News | USC Freshman Elizabeth (Eli) Chen joins METRANS Student Admin Team

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by Kailee Mark, English, USC Dornsife

Elizabeth (Eli) Chen is a freshman majoring in Public Policy and Urban Planning at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. She is also minoring in News and Information Innovation at the Iovine and Young Academy. Eli has recently joined the METRANS student administrative team as a news writer.


Eli came to USC from Athens, Georgia, a large rural college town about an hour from the city of Atlanta. “There are many unique restaurants and buildings,” Eli shares. “The county is the poorest of all of Georgia’s 159 counties, so I have an inclination to help out my constituents.” One of her favorite places to go to in her hometown is Target, as its wares are mostly geared towards college students. “Athens is more rural, with a slower pace of life,” she explains. “It was a huge adjustment moving to LA.”


Elizabeth Chen, Public Policy and Urban Planning, USC Price


Eli originally planned to pursue her higher education on the East Coast, but to her surprise she found USC to be a perfect fit for her interests. “I never thought I would get into USC, let alone get a merit scholarship.” One factor that compelled her to attend USC was the opportunity to intern and gain work experience in a cosmopolitan city. “I love how connected USC is. Talking to professionals in different industries is helping me figure out what I want to do with my life,” Eli proclaims. “I love the diversity of people, ideals, and backgrounds at this school.”


At METRANS, Eli hopes to be able to find time to both work with the Student News and K12 Outreach Teams. In the long run, at least as she sees things now, she hopes to investigate career opportunities in rooftop gardening and sustainable city planning. “My ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ question changes every day,” she admits.  “Right now, I want to go into rooftop gardening and hydroponics in an effort to decrease food production costs and turn buildings into mix-use/new urbanism. I really just want to work in housing or pursue a career where I can serve others in a creative and innovative way.” The METRANS job will be very helpful as it will allow me to learn more about transportation and development in the LA area.” In terms of LA public transit, Eli quickly mastered the use of bus tracking apps to navigate the sprawling city and has wasted no time in getting to know and experiencing firsthand her new home.


In her free time, Eli loves to canvas, phone bank, and participate in grassroots campaigns. “During the Georgia special election, I knocked on over 550 doors. I was involved in Mutual Aid back home and I hope to work with them out here as well as the Boys and Girls Club of America.” She is involved with on-campus organizations at USC including the Chinese American Student Association (CASA), Marshall MOVE, the Marshall Entertainment Association (MEA), and Trojan Democrats, and harbors a passion for economics and humanitarian rights. She also makes Tik Toks and film vlogs.


“My favorite quality about myself is how much I love and care for others,” says Eli. “I try to always check in on my friends and will be there for anything they need.”


About the Author:

Kailee Mark is a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Southern California studying English at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She currently works for METRANS’ Fast Facts, K-12, and Newsletter student teams, and loves spending time with family.