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.

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.

Jane Carpenter, Associate Editor

Jane Carpenter is a senior studying Chemical Engineering with a minor in German Studies. She is from a suburb of Chicago called Glenview, Illinois. In her free time she likes to practice yoga, collect vinyl records, and learn new languages – she is currently working on her Portuguese! Her other involvements at USC include the Harman Academy of Polymathic Study and the Ahmanson Lab.

Jane Carpenter Headshot

Madeline Lazas, Associate Editor

Madeline Lazas is a senior studying Industrial and Systems Engineering and specializing in Applied Computer Security. She grew up in Louisville, KY (go UK Wildcats!). Maddie was previously a staff writer for the Daily Trojan and is currently involved in Theta Tau, a co-ed professional engineering organization. She spends her free time playing video games, doing yoga and making gourmet grilled cheeses.

Maddie Lazas headshot

Sofija Radulovic, Associate Editor

Sofija Radulovic is a junior studying Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Structural Engineering. She is originally from NYC and is also involved around the USC campus by being an RA. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her friends and paint. She has conducted research regarding the gain of information in parameters in both linear and nonlinear systems. She has also interned for the Port Authority of NY and NJ and looks forward to working as a structural engineer one day.

Sofija Radulovic Headshot

Sam Sommerer, Associate Editor

Sam Sommerer is a sophomore double-majoring in Computer Science and Quantitative Biology. An aspiring machine learning engineer, he divides his time between his research group, hackathons, data science competitions, and clubs. An avid soccer fan, he made the questionable decision to support Everton FC and now has to watch them disappoint him every weekend. Sam enjoys playing sports, cooking food, and meeting new people.

Sam Sommerer Headshot

Nicole Tamarov, Associate Editor

Nicole Tamarov is a junior from New York City studying Biomedical Engineering. On campus, she is part of Breakthrough Hip Hop as co-marketing chair. She works as a Research Intern at the USC Fertility Clinic and a Digital Fabrication Assistant at the USC School of Architecture. She is interested in all things creative and during her free time likes to make art, dance, and spend time with her friends.

Nicole Tamarov Headshot

Mia Ahmady, Associate Editor

Mia Ahmady is a junior studying Electrical and Computer Engineering. She grew up in Toronto, Canada, but now resides in Palos Verdes, California. On campus, she is a member of LavaLab and a graphic designer for Trojans FC. Outside of school, she has done research at the Children’s Hospital of LA and USC, as well as interned at a tech startup located in the Bay Area. In her free time, Mia likes to read nonfiction books, paint, and make soup.

Mia Ahmady Headshot

Henry Vu, Webmaster

Henry Vu is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science/Games Design with a minor in Mobile App Developing and specialization in Web Applications Technologies. He went to the U.S. when he was fouteen all by himself. On compus, Henry is a member of Trojan Scholars Society. Outside of school, Henry works for Great Catch Game Company as a game developer while being a playtester at Anthos Game Studio and frontend developer at Koseur. He loves meditating, reading, playing soccer and travelling. 

Kaisey McCallion, Graphic Artist

Kaisey McCallion is a first year MFA student in the John C. Hench Division of Animation at USC. He grew up in the small town of Myersville in Maryland, and received his Bachelors of Science in 2019 from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in Applied Physics and Studio Art. When he’s not animating he enjoys sailing, mountain biking, and restoring his 1992 Jeep Cherokee.

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.

Steve Bucher Headshot

Past Editors

Charlie Feuerborn | Sam Sommerer | Madeline Lazas | Megan Andersen | Sovanna Cao | Maddie Douglas | Erica Draud | Melisa Osborne | Kiera Shepard | Reed Barnes | Eva Hill | Farzana Ansari | Katherine Armstrong | Sam Bagwell | Andrew Bagwell | Heather Chen | Victor Chen | Omar Dana | Viet Dao | Jamie Davis | Sepehr Dehpour | Derrick Eckardt | Alfonso Garza | Valerie Giambanco | Ilya Golosker | Meredith Hankins | Anna Harley-Trochimczyk | Steven Herrera | Trevor Johns | Pushkar Joshi | Manu Juyal | Erin Kettwig | Anshuman Khanna | Dennis Krouse | Bean Ching Law | Kolleen Lee | Ju Hae Lee | Brian Lobo | Jon Mapel | Louis Morton | Natasha Naik | Divya Nair | Peter Nguyen | Melissa Owens | Melissa Patterson | Michael Reeves | Dustin Reno | Keegan Riley | Mike Robinson | Michael Rochon-Duck | Kelsey Rose | Suzanne Schimmeyer | Katie Smith | Elizabeth So | Michelle Venables | Shveta Venkatram | Josh Villbrandt | Kim Vu | Sarah Waliany | Chino Wong | Johanna Wonsowicz | Chanelle Yamada