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2022 USC salutatorian Shreya Daniel is looking to do it all after graduation

There are few people who could say they have done more in their four years of college than Shreya Daniel.

She is a Student Ambassador at the USC Admissions Center, Director of Camp Programming for Troy Camp, Research Assistant at the Neurodevelopmental and Sensory Processing Innovations Research Lab with the Division of Occupational Science and USC Occupational Therapy Ms. TH Chan, and Tutor. in undergraduate physics. Not to mention, she started her own nonprofit, More Good Ahead, while on her pre-med path.

To top it all off, this week Daniel will be earning his Bachelor of Arts in Health and Humanities with a minor in Labor Science from USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences – and as one of two Salutatorians in the class of 2022.

“At USC, not only is it possible to do all of these things, but it’s encouraged — that’s the culture and the norm, and what makes USC so special,” Daniel said.

Originally from Chicago, Daniel said she didn’t always think her path would lead her to USC or go into medical school. Daniel joked that on his mother’s side of the family, all the doctors – except his mother.

“She was like the crazy black sheep who became a lawyer,” Daniel said.

The 2022 USC Salutatorian was drawn to USC. His sister? Not enough …

Despite her initial resistance to the family tradition, she ended up taking the pre-med route when she decided to go to college. And although she has applied to 14 different schools and has a sister attending UCLA, she said USC continues to grow its list of schools.

Every time I learned about USC, it felt like exactly what I was looking for in a school – just a perfect fit.

Shreya Danielsalutatorian USC 2020

“My sister is the one who wanted the warm weather, but I had pictured myself sipping coffee with the fall leaves in Central Park, like that quintessential East Coast college experience…but I loved it so much. ‘USC,” Daniel said. “Every time I learned about USC, it was exactly what I was looking for in a school – just a perfect fit.”

Surprisingly, Daniel said his sister was also in favor of the idea.

“Honestly, of all my family members, she was the one who encouraged me the most to go to USC,” Daniel said. “We totally recognize that when it comes to UCLA vs. USC, she wouldn’t have liked USC as much as I did, and I wouldn’t have liked UCLA, but they were both perfect for we.”

For Daniel, the real selling point of USC was the interdisciplinary experience it offered. From music lessons to dance, theater and film, Daniel was able to explore all of his interests at USC while pursuing his career.

“It’s not just that you love other subjects, or love when they intertwine, but it’s a real approach to education,” she said. “It’s important to look at things from different angles and explore all of your interests.”

The 2022 USC salutatorian threw herself into any student groups she was interested in

Daniel absolutely took this to heart outside of the classroom, throwing himself into any student groups that piqued his interest, including some – like Troy Camp – that she knew before she even set foot on campus. . As someone with camp counselor experience, Daniel asked about the program when she spotted social media posts from the group.

“It seems like it’s just a summer camp, but the philosophy behind Troy Camp is really long-term mentorship,” Daniel said.

Eventually, she wants to become a developmental behavioral pediatrician, a specialty that works primarily with children with disabilities. Daniel recognizes that the field is a niche even for the medical community, but that’s the only reason she wants to become a doctor. Growing up, her elementary school had a curriculum for the deaf and disabled, and she befriended many of her classmates in those classes, learning sign language in the process.

“Grade 4 was the first time I really saw a whole community of people who aren’t being treated the way they should be,” she said.

Since realizing this awareness in elementary school, Daniel has volunteered for programs like Special Olympics and Best Buddies and worked with her high school’s special education department.

“I just did a bunch of stuff like that and I knew whatever my specific career title was, I wanted it to be in my life,” she said.

As with the rest of his fellow graduates in the class of 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the middle of his college career. She was “coming into her stride” both academically and socially, and as the 2020 spring semester approached, she had begun to refer to USC as “home” rather than Chicago. Then USC – and the world – shut down.

Seeking a project for USC 2022 Salutatorian

One night in her early 40s, after a long day of binge-watching Netflix, Daniel decided she needed a project. She was looking for an excuse to revisit her artistic side, so she started making jewelry, clothes, and other pieces to pass the time. Seeing how the world reacted to the pandemic, as well as the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, she decided to make her hobby more than just a way to pass the time and use wisely. Eventually she started selling the items and donating money to various charities, and before long More Good Ahead was born.

That year really helped me develop bravery, and I never thought of myself as a brave person.

Shreya Danielsalutatorian USC 2020

“It felt like the biggest passion project of my life, and I never would have done it if I was completely in school,” Daniel said. “That year really helped me develop courage, and I never thought of myself as a courageous person.”

So far, More Good Ahead has raised nearly $15,000 for different charities – The Arc, People Assisting the Homeless, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective.

Daniel plans to continue with More Good Ahead as a “side hustle” as she applies to medical school, which can be like a full-time job for most people. She will also work as a medical secretary in Chicago during the application process. It’s a schedule that can seem daunting, but Daniel wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Hopefully I’m also going to take some time for myself, take breaks, get some rest – somewhere in there,” she joked.

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