Graduate Students’ Advocates

Two Graduate Students’ Advocate positions represent the interests of the entire graduate student body at USC: the Graduate Students’ Advocate-Student Relations (GSA-SR) and the Graduate Students’ Advocate-Diversity Outreach (GSA-DO).

The GSA-SR and GSA-DO are representatives of the USC graduate student body, and they work to advance issues of importance to the University’s graduate students. They serve as resources for students who have questions or problems concerning TA/RA-ships, research, or other matters concerning the successful pursuit of a graduate degree. In addition, the GSA-SR and GSA-DO act as advocates within the Graduate Student Government (GSG).

Meet the Graduate Students’ Advocates

Graduate Students’ Advocate-Student Relations

Francois Cadieux
(213) 740-9033
Location: GFS 315
Mon/Tue 10:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m. & Thursday by appointment

About Francois Cadieux

Graduate Students’ Advocate-Diversity Outreach

David H. Herman (213) 740-9055
Location: GFS 315
Tue/Wed 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

About David H. Herman
Francois Cadieux

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Aerospace Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering. I specialize in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in the context of multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO). The objective of my research is to develop accurate CFD techniques to simulate separated flows around small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) wings, wind turbine and turbo-machinery blades that are accurate and fast enough to enable the optimization of airfoil and blade designs with full unsteady aerodynamics in the loop. The limits of large eddy simulation (LES) and the performance of different sub-grid scale (SGS) models are explored with drastically reduced resolution for laminar separation bubble flows. I participated in the NASA-Stanford Center for Turbulence summer program in 2012 to collaborate with international experts towards this goal.

Outside of research, I have been involved with student organizations to improve student life at USC since the start of my PhD. As the VGSA treasurer and a Graduate Student Government (GSG) representative, I worked with the GSG finance committee chair towards making all funding requests paperless in 2011. Then as the Viterbi Graduate Student Liaison, I co-founded and coordinated the Viterbi Graduate Mentors (VgradM) program which pairs incoming engineering graduate students with current graduate students to help them adjust to life at USC. And this year, I am excited to have the opportunity to continue to help students effect positive change in the USC community as the Graduate Student Advocate.
David H. Herman

I am David H. Herman, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program with the USC Department of Biological Sciences, Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, & Sciences. I earned my B.S. in Neuroscience with a Minor in Philosophy from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). My dissertation, while in the Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Plasticity, focuses on developing autonomous robotics for assessment of sensorimotor dynamics during rodent whisking. The resulting model of sensorimotor dynamics during haptic exploration will help us understand sensorimotor neural circuitry and develop therapeutics for sensorimotor disorders, such as prosthetics. Through-out my graduate work, I have received university-base and external funding, including a training grant through the Center of Excellence in Genomic Science, a National Science Foundation fellowship (Body Engineering Los Angeles Scholar), and a Post-Baccalaureate fellowship at the National Institutes of Mental Health.

In addition to my research, I am a speaker for a number of outreach programs and non-profits that serve K-12 students, including the USC Young Researchers Program and Iridescent Program, programs that encourage students to consider advanced studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.

As the USC Graduate School Graduate Student Advocate for Diversity Outreach & Academic Professional Development, I advise, coordinate, teach, and serve as a mentor, with both graduate and undergraduate USC student populations to promote students’ academic and professional competencies and enhance diversity at the university.

Role of the GSA-SR

The mission of the Graduate Students’ Advocate-Student Relations is to preserve and improve the quality of academic life and foster the development of an inclusive, scholarly community for graduate students at USC by:

  • Providing a channel of communication between graduate students and the USC administration.
  • Safeguarding the rights of graduate students on both the University Park and Health Sciences campuses of USC.
  • Protecting the confidentiality of graduate students.
  • Providing a basic resource for mediating and resolving disputes.

Role of the GSA-DO

The Graduate Students’ Advocate-Diversity Outreach, serves as both a voice and a sounding board for the unique concerns that under-represented graduate students face by:

  • Working with continuing students to address concerns regarding funding, academic issues, and degree completion.
  • Performing outreach to prospective under-represented students on matters of graduate school preparation, admission criteria, the admission process, and financial resources.
  • Fostering scholarly, professional, and social networks on campus critical to integrating under-represented students into the campus community.


Duties common to each position include:

  • Holding regular office hours, for confidential discussion and assistance with conflict resolution;
  • Attending regular meetings with Sarah Pratt, Vice Provost for Graduate Programs, to devise strategies for resolving issues and concerns raised by graduate students and to improve the overall quality of life for the USC graduate student body;
  • Attending Graduate Student Government (GSG) meetings, to advocate for the graduate student body.

Email :
Phone : (213) 740-9033

Email :
Phone : (213) 740-9055

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