Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi School Basketball Player Earns Rhodes Scholarship

Engineering senior Reed Doucette, who is working on the efficiency of solar cells, plays basketball for the USC men’s team.

November 20, 2007 — USC senior Reed T. Doucette has been named a 2008 Rhodes Scholar.

Doucette is one of only 32 Americans to win the honor for 2008. He will join his fellow Rhodes Scholars in study at the University of Oxford in England next year, pursuing a master’s degree in engineering science.

Reed Doucette, left, works with nano-porous materials.

Doucette, from Acampo, Calif., is majoring in mechanical  engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and pursuing a minor in business at the USC Marshall School of Business.

Michael Kassner, chair of the Viterbi School's Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME), called him "a truly remarkable individual" working in the area of nano-porous materials that have mechanical engineering applications. These are materials that are reusable and more cost-effective than conventional gold and silver aggregates; they also have possible biomedical applications in such areas as cancer diagnosis, protein testing for Alzheimer's disease, and the development of rapid immunoassays.

But in addition to his engineering studies, Doucette is also a forward on the USC Trojans men’s basketball team.  The 6-foot-6, 212-pound swingman "provided depth to the Trojans at forward during his career at USC and was a strong practice player," according to his USC basketball prospectus.  

"He's got that team spirit and he's intellectually gifted," said Andrea Hodge, Viterbi School AME assistant professor, who was Doucette's mentor at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the summers of 2005 and 2006. Doucette worked with Hodge on methods to improve the efficiency of catalytic converters and the effectiveness of medical implants.

"I call him Senator Doucette because he is so incredibly focused and has such keen time management skills," Hodge said.

In his studies at USC, Doucette has been a presidential scholar, achieving a grade point average of 3.97. He is currently conducting research involving chemistry, physics, engineering and biology to optimize the efficiency of solar cells. He also co-founded an organization that has provided consulting services to more than 30 Los Angeles community projects.

Reed Doucette

"Reed excels at everything he does and has been a joy to work with," added Viterbi School Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.  "We are very proud of his accomplishments in engineering and on the basketball court."  

Doucette becomes the ninth USC student – and the fourth Trojan student-athlete – to win the prestigious scholarship.

“I’ve always had great educational ambitions and am proud to accept such a prestigious scholarship,” said the 22-year-old Doucette. “It’s a great honor to represent USC and the basketball team in particular. Playing sports is something the Rhodes Scholarship committee values and my Trojan athletic career will serve me well at Oxford.”

The Rhodes Scholarships were established in 1903 by Cecil Rhodes, who “dreamed of improving the world through the diffusion of leaders motivated to serve their contemporaries, trained in the contemplative life of the mind, and broadened by their acquaintance with one another and by their exposure to cultures different from their own.”

USC forward, number 44.

Rhodes hoped that his plan of bringing able students to study at Oxford would aid in the promotion of international understanding and peace.

Each year, 32 U.S. citizens are among the approximately 80 Rhodes Scholars worldwide who take up degree courses at Oxford.

Rhodes was a British-born South African businessman, mining magnate and politician. He was the founder of the diamond company De Beers.

For more on the scholarships, visit http://www.rhodesscholar.org/