stands for Graduate Association for Students in Psychology, the wonderful family that comprises graduate students in the psychology department of USC. As the GASP executive board, we are responsible for helping organize student orientations, Town Hall, and community events.  We also share resources for professional development and are the liaison between students and administrative staff.  Most importantly, we build a community of friendship and support by organizing events and outings for students such as game nights, Halloween parties, and comedy events, with lots and lots of delicious food. As GASP, we are here for you, and strive to make your PhD experience as welcoming and enjoyable as possible.
The GASP Mentor-Mentee Program
The mentor-mentee program has been a success in getting new students to feel welcome and helping them get oriented with the PhD program and life at USC. Every new psychology student that begins a PhD at USC gets matched with a current student and learns some tips and tricks for navigating the grad life from them.

Stay Connected
Stay connected with your fellow graduate students using our Slack channel! Search for the #psychology-graduate-students channel.You can also connect with us on IG @gasp_usc to stay up to date with social events!
  • Get to Know the 2022-2023 GASP Executive Board

    Co-presidents: Ellen Herschel & Morgan Lynch

    Professional Development Chair:  Ellie Xu

    Dornsife Representative: Pragya Arya

    Mentor Program Coordinator: Jean Luo

    DEI Climate Officer: Gabe Leon

  • Ellen Herschel

    I am a third year PhD student in Brain and Cognitive Sciences working with Assal Habibi, Jonas Kaplan and Antonio Damasio. My research looks at the impact of music on hearing and well-being in older adults, and the ways in which rhythmic interpersonal entrainment impacts ingroup-outgroup bias, social identity, and empathy. I believe strongly in creating connections, sharing resources, and forming community. As I'm so excited to be Co-President of GASP this year with Morgan! We will be working to not only create a social and engaging community for our peers in the graduate program, but also strive to act as advocates for current students to gain greater resources and support based on our needs. Outside of USC, I spend my time hiking and camping, playing with my rescue dog, traveling to new places, and crocheting socks and sweaters for friends and family.

  • Morgan Lynch

    I am a third-year PhD student in Clinical Science working with Dr. Chris Beam. I study modifiable psychosocial risk factors, and biological markers, of dementia risk. I'm so happy to be Co-President of GASP this year, as Co-Pres I help make the school year a social, engaging, integrated experience for the Psychology graduate students. Ellen and I work with the Psychology department administration to advocate for student needs. Outside of school and work, I like to boulder, hike, bike, attempt pottery, and go to comedy shows and concerts. 


  • Ellie Xu

    I am a second-year PhD student in Clinical Science working with Dr. Jonathan Stange. My research involves studying how deficits in emotion regulation contribute to risk for depression. I’m excited to serve as the Professional Development Chair to support students’ growth in graduate school and in preparing for life after graduate school. Recreationally, I enjoy hiking, reading, exploring new neighborhoods, and trying new cuisines.

  • Pragya Arya

    I'm a fourth-year PhD student in Social Psychology working with Norbert Schwarz. I study how people use contextual and metacognitive experiences to guide their judgement and decision-making. As Dornsife Representative, I represent and advocate for psychology graduate students to the larger Dornsife government, and bring resources from these meetings to our department. When I'm not at school, I spend most of my time hanging out at the beach, hiking, traveling, exploring the city, and eating my way through LA.

  • Jean Luo

    I am a second-year PhD student in Social Psychology working with Leor Hackel. My current research focuses on how social comparison can bias understandings of one’s own performance. As Mentorship Program Coordinator this year, I will help incoming students feel at home in the department and support them as they transition to graduate school. Outside of school, I love meeting new people, traveling, doing most outdoorsy things, and playing badminton.

  • Gabriel (Gabe) Leon

    I am a second year PhD student in Clinical Science working with Dr. Darby Saxbe. I study the dynamic, neurobiological and behavioral processes that strengthen social bonds in families and romantic couples. Within GASP, I am the chair of CLIMATE, a student-led and faculty-supported group that advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our department. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, weightlifting, hoops, caffeinated beverages, the New Mexican flag, and hip hop.



Living in LA


On Campus:

  • Visit this website to find the closest food and caffeine to your office: Hospitality Site

  • Be aware that there are lots of opportunities on campus to eat for FREE. Yes, you read right. Like Wednesday morning coffee, Thursday afternoon snacks, and free lunches at select talks. Just make sure to keep abreast of talks and other GASP activities. You can refer to this department calendar of events.

Off Campus: 

Having Fun

On Campus:

  • In addition to our great GASP events, here's some other fun things to do on campus:

  • Tommy’s Place, an underground spot for food, trivia, and other events.

  • Join a USC Intramural Sports team for some friendly competition.

  • Get discounted event and amusement park tickets from the USC Ticket Office.

Next to Campus:

  • If you ever need a break, visit one of the many attractions of Exposition Park, all within walking distance of campus! 


Getting Around LA

  • If you don’t have a car (or even if you do!), consider purchasing the Graduate Student U-Pass. It includes unlimited use of the transportation systems in LA, the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, and more.  

  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Southern California
  • SGM 501
  • 3620 South McClintock Ave.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 2203