USC OORI Awards Nine Student Empowerment Awards

The Office of Research and Innovation (OORI) strives to ensure USC maintains an innovative, collaborative research environment, both internally and externally. Internal funding is provided through a variety of programs managed by the Office of Research Initiatives & Infrastructure. Amongst the internal award programs is the Student Empowerment Award, a new program that was conceptualized based on the ideas and suggestions of Margo Apostolos, President of USC’s Academic Senate. This innovative program further bolsters the concerted efforts of OORI to stimulate new startups by students – it is unique in the sense that none of USC’s peer institutions offer internal funding programs of similar scope or focus.

The Student Empowerment Award is a competitive program to support USC undergraduate or graduate students and their faculty mentors to pursue groundbreaking use-inspired research and early-stage entrepreneurship that translates student intellectual property for social and economic good. Faculty mentors are responsible for submitting the proposal for teams that must include student researchers who represent multiple disciplinary domains. Teams may also include postdoctoral researchers and high school students. The funding program features two unique tracks – the Innovation Prize, which focuses on use-inspired research that also promotes greater fundamental understanding, and the Entrepreneurship Prize, which focuses on pursuing the commercialization of intellectual property (IP) created by student inventors. of an underlying domain. This cycle of applicants resulted in nine new Student Empowerment Awards being made – with awardees’ faculty mentors representing the Iovine and Young Academy, Viterbi School of Engineering, Marshall School of Business, Sol Price School of Public Policy, and Keck School of Medicine. USC and OORI actively promote diversity and inclusivity in research and throughout internal research programs – for this program in particular, one that is centered within the sectors of innovation and entrepreneurship, OORI was thrilled to see such diversity across recipient teams of the Student Empowerment Award.

The Spring of 2024 Student Empowerment Awardees are as follows:

Entrepreneurship Prize Awardees

(1) Proposal: BioFlare – The proposed project aims to further iterate on the design and development of the team’s first prototype, a kitchen device that transforms food waste into clean cooking gas for households in low-infrastructure areas.

Faculty Mentor/PI: Jean-Michel Arnoult

Schools Involved: IYA; Dornsife; Viterbi

Student Team: Jacqueline Franco (Grad Student, IYA); Noy Chatoyan (BSc student, IYA);  Nam Nguyen (BA student, Dornsife); Anette Sandoval (BSc student, Viterbi)

(2) Proposal: Clinicode – Clinicode is a digital platform empowered by AI that streamlines the medical billing process and converts notes into codes.

Faculty Mentor/PI: Malcolm Jones

Schools Involved: IYA; Dornsife; Viterbi

Student Team: Vineeta Muvvala (BS student, IYA); Jerry Zhang (BS student, Viterbi); Cole Gawin (BA student, Dornsife)

(3) Proposal: Momentum – Building Financial Freedom in NCAA Athletes – A digital wealth management platform that financially empowers college athletes leveraging their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL).

Faculty Mentor/PI: Dan Wadhwani; (Co-Mentor: Paul Orlando)

Schools Involved: Marshall; KSoM; IYA; USC Mann

Student Team: Isaiah Euraga (MD student, KSoM); Julian Tedja (MS student, Marshall); Zay Eruaga (MD student, KSoM); Henry Groome (BS student, IYA); Jessie Tran (MS student, Marshall); Rex Ordonez (BS, MS, student, progressive degree); Evans Pope, III (PharmD student, USC Mann)

(4) Proposal: Artesia – Artesia is a web-based platform that accelerates this process by using AI-powered object detection and a virtual whiteboard interface.

Faculty Mentor/PI: Chris Swain

Schools Involved: IYA; Marshall

Student Team: Sami de Nicola (BS student, IYA); Haley Ho (BS student, IYA); Mateo Sturla Gomez (BS student, IYA); Kai Vincent (BS, student IYA, Marshall); Justin Zhang (BS student, IYA)

(5) Proposal Title: Corresi – Corresi introduces a transformative platform designed to facilitate effortless access to class action settlements, propelling a shift towards streamlined legal processes.

Faculty Mentor/PI: Adam Zimmerman

Schools Involved: Gould School of Law

Student Team: Kimya Jalinous (BA, International Relations Global Business); Devin Martin (BS, Computer Science); Sade Korbieh (BS, IYA)

Innovation Prize Awardees

(6) Proposal Title: NeoTrek Footwear – NeoTrek Footwear aims to revolutionize the mobility of partial-foot amputees and individuals with foot differences by merging three-dimensional computational modeling with innovative manufacturing methods.

Faculty Mentor/PI: Grant Delgatty

Schools Involved: IYA

Student Team: Joseph Sherbanee (Grad student, IYA); Sarah Hope Smith (Grad student, IYA); Jacob Patapoff (Grad student, IYA); Connor Fitzgerald (Grad student, IYA); Lee Ann Daly (Grad student, IYA)

(7) Proposal Title: A novel salivary liquid biopsy methodology and sampling apparatus for HPV+ oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma screening – The proposed project seeks to develop a non-invasive screening approach by validating targeted throat swab sampling and creating a novel device to enable collection in any clinical setting.

Faculty Mentor/PI: Albert Han

Schools Involved: KSoM

Student Team: Michelle Koh (Medical student; KSoM); Cindy Lin (BS/MS, Biochemistry, Drug Development, KSoM); USC Medical Student); Sunjum Sanghari (BS, Health Promotion)

(8) Proposal Title: The Impact of Artificial Intelligence in the Public Service Labor Market – The proposal team has developed a proprietary natural language processing program that assesses classification specifications of government organizations to identify the knowledge, skills, and assets of various public service occupations.

Faculty Mentor/PI: William Resh

Schools Involved: Price

Student Team: Nisa Gurbuz (PhD student, Price); Yi Ming (PhD student, Price)

(9) Proposal Title: A next-generation neural interface for the treatment of neuropsychiatric disordersThe proposal team’s objective is to address the current limitations of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treating these disorders by developing a closed loop, multiple-region TMS system.

Faculty Mentor/PI: Dong Song

Schools Involved: Viterbi

Student Team: Xiang Zhang (Ph.D., Viterbi); Huijing Xu (Ph.D., Viterbi); Wooseong Choi (B.S., Viterbi)