Logo: University of Southern California

Summer Brings Elite Interns from All Over the World to the Viterbi School

Outstanding seniors study under faculty mentors - and some will return as grad students

June 07, 2011 —

It’s summertime, which brings a new crop of summer interns to spend the season in Viterbi labs, mentored by Viterbi faculty, helped by diverse sources of financial aid.

This year’s group totals 65 students, larger than that of  2009 (28 students) or 2010 (52).

The total includes nine recently graduated seniors from U.S. colleges and universities who completed applications and won USC stipends. Another ten came out of the recently launched Viterbi-India Program, which offers airfare and stipends from the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum and the Viterbi School to outstanding Indian students studying electrical engineering or computer science. The program is designed, according to its mission statement “to provide an opportunity to the best and brightest Indian students to gain exposure and access to world class research facilities in the Viterbi School.”

A previous crop: Tracy Charles, rear left, and Dean Raghu Raghavendra, rear right, with 2010 summer interns
China's elite Tsinghua University has been a longstanding partner. This year, 12 students will come with USC support, another six with support from Viterbi School and Tsinghua.

The Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), which has been intensifying ties with the Viterbi School, sent seven students, up from six in 2010, with financial aid coming from both the Viterbi School and the Mexican government.

This year, the Korea Aerospace University is again supporting six students on campus in Los Angeles, as it did in 2010.

Several schools not previously in the program began participating this year. The Nirma University Institute of Technology, located in Ahmedabad, India, sent 12, following a meeting between Nirma administrators and Senior Associate Dean Raghu Raghavendra in India.

2011 Summer Intern Mentors
Murali Annavaram, J.P. Bardet, Peter Beerel, Mike Shuo-Wei Chen, Ting Chen, Henryk Flashner, Shahram Ghandeharizadeh, Leana Golubchik, Hossein Hashemi, Tzung Hsiai, Rahul Jain, Craig Knoblock, Bhaskar Krishnamachari, C.C. Jay Kuo, Kristina Lerman, Gerald Loeb, Jia Grace Lu, Noah Malmstadt, Maja Matarić, Gérard Medioni, Ellis Meng, Urbashi Mitra, Shrikanth Narayanan, Steve Nutt, Antonio Ortega, Fernando Ordóñez, Alice Parker, Viktor Prasanna, Michelle Povinelli, Paul Ronney, Paul Rosenbloom, Terence Sanger, Cyrus Shahabi, Gaurav Sukhatme, Bingen Yang, Chongwu Zhou, Qifa Zhou, Mike Zyda.

Another Chinese school, Xidian University in the ancient city of Xi’an, sent and will support nine students. Viterbi professor Qifa Zhou, an alumnus of the school, set this exchange in motion.

The students spend 6 to 8 weeks doing research projects with mentors, leading up to project presentations. A number of these students return to continue their studies as Viterbi graduate students. Twelve interns from summer 2010 have applied for 2011 admission.

This year’s crop of mentors includes numerous highly disctinguished faculty (see box).

Raghavendra and Associate Dean Margery Berti work closely with the program, which is administered by Doctoral Programs Coordinator Tracy Charles.

“The program exposes the labs, research and faculty of the Viterbi School to exceptional students, many of whom later come for graduate study. And they tell their friends about the school,” said Raghavendra.

“We regard these programs as an exceptional recruiting tool. They bring outstanding students here, to see what an outstanding university we are,” said Berti.