Amy Lee, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and Eddie Sheh, professor of clinical restorative sciences at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, were among the Trojans honored April 24 as students, faculty and administrators celebrated the university’s 37th annual Academic Honors Convocation.

Lee received the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship, while Sheh received the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Amy Lee receives the USC Associates Award for Creativity in Research and Scholarship. (Photo/Steve Cohn)

USC Trustee Wanda Austin and University Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen were honored with the prestigious University Medallion, awarded very selectively to those who have made major contributions to the university.

Austin, who joined the USC Trustees in 2010, is former president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corp. Austin is internationally recognized for her work in satellite and payload system acquisition, systems engineering and system simulation. She served on President Barack Obama’s Review of Human Spaceflight Plans Committee in 2009 and in 2010 was appointed to the Defense Science Board.

Nguyen won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2016 with his novel The Sympathizer, which takes an unconventional and critical look at differing perspectives on the Vietnam War. Last year, he became only the sixth USC faculty member to be named a MacArthur Fellow and received a Guggenheim Fellowship earlier that year. In February, USC President C. L. Max Nikias named him a University Professor, and last week he was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Eddie Sheh receives the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching. (Photo/Steve Cohn)

Also honored at the event, held at Town and Gown on the University Park Campus, were:


Distinguished Professors: Awarded very selectively to those whose accomplishments have brought special renown to USC.

  • Paula Cannon
  • C.-C. Jay Kuo
  • Elyn Saks

University Professors: Awarded based on multidisciplinary interests and significant accomplishments in several disciplines.

  • Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Jacob Soll

Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award: Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the oldest interdisciplinary honor society at USC.

  • Kate Flint
  • Gillian K. Hadfield
  • David James
  • Alicia A. McDonough

Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award: Awarded to a very select number of retired faculty at the annual Academic Honors Convocation, the USC Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes eminent careers and notable contributions to the university, the profession and the community.

  • Kathleen Allen
  • Peggy Kamuf
  • Jean Richardson
  • Randolph Westerfield

Provost’s Mentoring Award: The Provost’s Mentoring Award honors an individual faculty member whose investment in and generosity toward the academic and professional success of other USC faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students or undergraduate students demonstrate exemplary mentoring.

  • C. -C. Jay Kuo

USC Associates Awards: The USC Associates Awards are the highest honors the university faculty bestows upon its members for distinguished intellectual and artistic achievements and for outstanding teaching, both in and out of the classroom.

Excellence in Teaching

  • Mary-Joan Negro
  • Eddie Sheh

Creativity in Research and Scholarship

  • Amy Lee
  • Manuel Pastor

Artistic Expression

  • Velina Hasu Houston
  • Doris Sung


Marshall Scholar: Established by the British government after World War II, the Marshall Scholarship provides highly qualified students with the opportunity to study at any university in the United Kingdom.

  • Jamie Kwong

Schwarzman Scholar: One of the most selective postgraduate programs in the world, Schwarzman Scholars receive a fully funded scholarship to study at the new Schwarzman College of Tsinghua University in Beijing. The Schwarzman Scholars program is designed to prepare its graduates to build stronger relationships between China and a rapidly changing world and to address the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

  • Edwin Saucedo

Emma Josephine Bradley Bovard Award: Awarded to the graduating students who have attained the highest scholarship average of all undergraduate women at the university.

  • Leila Kutana

University Trustees Award: Awarded to the graduating students who have attained the highest scholarship average of all undergraduate men at the university.

  • Samuel Cohen
  • Philip Richards

USC Provost’s Award: Awarded to the graduating students who have attained the highest scholarship average of all undergraduate transfer students at the university.

  • Daniel Bieker
  • Delany Harbold
  • Julia Iacopetti
  • Kylin Levy
  • Philine Qian
  • Olivia Villers

Phi Kappa Phi Student Recognition Award: Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the oldest interdisciplinary honor society at USC. It recognizes scholarship and awards prizes annually to graduate and undergraduate students for creative and scholarly achievements.

  • Niki Bayat
  • Naylee Nagda
  • Roberto Nazario
  • Maria Francesca Piazzoni

Phi Beta Kappa Undergraduate Awards: Devoted to liberal learning in arts and sciences, Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776, presents two undergraduate awards to honor creativity, scholarship and leadership in faculty-student community relations.

  • Max Kapur
  • Vivek Shah

Rockwell Dennis Hunt Award: Awarded to an alumna or alumnus of USC who is pursuing a graduate or professional degree at the university and who is most representative of the Trojan Family’s traditions and values.

  • Bridget Hellige

University Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award: Awarded to three graduate teaching assistants – from diverse areas such as the natural sciences and engineering, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts – who have exhibited consistent excellence in the classroom and thus symbolize the university’s dedication to the education of scholar-teachers.

  • Reed Blaylock
  • Alexander Lusk
  • Sarah Vap

USC PhD Achievement Award: The PhD Achievement Awards recognize current USC PhD students with exceptional academic profiles. Students are selected based on their record of success, including significant publications as the sole or primary author; job offers that signal the outstanding quality of the student’s doctoral work; major awards in a broadly conceived field; and other markers of excellence appropriate to the student’s field.

  • Niki Bayat
  • Antar Tichavakunda
  • Tae Hyun Ryu
  • Lauren Brown
  • Nathan Walter
  • Maegan Fairchild