MPO Notables – Matthew Carrera

Matthew Carrera-500px.JPG

Am I just another statistic?

The one who wasn’t meant to survive the hood

But the one that could, and I made it here

Yet this still don’t seem clear

so I ask myself.

Am I just another statistic?

Or am I just part of the demographic

Needed to make their quota

So I just showed up

Drank the punch, part of the cult, now I’m glowed up.

With a Red and gold marker, feeling like a martyr because I just don’t buy it, yet I’m bought in whether I like it or not, feeling like I’m about to be caught.

Because this just don’t jive and

I’m feeling like an outsider on this inside

I’m about to be a master with a masters

I’m about to take on the world, happily never after.

Because what education fails to tell you is that life, liberty, happiness, it’s ALL a pursuit

You didn’t know, they didn’t tell you it was a crapshoot?

You can buy in, sell out, or walk your own path and see what it’s about.

As for me, hell naw I ain’t selling out! I go to USC I ain’t! ….. oh wait…

How much am I paying for this clout?

Been hustling all my to survive. Now you’re saying I gotta hustle twice as hard to thrive?

For life, for liberty, how bout some dignity?

And happiness, forget about it. Happiness is a state of emotion. I’m trying to be content through the commotion.

Keep your head low, shoulders stiff, push through the required coursework bs, maybe a little mischief.

Here and there, life ain’t fair, nor should it be.

God put me on my path for a reason, yet I still can’t foresee, as to why I’ve been abused misused mistreated and beaten. Son to a once drug addicted incarcerated father, his vices defeated. Son to an alcoholic mother, that issue temporarily seated. Brother and the youngest of 5. Had to have thick skin growing up to stay alive. Target of bullying as a kid, now painting a verbal picture of the depths I’ve been in.

I got neighbors addicted to meth tripping out in the street, other neighbor got shot – body cold he can’t feel his feet. One neighbor OD’d- had a heart attack now he’s 6 feet deep.

Last but not least how can I never forget my homie Anthony I seen him just last week.

The occasional nod out of respect we say what’s up, lived in the corner house those people too liked to shoot up.

10 some people living in just one home

Little did I know Anthony felt so alone.

So much that one morning he took his own life

Screaming internally, no one could hear him so he skipped using the knife

And strung a rope to the tree you could see from the street.

Neighbors woke up crying, but Anthony now resting in peace

Now resting in peace, nah resting in power

He’s in a better place, but his poor soul devoured. Swallowed up by the ills of the block, the hood, the city that never could. The state, the government, education systems that failed, the nation at war with the world, consider your importance sailed.

Because we’re out here at war battling the depths of our own souls

What do you think you know about improving urban education?

This is the story that happens far too often, but never told.

Efforts to improve urban education can be transformative, but these efforts should not just be education based alone. We must gear our efforts towards improving the quality of live for those that have the least. Through this action can we hope to build better communities. Nothing more, nothing less.


IHEP Summer Graduate Research Internship

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is actively seeking a summer graduate research intern for our Washington, D.C. office.  IHEP Research Interns are members of the organization’s research team.  In this role, interns are likely to perform literature reviews, summarize information from postsecondary-themed events and/or new research studies, and support the development of research and policy reports.

Qualified candidates should be pursuing a master’s degree or Ph.D. in an education- or policy-related field and have strong quantitative and qualitative skills. Research experience in higher education is a plus.

Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience.

We will review applications on a rolling basis but guarantee a full review to individuals who submit no later than the priority deadline, March 5, 2018. To apply click here.

For more information about the internship, please visit:

Grad Fest: Getting Ready for Commencement

Grad Fest

Grad Fest is the Class of 2018’s one-stop way to get all the information you need about Commencement. All soon-to-be graduates are encouraged to stop by for answers to questions, or to purchase Commencement-related products.

Mark your calendar for:

February 14 & 15
Ronald Tutor Campus Center (RTCC) Ballroom
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Grad Fest features information about the following commencement-related items:

  • Yearbook pre-orders from El Rodeo Yearbook
  • Class rings, custom announcements, and other commemorative items from Herff Jones
  • Commencement photos in a cap & gown by Lauren Studios
  • Regalia orders: caps, gowns, stoles, sashes, may be pre-ordered from the USC Bookstores

Additional information will be available regarding the USC Alumni Association, Class Gift, and School-based ceremonies.

MPO Notables: Betzabel Martinez


Betzabel Z. Martinez
EC 1st year

I became involved with NASPA when I was accepted into the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2016. Being in NUFP gave me the opportunity to network with student affairs and counseling professionals from across the nation by attending national conferences with the UCSB delegation. It also gave me unique opportunity to apply for leadership experiences open to all NUFPs,  the most memorable being the NASPA Dungy Leadership Institute at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington this past summer. Additionally, NUFP paired me with a mentor, Dr. Rocio H. Fajardo (Rossier ‘13), who guided me through the graduate application process and advised me through my own selection process that ultimately led me to pick USC!

The most important skill I have gained through my affiliation with NASPA has been the power of networking and making genuine connections with professionals in this field. Attending conferences, workshops, and knowledge circles is an excellent way to professionally develop yourself and have the opportunity to meet other folks from different departments and institutions that have the same desire to better serve students. Networking is not just an exchange of contact information; it is the exchange of knowledge, advice, and shared visions. Although it is seemingly impossible to have a meaningful interaction with every person in the room, find the folks who have taken a similar career path that you hope to take one day, who work at an institution that interests you, or who have written literature you admire.

I have now accepted a position within NASPA as one of two graduate interns at NASPA’s headquarters in Washington D.C. My hope for this internship is to create more visibility for the Community College Division (CCD). NASPA is historically an association that focuses on student affairs and has recently begun to pay importance to the many other departments that assist students on college campuses. I want to share the message with the NASPA community that counseling IS student affairs. Counseling professionals play a vital role in the personal, academic, and professional development of our students and we have a lot of knowledge to share with the NASPA community locally, nationally, and globally. I am fortunate that my supervisor, Jake Frasier, works closely with the NASPA CCD and thus hope to brainstorm what we can do to enhance the professional development and visibility of counseling students and professionals.

Lastly, I am honored to represent the USC Rossier School of Education at NASPA. I will take our mission with me to D.C. and work diligently to reflect the values Rossier exemplifies.

MPO Notables – Toni Richardson

Toni richardson

My most pivotal moment in higher education was my very first day of college. It was my 18th birthday. I had just left the dorm room in which I shared with a White, upper class girl whose enthusiastic and curious approach to our relationship confused me at first. Why was she so interested in learning about me? I was uncomfortable sharing details of my not so privileged upbringing with her because I worried she would judge me. She couldn’t understand. I walked out of my dorm that morning and got lost on campus. I couldn’t find my class. No one talked to me or even met my eyes when I searched around for help. I finally got to class and my professor began lecturing on a topic I was not yet familiar with, but other students were raising their hands and participating in the lecture like they had known this information their whole lives. Was I supposed to know this information? I later realized that everyone in the class had already purchased the required textbook, but I was awaiting my financial aid disbursement the following week to buy my own copy. I later vented to my roommate about how I felt in my first class and she was so confused as to why my parents, or high school counselors, did not tell me what to expect on my first day of college.

I had no idea how hard or easy college would be. I don’t know where my third grade dream of getting a scholarship and going to college came from. I don’t know how I feel about being viewed as an anomaly to my family and the community in which I was raised.

I am a Black, female, first-generation college student from Compton, CA. I was accepted and given a full academic scholarship to Loyola Marymount University after years of striving for perfect grades and valuable experiences that would prepare me for college. I am in my last semester of my Master’s of Education program at the University of Southern California and am just now discovering the gaps in my preparation and transitions that could have been eased by the availability of additional resources. Conversations with my first college roommate, my first White friend, grew to conversations of embracing difference and teaching one another about how those differences have meaning to us. My growing friendship with my roommate was an isolated space on my college’s campus. No one else was that curious, no one else cared to offer me the insight I lacked as a first-generation college student. I now wonder how I can contribute to creating more of these spaces. How can I make a first-generation student’s first day of class a better experience for them? How can high schools, communities, university administrators help?

I didn’t know I would commit myself to serving students like myself in their pursuits of higher education. I didn’t know how much a college campus could influence my goals, identities, beliefs, and values. I didn’t know what equity was or why it mattered to me. I didn’t know why colorblindedness was detrimental to promoting an inclusive, accepting society until I went to college. I didn’t know who I was or who I was meant to be, until I went to college.

I do know that every single student, despite their background, SES, religion, ethnicity, or gender identity, deserves a space to share their differences and learn from others’. Every student deserves adequate preparation and guidance toward a successful college experience. It is now my responsibility to make a contribution, big or small, to as many students’ success as possible.


Note: This section will serve to highlight your accomplishments as Rossier students and can include awards, scholarships, or research projects you have been working on. You all can keep MPO, your peers, and faculty updated on the great work you all are doing!

Submit your notable story or accomplishment here:

University Staff Club Scholarship

staff club

The University Staff Club is soliciting applications for the 2017-2018 Graduate Scholarships.  All graduate students who preferably, have an undergraduate degree from USC (but not required) and are currently enrolled in a USC graduate program are eligible for one of the fifteen $1000 scholarships.  Criteria for selection include academic record, financial need, activities, service and future goals.


Continue reading University Staff Club Scholarship

USC Bovard Scholars Program – Teaching Assistant

USC Bovard Scholars program aims to help high-achieving high school students with financial need gain admission to and succeed at the nation’s top universities. Scholars will receive admission and financial aid guidance, personalized career exploration opportunities, comprehensive test preparation, and leadership development. Many of our students will be the first in their families to attend college. The program includes an intensive, three-week residential experience during the summer (July 15-August 4, 2018) on USC’s campus at no cost to the students.

Continue reading USC Bovard Scholars Program – Teaching Assistant

Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society Student Recognition Awards


The Phi Kappa Phi all-university honor society is pleased to announce the 35th-annual Phi Kappa Phi Student Recognition Awards Program for 2017-2018. To recognize outstanding artistic and academic works by undergraduate and graduate students at USC, four awards of $500 each will be presented at the annual Academic Honors Convocation in April, 2018. Winning entries will be considered for publication in the USC Libraries’ next volume of Outstanding Academic Papers by Students.

DEADLINE: Tomorrow, December 1st
We know it is short-notice, but MPO encourages you all to apply!!

Please see this link  for more information, including the application.