The Advocacy Network for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars is a team of supportive Cockrell School of Engineering faculty members across various departments who work one-on-one with engineering graduate students and postdocs to provide assistance and advice that they may not feel comfortable getting from their advisors or within their own departments.

Example Questions

    • “I [am pregnant / need to have surgery / have a serious health issue], and I will need to take some off. I can’t afford to be out of work and am nervous about bringing this up with my research supervisor. What resources are available to me, and how should I approach this conversation?”
    • “I have a 20-hour research assistantship, but my PI is insisting I work 40 hours per week. Is this ok? What can I do?”
    • “My advisor expects me to be available 24/7 and answer/monitor email in the evenings or weekends. How do I approach a conversation with them?”
    • “I want to switch research advisors, but I’m not sure how to do this, and I don’t want to burn bridges with my current research advisor. How do I approach this?”
    • “I’m completely lost and feel out of place in my research lab. Maybe [graduate school / a postdoc / research] isn’t for me?
    • “I do not feel like my committee treated me fairly during my qualifying exams. How can I tell? What can I do? What is my next step?”
    • “I think I am ready to graduate, but my advisor seems to be stringing me along and not letting me finish. What should I do?”


Students and postdocs can seek advice from Advocacy Network members related to challenging conversations and situations in the labs, effectively communicating with advisors and principal investigators, accessing campus-wide resources and much more. Our team of advocates is comprised of faculty with expertise and social capital that can be leveraged to help you address a specific problem.

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Advocacy Network Members

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Brian Evans

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Edward Castillo

Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

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Michael Cullinan

Associate Professor, Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering

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Kasey Faust

Associate Professor, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

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