About Us

About Us 2019-04-16T11:49:32-07:00

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.

Megan Andersen, Associate Editor

Megan Andersen is a sophomore studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Forensics. She loves talking about engineering to anyone who will listen, even if they insist on calling her a nerd because of it. On a daily basis you can see her making memes and quoting Game of Thrones.

Sovanna Cao, Associate Editor

Sovanna (Sovi) Cao is a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a Mechanical Emphasis. Her free time consists of dancing on several different dance teams and making trips around California for food. She hopes one day to be working on a human-like prosthetic hand that can do even the most intricate tasks.

Maddie Douglas, Associate Editor

Maddie Douglas is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering with a Video Game Programming minor.  When she’s not working on Illumin, she spends her time as social chair of the professional engineering organization Theta Tau, running outdoors and exploring LA, and completing her new years’ resolution–trying every monthly flavor of ice cream at Salt & Straw.

Erica Draud, Associate Editor

Melisa Osborne, Associate Editor

Melisa Osborne completed her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and is now earning her M.S. in the same field at USC. She joined the Illumin team in November 2016 and her favorite color is blue.

Kiera Shepard, Associate Editor

Kiera Shepard is a junior studying Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis in Mechanical Engineering. She is passionate about the entrepreneurial and ethical components of biomedical engineering. In her free time she enjoys traveling and trying new foods!

Reed Barnes, Webmaster

Reed is a sophomore Computer Science Major at USC who wants to be a software engineer in the field of machine learning. Statistically speaking, he’s probably embarrassing himself somewhere right now.

Eva Hill, Graphic Artist

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.

Past Editors

  • 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