<<<<<<< .mine ======= >>>>>>> .r30077 `

Search for keywords, pages, people

Student Stories

Fresh Encounters: Maya Gotthard

Maya's background in swimming inspires her to create art that brings nature to life. Here, freshman Maya Gotthard shares what she's learning in her Disruptive Innovation class and how she's continuing to be creative and curious in the Academy...

Tell me a little bit about your journey to the Academy? 

The Academy excited me because it combined all of my interests unlike any other program. I was drawn to the focus on the intersection of each of these disciplines - a zone that has been a source of creativity and curiosity for me.

Describe a passion project you’re currently working? 

I have always been interested in creating art inspired by nature. Something I am currently working on is a painting that portrays light and water together. It is from the point of view of being underwater and looking up at the surface where sunlight is coming through.

What inspired the project?

I have been a competitive swimmer my whole life and so I am familiar with this ‘view,’ and wanted to convey the serenity of it to others.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you? 


A family friend Asad Aziz. I admire his hard work to create his own niche in the world and work and live successfully out of it … while having lots of fun.

Is there an inspirational quote you live by?

“I am always doing things I can’t do, that's how I get to do them.” -Pablo Picasso

What are three goals you have this year?

  1. Take advantage of the extraordinary individuals, resources, and creativity present here
  2. Discover ways which my own and other academy students’ unique skill sets complement each other and what we can do together
  3. Step outside of my comfort zone

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?

I was supposed to be on one of the 9/11 flights, but last minute switched to a flight that left twenty minutes later because my mom wanted to sleep in later.

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?

My parents taught me generosity and the importance of empathizing with others. No matter who you meet or what their situation is, everyone deserves the same kindness and respect.

Fun Facts

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Chocolate Brownie Z-bars

Favorite app or website?

Favorite class at USC and why?
Disruptive Innovation is my favorite class because I enjoy learning about the parallels between business and diverse topics. I also love the discussions and collaborative nature of the class.

Favorite way to de-stress:

Guilty Pleasure?


Thank you, Maya!