s fun question, but mainly because of the culture that they (and Spark) have established in the Fellows Program. Joining as an awkward freshman, I have never felt more supported in a group, and the family in Spark is what resonates with me most. Not only am I able to collaborate with such passionate people, but in this space I can talk about my favorite foods, moving plans, and TikTok FYP (with minimal judgment).
Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I edit my sister’s YouTube videos, and spent winter break *attempting to blow up her channel!