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Student Stories

Academy Spotlight: Sarah Kassel '18

Academy senior, Sarah Kassel '18, is co-founder and co-host of the podcast Pop is So Deep. The weekly show takes a shovel to the pop cultural landscape, digging for hidden truths behind this generation's seemingly shallow pop anthems. Here, Sarah shares some old-school tips on how to move beyond the campus bubble and stand out...

What kinds of projects are you working on right now?

I have always been interested in comedy and social commentary. One day my friend Buck and I were talking about a Katy Perry song.  We thought it was funny and decided to hit record.  Today, we have a Facebook Live and iTunes podcast called Pop is So Deep where Buck and I rhetorically analyze pop songs and riff off the general hilarity of pop culture.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you?
My boss, Sarah Joyce. Sarah is head of global PR at Beats and is an all around badass. 

Tell us a bit about your journey to the Academy. What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
Every school I applied to, I applied with a different major. The only thing I was sure about was that I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do. When I saw the New York Times article about the program I was like "Yes, this is it."  

What advice would you give to a freshmen?
Don’t be afraid to get outside of USC and go out in LA. Meet people who are out of college and become their friend. I’ve gotten so many career opportunities from expanding outside of the college bubble. 

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you? 
I once danced with the New York City Ballet. 

What the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
Write thank-you notes. Everyone likes a handwritten thank-you note. It may sound old-fashioned, but it really stands out and shows how much you care.

Fun Facts

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Headphones, a good book and a pen. 

Favorite app or website?
The New Yorker 

Favorite class at USC and why?
I took a GE sophomore year called Film, Power and American History with Steve Ross and I still think about the class once a day. If you like movies and cynicism this class is for you. 

Favorite way to de-stress:
Watching a good comedy special or old late night clips that feature my favorite comedians. 

Guilty pleasure?
Watching Riverdale with my sister—I feel guilty just thinking about it. 

Thank you Sarah!