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Masters of Troy

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Andrew Triggs had a choice to make.  MLB or MBA?

The senior right-handed pitcher was selected by the San Francisco Giants and the Marshall School of Business.  He prioritized books before baseball.

Andrew-Triggs.jpg"It was probably the biggest factor in my decision," said Triggs about putting off the pros for a year to get his master's coursework started. 

"This is only weighing the scales more in my advantage. My plan and my dream is still to go on and play as long as I can in baseball."

Triggs is one of 18 current USC student-athletes (list below) working toward a master's degree, while continuing to push themselves athletically.  The group arrived at graduate work from different angles. 

Jacki Gemelos was an elite women's basketball prospect coming out of high school, but three knee surgeries derailed her timeline.

"I thought I was going to be here for four years and then move on, but with my injuries, I have gotten the opportunity to get my master's, so it all worked out," said Gemelos, who is earning her graduate degree at the USC Davis School of Gerontology, which was the first of its kind in the nation.

"I kind of have a soft spot in my heart for the elderly," said Gemelos about her rare course of study.  "I could really see myself in that field some day."

Jacki-G.jpgTrojan offensive lineman Khaled Holmes is pursuing his own unique progressive degree in classics and communication management. 

"I'm half Greek and my mom was a classicist," Holmes explained.  "I have always been interested in the history and philosophy of Rome."

The progressive degree enables Holmes to get his master's in only four and a half years, so he'll able to pursue his NFL prospects after completing his redshirt senior season.

"It's just nice that everything coincides and I'll be able to get as much out of school as I can," said Holmes, who added the communications aspect to open up more career options.

Khaled-SH.jpgThese Trojan scholars did not arrive at USC with graduate school plans, but they explored the university's vast intellectual pursuits and even surprised themselves.

"Not at all. Not at all," Triggs laughed at the idea of himself as a freshman picking an MBA over the Giants.  "I had an idea that I was going to end up in the business world after baseball, but I did not think it was going to come about this quickly.  I couldn't be happier."

2011-12 USC Graduate Students

Garret Houts, Baseball - Communication Management
Andrew Triggs, Baseball - Business Administration
Martin Viramontes, Baseball - Business
Brett Williams, Baseball - Health Administration
Rhett Ellison, Football - Communication Management
Khaled Holmes, Football - Classics and Communication Management
Christian Tupou, Football - Communication Management
Matthew McCormick, Men's Track and Field - Mechanical Engineering
Jacki Gemelos, Women's Basketball - Gerontology
Helen Tinkus, Rowing - Economics
Tamara Baumann, Women's Track and Field - Communication Management
Farren Benjamin, Women's Track and Field - Communication Management
Lauren Williams, Women's Indoor Volleyball - Teaching
Kelly Irvin, Women's Sand Volleyball - Communication Management
Megan Thornberry, Women's Sand Volleyball - Teaching
Geena Urango, Women's Sand Volleyball - Communication Management
Stefanie Lavayen, Women's Water Polo - Strategic Public Relations
Jenna Schuck, Women's Water Polo - International Relations

(Photos by Dan Avila, Pierson Clair and Jon SooHoo)

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