Stevens Center Academic Spotlight: Gussie Johns

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USC's student-athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond and pool --- they're champions in the classroom as well. Each week, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a bit better in our academic spotlight.

Gussie.jpgName: Gussie Johns
Class: Sophomore
Sport: Women's Lacrosse
Major: Business Administration
GPA: 3.69

Aubrey Kragen (AK): So what is your major here and why did you choose it?

Gussie Johns (GJ): I'm a business major with a focus in entrepreneurial business, and I will be a sports media minor, I just haven't declared yet. I chose that coming out of high school, so I applied right into the business school. I grew up having two parents that were entrepreneurs, and I've always liked that side of the business industry: being able to create your own thing and follow that path. I love business just because it brings in so many different parts of society, because you can kind of take it where you want to take it, whether it be finance or accounting or marketing.

AK: So do you want to found your own company? Do you have an idea of what you'd like to do?

GJ: It's something I've always wanted to do, either start my own company or go into my family's business, just because I've been involved in it since I was a little kid. But from there, I would love to do anything involving sports or giving back as a philanthropic thing, because that's always been in my family and something I've always had a large passion for. I grew up in an environment that was surrounded so much by sports that I can't imagine leaving it right away, or really, ever. So that's definitely something I'll have to implement, whether it's in the actual business I do or outside, just still keeping it a part of my life as I get older.

AK: What did your parents do that inspired you to go into entrepreneurship?

GJ: My mom worked for Vogue right out of school and did consulting for a bunch of companies for a long time. And my dad started a company out of school. He sold that, and then in 2004 they came together and started a company called Bungalow, which later developed into a company called SCOUT, and they make tote bags and small accessories. They're known for their function, while bringing in the fun colors and patterns that my mom creates.

AK: How do you think competing in college athletics has prepared you to lead a company one day?

GJ: I think it definitely has a large impact on how I would act in the business world. I think being able to manage a team and knowing how to manage so many personalities and getting the best out of each person is something that I've learned throughout sports. I think that'll help me going forward in the business world, whether I'm the boss or just an employee. But being able to interact with so many types of people along with so many of the characteristics you learn in sports, like work ethic and time management --- the list goes on and on --- any college athlete is just that much better off once they get in the work world.

AK: Do you think being a goalie specifically --- the viewpoint you have of the field and your duty to make sure your teammates are in the right positions --- will help you be a leader in the business world?

GJ: Absolutely. That's definitely a large part of it, because I see things that other players don't see, because like a quarterback, you have a vantage point that no one else has. And it's kind of like the safety on defense that can see everything in front of them. So yeah, I definitely think that's one of the reasons that I was subconsciously drawn to playing goalie and another reason why I'm drawn to being at the head of a company or starting my own company, is being able to see things like that.

AK: You're in the Trojan Athletic Senate, right? Can you tell me about what you do in that organization?

GJ: Yeah, I'm one of the executive members. I actually just went to San Francisco this weekend as a representative for it. They take two reps from all the Pac-12 schools and we met there and did roundtables and got ideas from other schools. Right now, we just restructured TAS into three different committees: community service and outreach, and then we have health and wellness and kind of equality and diversity, and then the last one is trying to get people to more games and trying to get athletes more involved. I'm on the health and wellness one and we're trying to form a campaign to promote diversity within the athletic department and on campus.

AK: I know you've recently been involved with the U.S. National Lacrosse team. Can you update me on that?

GJ: So in August we had the tryouts, and from there, 36 players made it out of more than 100. So I actually made the team along with two of my coaches: Devon Wills and Alyssa [Leonard]. So in September we had a meeting and an intra-squad scrimmage with the 36 people and there weren't any cuts after that. Then we got back together in October and they cut from 36 to 24, and Devon and I made it to the next stage of cuts. January is the last cut and it goes to 18. It's just funny because she's a goalie, I'm a goalie and she's the older generation while I'm the younger generation. It's been fun to follow in her footsteps in a way and experience lacrosse as her teammate and not just about her player, because I'd heard so much about how she plays and how she's a leader and impacts the players around her, but I had never seen it firsthand. It's been an awesome opportunity to be at that level and with those types of players.

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