Maria McMillan

Major: Popular Music Performance (Keyboard)

Minor: Music Industry

Graduation year: 2023

Hometown: Boulder, CO

USC Organizations: Helenes, Troy Camp, Thornton Community Engagement, Student Worker at Grand Library

Hashtag to describe yourself: #tritone

Favorite place on campus: I love walking down Trousdale through the middle of campus. Doheny, Bovard and just that whole area is beautiful. All of the trees are so pretty, it makes me feel like I’m in a movie.

Describe your favorite USC Thornton experience so far.

In the fall of my freshman year, Jackie DeShannon came to Pop Forum and I was part of a group of students that performed two of her songs for her. It was so cool to hear all of the wisdom she had to share during class, but also so amazing to play her songs for her. She told us she was overjoyed and very moved by our performance.

What was your favorite USC GE class?

LING115 – Language and Society. We talked about the different ways languages influence our society, like in education, government, and our personal lives. I also learned a ton about language development and the way languages are passed down between generations which was super interesting!

What is your favorite thing about being in Los Angeles?

There’s always something to do in LA! The food is amazing, there’s always a concert to go to, and the mountains and the beach are a nice escape from the city.

What is something you wish you knew when you were applying to college?

Everything will be okay in the end! It’s so hard in the moment to take a deep breath, but know you will end up where you’re supposed to be. Your worth as a human being is not determined or defined by the college admissions process. Wherever you end up, you will do great things!

What is your favorite thing about being a student at the Thornton School?

The people! I get to collaborate with all of the amazing students in Thornton, but also with the faculty. It’s so inspiring to have professors who also continue to be actively involved in the music industry.

Why did you choose the Thornton School? 

I chose Thornton because of the unique cohort-based curriculum of the popular music program, the conservatory-style music program within a larger university, and the collaborative atmosphere among Thornton students!