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About Shaukat Initiative

Mission Statement | Declaración de Misión


The Shaukat Initiative aims to create a space where children of USC staff members and other local high school students can further develop their intellectual interests and explore new disciplines in an intimate academic setting.  We empower enthusiastic undergraduates and graduates at USC with the freedom to design their own courses that create a learning environment which is geared towards communicating the subject matter in an engaging and intellectually stimulating fashion in order to help students discover their passions. Our team is dedicated to adopting a pedagogy that shifts focus from grades and test performance to developing intellectual curiosity, tools for critical thinking, and a greater understanding of the ethical and social implications of knowledge we acquire. We encourage instructors and students alike to foster these skills in small, discussion-based learning communities. Given the increasing socioeconomic inequality and the astronomical rise of competition in the education sector, the Shaukat Initiative aspires to show appreciation for underserved members of the extended Trojan family and surrounding communities, who play an integral role in making our university one of the finest higher education institutions in the world. By providing our students with academic opportunities and resources that may not be available in their schools, we hope to increase their competitiveness on the national stage, while simultaneously redefining the classroom experience.


La Iniciativa Shaukat tiene como objetivo crear un espacio donde los niños de los miembros del personal de la USC y otros estudiantes de escuelas preparatorias locales puedan desarrollar aún más sus intereses intelectuales y explorar nuevas disciplinas en un entorno académico íntimo. Empoderamos a estudiantes universitarios y estudiantes universitarios graduados en la USC con la libertad de diseñar sus propios cursos que creen un ambiente de aprendizaje orientado a comunicar el tema de manera atractiva e intelectualmente estimulante para ayudar a los estudiantes a descubrir sus pasiones. Nuestro equipo se dedica a adoptar una pedagogía que mueva el enfoque de lo que se considera importante, pasando de las calificaciones y el rendimiento en exámenes al desarrollo de la curiosidad intelectual, las herramientas para el pensamiento crítico y una mayor comprensión de las implicaciones éticas y sociales del conocimiento que adquirimos. Alentamos a los instructores y estudiantes por igual para que fomenten estas habilidades en pequeñas comunidades de aprendizaje basadas en la discusión. Dada la creciente desigualdad socioeconómica y el astronómico aumento de la competencia en el sector educativo, la Iniciativa Shaukat aspira a mostrar su aprecio por los miembros olvidados de la familia Trojan extendida y las comunidades circundantes, que juegan un papel integral en hacer de nuestra universidad una de las mejores escuelas de educación superior en el mundo. Al proporcionarles a nuestros estudiantes oportunidades académicas y recursos que pueden no estar disponibles en sus escuelas, esperamos aumentar su competitividad en el escenario nacional, mientras redefinimos simultáneamente la experiencia en el aula.


Mazen Loan is a finalist at the University of Oxford, where he is pursuing his MPhil in Modern Middle East Studies and Arabic. He graduated from USC in 2018 with a BA in Philosophy. Mazen founded the Shaukat Initiative as a Senior at USC in the hopes of enabling the children of staff members to pursue their intellectual interests in an academically stimulating environment, while forging stronger bonds between students and the broader USC community. Currently, Mazen works with high school students in a one-to-one setting to assist them with their college applications. Mazen is an avid traveler, coffee enthusiast and litterateur. He can be reached at


Mazen Loan

Former Directors


Megan Lacsamana majored in human biology and minored in health care studies. While volunteering with Neurosurgery clinics from both private and public sectors, Megan found joy through learning through hands-on, real-world interaction. From these experiences, she seeks to devise a more holistic approach to healthcare and beyond. Megan believes that personal growth in the classroom flourishes through forming personal connections with lessons and understanding the human condition; as such, she looks forward to integrating thoughtful discussion among students and sparking a more integrative mindset to the world. On-campus, Megan participated in molecular biological research, volunteered with the American Red Cross, and partook in new recipes. During the weekends, Megan scouted LA for new restaurants to try and boulders with her friends.

Megan Lacsamana


Tianyu Wang graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Business Administration. As a part of her community engagement writing class, Tianyu volunteered at local middle and high schools. While there, she gained a deep understanding of the socioeconomic segregation of education in the communities around USC and is committed to helping students to acquire access to a better liberal arts education experience.  On-campus, Tianyu worked at the Joint Educational Project as a program assistant and participates in legal psychology research. After graduation, Tianyu hopes to attend law school.

Tianyu Wang


Lauren Yen studied global medicine and biological sciences with a healthcare studies minor. After attending a research program in Okinawa, Japan, Lauren noticed the lack of gender equality among Japanese scientists. Since then, she has developed a passion for helping women pursue STEM fields on a global scale. Similarly, she hopes to encourage students pursuits of STEM fields by teaching biology through the Levan Institute’s own Shaukat Initiative. On campus, Lauren was part of the Viterbi Exchange Innovation Team, participated in molecular biology and health policy research, and is involved with CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ). In her spare time, she loves to play archery and soccer, sing, and spontaneously breaking into dance while studying.

Lauren Yen

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