April 1, 2023
Welcome to the 2023 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, Emily Anne Vargas, Armando Urbina and Diego Jácome taking the mantle at USC in 2020 and 2022.
SoCal GPS is a free conference on April 1, 2023 for attendees to participate in informative workshops bringing awareness to graduate school preparation and the application process. Here, attendees are also exposed to the professional prospects available after receiving an advanced degree post-graduation in both MS and PhD engineering disciplines.
The SoCal GPS conference is a one day event curated by graduate students for underserved undergraduate students to promote a higher education pipeline and pathway towards success in our fields. With our 2023 conference, we hope to continue expanding our reach from years past. We want to exemplify diversity, inclusion and belonging as pillars that belong and exist within the academic community. Through thoughtful and intentional planning, this year’s conference planning committee will inspire the next generation of leading innovators and scientists toward advanced degrees that may propel them to academia, industry, government, or even entrepreneurship.
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.
Daniel Pereira da Costa and Sandra Lara Galindo
Conference Committee Chairs, SoCal GPS 2023
Graduate Students, University of Southern California – Viterbi School of Engineering
SoCal GPS is an in-person conference on the campus of the University of Southern California. The address for SoCal GPS is:
MCB 101 & 102, University of Southern California
1002 Childs Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089
USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience (MCB)
Agenda for April 1
All times are Pacific Time (PDT).
Open Registration & Coffee Hour
9:00 AM - 9:55 AM
10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
A welcome message by the Dean of USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and your 2023 conference chairs. Highlights of the importance of graduate study in engineering.
10:15 AM - 11:00 AM
Introduction to Grad school
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Learn about the basics. 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? 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.
MS vs Ph.D. Panel
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Lunch and Group Photo
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Walk over to the Epstein Family Engineering Plaza to get tacos!
What to Do During Your Journey Through Graduate School
2:00 PM - 2:30 PM
DEIA and Women in STEM
2:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Being a Woman in STEM with 13% female engineers, accommodation for Women in STEM, DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility), inclusion of people with disabilities.
Moderator: Sandra Balbuena
Academia Panel Discussion
3:00 PM - 3:50 PM
The academia panel will talk about the expectations of graduate school, tips on how to reach out to faculty, open positions, and much more.
Peter Wang (BME)
Bruce Wilcox (ISE)
Soheil Soltani (EE)
Megan Fieser (Inorganic Chemistry)
Thaiesha Wright (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering)
Geena Ildelfonso (BME Postdoctoral Research Associate)
Moderator: Tristan McPhail
Industry Panel Discussion
3:50 PM - 4:30 PM
The industry panel will discuss the importance of a graduate degree when getting into industry. You will get the chance to hear the experiences of professionals in different fields.
Sairaj Patil Moderator: Natalie Fung
Workshop on Statement of Purpose
4:30 PM - 5:00 PM
This workshop will be facilitated by the Associate Professor of Technical Communication Practice and Engineering in Society Program.
Grad School Tips Workshop
5:00 PM - 5:30 PM
The workshop will help the attendees on what scholarships are offered in USC, summer research internships, visitation days, application fee waivers and interview tips.
5:30 PM - 5:45 PM
Social Networking Event
5:50 PM - 7:00 PM
The social networking event will be hosted by SHPE LA Professional, in which attendees will get to socialize with current graduate students, faculty, and professionals!