Staff

Gilberto Acosta

Gilbert Acosta profile photo, squareResearch Administrator
Office: OHE 400E
Tel. (213) 821-3018
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: acostagi@usc.edu

Gilberto Acosta joined USC and AME in August 2021 as one of its Research Administrators. Gilbert has a BS in healthcare management from Cal State Dominguez Hills and has five years of experience working in research administration. His duties include managing grants and contracts, supporting faculty members in preparing proposals for submissions to sponsoring agencies, and generating financial reports and forecasts. Gilbert grew up in Los Angeles and his favorite team is the Dodgers. His hobbies are doing martial arts, reading and watching classic boxing fights.

Zoe Ashmead

Photo of Zoe Ashmead.

AME Student Affairs
Office: OHE 500C,D,F
Email: ashmead@usc.edu

Zoe Ashmead advises undergraduate and master’s students on course planning, campus resources, and university policies. Zoe earned a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Denison University and an MA in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University. In her free time, you can find Zoe reading a bunch of books, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.

Lynda Baza

Photo of Lynda Baza.Budget/Business Analyst
Office: OHE 400E
Tel. (213)740-6772
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: baza@usc.edu

Lynda joined AME in the Summer of 2022 as a Budget Analyst. In this position, she will be working closely with other Research Administrators and assisting the faculty and students at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing lab.

Lynda graduated from USC with a B.S. in Public Policy Management and Planning. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, and traveling.

Jorge Castilla

Photo of Jorge Castilla.Business Manager
Office: OHE 400C
Tel. (213) 740-5324
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: castilla@usc.edu

Jorge Castilla joined the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department in January of 2009 as the Department Business Manager. Prior to 2009, he was the Payroll/Personnel Analyst at the Viterbi Business Affairs Office and the Administrative Services Coordinator at the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC). At the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department, Jorge oversees faculty affairs, student affairs, and the daily financial operations of the department. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from USC and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Cal State University Dominguez Hills. When he is not keeping busy helping the faculty, staff and students make AME one of the best academic programs in the Viterbi School of Engineering and at USC, you can find him traveling to different parts of the world and attending live concerts and sporting events.

Valerie Childress

Photo of Valerie Childress.Research Administrator
Office: OHE 400E
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: vchild@usc.edu

Valerie Childress has been at USC for many years in various roles and departments. She first worked in AME as Administrative Assistant II from 2014 to 2017, after which she helped to recruit Tessa Yao as her replacement. Ironically Valerie and Tessa share the same February 9th birthdate!

Valerie left AME to work as Project Specialist Administrative in CAM, and then Keck School of Preventive Medicine. Valerie stayed connected as an Honorary AME Guest for social events, but missed working with the faculty and staff. A new opportunity opened to return in a new role, and Valerie couldn’t be happier to reconnect with everyone old and new!

Valerie is too busy trying to keep up with her ambitious quadruplets to have a hobby. Two of them are gainfully employed, and the remaining two are finishing graduate school at NYU, and starting a Master’s/Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University respectively.

Regina Gongoll

Regina Gongoll photoResearch Administrator
Office: OHE 400E
Tel. (213) 821‑6508
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: gongoll@usc.edu

Regina Gongoll is AME’s Lead Research Administrator. She recently celebrated her 10th anniversary at USC and enjoys providing excellent customer service to faculty and staff. Regina received her BA from Fairfield University in Connecticut and her Master of Science in Gerontology from USC’s Davis School of Gerontology.

Alec Kanyuck

Lab Manager, Research Engineer
USC Center for Advanced Manufacturing
Email: kanyuck@usc.edu

Alec Kanyuck attended the University of Maryland, College Park earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2015. After working for a year at start-up NASA Goddard contactor, he decided to return to school to pursue a part-time master’s degree at the University of Southern California in computer science, with a focus in robotics. He is the full-time lab manager and research engineer at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a lab within the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. His research interests include: Robotics and Automation, Additive Manufacturing, Computer Aided Design, Embedded Systems, Mechatronics, Sensor Fusion & Computer Vision.

Kim Klotz

Research Administrator
Office: OHE 400E
Tel. (213) 740-5146
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: kklotz@usc.edu

Silvana Martinez-Vargas

Budget/Business Technician
Office: OHE 500B
Tel. (213) 740-4303
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: smv@usc.edu

 

Dennis Plocher

Generic noprofileResearch Engineer
Office: OHE 430N
Tel. (213) 740-7190
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: plocher@usc.edu

 

Sherin Samaan

https://ame.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Sherin Samaan's photoResearch Administrator
Office: OHE 400E

Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: sherinsa@usc.edu

I Joined USC in June 2015 have five years of experience working as budget business analyst. My duties includes managing grant accounts, supporting faculties and their prospective staff with the research needs providing budget projection reports.

Lauren Terazawa

Lauren Terazawa

Assistant Director, AME Student Affairs
Office: OHE 500C
Email: terazawa@usc.edu

Lauren Terazawa advises undergraduate and master’s students on course planning, campus resources, and university policies. She also coordinates department events and projects related to AME’s master’s student population (i.e. new student orientation, course enrollment management, applications to graduate, awards ceremony).

Lauren graduated from USC with a B.A. in English Literature and Narrative Studies, and an M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs. In her free time, Lauren enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Usiel Ulloa

Photo of Usiel Ulloa.Instructional Lab Tech
Office: BHE 301
Tel. (213) 740-4304
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: uulloa@usc.edu

Usiel joined AME in May 2022 as an Instructional Lab Technician. In this position, he works in the lab space where students have some of their core classes like 101, 341, and 441. Usiel helps manage the lab and helps students use tools properly and safely. In 341 he works with professors, assistant teachers, and other technicians to teach engineering and science concepts. He also helps with 441 Projects, working closely with senior technicians and students. He helps inspect, repair, or modify engineering projects and different systems in the lab. In the process he builds and designs systems using 3D software where he then 3D prints or laser cuts parts. He is very happy to be a part of the AME department.

Before joining USC, Usiel worked as a cook assistant and a tutor. At USC, he has also worked as a USC Care Crew member before coming to the AME department. Usiel has an AS degree in Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. He is currently studying Mechanical Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles.

Usiel enjoys weight training and learning more about science, and also likes to spend time doing long distance running. He lives in south central with his family, and has a Black lucky cat named Lala.

 

Jeffrey Vargas

Jeffrey Vargas photoLaboratory Manager
Office: BHE 301
Tel. (213) 740-4304
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: vargasje@usc.edu

 

Ellecia Williams

Photo of Ellecia Williams

Director, AME Student Affairs
Office: OHE 500F
Email: elleciaw@usc.edu

Ellecia advises undergraduate and Ph.D. students on course planning, campus resources, and university policies.  Ellecia graduated from Clark Atlanta University with an MBA in marketing and a BBA degree in marketing from Texas A&M University – Mays School of Business. Ellecia enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, exploring the LA/OC food scene, and visiting the beach.

Tessa Yao

Administrative Assistant II
Office: OHE 400A
Tel. (213) 740-8762
Fax. (213) 740-8071
Email: tessayao@usc.edu

Tessa Yao came to AME in 2018 with years of experience in finance and education. After college, she interned at Merrill Lynch, worked as a stock market analyst, and then as an administrator at Caltech. She has an M.B.A. in finance from Woodbury and a B.A. in economics from UCLA.

At AME, Tess plays a central role as the department administrative assistant. Her responsibilities include coordinating weekly seminars, supervising student employees, purchasing office supplies, and organizing major events. She schedules, hosts, and attends department and committee meetings, records the minutes, and tracks action items.

Tess grew up in Singapore, in Asia. She speaks Malaysian and a little Chinese. She enjoys sports, especially playing tennis and riding horses. She is an avid baseball fan and loves going to games at Dodger Stadium. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Rodney Yates

Picture of Rod Yates in the lab, holding equipmentInstructional Lab Tech III
Office: BHE 310
Tel. (213) 821-2139
Fax. (213) 740-8071

Email: rodneyya@usc.edu

Rod Yates is a senior instructional lab technician and lab safety coordinator. He has also served as staff manufacturing advisor for AME and SCRacing since 2010. Prior to coming to USC, Rod worked in many areas of manufacturing for over 30 years as a toolmaker, nuclear level CNC machinist and inspector, master machinist on manual machines, master assembler and machine shop safety representative.

In his free time Rod enjoys nature hikes in the surrounding hills and canyons of his neighborhood, golfing, tinkering in Rod’s Garage, and most of all spending time with his family.

 

Published on July 20th, 2021

Last updated on November 4th, 2022