May 14, 2022
Welcome to the 2022 Southern California Graduate Pathways to STEM Conference (SoCal GPS)!
The GPS conference originated when two forward-thinking graduate students, Héctor Pérez and Maribel Jaquez, conceived the idea of bringing STEM communities together in the Bay Area. Since then, the initiative has evolved into larger inclusivity, with Sebastián Ojeda and Emily Anne Vargas taking the mantle at USC in 2020.
This year marks the second year and first ever in-person GPS in SoCal. Following the example of our previous leaders, a committee of dedicated graduate students from the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering have once again come together to bring you a memorable experience. The conference is aimed at promoting graduate school to underrepresented, first generation, and low income rising leaders in Southern California and its neighboring areas.
Our committee strongly believes in the importance of accessibility to higher education, and in the power of being each other’s social capital. Graduate school needs to be a viable and attainable goal for all communities. We understand that there are various factors to consider in determining the return of investment of such a decision. That’s not only understandable, but it is part of what makes us successful in any STEM career trajectory.
Prepare yourself to be inspired by those trailblazers before you. Grad school is not only within grasp; it is a few resources short of success.
Diego Jácome and Armando Urbina
Conference Committee Chairs, SoCal GPS 2022
Graduate Students, University of Southern California – Viterbi School of Engineering
Agenda for May 14Zoom Link
All times are Pacific Time (PDT).
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
Dean Yannis Yortsos
A welcome message by the Dean of USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and your 2022 conference chairs. Highlights of the importance of graduate study in engineering.
9:15 AM - 10:00 AM
Dr. Darin GraySpeaker Info
A few kind words by Dr. Darin Gray, Co-Director of the USC Viterbi K-12 STEM Center and 2020 Orange County Engineering Council’s Engineer of the Year. Prepare yourself to be inspired as we kick off the day’s full lineup of events.
Introduction to Grad School
10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Dr. Cristina ZavaletaSpeaker Info
Learn about the basics. Dr. Cristina Zavaleta, one of the most respected faculty members in Viterbi, offers insights from the perspective of a professor or principal investigator. Why should you pursue a graduate degree? What are some of the things to consider as you get ready to embark on the application journey?
MS/PhD What to Expect Panel
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Danielle White, Diamond MangrumSpeaker Info
Explore the decision to apply. Not everything is a powerpoint presentation or a website how-to video. Listen to USC and UCLA students have a down to earth conversation about how they navigated the application process. Compare and contrast your perspective with theirs and receive tips on how reality paired up to the expectations of their particular MS/PhD programs.
Applying and Funding Grad School
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Cami LeeSpeaker Info
Begin the application process. Learn how to apply and the various ways to receive funding for your degree. Everything from deadlines and requirements to how you can maximize the payment options for your graduate school investment.
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Harper Stewart, Juli LegatSpeaker Info
Consider where you fit within the STEM equation. Acknowledge all the challenges and opportunities within your current industry or course of study. Find commonalities in experiences with your peers and prepare yourself with questions for the remainder of the sessions.
Lunch, Student Org Meet-and-Greet
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Explore USC. Join the conference’s student planning committee for lunch, as we give you a taste of student life and answer any questions you may have about getting here. Network with your fellow participants! Get a head start on finding a sense of belonging within your grad student communities.
- Speaker Info
Roundtables: Grad Degree to Industry
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Let the career objective discussions begin. Participate in a roundtable Q&A with industry leaders, as they share insight on how graduate school played a role in helping them reach their professional goals.
- Speaker Info
Roundtables: Grad Degree to Academia
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Continue onto the path to academia. Participate in a roundtable Q&A with some of the greatest minds in STEM, as they highlight the benefits of foregoing industry in favor of research and labs.
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Step into grad school with us. Experience first-hand what life is inside an engineering laboratory. Ask questions about day to day tasks, and observe current PhD students as they explain how each of them is changing the world one research topic at a time.
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Walk away empowered. A few parting words from your 2022 conference chairs, Diego and Armando.