Center Staff

 Megan van der Toorn

(she/they)

Center Director

Megan van der Toorn (she/they) joined the Trojan Family in July 2020 when she began her role as Center Director of the LGBT Resource Center. Prior to coming to USC, Megan worked for six year’s at UCLA’s LGBTQ Campus Resource Center, serving first as Program Coordinator and then as Assistant Director. During her time at UCLA, Megan facilitated LGBTQ competency trainings for over 5000 UCLA students, staff, faculty, and LA community members; provided career and leadership development for undergraduate LGBTQ students through the creation and implementation of UCLA’s LGBTQ Student Leadership Retreat; conducted broader assessment and strategic planning for the LGBTQ Campus Resource Center; and, most importantly, had the privilege of mentoring countless students through their queer identity development journeys.


Megan comes to Los Angeles by way of Nashville, TN where she earned her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at Vanderbilt University. As a proud queer, feminist, lesbian, Megan pursues social justice work through an intersectional lens that focuses on the importance of personal narrative and navigating systems of power and privilege. Megan’s biggest passion and interest in life is the representation of queer women on television and in other media. She believes firmly that media shapes culture and that representation matters. Megan welcomes any opportunity to speak about the importance of the film
Portrait of a Lady on Fire, why #LexaDeservedBetter, the revolutionizing power of Juliantina, and the narrative tool of the female ga(y)ze.

You can contact Megan at mvandert@usc.edu.

 

Michael Gorse, M.Ed.

(they/them/he/him)

Center Supervisor
Michael Gorse has served as the Center Supervisor of the LGBTQ+ Student Center since August 2016. During their time as a USC graduate student in the Masters of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs (PASA) program (graduated May 2016), Michael founded the Queer Graduate Alliance (a student organization for all LGBTQ+ graduate students), served as the Vice President of the PASA Network, and worked at the LGBTQ+ Student Center as the Lead Graduate Assistant. In his current role, Michael supports the LGBTQ+SC services/programs, provides one-on-one support for students, supervises the LGBTQ+SC student staff and volunteers, and plans large-scale events for the LGBTQ+ community.

Michael’s university-wide work includes serving as an elected member and as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair of the USC Staff Assembly, representing staff and students on the Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (REDI) Task Force, and conducting trainings and departmental consultations regarding LGBTQ+ cultural humility and other social issues. The favorite parts of their job involve student development, the Lavender Lounger volunteer program (which he oversees), Mental Health First Aid education (as a certified instructor), and working with diverse LGBTQ+ populations (e.g., Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC), LGBTQ+ international students). Michael also is a Ph.D. in Education (with an emphasis in Leadership Studies) student at Chapman University, where he studies and completes research around LGBTQ+ student mental health, wellbeing, and experiences in K-12 education.

You can contact Michael at mgorse@usc.edu.

 

 

 

Graduate Staff

Ciara Brewer

(they/them/theirs)

Graduate Assistant: Peer Mentor Program Coordinator, Graduate Mixers, Lavender Celebration

Ciara is a graduate student in USC Rossier’s Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs program. They graduated from NYU last spring from their mom’s living room, receiving a BA in Music with minors in Math and Teacher Education. They are currently the PASA rep for the Ad-hoc Student Committee on Disrupting anti-Blackness in Rossier Master’s Programs. They also volunteer with the UCLA Law Covid-19 Behind Bars Data Project. Ciara is a prison abolitionist and hopes to help expand access to secondary and higher education to justice involved students. In their free time, Ciara loves going to the beach, making lofi music in their apartment, and watching endless hours of television.

 

Undergraduate Staff

Annika Bjorklund

(she/her/hers)

Student Worker: Graphic Design

 

Annika is a sophomore majoring in design at Roski and minoring in cinematic arts. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, and watching the same few comfort movies for the eightieth time. If you see her walking unreasonably fast on campus it’s because she’s listening to ABBA.

Reeves Gift

(he/him/his)

Student Worker: Community Coordinator, QTPOC Lounge Facilitator

 

Reeves is a sophomore in the School of Cinematic Arts. He enjoys computer repair and playing sports-ball.

 

 

Ken Murakami

(he/him/his)

Student Worker: Operations Coordinator, Rainbow International Facilitator

 

Ken is a Senior double majoring in Cognitive Science and Human Biology. He enjoys singing with his a cappella group (UnderSCore), visiting botanical gardens, hiking, cooking, and gardening. He’s lived in Houston, TX, Cleveland, OH, and Tokyo, Japan.

Sulley Park

(he/him/his)

Student Worker: Digital Outreach & Social Media

Sulley is a junior majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. He enjoys thriller films and mindfulness meditation, and his music taste is similarly all over the place. Artist recs: Audrey Nuna, Glass Animals, Rina Sawayama, REI AMI, and any Arctic Monkeys song slowed + reverb on YouTube.

Lavender Lounger Volunteers

 

Alexia Sambrano

(she/they)

Alexia is an undergraduate student currently pursuing a double major in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and a minor in LGBTQ Studies. After college, they hope to aid in research studies about reproductive health and justice, and access to care in low-income, queer/trans communities, and communities of color. In their free time, they like to paint. Alexia’s art primarily focuses on the intersections of their own identities as a queer, latine/x, genderfluid individual, as well as mental health awareness, body representation, and more.

Indiana Schnicer

(she/her/hers)

Indiana is a junior double majoring in Psychology and Law, History, and Culture. She gets way too excited about Halloween and tries out a new hobby every couple of months, from scuba diving to cross stitching. Her happy place is within three feet of the nearest bookshelf, and she most likely has a children’s song stuck in her head at any given time.

Nicole Austria

(she/her/hers)

Nicole is a Senior majoring in Health and Human Sciences and minoring in Occupational Science. In her free time, she runs a small chocolate covered strawberries business, spends time with family, and enjoys cooking. In the future, she hopes to become an Occupational Therapist and provide healthcare services to low-income children and their families.