Recently, the USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking hosted two professional development workshops with service organization Working Wardrobes, in which the participants learned about the five ACE-IT attributes and how to solve organizational problems using the ACE-IT framework.

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Blog Posts

Recent reports from the New York Times show us that people of different races do not have the same risk factors for self-harm. In the past 20 years, self-reported suicide attempts rose nearly 80 percent among black adolescents. In this article, we explore a young black teenager’s intense mental health journey.

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On March 15, 2020 the world was forced to adapt. Healthcare systems across the world had to learn how to manage the Coronavirus. The Covid pandemic shaped different systems around the world, changing the way we live, work, and learn. Now that the world is returning to some form of pre-pandemic normalcy, we are all going through another transition of adaptation. In March, we had to learn how to work remotely and socialize virtually, but adapting back to a world we yearned for during COVID isn’t as easy as it may have seemed. 

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“The world that you will enter as a professional is a whole lot different than the world I entered years ago,” exclaimed Dr. Ernest Wilson, founder of the USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking, to a virtual room of more than 50 high school students.

The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the learning of just about every high school student. Students have endured grueling months of online learning, Zoom calls, and independent work. This year, the Third Space Youth Institute also had to adapt to distant learning, but our students still showed up on Zoom every day eager to learn about how to leverage their soft skills for college and career success.

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Not every high school student knows exactly what they want to be when they are older, but Kymberly Rivera is already taking the steps to become a lawyer, with her mind set on criminal justice or on working with juveniles. She was drawn to the Third Space Thinking program because she wanted to gain the leadership skills to prepare herself for her future career. As a junior at the USC Hybrid High College Prep Academy, Kymberly is highly involved as a leader.  She is the captain of her soccer team, a leader in her coding and robotics club, as well as a former participant in the mock trial team. Through weekly modules, self-reflection activities on Padlet, online group activities with her 19 classmates, and a final project using the ACE-IT model to tackle a cause the students care about, Kymberly and her classmates strengthened their soft skills during the 10-week online program. The Third Space course, Developing Academic and Career Success Through Third Space Thinking, is designed to provide students with the core attributes that are needed, yet underrepresented in the job market: adaptability, cultural competency, empathy, intellectual curiosity, and 360-degree thinking.  While Kymberly has been exposed to soft skills […]

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In the final session of Developing Academic and Career Success Through Third Space Thinking, twenty students at USC Hybrid High College Prep used the Center’s ACE-IT model to find new and innovative solutions to some of society’s most difficult problems. After learning the importance of Third Space attributes during a 10-week online course, students applied the essential soft skills — Adaptability, Cultural Competency, Empathy, Intellectual Curiosity and 360-Degree Thinking —  in their final presentations on May 7, 2021. Groups presented their final projects to a handful of Third Space educators including Third Space Founder, Dr. Ernest Wilson, Third Space Executive Director Shellee Smith, Third Space Fellow Jaime, and their teacher Sarah Batizy. Before the five teams shared their findings, Dr. Wilson made an opening remark to reinforce the critical use of the soft skills students learned in this program in regards to job opportunities.  “As someone who hires students when they finish high school,” Dr. Wilson said. “When they have these skills, these are exactly the kind of skills that employers are also looking for.”  Next, Third Space Fellow Jaime Carias applauded the students on their exceptional efforts in the program and encouraged them to reflect on their personal legacy.  […]

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To address the rising cases of violence against Asian Americans since the onset of the pandemic, the USC Annenberg Cross-Cultural Student Association partnered with the Annenberg chapter of the Asian-American Journalists Association to host “Pandemic Panic: The surging violence against Asian Americans” on March 18. The virtual event came the day after the racially motivated shooting of eight people — six of whom identified as women of Asian descent — in Atlanta, Georgia on March 17. Panelists Anh Do, Joyce Jang, Jon Funabiki, Dr. Sherry Wang and Christina Yang discussed the importance of addressing anti-Asian hate crimes and highlighted the racism exhibited toward Asians and Pacific Islanders to an audience of over 150 people. Specifically, the event addressed the need for cultural competency and empathy when conversing about racial hate and struggles. Co-moderated by Nathan Hyun, a junior majoring in journalism, and Connie Deng, a sophomore majoring in public relations, the event kicked off with a video montage displaying anti-Asian hate crimes shown in the media and its significance during the pandemic. After the introduction, the panelists were asked questions regarding Asian American identity, the media portrayal of anti-Asian hate crimes, and how others can help support the community. An […]

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Students in the United States and across the globe have faced a multitude of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic as they learned to adapt to online learning. Nonetheless, the students at USC Hybrid High College Prep were exceptionally enthusiastic to join Third Space Founder, Dr. Ernest Wilson and Third Space Fellow Jaime Carias virtually for the first session of our program, Developing Academic and Career Success Through Third Space Thinking on Friday, February 26. Twenty students from Hybrid High’s history class were introduced to the ACE-IT model, which is comprised of five research-based attributes: Adaptability, Cultural Competency, Empathy, Intellectual Curiosity and 360-Degree Thinking. These are the soft skills that will be measured and strengthened throughout the course of the program to prepare students for college and their career.

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February was Black History Month, but learning about Black history is a continually evolving exercise. Over the years since it was launched in 1970, it’s always been about remembrance and representation, then integration and justice. More recently, the terms diversity and inclusion have come to the fore.  Then with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the term ‘structural racism’ entered prominently into the public conversation, and now with a new presidential administration in power, brought largely by the mobilization of African American voters, the question of ‘remedies’ is now critically before the nation. The Center for Third Space Thinking at the University of Southern California Annenberg School is devoted to enhancing diversity and inclusion across the board by helping individuals acquire the critical skills they need to be successful in our post-industrial, digital economy. Our teaching and community service provide learners the ‘soft skills’ that complement the STEM hard skills. Indeed, our students in high school and in college have come to call them ‘survival skills’.  They recognize these are ways they can gain power. This year, Black History Month is being held against the back drop of two things that BLM has drawn us to.  First, achieving […]

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Many people forget that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s work in the Civil Rights Movement was only about 50 or 60 years ago. King was assassinated in 1968 after working to gather the Black community, people of color and other allies to heal the nation’s traumas of 400 years of slavery. King fought against segregation and his influence helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed unjust voting practices. But many people forget that King’s work still continues today with those fighting for the dream he spoke of in his famous “I Have a Dream” Speech. In that speech, King said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.” While King’s mounting work made a stride towards a just society, the fact is that systemic racism still persists today, and rather than viewing the Civil Rights Movement and his work as a panacea moment in history, we can honor his legacy by listening to the voices of the Black community and the current Black Lives Matter Movement to continue to build the […]

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