Graduate Students’ Advocates

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

The GSA-SR, GSA-DO and GSA-F 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 , GSA-DO and GSA-F 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

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.

Graduate Students’ Advocate-Diversity Outreach

Joshua L Gray (213) 740-9055
Location: GFS 315

About Joshua L Gray

I am Joshua Gray, a Ph.D. candidate in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering within the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and a certification student in the USC Health Technology & Engineering Program. My primary interest is in health systems and human factors; and I am currently working with Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles on patient safety research. My interest in the development of health technologies and the utilization of medical devices derived from my decade of industry consulting experience with organizations such as GE Healthcare, the US Army Wounded Warrior Programs, US Department of Veterans Affairs and Genentech. My dissertation research focuses on identifying risk factors of harm when using medical technologies in non-clinical environments to model mitigation strategies for global health applications.

Prior to USC, I earned a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from Florida State University (FSU) and a M.S. degree in Industrial & Management Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). While working in industry, I earned a Six Sigma Black Belt certification from the General Electric Corporation and a Project Management Professional certification at Booz Allen Hamilton. Over the past few years at USC, I co-founded the Health Systems Improvement Collaborative with funding from the USC Office of Research and have led health systems research in the Republic of Uganda through the USC Institute of Global Health. I have presented my health systems research globally; and have been involved in recruiting underrepresented minorities and women into the Science, Technology Engineering and Math disciplines nationally.

During my graduate education I have been fortunate to be recognized for my academic achievements though special programs, honors, and funding sources. In 2014, I earned the following awards: a Fellowship from the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation Los Angeles Chapter, the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award from the Epstein Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, and a Fellowship from the Viterbi Body Engineering Los Angeles Program, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. In previous years, I was awarded a Fellowship from the National GEM Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Sciences, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean’s Ph.D. Student Fellowship, and USC Academic Professional Development Ph.D. Research Institute Award and Conference Travel Grants.

Additionally, I have had the honor of being selected for a variety of leadership roles by various academic and professional organizations. I have been appointed as Founding President of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society USC Student Chapter, as a Board Member with the USC Viterbi Center for Engineering Diversity Advisory, and as a Graduate Assistant Recruiter with the USC Viterbi Center for Engineering Diversity. I have also served as the USC Graduate Student Representative for the National Society of Black Engineers, Founding Chair of the American Society of Quality USC Graduate Student Branch and the Vice President of the Institute of Operations Research & Management Sciences RPI Chapter.

I currently hold the appointment of Graduate Students Advocate for Diversity Outreach & Academic Professional Development with the USC Graduate School. In this role I serve as both a voice and a sounding board for the unique concerns that underrepresented graduate and professional students face. As a Graduate Student Advocate, I work with continuing students to address concerns regarding funding, academic issues, and degree completion. I also conduct outreach to prospective underrepresented students on matters of graduate school preparation, admission criteria, the admission process, and financial resources. Additionally, I help foster scholarly, professional, and social networks on campus which are critical to integrating underrepresented students.

Graduate Students’ Advocate-Diversity Outreach

David-James Gonzales
(213) 740-9055
Location: GFS 315

About David-James Gonzales

I am David-James Gonzales, a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department with the USC Dana & David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. A native Southern Californian, I was born in Oxnard and raised by public school educators in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. I began my undergraduate education at Southwestern Community College and completed a bachelor's degree in History with honors (Phi Beta Kappa) at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego). After graduation, I relocated to South Pasadena with my wife and children in order to pursue graduate studies at USC.

Over the years, my academic achievements have been recognized through special programs, honors, and funding sources, including: the U.S. Department of Education McNair Scholarship at UC San Diego (2009-2010); Hispanic Scholarship Fund (2010-2011); USC Dornsife College Ph.D. Student Fellowship (2011 – present); National Science Foundation – USC EDGE Research Fellowship & Professional Development Summer Institute (2011); Huntington - USC Institute for California and the West & Hearst Foundation Research Fellowship (2012); and USC Graduate School Diversity Outreach & Academic Professional Development Award (2014).

I am a member of the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Western History Association, and National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies. I am a student of U.S. history with a temporal focus on the mid-twentieth century and a geographic emphasis on California and the West. In particular, I apply borderlands theory to multi-cultural/racial spaces in Southern California to better understand the identity formation and political mobilization of Mexican Americans from the 1930s to the 1960s. I am most interested in the grassroots organizing efforts of Mexican Americans prior to the Chicana/o Movement of the late-1960s and 1970s. Overall, my work seeks to complicate binary representations of Mexican American identity and politics by illuminating the temporal, spatial, and social circumstances of intra-group conflict and inter-racial and cross-class cooperation in Chicana/o-Latina/o efforts for social justice. Ultimately, my research strives to integrate Chicana/o-Latina/o grassroots organizing with the larger Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century. Currently, under the direction of Professor George J. Sanchez, I am outlining a dissertation prospectus on Mexican American grassroots organizing throughout mid-20th century metropolitan Los Angeles.

I possess extensive teaching, advising, and program administrative experience. From 2012 to the present, I have instructed numerous undergraduate students as a Teaching Assistant (TA) with the USC History Department. My instructional work as a TA has involved survey courses on the United States, California, and Colonial Latin America with thematic emphasis on political economy, race/ethnicity, class, and gender. I have worked as an Academic Coordinator and Advisor with the USC Undergraduate McNair and Gateway Scholars Programs (May 2014 – Present). I have also worked as an Advisor and Coordinator under the USC Graduate School, Office of Diversity Outreach and Academic Professional Development (May 2014 – Present).

I currently hold the appointment of Graduate Student Advocate for Diversity Outreach & Academic Professional Development with the USC Graduate School. In this role, I advise, mentor, and teach students, as well as coordinate services and programs. Through my appointment, I look forward to helping the university promote student academic and professional achievements, as well as student diversity.

Graduate Students’ Advocate-Fellowships

Lisa Locascio
(213) 740-9033
Location: GFS 315

About Lisa Locascio

I am Lisa Locascio, a PhD candidate in the department of Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California. My fiction and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of journals, including Santa Monica Review, N+1, Sou'wester, Five Chapters, American Short Fiction, Wigleaf, Joyland, the Scottish journal Product, and the anthology California Prose Directory. I am the recipient of multiple awards and honors for my writing, including the 2011 John Steinbeck Award for Fiction, two Del Amo Foundation Research Awards, and a 2013-2014 Russell Endowed Fellowship from the University of Southern California. My essay "My Bolaño Archive," published in June 2013 by The Los Angeles Review of Books, received notices in The New Yorker, Bookforum, Arts and Letters Daily, and The Los Angeles Times. In June of this year, The Believer will publish my interview with Roberto Bolaño's widow Carolina López, the first she has given to an American writer. I hold an MFA from New York University, where Lydia Davis supervised the completion of my thesis.

At USC, where I have taught writing to undergraduates as an Assistant Lecturer in the Thematic Option Honors Program and the Writing Program, I co-run The Loudest Voice Extracurricular Writing Workshop, a creative writing community open to everyone at USC, as well as The Loudest Voice Reading Series, which strives to connect students in the Creative Writing and Literature Department through events featuring their writing and that of visiting artists. I am currently Editor-in-Chief of Gold Line Press, a chapbook press based out of my department. In addition to USC, I have also taught at New York University and through various writing and mentoring associations across the country. I am at work on a novel, Jutland Gothic, and a monograph about affect and plot in contemporary American fiction by women.

Role of the GSA - Student Relations

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 - Diversity Outreach

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.

Role of the GSA - Fellowships

The Graduate Students’ Advocate for Fellowships assists current PhD students in securing external fellowships by:

  • Organizing fellowship information sessions.
  • Working individually with PhD students to prepare competitive applications.
  • Developing programs for PhD students interested in applying for external fellowships.
  • Researching fellowship opportunities for PhD students from a variety of disciplines.


Duties common to all GSA positions 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.

GSA - Student Relations
Email :
Phone : (213) 740-9033

GSA - Diversity Outreach
Email :
Phone : (213) 740-9055

GSA - Fellowships
Email :
Phone : (213) 740-9033

footer rule