We sat down with new USC Associates member Amy Yee ’98 and asked her a few questions about herself and her family, and why they are such passionate supporters of USC.
Tell us a little about you and your family.
I grew up in Carson, California, and both my sister and I attended USC, where I majored in international relations and political science. After graduating in 1998, I attended law school at the University of San Diego. For more than a decade, I worked for a nonprofit biomedical research institute in Torrance. Then, in 2013, I moved to Boston with my husband, Eric. Currently, I serve as the in-house counsel for a global pharmaceutical company, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. & Affiliates. Our son, James, just started preschool in September and is currently obsessed with Traveler!
When did you begin giving to the university?
I gave sporadically after I graduated from law school, supporting the USC Leslie and William McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative, USC Dornsife Dean’s Fund for Excellence, and most recently, USC’s First Generation Plus Success Center.
What inspired you and your family to give?
In March 2020, just days before the pandemic shuttered everything, USC hosted an alumni reception at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where President Folt presented her vision for USC. She highlighted the USC First Generation Plus Success Center, which provides support and resources to students who face unique challenges adjusting to college life. As the pandemic wore on, I was impressed with USC’s efforts to help students and employees through the Basic Needs and Employee Support funds. Seeing USC’s commitment to these members of the Trojan Family inspired me to give back.
What impact did you want to make when you made your gift?
My sister and I are both first-generation students from a blue-collar family. We were able to attend USC because of the university’s generous merit scholarships and financial aid packages. As multi-ethnic, lower-income students at USC in the mid-’90s, we often felt very different from our classmates. Fortunately for me, I had my older sister to guide me, but as the family trailblazer, my sister did not have the same advantage. I hope that my gift will allow other students like my sister to get the guidance and support they need to focus on pursuing the wonderful opportunities a USC education offers.
What led you to join the USC Associates?
A few years ago, the university’s alumni relations team was visiting Boston, updating local alumni on activities at USC. Last year, I knew the time had come to formalize my commitment and return some of the generosity that the Trojan Family had shown to me and my sister.
What do you enjoy about your USC Associates experience and membership?
Because of the pandemic, I wasn’t able to travel back home to Los Angeles for more than two years. The USC Associates staff did a wonderful job of keeping me in the loop by sending me updates on USC’s First Generation Plus Success Center and letting me know about virtual events I might enjoy.
Are you involved with any other membership groups or boards on campus at USC?
This year, I volunteered with the First Generation Plus Success Center’s mentor program, which has been an incredibly rewarding experience.
What is your favorite USC memory?
Move-in day and graduation will always have a special place in my memories. An “Only at USC” moment that stands out to me is crashing a lecture on film sound taught by Tom Holman, creator of THX sound—and watching Predator, in all its glory, in the Norris Theater!