USC Gould Search

Public Interest Scholars

Building upon USC Gould's longstanding tradition of legal service in the public interest, our public interest scholarships honor the commitment of our students who are dedicated to serving the public interest. The benefits of selection as a Public Interest Scholar include:

  • special merit-based scholarships
  • access to Public Interest Law certificate mentorship opportunities
  • guaranteed summer employment at public service organizations the summer following your first year of law school
  • a stipend to support your summer employment
  • future opportunities to mentor subsequent groups of Public Interest Scholars

Scholars are selected on the basis of merit and demonstrated commitment to public interest work. Selection criteria include strong academic indicators (LSAT score and undergraduate cumulative GPA) and significant achievements in the fields of public interest work or government service. The committee will give priority to applicants with a history of full-time nonprofit or public interest focused work. For timely consideration in selection as a Public Interest Scholar, please submit your application by the priority deadline of February 1st.

If chosen, you will be notified prior to the seat deposit deadline. Scholars will be expected to perform 25 pro bono hours each year and participate in certain programming, such as nonprofit career fairs.

2017-18 Public Interest Scholars

Vivian Becerra

Undergraduate: California State University, Northridge

Vivian was born and raised in Los Angeles. She graduated from California State University, Northridge, earning a BA in History in 2014 and an MA in History in 2016. As a graduate student, she worked as a teacher’s assistant helping instruct courses on Western Civilization.

While a student and after graduation, she worked as a JusticeCorps Fellow and with Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County to help provide free legal services to underserved communities in Los Angeles. Her work has focused on family law, assisting self-represented litigants with divorce, paternity cases, and domestic violence restraining order cases. Among her foremost interests for pursuing a legal education is her desire to work as an advocate for those who lack resources to obtain justice.

She’s excited to participate and be part of USC Gould’s Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), Latino Law Students Association, and OUTLaw!

Erika Ingram

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Erika Ingram was born and raised in Southern California. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in International Relations. As an undergraduate, she joined numerous service organizations, studied abroad in Rwanda and Jordan, interned as a member of JusticeCorps, and interned for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. After graduating, she spent her year off at the Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court working for the judicial officers and research attorneys.

As a public interest scholar, Erika plans to continue her work in public service and give back to the Los Angeles community. She is passionate about the issues of child welfare, human trafficking and criminal justice, and her hope is to be an empowering voice and advocate for her clients. Erika is excited to continue her education at USC and further her involvement with the Trojan Family. She is very grateful to be surrounded by a public interest community that offers so much support, guidance, and opportunity.

Nassim Moallem

Undergraduate: San Diego State University

Nassim Moallem grew up in Silicon Valley before moving down to Southern California to attend San Diego State University. She graduated summa cum laude with a double major in Women’s Studies and Political Science, and a double minor in honors interdisciplinary studies and television, film, and new media.

Her commitment to public interest began with on-campus organizing and activism. Nassim served on the boards of various student organizations, becoming involved in events related to promotion of gender and racial justice. During her second year, she worked extensively on improving the way her university was addressing sexual assault on campus. This led to hosting their first annual Take Back the Week event.

She felt a connection to USC Gould after assisting a professor with research on alumna Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (JD 1956), the first black woman elected to California’s legislature. Outside of campus, Nassim volunteered with local political campaigns and the International Rescue Committee.

Nassim also served as a Panetta Institute Congressional Intern for the D.C. Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Working with policymakers shed light on the need for formal enforcement in order to truly implement change. This inspired Nassim to pursue law school with the goal of one day holding public office herself.

Jared Osborne

Undergraduate: New York University

Jared Osborne was born and raised in Chino Hills, CA. He attended NYU where he majored in Art History. After he graduated, Jared joined Teach for America. He moved to Mississippi and worked just across the Mississippi River in Helena, AR as an elementary school art teacher from 2009-2011. He spent the following school year teaching 3rd grade in Lambert, MS while earning his Masters of Elementary Education from Delta State University (home of the Fighting Okra!). He then returned to New York to live in Brooklyn where he spent two years teaching third grade at Exceed Charter School. Following that, Jared branched out into the non-profit world, working at iMentor, where he helped 10th graders cultivate strong mentor/mentee relationships with local area professionals. Despite Brooklyn’s many charms, Jared returned to Lambert yet again to teach fourth grade from 2015-2017.

Jared was inspired and humbled by his teaching experiences. It reinforced and expanded his belief in the importance of working in public interest. He is excited to take advantage of all the support and opportunities USC Gould provides.

Ricca Prasad

Undergraduate: George Washington University

Prior to coming to law school, Ricca Prasad worked in community-based health programming and research. She earned her BS and Master of Public Health (MPH) from George Washington University. While attending school, she worked on a variety of research projects with vulnerable populations, including using art as a therapeutic tool with children living in a violent neighborhood, using motivation interviewing with women in a drug treatment court, and developing a social risk assessment for use with patients at community health centers.

Ricca worked with the National Association of Community Health Centers for two years in D.C. before moving to Philadelphia. While in Philly, she spent ten months serving as an AmeriCorps member helping to start an addiction medicine clinic. The following year, she worked for Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers supporting its housing program and program evaluation.

Ricca learned through her public health work that the criminal justice system directly impacts health, and that super-utilizers of the jail system are often super-utilizers of the hospital system as well. She’s interested in the intersection of these systems and plans to use her law degree in conjunction with her MPH to develop and implement programs that support community members impacted by these systems.

Ariana Stobaugh

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Ariana Stobaugh grew up in Reno, NV but moved to L.A. in 2009 when she attended USC as an undergraduate. At USC, Ariana worked at a political education start-up and with AmeriCorps’ JumpStart. She also served as a women’s youth mentor with Women and Youth Supporting Each Other, a health educator through Peer Health Exchange, and a volunteer with the Joint Educational Project.

After graduating with a double major in Political Science and Sociology, Ariana joined Teach for America and taught high school English in Los Angeles. While teaching, Ariana received her Master’s in Urban Education Policy from Loyola Marymount University and became the English Department Chair at her school.

However, Ariana wanted to combine her passion for social justice, her innate inner academic interest, and the powerful platform of a law degree. She is thrilled to return to USC as a Public Interest Scholar at Gould. She is passionate about women’s rights, and interested in pursuing a legal career related to advancing women’s health and reproductive rights. She is excited to join organizations such as the Women’s Law Association, PILF, and Legal Aid Alternative Break (LAAB), and to be surrounded by the intelligent, driven and like-minded students at USC.