Meet the Trip Leads

Adrienne Visani {ALUM}

Trip Lead

Adrienne's got nothing on her namesake (Rocky's girlfriend in the movies Rocky 1-5), but at least she helped start this neat organization. She left the 14,000ft peaks, snowy ski slopes, and white water rapids of Denver, CO in search of gold in California, and she certainly found gold in USC Peaks & Professors. A neuroscience major and future doctor (*fingers crossed*), Adrienne spends much of her time working in an Alzheimer's research lab and teaching molecular biology, avoiding eating meat, texting and biking (nope), trying to drag her friends to karaoke, and reminiscing on her semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Where she ate ostrich AND crocodile and lived to tell the tale.

Ailish Ullmann

Vice President of Internal Membership | Trip Lead

Though world renown for her hilarious and mildly disturbing snapchat faces, Ailish is also--in her spare time--a senior studying Environmental Science and Health with a minor in Photography and Social Change and another minor in French. For better or worse, she was born and raised in the very strange, very scary, very flat, swampy state of Florida in a small town known only to 80 year old golfers. When she came to Southern California for school, she immediately fell in love with the strange, enormous rock structures called "mountains" and hasn't stopped hiking them since. Freshly back from the place known in French as "the Land of the Kangaroos," she's hyped to bring what she learned from the mountains Down Undah to lead yet another semester of awesome trips.

Allegra Bishop {ALUM}

Founder | President (2013-2016)

Allegra Bishop, the founder and president of Peaks and Professors, has loved every second of helping to create our wonderful organization and Peaks community. Originally from Bozeman, Montana, Allegra has always adored the outdoors but yearned for more here at USC. As a Human Biology and Biomedical Science major, she has always enjoyed academics and wondered why you couldn't combine the two. And just like that, BOOM! Peaks and Professors was born. When this dynamic leader isn't hiking, printing 3-D prosthetic hands, or playing the cello (what else is there even to do?!), she is the director of strategic partnerships for the Athena Women's Entrepreneurial Initiative, a member of the Polymathic Institute, part of the Greek community and a leader in many other student clubs. The only thing bigger than the name of her organizations is her passion for them! She has had a blast with the Peaks and Professors community and hopes to see you on the trail soon.

Amanda Curtis

Trip Lead

Amanda hails from New Jersey, the land of real bagels and pizza (don't you dare try to feed her bagels from a grocery store). She is a junior in the Iovine and Young Academy with emphases in interactive media and visual and culture communication and a minor in East Asian Languages and Culture (somehow they all are related). Amanda spends her time eating lots of food, watching Game of Thrones and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, thrift shopping, and making extremely clever puns. To summit all up, while she might not be as outdoorsy as some of her fellow leads, Amanda loves escaping to the mountains in Malibu and enjoying the fresh Southern California air (avoiding all of her responsibilities for a few hours).

Anne Bowen

Trip Lead

Anne is originally from Rochester, NY, but spent most of her childhood hiking, kayaking, biking, waterskiing, and camping in the mountains of New Hampshire. Now she’s ready for some adventures that involve less lake-effect snow. As a sophomore biological sciences major with a pre-Physician Assistant emphasis, Anne is obsessed with animals, and frequently tries to start conversations about evolution (usually unsuccessfully). Anne’s most important activities outside of hiking involve volunteering and laying in hammocks knitting, reading, eating dried bananas chips, or listening to folk music.

Annemarie Allen

Trip Lead

Annemarie has lived around the world as a military brat, but the place that catches everyone’s attention is Anchorage, Alaska. Yes, Alaska, where it is cold and dark in the winter (but warm and very light in the summer) and where there are moose and probably polar bears somewhere (that you do not ride or even touch, for that matter). Annemarie drove her car down from Anchorage to Los Angeles (in three days!!!) to pursue opportunities and a Business Administration degree. While she was enjoying her time in class getting to know the amazing professors and faculty that USC has to offer, Annemarie realized that she hadn’t been on top of a mountain or even really a hill since she left her beautiful state. So, she decided to join Peaks and Professors. You can be sure to see Annemarie using trips to get some #basic pics for the Insta.

Anthony Johnston {NEW}

Trip Lead

Anthony is from the good ol’ south - born and raised in Covington, Georgia - a rural town located on the outskirts of Atlanta. He is currently a freshman at USC studying Electrical Engineering and loving it (or so he tells himself). When Anthony isn’t brewing a fresh cup of joe or experimenting with new recipes, you can bet that he is either working (bleh…) or exploring the world (yay!). Over this past summer, he traveled across the country and visited 8 National Parks, as well as over 15 state parks.

Austen Le

Vice President of Operations | Trip Lead

Austen is pretty mellow dude who lives in a constant state of bewilderment and likes to smile a lot. Double majoring in Biochemistry and Narrative Studies, he has plans to either make it big in the pharmaceutical industry, or get a secure job (and not die) trying. Although he is far away from the redwood trees of the Bay Area that he calls home, Austen finds comfort in being outdoors and taking in the great Southern California scenery. If he's not in the lab doing research, you might find him playing tennis, rooting for the Golden State Warriors, or in the kitchen trying a new recipe.

Ben Banet

Trip Specialist | Trip Lead

Ben was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri deep in the Midwest. Despite the common misconception that the entire state is entirely flat like Iowa, he found adventure while exploring the Ozark Mountains by foot, mountain bike and kayak. In 5th grade, a combination of Boy Scouts and a cross-country road trip to Oregon and back got Ben hooked on exploring national parks and going on long adventures. Years later, Ben found himself planning another cross country trip, but to Los Angeles. Since arriving at USC, he has busied himself by designing his own major based on natural resource management and GIS mapping, exploring mountains no less than 7 times higher than Missouri’s high point and being amazed by the size of the ocean (much larger than any watering hole in Missouri). He splits his free time between planning the next trip and his next Instagram post.

Brian Loh {NEW}

Trip Lead

Brian was born and raised in the oven known as Phoenix, Arizona. In efforts to avoid being cooked like eggs on the sidewalk or cookies on the dashboard though, he began escaping into the mountains and forests during the summers. These days, Brian is still escaping stress and responsibility in the outdoors with the Peaks team! On campus, he is a sophomore studying electrical engineering and sculpture, but is also kept busy as a Resident Assistant in Birnkrant and an ambassador with the USC Office of Admission. If you ever cross paths with Brian on campus or a trail, feel free to ask him about woodworking, Rainbow flip flops, or Peaks and Professors!

Brianna Johnson

Trip Lead

Although she hails from Texas, Brianna refuses to use the word “y’all” and has only driven over an armadillo once. She’s liking it out here in California, though, and attempts to soak up all the sunshine her pale skin can possibly take. A Political Science major and Spanish minor, Brianna spends her non-hiking days interning at the mayor’s office, working at the Unruh Institute, chilling with her residents (RA life), listening to Hamilton, and telling jokes so good that NBC is probably going to offer her a show that will run for two seasons before being pulled off the air.

Brooke Helstrom {NEW}

Trip Lead

Brooke is a junior majoring in Environmental Studies and Philosophy, Politics, and Law, and minoring in International Health, Development, and Social Justice. Born and raised in New Joisey, she believes in the healing power of a true New Jersey bagel. She spent last semester interning in D.C., and spent the summer farming/hiking in Alaska. Her most beloved pastimes are looking at the stars whilst having existential crises, saving spiders from untimely deaths, or posting on @sadveganmeals.

Chris Halbur

Head Trip Lead

Born amongst the cornfields in the faraway wonderland of Iowa, Chris found himself in a bit of an unknown place upon moving to Los Angeles. Bewildered by the sight of concrete and lack of livestock, Chris turned to the outdoors and Peaks for a bit of a reprieve. A biomedical engineering major, Chris can often be found on campus muttering incoherent nonsense to himself in the Doheny bookstacks or accidentally wandering into inanimate objects. When he's not daydreaming about corn on the cob or trying to explain what a "caucus" is, Chris enjoys hiking, cooking, skiing, lively conversation, watersports, and spontaneous roadtrips.

Cooper Nelson

Trip Lead

Hailing from over the hills and far away (i.e. just north of San Francisco), Cooper is a junior doubling Cinema and Law, History and Culture, with a sweet lil minor in Screenwriting - she'd like to either become a Boss Entertainment Lawyer Woman or to write children's television. When she's not doing homework (read: watching Bojack Horseman and Game of Thrones) she can be found pushing paper at Dreamworks, shredding the gnar at Mammoth, or failing hilariously to surf at El Porto. Cooper enjoys 7/11 slurpees, erasers shaped like foods, and her extremely fluffy dog (pictured above).

David Gregg

Trip Lead

David hails from Appleton, Wisconsin, a classic Midwestern town comfortably close to his beloved Green Bay Packers but uncomfortably far from the nearest In-N-Out Burger. His passions include inhaling the crisp, cold air of his home state, and breathing the dry, thin air high in the mountains of Southern California. A chemical engineering major, David is also interested in biology, history, his Rubik's cube, and USC football, so talk to him about anything out on the trail! Fight On and Think Outside!

Dinu Abeywickrema

Trip Lead

Dinu hails from Los Gatos, CA, a small town a little north of here in the land of engineers and silicon. In LG, she spent most of her time in the pool or the ocean, and more often than not, smelled like chlorine. Being sure she'd have to give up her proximity to hiking trails, redwoods, and the greenery of the Santa Cruz mountains when she moved to USC, Dinu was surprised to find LA had some giant peaks of its own, and it wasn't all beaches, concrete, and shopping malls, (clearly she has very little grasp on geography, be wary). Now, when she isn't accidentally climbing Upper Yosemite Falls or binge-watching Netflix, Dinu spends her time tracking down watering holes, hot springs, and any other bodies of water. Dinu is a junior studying Environmental Science and Health, who is currently struggling with balancing her new-found inability to digest dairy and her cravings for chocolate milk & milkshakes.

Eric Bittner

Trip Lead

You may be able to judge a lot of books by their covers, but not this one. Eric is a sophomore from the Bay Area with more interests than sand on the beach. While currently majoring in Economics, he fancies the finer things in life including rock climbing, piano/guitar, french, swimming and water polo, and hiking just to name a few. If you don't find him out trying something new, he's probably trying to sleep to get ready for a call to start a new adventure.

Garrett Weskamp

Trip Lead

Born in Denver, Colorado, but living in a variety of states across the U.S., Garrett Weskamp has been adventuring his entire life. He currently lives in Springfield, Missouri, but has realized that California is the greatest of all 50 states because of all the possibilities for adventure. He loves road tripping, and even made a trip from LA to Portland to Vegas and back for spring break 2015. He is studying Health Promotion/Disease Prevention and getting a minor in German Studies during his study abroad trip to Dresden, Germany in Spring 2016. When he isn't road tripping or hiking, he likes to cook, play music, and dance obnoxiously at concerts.

Grace (Graciela) Carballo

Trip Lead

Grace or Graciela, as folks call her nowadays, is currently in a committed long-distance relationship with Peaks and Professors, carefully balancing her studies in Nicaragua with her social media communications with her beloved fellow Trip Leads. Given her slowly-developing Spanish abilities, she has not yet asked any of her Nicaraguan professors to hike with her, but she has embodied the motto "Think Outside" (as pictured at the summit of a very steep corn field outside of Matagalpa). She eagerly awaits her triumphant return to USC and Peaks and Professors, because there's really nothing like a good hike with good people. If you're reading this and considering signing up for a trip but have your personal qualms, sign up and rest easy because Graciela has exercise-induced asthma, sweats profusely, and often lacks directional sense, yet still she is cherished and has a leadership role among us, a true Cinderella story.

Hanna Fahsholtz {NEW}

Trip Lead

Born and raised in Spokane, WA, Hanna grew up taking the beautiful mountains and lakes of the Pacific Northwest for granted. After arriving in urban Los Angeles, she realized that not every city is covered in pine trees and quickly joined Peaks and Professors in her quest to find more green things; since then, she has grown to love the less-green-but-equally-cool mountains of Southern California. Hanna is a junior majoring in Narrative Studies with a minor in International Relations but, thanks to a lifelong fear of commitment, has explored pretty much every non-STEM program at USC. Ask her about social entrepreneurship, hip hop as a life philosophy, commercially viable kelp aquaculture, and why you should exclusively use song lyrics as computer passwords! When not wracked with indecision, Hanna enjoys describing episodes of 30 Rock in detail to people who definitely care, reading, and practicing with her amateur street basketball team (which competes only 2 days per year: follow @teambucket.official for more info).

Hannah Thomas

Trip Lead

Hannah was raised in Wyoming, a state containing less than 600,000 people and only four escalators, and is still amazed by the monstrous city that is LA. She grew up hiking and skiing in the Rockies, but now spends her time hanging out in nature around LA. When she's not working on a research project, complaining about homework, or leading trips with Peaks and Professors, she's probably laying in bed looking at cool doggo memes. A Global Health major, Hannah seeks out new experiences and loves international travel. She has conquered peaks on five different continents, and is currently studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.

Hima Rajana

Trip Lead

Rumor has it that the last time Hima went home to the Bay Area, she hiked the whole way armed with only a USC sweatshirt and a jar of nut butter. On the real, while that sounds like fun, she’s more excited for the trips she’ll get to lead with Peaks and Professors this year! Hima is a sophomore majoring in neuroscience and minoring in social entrepreneurship. Her biggest accomplishment is her Pinterest board of hikes on her bucket list. Hobbies and talents include skipping through shows on Netflix, dreaming up endless varieties of oatmeal, and losing water bottles. Her only real marketable skill is editing photos for Instagram - hit her up to do yours!

Jack Koppa {ALUM}

Vice President of Tech | Trip Lead

Jack, a senior at USC, has tried & failed at a lot of things during his time here, but Peaks and Professors is one of his happiest successes. He's double majoring in Environmental Studies & Chinese, with his web design minor helping him design/run peaksandprofessors.org, as well as manage our obnoxious emails. "Professionally," Jack spends a lot of time with cleantech, China, and WordPress, as well as explaining how those three things could ever fit together. The rest of the time, though, he'd love to be either devouring a current obsession (atm: AI or Mars colonization), or outside hiking. Favorite locales: Glacier, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree, Boney Mountain, Northern Wisconsin, and this really cool canyon called 白河 right outside of Beijing.

Joelle Burkhardt

VP Technology

Joelle has considered changing her LinkedIn title to "Dirtbag Engineer" or "Hype Animal", but decided these epithets are better suited for this bio. Hailing from Boulder, CO, Joelle is a senior/progressive master's student studying Chemical Engineering, Nanotechnology, & Materials Engineering, and will be working at Microsoft Devices on XBox, Surface, & HoloLens post-grad. Tech is rad, but the ability to zoom into nature and broaden our perspective on some of the world's most complex problems is even RADDER. Disconnect to reconnect, dig? That's why Joelle joined Peaks. In her free time and units she also studies Classic Rock, Kundalini Yoga & Meditation, and Star Wars Cinema. Chat her up about cradle-to-cradle supply chains, modular product design, mixed reality, the Pacific Northwest, 1960s counterculture, or her secret only-spread-by-word-of-mouth Album Listening Club. Huzzah!

Jules Zucker

Trip Lead

Jules "@thegreatoatdoors" Zucker is an amazingly lifelike scarecrow from the far-off Bay Area – she studies Narrative Studies and music industry and has no marketable skills. An expert at ending up in the very high places she most fears, her favorite trail memories include close calls on Angel's Landing in Zion and the Kalalau Trail in Kauai. When she's not "looking for kindling" while everyone else is pitching the tents, Jules can be found laughing at her own jokes, eating copious amounts of oatmeal, and romanticizing the lifestyle of 1940s railroad hobos.

Julienne Dawidoff

Trip Lead

Take a hike. That’s what my mom used to always tell me. I took it literally and learned how to hike in the nature park behind my bougie Newport Beach neighborhood. Come to find out, 10 years later, she meant to just go to my room and do my homework. I am a Sophomore majoring in Art History with a minor in Chemistry atm. I love trail mix and other hiking snacks and canteens are my life. My shoe size is a 7, but I am an 8 in Timberland heels. For booking inquires, contact my momager. Hope to see you on a hike with me.

Katelyn Michael

Trip Lead

Katelyn hails from the PNW. She enjoys breakfast food, a good cup of coffee, Tillamook ice cream, and tinder dates at Nobu, aka the finer things in life. Though she misses waking up to trees for miles and a stellar view of the Puget Sound, she couldn’t be happier studying Chemistry at USC (ok that’s a lie but overall it’s pretty great). Growing up swimming and having a brief stint with rowing, she now seeks out the waterfalls, lakes, and rivers both Washington and Southern California have to offer. She also recently started doing triathlons and did one with her dad and brother this summer. From biking to backpacking to scoping out new locations to hammock, she loves being active. Her friends also frequently call upon her to name their Spotify playlists (check out Smooth Jelly, it's even better than smooth jams). Catch her yelling uncharacteristically mean things at the TV during football season, go Trojans and go Seahawks!

Katherine Cheng {NEW}

Trip Lead

Katherine took some time off school to [learn how to surf] work, so she isn't sure what year she is but knows that she's getting her BS in BME and her MS in Engineering Management in 2018. You can find her in the sea on weeknights and on summits on the weekends when she isn't getting her degrees. While she is (like now), she loves getting away from the hustle of LA and seeing some really big rocks. Go look at some rocks with her or something, gosh.

Kealia Hudson {NEW}

Trip Lead

As a youngster, L.A. native Kea Hudson devoted her waking hours to practicing gymnastics in an old, repurposed church basement that probably exposed her to dangerous quantities of asbestos. Now that she has ascended from the underworld, Kimmy Schmidt style, she will gladly take advantage of just about any opportunity to hike, backpack, or ski in order to breathe the clean air of the great outdoors--one of her recent adventures was walking the Camino de Santiago with the one and only @yushiroll. At USC, Kea studies psychology and its intersection with political science. In her free time she enjoys baking with enough butter to make Paula Deen proud, personalizing her public radio, attempting to join the circus, and ruminating on the glory days of being her high school mascot.

Maddi Eckert

Trip Lead

Born and raised in the Biggest Little City in the World (Reno, NV), Maddi grew up hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding in the High Sierras around Lake Tahoe. As a Political Science major who hates politics, Maddi prefers to spend her time playing beach volleyball, hiking and exploring all the Los Angeles has to offer. A master of making terrible puns in any and all situations, Maddi views Peaks and Professors as one of the hi(ke)lights of her time at USC.

Mark Yeager

Trip Lead

Like the peaks he loves to climb (with professors), Mark is tall. Really tall. Originally from Virginia, he moved to Sacramento the summer before his junior year of high school; or, in the words of Childish Gambino, he "got penthouse on both coasts; pH balance." This also brings to light Mark's diverse interests. He loves good music, cheap but delicious eats, and traveling. Academically, he entered college as Undeclared, and considered various fields like Chemistry and Human Biology. Now a sophomore, Mark is an Economics/Math major with a minor in Spanish. He is beyond stoked to be studying abroad in Madrid during the Fall 2017 Semester, where he will also be able to fully embrace his passion for playing, coaching, and watching soccer--AKA the beautiful game. Other fun facts about Mark include: he does not eat candy; his tiny, three-door, red Hyundai is far too small for his body; and his legs look like he skips leg day. Rest assured, he never does.

Megan White {NEW}

Trip Lead

Megan has moved a total of 50 minutes *39 minutes without traffic * away from home to attend USC and study Geology and Environmental Studies. Born in Simi Valley, California she has been fortunate enough to explore the beautiful mountains of SoCal. Her main hobbies include soccer and backpacking. She also really enjoys waking up at 5:30 am to work out, finish up any last minute homework, drink coffee, and watch the sunrise (Don’t let that make you think she is incredibly boring—she’s only partially boring). In high school, she was introduced to backpacking through a teacher, whom actually took her on a backpacking trip as a graduation present. It’s like Peaks and Professors was made for her, right?! She has since then trekked the John Muir Trail, a 211-mile thru hike in the Happiest Place on Earth (the Sierra Nevada Mountains—not Disneyland). The thought of leading hikes for her fellow pupils makes her happier than ever, so go hike with her!!

Nadine Curtin

Trip Lead

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Nadine spends most days by the beach with a book in hand and plenty of snacks. A brief lapse in judgement led her to believe she wanted to move to Texas for college, but alas, after just one year, she missed her beloved ocean too much and returned to the homeland and USC. Nadine is a Junior studying Social Sciences and Spanish, and hopes to be a first grade teacher because she's scared of growing up and wants to be a kid forever. When not reading cheesy romance novels or the Harry Potter series for the 8th time, Nadine spends her time walking back and forth between her bed to the fridge in the hopes that food magically appears (it doesn't). Upon finding no food, Nadine then maybe picks up her guitar, kicks the soccer ball around, attempts to touch her toes in yoga (still a work in progress), and gasps for air while slowly walking up mountains.

Peter Bergmann

President (2016-present) | Trip Lead

Peter Bergmann is currently a senior studying Economics/Mathematics with a minor in Dad Jokes and Puns. Originally from the weird and wonderful city of Portland, Oregon, Peter is almost as cool as his home town. Having spent a summer in Beijing studying Mandarin, you would think he would be one with the culture, but while he was there he mispronounced his Chinese name so badly that every person he met thought his name was "Nose". When he isn't hiking with USC's coolest professors or mispronouncing his name, he loves running absurdly long distances. He has run two marathons and five half-marathons, so naturally his primary hobby is eating. In Beijing, he ate 70 potstickers in one meal just to see how many he could finish. Follow @bergmannbites for food pics. In addition to being a Trip Lead, Peter was once upon a time a Resident Assistant in Birnkrant and has held leadership roles in USG and the Economics Association as well as President of Peaks.

Pooja Agarwal

Trip Lead

Pooja grew up in a small town in Massachusetts which boasts to be the “safest town in America” and unofficially, the “most boring town in America,” so she had to get the heck out and naturally chose to come to Los Angeles. She has yet to be bored in LA and spends her time sending Snapchats of the warm weather to her friends at home, eating real Mexican food and converting people into Patriots fans. As a sophomore studying Business Administration with a minor in Environmental Studies and kind of in Social Entrepreneurship, she has new ideas of what to do with her life every day. If you see Pooja, you won’t have trouble talking to her about TED talks, traveling and trips she’s planning for Peaks and Professors!

Rachel Thundat {ALUM}

Social Media Vice President | Trip Lead

Rachel is a senior at USC. A Tennessee native, she has also spent time living in Alberta, Canada before moving to California. She is a Business major with a minor in natural science. Outside of Peaks, she enjoys running, yoga and acting. Eventually she wants to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. While hiking is one of her favorite pastimes, she also enjoys meeting people and convincing them to join Peaks and Professors.

Rahul Bilakanti

Trip Lead

Rahul has spent most of his life in beautiful Portland, OR, giving him a love for everything green. When he came to LA he was horrified by the lack of nature, so he joined Peaks and Professors early on to help fix that! Now a senior studying biomedical engineering, Rahul spends most of his time eating and sleeping. When he isn't doing those things, he enjoys playing sports, learning how to cook, and exploring Los Angeles.

Saharra Griffin {ALUM}

Trip Lead

An Atlanta native, Saharra is a junior majoring in Policy, Planning and Development. Since joining the Peaks team last year, she has loved getting to know the other Trip Leads and escaping the city smog. When she isn't outdoors with Peaks & Professors, she enjoys thinking of good captions for Instagram and being a member of the cult called SoulCycle.

Sam Andrews

Trip Lead

Despite being born in Southern California; Sam has grown up across the globe. Sam has always been one to seek out adventure, never wanting to visit the same place twice. He has lived in Santa Barbara, Paris, and London, traveled across the world, and found his passion through travel. Building on theses interests and experiences, he declared his major as Business Administration International Relations. Sam will never say no to hiking, camping, or free diving; essentially, ask him and he’ll probably go. But regardless of where he goes, he always finds his place back at the beach.

Sydney Hibberd

Vice President of Finance | Trip Lead

Born in Hong Kong, Sydney spent her early years there before moving to Toronto, Canada to ride polar bears to school. Then, after spending four years at boarding school in the dank Connecticut woods, she decided to give the more temperate West Coast a chance and arrived at USC. An avid traveler, she has a passion for pursuing outdoor adventures all over the world, from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, to waking up to singing gibbons in the Laotian rainforest, to working as a horseback riding trail guide in Western Australia.  When she's not out on the trail, you can find Sydney reading, eating butternut squash mac and cheese from Trader Joes, or planning her next travels.

Thomas Donovan {ALUM}

President (2016-17) | Trip Lead

Hailing from the neighborhood pools and hiking trails of the East Bay Area Thomas was wholly unprepared for the culture shock that moving to the concrete wonderland that is Los Angeles would entail. After an exciting, but somewhat stifling first semester at USC his first hike with Peaks and Professors was a revelation he has yet to look back from. A former History major who sold out in order to switch to Business Administration, he'll quickly try to convince you that he does in fact have a soul (we'll leave that for you to decide.) He spends much of his time reading, swimming, hiking, and debating the merits of otters versus manatees.

Tyler Jenss

Trip Lead

Before heading west to the wilderness of Los Angeles, Tyler enjoyed bushwhacking his way through the concrete jungle of New York. He has travelled to 45 different countries, and hopes to keep adding to that number. Then, when it came time to apply to college, Tyler chose to accidentally check the wrong box for “major” on his common application and went on to enroll at USC as a astronautical engineering major, earning him the nickname “the accidental rocket scientist.” After diligently pursuing a career in engineering for about a month, he decided that rocket science wasn’t his cup of tea and now studies Business Administration with a minor in Architecture. Tyler’s hobbies include eating, procrastinating with Netflix, eating some more, photography, and thinking about food.

Weezy Dai

Vice President of External Membership | Trip Lead

A Lisbon native & Toronto local, Weezy is a sophomore pursuing a dual degree in Public Relations & Nutrition - not that she knows where she's going with that (possible future lawyer?). She traded lakes & forests for deserts & mountains, but LA's year-round sunshine makes up for the lack of canoe trip opportunities. She's played the violin for 15 years, says everything as if it has "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" after it, can only lucid dream, and intends to live to 150 yrs old by drinking a lot of green juice. Weezy hikes so she can one day be strong enough to personally carry all of the animals out of SeaWorld and put them back into the ocean, but exploring the beautiful outdoors is a nice bonus in the meantime. She spends a lot of time thinking of captions for the Peaks Instagram and eating baguettes, but if you see her around feel free to ask her about Justin Trudeau, airplanes, or cookie dough.

Yushi Wang

Trip Lead

Yushi (@yushiroll, Yushinator 5000, Yushi the Green Dinosaur) is currently in her 4th year of the 5 year B.S. to M.A. program in USC's Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (you still with me?). She spends her free time hikin' around the beautiful Californian wilderness, skippin' barefoot and strummin' her uke, soakin' in that fresh fresh sunshine. When she's not hiking with Peaks and Professors or sweating in her grad classes feeling like an undergrad poser, you can find her in the tree pose (@artoflivingyoga), throwing up a roundhouse kick (@USCtaekwondoclub), or sleeping all her worries away, dreaming of seeing YOU out on the trail.

Zach Manta

Trip Lead

Were you born in raised in the charming town of Hinsdale, Illinois in the western suburbs of Chicago? Are you an Environmental Studies major with a psychology minor? Do you co-direct the Environmental Core, design for the Mindful USC Student Sector and play on the USC Men's Ultimate Frisbee team? Do you fill your head with podcasts such as Tangentially Speaking and the Duncan Trussell Family hour? Are you fascinated with the lifestyle of the North American Beaver and think that it's near-extinction during the European settlement of the lower 48 was among the greatest tragedies in the natural world? Are you excited to lead Peaks trips to the Mojave Desert and ask professors questions that sound kind of dumb but are actually thought provoking and not *that* dumb? If so, you're either Zach Manta or just really really really really really weirdly really similar to him.