Trojan Scholar Connection unites scholarship students

The Trojan Scholars Society launched the Trojan Scholars Connection, an online tool that aims to bring the members of the USC scholarship community together, last week.

The Trojan Scholars Society is the association of Presidential, Trustee, Stamps and Mork scholars at USC and currently includes more than 2,000 students. The purpose of the organization is to serve students who have received these merit scholarships.

TSS freshman representatives Kyle Pham and Spencer Wix had the idea to create the Scholar Connection program. According to Pham and Wix, their idea for the program originated during their first semester at USC.

The website’s goal is to allow scholars to share their various ideas online so they can connect with other talented students who could potentially help develop them. It also allows students to browse for other students’ ideas that match their passions so they can help fellow Trojans.

Pham explained that he came up with the idea when he noticed the vast array of students who have the potential to network with one another.

“I realized there is a huge population of brilliant individuals at USC and there should be an easy way for them to network with each other,” Pham said.

Wix also expressed how in the past he would have a great idea in mind, but would lack feasible plans to make them a reality. Thus, Wix and Pham created Scholar Connection to help alleviate this issue. Despite some logistical complications, they managed to successfully develop their project.

Armineh Dereghishian, assistant director at the USC Office of Academic and International Fellowships and an adviser to the TSS, explained that Pham and Wix played a large role in executing the implementing of the program.

Pham and Wix would talk on a weekly basis, map out the ideas and go to executive meetings to share their progress.

“Pham and Wix are the masterminds behind this and that they are a great representation of the Scholars Society,” Dereghisian said. “The launch event was very well attended; there was a lot of positive energy. We already have two ideas up on the website, which is really good, considering it launched just last Thursday.”

Gabriella Visani, a freshman majoring in occupational therapy, is hoping to write a book about people with special needs.  Visani explained that she heard about Scholar Connection through Pham, who helped connect her with other students who have resources that can help her solidify her project.

“Anyone who is interested or has any ideas about how to start the project [should join],” Visani said.

Joseph Gaebler, a freshman majoring in business administration, discussed his idea to add a financial literacy group for students on the Scholar Connection website. Gaebler explained that he wanted to help students learn about managing their money, but missed the deadline to pitch the club to the university. When Pham told him about their website, he posted his idea online.

“[Pham] got me started and helped me find similar-minded people and think about [these] ideas and then the actual event was great for getting the word out there, especially for Trojan Scholars Society,” Gaebler said. “It is a significant part of the campus and the word got out for a lot of people. A lot of it is just publicity; the event was connecting people.”

Kathleen Siswanto, president of the Trojan Scholar Society, discussed how the project might be of great use to USC students.

“I have very high hopes for this project,” Siswanto said. “This has the potential to bring value to the USC community as a whole.”

Though she is graduating this May, she hopes to keep in touch with her fellow scholars and see the project develop into something greater.  One of her goals for this semester is to have an involvement fair where people can showcase their ideas.

“I want to see the mini involvement fair happen before the end of the school year,” Siswanto said. “Something like this would be really good so that people could showcase to others, I think that would be a great idea of connecting people and getting great ideas to happen on campus.”