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Graduate Student Advocate

Here to Help

Similar to the Ombuds Office, the Graduate Student Advocates (GSAs) can help resolve problems students may encounter during their graduate studies at Stony Brook. In many situations, students may simply need more information or assistance finding and contacting the appropriate people within the University. We’re here to help. 

When to Contact Us

Contact us anytime you have a serious problem or concern that you don’t know how to handle. When faced with a conflict or issue, it is always best to start locally. Talking first to your advisor, graduate program director, graduate program coordinator, or department administrator can often remedy the situation. In most cases they will be in the best position to handle your problem quickly and efficiently as they are most familiar with your specific field. When this is not possible, or if you are unsure of how to proceed, we are here to help.

Students come to us with a variety of concerns. We’ve addressed conflicts with faculty advisors, health insurance problems, housing problems, cases of discrimination, questions of academic standing, problems with funding, and other work-related issues. Work-related problems involving Graduate Assistants (GAs) and Teaching Assistant (TAs) are the jurisdiction of the Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU) and must be referred to union representatives. In cases where the issues are particularly serious or where students may wish to work with an independent professional conflict management specialist, we can refer you to the Ombuds Office.

Whatever the issue, we will help you navigate the University’s resources to find the help you need.

How We Help:

1. Explain University policies and procedures. 
2. Assess possible courses of action and offer guidance in pursuing the options best suited to your specific situation. 
3. Refer you to the person most capable of addressing your concerns, arranging introductions and meetings as necessary.
4. Provide support on personal matters that may be effecting your academic performance. 
5. If necessary or appropriate, intercede on your behalf or mediate for you 
6. Recommend specific changes to University policy to address student issues and concerns.

Contact Us

Julia Brown

Julia Brown

Julia Brown is pursuing her PhD in English literature at Stony Brook University with a research focus on the intersection of literature and medicine/health. Julia is an editor of Survive and Thrive: A Journal for Medical Humanities and Narrative as Medicine and has served as the Assistant Director of the Teaching and Learning Center and an Open Educational Resource Fellow at City College of New York.