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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Blog Posts

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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In a post pandemic world, leadership and what it entails are ever changing. Curiosity must be used to combat change in the workplace as evidence suggests that cultivating curiosity helps leaders adapt to such different challenges. This relationship is greatly emphasized in the interview by Jeannette Lang, General Manager for HR Partners, with our very own research fellow, Dr. Alison Horstmeyer.

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The USC Annenberg School has organized and launched several meaningful high school programs meant to introduce lower-income and disadvantaged students within the greater Los Angeles area to the broad media landscape, an in-depth college experience, and professionals from diverse industries and backgrounds who communicate and convey their expertise and experiences. Earlier this year, 12 students and two teachers from the Merced Union High School District immersed themselves in a customized program of digital storytelling, video production and soft skills development.  I had the wonderful opportunity to connect with and interview Oscar Perez, a recent Merced Union High graduate and former participant in a USC Annenberg high school program.

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More than 1,000 women leaders tuned in Nov. 5-6 for workshops focused on this year’s theme, “Leadership for a Lifetime”. The event provided networking opportunities, panel discussions, and workshops for current military leaders and veterans from around the world. The speakers ranged from leaders in the military to leaders in the public and private sectors who offered their support and advice for advancing their careers. Shellee Smith, executive director of the USC Annenberg Center for Third Space Thinking and Executive Education led a presentation titled, “Third Space Thinking: Building Soft Skills Critical for Leading in Today’s World”. Smith covered the center’s five core attributes of Adaptability, Cultural Competency, Empathy, Intellectual Curiosity and 360-Degree Thinking and how women can utilize these soft skills to become better leaders and colleagues.

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While the topic of death carries feelings of sorrow and loss, some cultures have found ways of making peace with this final stage of life and honoring those who have passed on. One particular tradition which is celebrated in Central America is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). You may have heard of Dia de los Muertos from the popular Disney movie “Coco,” which takes place during this holiday. Dia de los Muertos  is a two-day festival held on November 1st and 2nd, however despite being situated so close to Halloween, the two are actually unrelated in origin. During this Latin holiday, people pay tribute to those who have died and look at death with an optimistic lens, not as something to be afraid of.  Dia de Los Muertos is frequently associated with Mexico, however, it is observed widely throughout Central America and even in the U.S in places where there are large Latino populations such as Los Angeles. There are so many traditions and customs related to this holiday. For example, families generally create altars for their deceased family members. They fill them with photos, Marigold flowers, food offerings, candles and some of the favorite items of […]

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On October 5th, USC Annenberg hosted another special guest as part of its “Annenberg Intelligence” series. Dean Willow Bay, as the host, welcomed NBA All-Star point guard and National Basketball Players Association President, Chris Paul.  Considering I’m a former collegiate basketball player who admires Paul’s basketball genius and sought to once emulate him, I was star-struck at the outset of the discussion. Nevertheless, what made the conversation, and its encompassing topics, so marvelous went much deeper than basketball and athletic competition.  During the conversation, Paul repeatedly stressed and underlined the significant role particular soft skills have played throughout his various, on and off the court, endeavors which have allowed him to thrive. Paul drew our attention to adaptability and effective communication which he identified as key elements for successfully persevering through a year with many adversities. No choice but to adapt In the midst of this horrific and dreadful virus, entire livelihoods have shifted, and everyone has had to adapt. For Paul, his resiliency and discipline allowed him to adapt and thrive in untreaded waters.  Considering the countless challenges and obstacles Paul had to shoulder and overcome, one can only applaud his perseverance. For Paul, adaptability to a “new normal” […]

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Right now the world is plagued with big issues that oftentimes seem unsolvable. Those who wish to right the wrongs of the world may feel hopeless or intimidated by the scale of these issues. During the closing celebration of Latinx Heritage Month on October 13, USC Annenberg held a Zoom discussion between USC President Carolt Folt and labor activist Dolores Huerta. Huerta reminded students and attendees that the answers to these seemingly unsolvable questions can be found within our own humanity: “We are one human race,” Huerta stated. It is Huerta’s strength in soft skills like empathy and her 360-degree thinking, that have helped her become a powerful organizer and activist for human and civil rights. Dolores Huerta is best known for her community service activism in co-founding the United Farm Workers, formerly known as the National Farmworkers Association, with late labor activist Cesar Chavez. She is also founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. At an early age, Huerta started lobbying, organizing farmworkers and negotiating contracts for laborers. Throughout her life, Huerta’s organizing skills originated from her strength in contextualizing her passions into soft skills and rejecting the status quo, while believing in the power of individual and collective action. Huerta’s […]

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