USC Takes the Lead Becoming the First University to Launch an Extended Week to the WSP Program

WSP Class of 2019
(Photo/Shahla Fatemi)

For five years, USC has enjoyed a successful partnership with the Warrior-Scholar Project, an academic boot camp designed to help service members and veterans transition from active duty to higher education.

This year, I am happy to report that USC has taken the lead by becoming the first university to launch an extended week to the WSP program. The additional week is devoted exclusively to a business curriculum.

“USC was the first West Coast partner to team up with the WSP,” said Ryan Pavel, CEO of the Warrior-Scholar Project. “USC is an outstanding partner, providing key things like staff to help plan and execute the program and resources such as classrooms and dorm rooms. In particular, USC staff and faculty spent a great deal of time helping design the curriculum.”

Instructor Farzin Samadani, who teaches at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and USC Marshall School of Business, is one of the creators of the Business and Entrepreneurship Week in conjunction with USC Military & Veterans Initiatives.

“The business curriculum is a fusion of core business skills, theory seminars, and workshops including: accounting, finance, business operations, business communications, leadership, organization and management.” Samadani said. “In addition, there was experiential learning experiences and an entrepreneurship curriculum that culminated in a showcase of mock start-up business pitches.”

Various business pitches presented during the showcase included a no middleman temp agency, an education consulting firm, and online voting technology. The presenters worked in teams of three and spoke for a total of ten minutes to a packed classroom of WSP students and USC faculty and staff. The first week of the WSP program included courses in humanities with a focus on writing.

Infantryman J.D. Ortman, a current guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Solider, attended this year’s Warrior-Scholar Project at USC.

“I was privileged to attend the pilot program for students interested in studying business,” Ortman said. “I needed to be tested in an environment that would replicate actual campus life. WSP’s capacity to do that was unparalleled to anything I’ve ever experienced.”

Another WSP participant, Marine Sergeant Alana Karp said the coursework taught her something unexpected: academic confidence.

“This program got me thinking ‘Wow, I can apply to an Ivy League college!’” Karp said. “This course is designed to let military active duty and veterans know that we have what it takes, so now I am considering attending a more elite university.”

Confidence is key for our veterans to make a successful transition from the military to a top-tier university. USC has supported our veterans, service members, and their families for more than a century and we are excited to continue to do so through partnerships with programs like the Warrior-Scholar Project.

–Elizabeth A. Graddy, September 16, 2019