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FRESH Encounters: Nicole Zhang

Freshman Nicole Zhang came to the Academy to immerse herself in a community of like-minded creatives. A video producer and animal lover with a passion for engineering, Zhang is looking to make the most of her Academy experience by exploring the intersections of art, technology, and business.

What does being at the Academy mean to you?

It means being fortunate enough to find a perpetual home at USC where I can immerse myself in creativity, hybridity, and novelty while being in a community where I feel cared for.

What is something about the way the world works that you'd like to disrupt?
I would like to disrupt how the world treats animals.

What are three goals you have this year?
1. Do one thing I have never imagined myself doing before
2. Gain a certain level of understanding of novel business-related topics
3. Discover, read and understand some new literary works

Who is the most impressive entrepreneur alive today? Why?
Mark Zuckerberg is the most impressive entrepreneur alive today due to his ability to sense disruptive innovation, succeed at a comparatively young age, and his continual aspirations to make the world a better place through philanthropy and creativity.

What are some things you want to know about your future senior self?
Am I doing something I enjoy? Did my interests change from freshman year? Did I regret studying abroad?

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
I would be majoring in electrical or computer engineering if I hadn’t heard about or been accepted into the Academy.

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
One thing my parents taught me is how to love – how to love myself and others.

What is a recent project you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of?
I was lucky enough to produce a promotional video for a non-profit organization - Educating Girls of Rural China.


What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
My phone, AirPods, laptop, notebooks, scented hand sanitizer, and mints.

Favorite app, service or website?
WeChat, Forest, Microsoft To Do and Canva.

If you could be best friends with one fictional character who would it be?
Jay Gatsby from the Great Gatsby!