“I’ve always been a Trojan fan. I just knew I wanted to be here.”

Graduate student Morgan Sumner is in her second and final year of the M.Arch 2+ Program.

Graduate student Morgan Sumner is in her second and final year of the M.Arch 2+ Program at the USC School of Architecture. Her typical day consists of arriving at studio “at least 30 minutes but preferably 3 hours” early and then staying late into the night. “We’ll order food together, we’ll listen to music together and sing together while we all try to stay awake,” Sumner said of herself and her friends, with whom she also shares project ideas, encouragement and support. Based on this account of Sumner’s well-worn yet enthusiastic routine of balancing work and comradery, her placement in this program seems like a perfect fit.


Having lived in Phoenix, Arizona since the age of 10, Sumner stayed local at first, attending Arizona State University for a Bachelor of Science in Design. Several factors drew Sumner to USC. On one hand, she had “always loved USC,” having been a Trojan fan for some time. An ASU professor and USC Architecture alum put Sumner in touch with current USC students prior to her arrival to inform her decision. Upon visiting, Sumner says she “just knew [she] wanted to be here.” She advises that other prospective students follow in her footsteps. “Visit the school if you’re able to. Try to speak with or email faculty and reach out to students if possible to get someone’s personal perspective. I’ve had a good experience so far.”


Her good experience has included a strong comradery within the Trojan Network from the very beginning. After being accepted into her graduate program, Sumner’s first thought was, “where am I going to live?” Through a family connection to the housing office, she met with the director who helped her find an ideal place to live right off campus. Then, “he helped me find a job,” she says. “He’s probably going to help me find another job soon. That was my first experience with Trojans taking care of Trojans.”


In addition, Sumner admits she always knew she was a “city girl.”


“I’m really interested in social and urban housing and you don’t really get that in Arizona. I wanted to come someplace where I was going to be able to learn about architecture and the city more,” Sumner explained. Sumner’s current and past classes take advantage of the architecture and urban landscape of downtown LA with field trips and walking tours of the city, as well as a project in downtown during her first semester here. Sumner specifically cites a class with Professor Andrew Liang that helped her in “understanding how a city works.”


For Sumner’s current semester, her thesis semester, she is researching an urban housing project in London. “Being able to look at everything that I’ve always been interested in in the way I wants to look at them is nice,” said Sumner. “[Faculty member] Amy Murphy has been incredible in supporting my research.”


Sumner is graduating this May and looks forward to seeing the results of her hard work at USC Architecture. “My goal is to work at different firms. Work toward licensure,” she continues. “I’d like to stay in LA for at least a couple years to explore.”