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Illumin prides itself on its unique combination of engineering articles and engaging media. Over the years we have received a few awards honoring us. Here is our showcase:
About Us

Illumin is an online magazine dedicated to exploring the science and technology behind the things we encounter every day. Produced and published by the Engineering Writing Program at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Illumin features the work of talented USC undergraduate engineers along with submissions from universities across the nation. These articles, supplemented with innovative multimedia features, relate the far-reaching impact of the engineering profession, and provide a broader view of the socio-economic and political implications of rapid technological change.


In the Spring of 1999, Illumin was conceived at the USC School of Engineering as a way to demonstrate the relevance of engineering to engineers and non-engineers alike. In an effort to highlight the impact of engineering upon everyday life and to showcase the writing skills of USC Engineering students, the Engineering Writing Program at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering began the development of Illumin. Using articles submitted as part of a WRIT 340 class assignment, the editors and multimedia specialists built the Illumin website.

With worldwide readership, Illumin continues to evolve as an academic resource for modern society. Illumin articles have been selected for publication in textbooks and university course readers. Multimedia features now include flash animation, graphics correlating with each article, video and sounds clips, a glossary of terms, and an extensive archive of previously published articles. Additionally, a teacher's edition of Illumin is currently being created for use in high school classrooms.

Illumin is funded by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering's Office of the Dean. Seed money was also provided by the USC Fund for Innovative Undergraduate Teaching.

Past Editors

*Denotes founding editor.
  • Katherine Armstrong
  • Sam BagwellForza Silicon
  • Andrew Bagwell
  • Heather ChenUCSD Shiley Eye Institute
  • Victor Chen
  • Omar Dana
  • Viet DaoDNA Studio
  • Jamie Davis
  • Sepehr Dehpour
  • Derrick EckardtBoeing
  • Alfonso Garza
  • Valerie GiambancoInstitute for Pediatric Clinical Research, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
  • Ilya GoloskerLawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Meredith HankinsSouth Coast Air Quality Management District
  • Anna Harley-Trochimczyk
  • Steven HerreraRaytheon
  • Trevor JohnsGoogle
  • Pushkar JoshiUniversity of California
  • Manu JuyalArizona State University
  • Erin KettwigCypress Semiconductor
  • Anshuman Khanna
  • Dennis Krouse
  • Bean Ching LawAssistMed Inc.
  • Kolleen Lee
  • Ju Hae Lee
  • Brian LoboUniversity of Texas - Medical Branch
  • Jon MapelMassachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Louis Morton
  • Natasha Naik
  • Divya Nair
  • Peter Nguyen
  • Melissa Owens
  • Melissa PattersonLaw Clerk, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Michael ReevesHoneywell
  • Dustin Reno
  • Keegan Riley Hewlett Packard
  • Mike Robinson
  • Michael Rochon-DuckUniversity of Southern California
  • Kelsey Rose
  • Suzanne Schimmeyer
  • Katie Smith
  • Elizabeth SoU.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Michelle Venables
  • Shveta Venkatram
  • Josh VillbrandtSpace Exploration Technologies
  • Kim VuWarner Bros.
  • Sarah Waliany
  • Chino WongChinovian
  • Johanna WonsowiczNorthrop Grumman
  • Chanelle Yamada

Advisory Board

  • Dr. Hans H.Kuehl
  • Dr. Stan Settles
  • Dr. Geoff Spedding
  • Dr. Joseph Devinny
  • Dr. Geoff Shiflett
  • Dr. Peter Beerel
  • Dr. John Choma
  • Dr. Michael Crowley
  • Howard Cohl
  • Alex Raksin

Special Thanks

  • Kelly Goulis
  • Elizabeth Arnold
  • Marc Aubertin
  • Elizabeth Fife
  • Dominic Lau
  • Martha Townsend
  • Dana Studer
  • David Woollard
  • Eric Roth
  • Vijay Panati
  • Ken Robidoux
  • Jean Paik Schoenberg
  • Wendy Moon
  • Nichole Morgan

Core Team

Illumin's core team is composed of students who edit and format papers for the online medium. Our staff also includes a web developer and multimedia guru. We interview and hire for open staffing positions every Spring.

Group Shot
Illumin staff group shot Fall 2011 and Spring 2012. (Credit: Ting/Illumin.)
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Ashley Hawkins Associate Editor

Ashley is a sophomore pursuing a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a B.A. in Critical Studies. She enjoys dying & cutting her hair, reading novels, and listening to punk music - especially live.

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Betty Stearns Associate Editor

Betty is a Junior studying Aerospace Engineering. Her passions include volunteering to promote STEM education in the community and health and fitness. In her free time she enjoys playing with puppies.

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Erica Draud

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Hannah Luk

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Jason Hsu

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Maddie Douglas

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Melisa Osborne Associate Editor

Melisa is a senior completing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in biomechanics. She hopes to pursue graduate research in rehabilitation and regenerative medicine. Her favorite color is purple!

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Reed Markham

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Steve Bucher Faculty Advisor

Stephen Bucher is the Director of the Engineering Writing Program at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He is the founder of and faculty adviser to Illumin magazine.

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Steven Truong Associate Editor

Steven is a junior pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science, and is interested in video game development and cloud computing.