Program Specialist – (Los Angeles, California, United States)

The Division of Engineering Education in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is seeking a program specialist to coordinate a new multi-year research program entitled Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Pathways to Careers. Under the supervision of Dr. Gisele Ragusa, this position will serve as the point of contact for faculty and students in coordination of the recruitment, retention and support of students in college access from K-12 programs and transferring from community colleges to colleges and universities in STEM fields.  Responsibilities include coordinating a STEM career pathway project and its associated  activities with participating K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, serving as a staff liaison between participating schools, community colleges and universities, facilitating STEM transfer course articulation for prospective STEM students, coordination of events associated with K-12 schools, community colleges and universities related to STEM career pathway planning, management of fiscal and budget matters associated with contracts and grants, and other administrative duties including purchasing and payroll.

Primary Responsibilities Include:

STEM Career Pathways Coordination and Management:  

The incumbent will coordinate grant activities across participating institutions including:

  • Engaging in STEM career pathways coordination between Los Angeles area K-12 schools, community colleges, colleges and universities.

  • Coordination of STEM related degree articulation agreements between colleges and universities.

  • Planning and coordination (with applicable K-12, college and university staff) of all student events and activities that provide STEM degree and career information for prospective students including K-12 STEM access programs, information sessions, community college STEM academy university visits, and career days/fairs.

  • Working with participating K-12 schools, colleges and universities’ admissions and financial aid staff and students services advisors to insure that students in STEM majors are fully supported in as they transition from K-12, community college to college/university transfer processes.

  • Coordination of planning and day-to-day management of participating student activities across institutions.

  • Assisting in fiscal management and budget planning associated with grant coordination.

Research Proposals:

  • Data collection necessary to submit proposals in accordance with the agency and university guidelines.  Dissemination of information to Viterbi School of Engineering Business Affairs, faculty home academic departments, the USC Department of Contracts and Grants (DCG), applicable principal investigators and associated agencies.

  • Preparation of budgets, supplementary documents and other required documents for submission of research proposals to federal, state and foundation funding agencies for funding.

  • Loading and submission of research proposals to funding agencies.

  • Assisting the principal investigators when notifications of awards are received by updating original account budgets proposed.  Notifying faculty of the receipt of award and communicate necessary expenditures.  Assisting in pre-award proposal preparation and post award reconciliation.

Account Management:

  • Monitoring account activity and reconciliation of accounts to assure that all account activity is related to the project and is charged appropriately.  When discrepancies are found, engaging in necessary to steps to correct the transactions, such as expense transfers or object code corrections.  Monitoring account balances and process budget changes when necessary to comply with original scope of work.  Referencing agency guidelines to make sure that budget changes are in compliance with the specified requirements from individual agencies.

  • Working closely with USC Sponsored Projects Accounting (SPA) on any questions that arise on continuing and expiring awards.


  • Keeping informed of agency funding/spending guidelines.  Communicate information to faculty and other research-related staff to ensure that guidelines set forth by agencies are followed.

  • Assisting SPA and DCG with the preparation of financial and/or progress reports requested by agencies for award continuation and/or final reports.

  • Coordinating, preparing, reviewing and submitting a variety of payroll and personnel documents for faculty, staff, and students. 

  • Coordinating purchasing activities by preparing purchase orders, travel expenses, reimbursements, and requisitions.  Interfacing with vendors and university purchasing as required.

Job duties may be added or modified as needed, to support the needs of stakeholders and goals of Viterbi Career Connection.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the mission of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Viterbi staff are expected to facilitate a culture of support and service, to model civility and respectful engagement at all times, to

maintain the highest ethical standards, and to maintain strict confidentiality across all facets of their work.

Additional Information:

Fixed-Term Employment: Employees hired under a fixed-term agreement acknowledge that the university may change the expected end date at any time by providing a one (1) month written notification. Your employment may also end for other reasons consistent with university policy. According to university policy, no severance benefits are paid to employees hired under a fixed-term agreement. When you leave, your final paycheck will include pay for days worked, and for accrued and unused vacation. The university does not pay for accrued and unused sick days upon termination.

Job Modality: This is currently a fixed hybrid position. The Program Specialist will be expected to work onsite for a minimum (3) days per week. This position is not eligible for fully remote work.

Salary Range:

The hourly rate range for this position is $30.27 – $34.31. When extending an offer of employment, the University of Southern California considers factors such as (but not limited to) the scope of responsibilities of the position, the candidate’s work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, federal, state, and local laws, contractual stipulations, grant funding, as well as external market and organizational considerations.

Funding Restrictions

This position is funded by a contract/grant and may be funded by a subsequent grant/gift. Accordingly, your position is contingent upon receipt of the necessary funding from this or any subsequent contract/grant to continue employment. In the event funding for your position changes and it becomes necessary to adjust your percentage of effort or it becomes necessary for your employment with the University of Southern California to end, you will receive one (1) month written notification of termination.

According to university policy, no severance benefits are paid to employees hired under a contract/grant. When you leave, your final paycheck will include pay for days worked, and for accrued and unused vacation. The university does not pay for accrued and unused sick days upon termination.

Your employment may also end for other reasons consistent with university policy.

Preferred Qualifications:

This person must be exceedingly well organized, flexible and enjoy the administrative challenges of supporting a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students. The position requires a high level of professionalism in the handling of confidential information; strong communication skills, both verbal and written; ability to problem solve to resolution; and attention to detail.

Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor’s Degree with three years of office management experience, including supervision of staff, combined with specialized knowledge of university policies and procedures particularly as they related to students’ access to college from K-12, transfer between community colleges and universities and contracts and grants.

Required Applicant Documents:

A resume/CV and a cover letter are required. Please feel free to upload your application materials in a single document.

USC and the Viterbi School:

The University of Southern California (USC), founded in 1880, is in the heart of downtown L.A. and is the largest private employer in the City of Los Angeles. As an employee of USC, you will be a part of a world-class research university and a member of the “Trojan Family,” which is comprised of the faculty, students, and staff that make the university what it is.

Founded in 1905, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering is named for Andrew Viterbi who developed an algorithm to connect the world’s citizens. Similarly, the school, located in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international business in the heart of the Pacific Rim, is a hub for entrepreneurship that connects students from 64 countries.

USC Viterbi is a pioneer in restoring sight to the blind; restoring memory to sufferers of Alzheimer’s; and socially assistive robots to aid seniors with stroke or children with autism. It is the home of the first operational quantum computing center in academia. Our alumni include Neil Armstrong, first human on the moon; A.C. Mike Markkula, co- founder of Apple; and Wanda Austin, former CEO of the Aerospace Corporation.

The USC Viterbi School is consistently ranked among the top graduate programs (U.S. News and World Report). Under the leadership of Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, the school helped re-imagine the 21st century engineer, pioneering the Grand Challenge Scholars Program in schools across the globe. Our mission is to serve California, the nation and the world. At USC Viterbi, we call this the enabling power of Engineering+.


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