Alumnae Iloh and Kast listed in Forbes 30 Under 30
Pair recognized for their impact on education and science, respectively
Constance Iloh PhD ’15 and Dieuwertje “D. J.” Kast MAT ’14 now share something in common with basketball phenom Stephen Curry. Each is featured in Forbes Magazine’s fifth annual 30 Under 30—a who’s who of 600 entrepreneurs, athletes, creative leaders and educators spread across 20 different categories, including sports, healthcare, music and finance. Iloh is featured with 29 other young people in the education category, and Kast ranks among the top 30 young leaders in science.
Iloh graduated from the PhD program in May 2015 and accepted a position as assistant professor of higher education at the UC Irvine School of Education. However, she deferred those plans to accept a UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship. At Commencement, Iloh became the first from USC Rossier to receive the USC PhD Achievement Award, the highest honor given to any USC PhD holder.
In honoring Iloh, Forbes noted that Iloh explores “‘narratives of the most underserved students and understudied sectors of post-secondary education,’ including for-profit and community colleges.” She is the only scholar/academic listed in the education category and the only one currently working at a university or college.
She was awarded the USC Rossier Dissertation Award of Merit for her yearlong exploration of Black students going to the for-profit higher education sector. In February 2015 she served as a panelist for the Aligning for Black Excellence in Higher Education Summit, which was sponsored by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, USC Black Alumni Association and Ebony Magazine.
Kast is the STEM program manager for the USC Joint Educational Project, which encompasses the USC Young Scientists Program (YSP) and the USC Wonderkids program. She is also the STEM coordinator for the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative.
“Kast’s focus is teaching the scientists of tomorrow,” states Forbes on its website. “She’s taught science at all grades, K–12, and written science curricula for teachers. She’s also a researcher in her own right, having participated in NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program.”
In November, Kast was among the 15 teachers accepted into the PolarTREC program from a pool of 180 applicants.
“This PolarTREC program epitomizes the science-teaching approach from USC Rossier’s 502a and 502b classes,” she told USC Rossier in a recent Q&A. “Hands-on inquiry-based science is the motto, and what better way for a teacher to teach about climate change, polar regions and other current science topics than being on the front lines with scientists and translating their science for K-12 students.”