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Student Stories

Senior Spotlight: Brianna Doyle

“Stay curious about everyday life.” Senior Brianna Doyle may be an engineering powerhouse, but she also finds artistic inspiration in many hidden corners of life. In this interview, she talks candle-making, drumming, and rap as a physics study technique...

What attracted you to the Academy?

In high school, I was convinced I would become an engineer. I applied and received admission to competitive engineering schools. I flew out, toured, and asked counselors how to shape my degree to include design. Or film. Or business. And none of them budged. I felt uneasy, thinking about a future that excluded my other interests. Why should I have to settle? Luckily I stumbled upon an Academy flyer during a USC visit. The celebration of a multifaceted mindset sold me. And here I am!

Describe a passion project you’re currently working?

Candle-making. I'm saving up unique glass bottles and jars to prepare for an epic weekend of crafting.

What inspired the project?

I kept finishing beautifully designed wine and olive oil bottles, so I figured I could recycle them in interesting ways. Plus I'm a sucker for essential oils.

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you? 


My high school art teacher. He inspires me to stay curious about everyday life. He's also taught me the importance of prioritizing self-reflection and happiness over anything else.

Is there an inspirational quote you live by?

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

What advice would you give to a freshman?

Try new things, and then step back. It's important to occasionally check in with yourself and make sure you're pursuing the things you still value.

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

In high school, I used to write songs about the subjects I was learning about, as a way to study. One year, I wrote an elaborate rap for AP Physics. My teacher made me perform it to all of her classes. Not only did she record the embarrassing rendition of my personal study song, but now it's now a part of the curriculum she teaches her students every year.

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

I'm half Irish and half Mexican, so I've learned to appreciate my heritage and traditions from each side, from memorizing Irish blessings to making the best home cooked Mexican rice and chicken enchiladas verdes around.

Fun Facts

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
A thermos filled with tea.

Favorite app or website?
NYT Op Docs.

Favorite class at USC and why?
MPPM 240: Drumming Proficiency for the Popular Musician. A fun and energetic way to let loose on a drum set.

Favorite way to de-stress:
Hosting jam sessions with other Academy musicians!

Guilty Pleasure?

Milkshakes and movies.

Thank you, Brianna!