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.


Ashly Lam

Associate Editor

Ashly Lam is a sophomore studying Electrical and Computer Engineering. Outside of Illumin Magazine, she is involved with Women in Computing and the Society of Women Engineers, where she serves as a member of the WE Local Advisory Board. She is also involved in research with the Laboratory for Medical and Analytical Devices. Outside of engineering, she enjoys journaling and baking. 

Ralph Jeanty


Ralph Jeanty is a senior studying Computer Science and Business Administration. Besides Illumin, he is a part of LavaLab, and AcceptED USC. In his free time, he enjoys fashion, philosophy, reading, traveling and listening to wide-range of music.

Antonina Mintcheva

Associate Editor

Antonina Mintcheva is a senior studying Biomedical Engineering with an Electrical Engineering Emphasis and a minor in Computer Programming. Alongside Illumin, she is part of MEDesign, a medical device design club and Theta Tau, a professional co-ed engineering society. In her free time, she also enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, traveling, and painting.

Grace Hutapea


Grace Hutapea is a junior studying Computer Science. Besides Illumin, she is a member of the Photo Club and a teaching assistant for a programming class. In her free time, she enjoys learning to cook, reading, and running.

Henry Vu


Henry Vu is a senior majoring in Computer Science/Games with a minor in Blockchain. Henry was originally born in Vietnam and he went to the U.S. when he was fouteenth all by himself. On campus, Henry is a member of HackSC, LavaLab, and ProductSC. He loves meditating, reading, playing soccer and traveling.

Xindi Zhang


Xindi Zhang is a second-year MFA student majoring in animation at USC School of Cinematic Arts. She came from an illustration and game art background before her master’s studies. Outside of Illumin, Xindi works on her short films and participates in game development projects.

Steve Bucher Headshot

Steve Bucher


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

Past Editors

Hashim Alshihari | Timothy Wang | Kaisey McCallion | Mia Ahmady | Sofia Radulovic | Nicole Tamarov | Jane Carpenter | 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