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Senior Stories

Senior Spotlight: Hunter Bryant

"I think of skiing as more of an art than a sport. It forces you to use your creativity in a visceral way. It's meditative. Skiing has introduced me to some of the best people on earth and it will always bring me back down to earth when I am overwhelmed." When senior Hunter Bryant isn't at the Academy, chances are he's either shredding down a frozen mountain on his favorite skis or building the visual production for a concert in the sweltering desert. For Bryant, it's the pursuit of new experiences that lead to serendipitous opportunities.

Tell me a little bit about your journey to IYA? What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?

I went into the USC admission process expecting to pursue an engineering degree. During high school, I did robotics programs and took STEM-oriented classes. Initially, I only applied to a few schools for programs in mechanical and software engineering. In hindsight, engineering schools didn't excite me because I felt the curriculum would restrict other possible career opportunities. Although I liked some aspects of engineering, there were always other areas that would catch my interest. During a tour of universities in LA, my parents insisted that I check out USC. I wasn't interested until someone mentioned the new IYA program. I immediately searched for the school's site and found my new top choice. The interdisciplinary curriculum filled a gap that other schools didn't. 

How have you evolved over the years? Any unexpected twists or turns in your journey? 

One of the truths I have learned during my time at USC is that embracing the present will lead to serendipitous opportunities. Coming into school, I had some sort of picture in my head of where I would be my senior year. Every semester changed that picture in ways I would not have predicted. In my experience, new relationships not only reveal opportunities but can also challenge how you think.

I'm at a stage in my post-grad planning in which I will have to make a decision soon between a few paths. On one side I am looking at various design agencies and small startups for creative work. On the other side are major tech roles. The benefit of the program is that I have this freedom, but in the end I will have to pick one job. Whichever side I choose, I know that I want to find myself in new experiences.

Describe a passion project you're currently working on or interested in? 

I was introduced to stage design early on at USC through my old roommate and IYA alum Jacob Fishman (who now does stage design full time for the band Moontower). Through various random events, I've had opportunities to play with animation, lighting, and set design. I wouldn't say stage design is a single passion project but rather a newfound hobby. For now, I am building the visual production of a concert in the desert. 

What inspired the project? 

This specific event was started by my climbing and skiing partners. During one climbing trip, we realized that we just want to get people out of their homes and into new experiences. 

Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you? 

There isn't one single person who I consider a mentor, but I do follow many climber/skier types. Maybe Jimmy Chin or Yvon Chouinard. Something about their way of living rings true to me. 

Is there an inspirational quote you live by? 

"Reality's tight if the music is right." - Toro Y Moi (Chaz Bear) 

What advice would you give to a freshman?

Try new things. Join a new club. Go to a new concert. Eat great food. People will never be bored of new experiences. Now is the time to find people who are worth spending time with. As new students get settled, it seems to get harder to transverse social circles. 

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

I was in the Wednesday rodeo as a kid. Search "Mutton Bustin" on Google. 

What the one thing your parents taught you that you'd like to share? 

My mom is a shark. She has taught me that even in the most chaotic situations, if you stick to the tools you know, you will persevere. 

Fun Facts

What are some essential things you keep in your backpack? 

1. 32oz White Nalgene. Full of stickers to remind me of my travels. 
2. 4x Muji .38mm Gel Pen. I have yet to find a better pen. 
3. Kindle. Simply better than reading on an LCD screen. 
4. Headphones. Any work but I'm currently rocking the AirPods. 

Favorite app or website? 

Although I do think New York Times Crossword is my favorite app I use daily. 

Favorite class at USC and why? 

Typography. Sometimes it isn't my favorite class, but I have a new appreciation for boring fonts. I now nerd out about typefaces when I can. Ask me how many Helvetica alternatives I have on my Mac. 

Favorite way to de-stress: 

Ski! I think of skiing as more of an art than a sport. It forces you to use your creativity in a visceral way. It's meditative. Skiing has introduced me to some of the best people on earth and it will always bring me back down to earth when I am overwhelmed. 

Guilty pleasure? 

Have you ever tried Zapp's Voodoo Chips? Magical.