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Gold Honors Scholars - Juris Doctor (JD)

USC Gould School of Law

Launched through the generosity of USC Trustee Stanley Gold, JD 1967, and his wife, Ilene, the Honors Scholars combines financial support with mentoring and networking opportunities for selected, highly ranked incoming USC Gould JD students.

The Honors Scholar designation is applied to approximately 20 students in each class. In addition to any general merit-based scholarship, every Honors Scholar will have the opportunity to engage in activities designed around social, academic, and professional networking. In prior years, this has included the following: mixers with part-time faculty; lunch and learns with prominent members of the Gould alumni community; invitations to select events with members of the Law Leadership Society; and student led social outings, including escape rooms and sporting events. In addition, Honors Scholars are invited to a variety of academic workshops throughout the course of the year. These workshops are led by law and non-law faculty from USC and other prestigious universities.


I am committed to helping students achieve their very best, and I wholly believe that USC Gould offers the most stellar legal education. Its small environment is designed so students may achieve great things.

Stanley Gold, JD 1967
Chairman of Shamrock Holdings
Of Counsel, Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown
Member, USC Board of Trustees
USC Gould Board of Counselors

2023-24 Honors Scholars

Jordan Blunt

Jordan Blunt

Undergraduate: Tulane University

Jordan was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She attended Tulane University, graduating with honors in May 2022, with degrees in Psychology and Theatre Performance and a minor in Africana Studies. At Tulane, she participated in various activities, including serving as Tulane’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) President, President of the Black Pre-Law Society, and a Greek Life Ambassador. She also served as an event manager for TedXTulane and a Goldman Center for Accessibility Peer Mentor. Jordan received the Nan Boykin Memorial Award of Excellence in Dramatic Literature in 2021 from Tulane’s Theatre Department, and she was the 2022 recipient of the Janice Torre Perky Memorial Award for Excellence in Theatrical Writing.

Intrigued by the business of entertainment, Jordan enrolled in the Disney College Program and moved to Orlando. While at Disney World, Jordan worked behind the scenes in Fantasyland and learned what it takes to make the magic come to life.

Jordan is excited to spend the next three years at USC Gould, especially as an Honors Scholar. She intends to further explore her passion for the entertainment business by obtaining Gould’s Certificate in Media and Entertainment Law.

Lee Cohen

Lee Cohen

Undergraduate: UC Los Angeles

Lee grew up in Woodland Hills, California. After graduating from high school, she served two years in the Israeli Defense Forces as a drill sergeants assistant. Due to her job in the military, Lee was exposed to all sorts of military trials. This exposure set Lee on a path to law and inspired her desire to be a litigator.

After her service she attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in philosophy. She was also a part of the Honors Collegium program. After graduating, Lee worked as a case assistant at Seyfarth Shaw’s Century City office. At Seyfarth she worked in labor and employment and fell in love with this area of law.

Lee is honored and excited to start this new chapter of her life at USC Gould. She’s looking forward to learning and growing both personally and professionally.

Caitlin Cummings

Lee Cohen

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Caitlin grew up in Pacifica, CA, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Public Relations and a minor in Legal Studies from the University of Southern California. During her time at USC, Caitlin won three NCAA Division 1 National Championships as a member of the women’s beach volleyball team. In addition to her athletic pursuits, Caitlin served as the Director of Social for USC’s undergraduate Society of Women in Law.

Along with her on-campus involvement, Caitlin enjoyed her role as the Head of Public Relations for “Exposition,” a non-profit media platform dedicated to empowering student-athletes through independent storytelling. Before being published in Exposition, Caitlin wrote a story for Volleyball Magazine about the toxic culture of body image in beach volleyball to induce change in the sport’s uniform policies.

In her free time, Caitlin enjoys songwriting, poetry, working out, painting, finding coffee shops with good ambiance, and spending time with her family, friends, and her three cats.

Caitlin is excited for three more years at USC as a double trojan and will continue to stay involved in athletics by tutoring student-athletes. She cannot wait to explore her intersectional passions for writing and advocacy through the study of law. Fight on!

Roberto Diaz

Roberto Diaz

Undergraduate: Georgetown University

Roberto Diaz was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. His hometown’s proximity to the US-Mexico border inspired his study of international politics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

After graduating from Georgetown in 2019, Roberto returned to South Texas and became a teacher at IDEA San Benito College Preparatory, a Title I public charter school. Roberto taught several courses over the course of his career, including an AP government and AP microeconomics sequence. To encourage deeper learning, Roberto often prompted students to think about the intersections of law, economics, and policy. Roberto’s teaching career culminated in him being named the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year for his campus.

More recently, Roberto worked in the press office of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington D.C. think tank, where his role involved publicizing economic research from labor markets and monetary policy to financial regulation and antitrust policy.

Roberto is excited to start his legal journey at Gould, where he’s interested in acquiring a business law certificate to push his thinking on how economics, law, and policy intersect.

Alexis Dugel

Alexis Dugel

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Alexis is from Palos Verdes, California, and attended USC Annenberg as a Presidential Scholar. She graduated with a B.A. in Communication in three years and attained summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and University Trustees Award distinctions.

A passionate advocate of childhood literacy, Alexis founded the highly-awarded nonprofit WriteKids in 2013 to promote literacy globally and currently serves as its Director. Her commitment to social justice also led her to the Loyola Project for the Innocent, where she assisted attorneys in formulating winning defense strategies and was appointed as a supervisor for new interns.

At USC Annenberg, Alexis served as Director of the Women’s Leadership Society. She concurrently worked at the Center on Communication, Leadership, and Policy, coordinating national cybersecurity and election transparency workshops attended by senators and governors, while managing daily social media content across platforms. Additionally, Alexis founded an Instagram site dedicated to gluten-free recipe creation. The account enjoys a community of 10,000 followers and sponsorships by national food companies.

Alexis is honored to begin her legal career at Gould. As an attorney, she aspires to make a lasting impact in the legal landscape of digital media, entertainment, and technology by protecting the rights of burgeoning artists and empowering them to produce creatively.

In her free time, Alexis enjoys dancing, traveling, baking, and cheering on USC football. Fight On!

Eduard Galumyan

Eduard Galumyan

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Eduard Galumyan, born in Yerevan, Armenia, arrived in the United States with his family in 2007 ready to embrace the American Dream. His academic journey led him to the American University of Paris where he spent a semester developing as a global citizen prior to enrolling at the University of Southern California studying International Relations (Global Business), complemented by a minor in French. During the unprecedented events of COVID-19, Eduard embraced an opportunity to study French at Les Cours de civilisation française de la Sorbonne (CCFS) in Paris concurrently with his remote education at USC.

Eduard’s passions extend outside of the classroom as an equestrian showjumper. He once represented the USC Equestrian Team in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and now competes at events throughout Southern California. He devotedly rides his leased horse, Aria’s Destiny, under the watchful guidance of trainer Kathryn Griffiths. To contribute to the equestrian world, Eduard also cofounded GallopGuard, an all-natural hoof oil with the added benefits of hemp seed oil.

After graduating summa cum laude and Phi Kappa Phi in December 2021, Eduard focused the next steps of his academic journey towards a legal education. He is grateful and excited to continue at his beloved alma mater as an Honors Scholar at the USC Gould School of Law.

Yuting Han

Yuting Han

Undergraduate: UC Berkeley

Yuting was born and raised in Nanjing, China. She immigrated to the United States with her family when she was a junior in high school. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in English Literature. During her undergraduate years, she also served as International & Legislative Affairs director at an ASUC Senator’s office.

Entrepreneurship was big part of Yuting’s undergraduate experience. With two co-founders, she founded an education consulting company in Los Angeles which commits to building a bridge between the American education system and Chinese international students, improving students’ learning outcomes, and making academic resources more accessible. This experience has inspired Yuting to develop a fundamental business mindset, making her more open-minded and passionate about the business world.

In her free time, Yuting enjoys creating art pieces, especially in the style of Japanese manga. She also enjoys recording select memorable or fantastic moments in her life in the form of art and posted them on her own art channel.

Yuting is grateful for the opportunity to study with her talented peers at USC Gould, and she looks forward to exploring the intersection of her diverse interests and the law.

Caleb Harris

Caleb Harris

Undergraduate: University of Miami

Caleb was born and raised in Dallas, TX. At the University of Miami, he majored in Sports Administration and double minored in Finance and Broadcast Journalism.

At Miami, Caleb was a member of the Eta Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and later joined the E-Board of UM’s National Pan-Hellenic Council as the treasurer during his junior and senior year. As a member of Beyond the Horizons, he mentored underclassmen and helped them balance their academics, extracurriculars, and social life through their first year of college.

Early in life, Caleb developed an interest in the entertainment industry, which led him to pursue multiple internships during his time in undergraduate. These included a sports agency called Ballengee Group, and RCA Records through Sony Music Entertainment. An internship at Diaz, Reus and Targ LLP within the sports agency division inspired him to start his own NIL marketing agency, called Hall of Fame Sports Management, LLC. Through his company, he aims to help student-athletes achieve greatness through their name, image, and likeness, and when their athletic career is over.

Caleb is ecstatic to be a part of the Trojan family and experience life in Los Angeles. His hobbies include working out, video games, and playing recreational basketball.

Kelly Houlihan

Kelly Houlihan

Undergraduate: UC San Diego

Kelly was born and raised in the mountains of San Diego, California. At a young age she found a love for animals, especially horses. She rode competitively which progressed to a professional career by the age of 16. As a professional athlete, Kelly competed in show jumping at the national level. She traveled around the United States to compete, train horses, and coach riders.

After an eight-year career, Kelly pivoted to pursue higher education. She graduated cum laude from University of California San Diego in 2021 with a bachelor's degree in political science.

During her time at UCSD, Kelly worked at the San Diego Public Defender’s Office where she spent much of her time working in the mental health division. Kelly was integral during the transition from courtroom hearings to remote hearings during the Covid-19 pandemic. Working at the Public Defender solidified Kelly’s decision for her second career to be in law.

Kelly is ecstatic to be attending USC Gould as a Gold Honors Student. She is looking forward to being a member of the Trojan Family, and excited to be an active member of the community. She plans on remaining in Southern California and pursuing transactional work.

Ashley Jay

Ashley Jay

Undergraduate: Loyola Marymount University

Ashley was born and raised in San Diego, California. She graduated summa cum laude from Loyola Marymount University with a B.B.A. in Finance, a BA in Economics, and a minor in Philosophy. As an undergraduate, Ashley was a student-athlete tutor and president of the LMU club basketball team. She was also a member of two prelaw fraternities, Phi Alpha Delta and Phi Delta Phi, and part of the business honors society, Beta Gamma Sigma.

During her studies in economics and finance, Ashley was introduced to mergers and acquisitions and became fascinated with how laws have the power to dissuade monopolies and dictate the market economy. She further intersected her knowledge of finance and interest in the law when she worked as a financial accounting intern for the National Football League. Ashley used her experience with financial valuations to assist in numerous licensing deals, investment analysis, and vendor contracts for the NFL.

In her free time, Ashley enjoys playing basketball, doing ceramics, and reading adventure novels. Ashley is grateful for the opportunity to learn from the esteemed faculty at USC Gould and is delighted to join the Trojan family. She is excited to continue learning about mergers and acquisitions and explore the intersection of finance and law.

Brynley Jonson

Brynley Johnson

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Brynley is from San Diego, California and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Southern California in 2023 with a BA in Journalism. In her time at USC, Brynley was a member of the Society of Women in Law, served on her sorority’s executive board as the Vice President of Standards, and worked as a multimedia journalist for Annenberg TV News, USC’s student-run newsroom. As a journalism student and reporter, Brynley embraced the privilege of a platform where she could bring awareness to untold stories and unheard voices in media.

Through her undergraduate academic and extracurricular experiences, Brynley found a unique enthusiasm for the intersection of journalism and law in her efforts to foster propriety through writing and storytelling. Brynley is eager to make strides toward a balanced, ethical relationship between free speech media and the law, and is eager to further explore her interest in entertainment and media law.

In her free time, Brynley enjoys spending time with family and friends, cheering on USC football, and trying new recipes. Brynley is thrilled to be returning to USC as a Gold Honors Scholar, and looks forward to making lifelong friends and taking advantage of the incredible opportunities Gould has to offer.

Julia Jung

Julia Jung

Undergraduate: Rice University

Julia Joohyun Jung (she/hers) was born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Cupertino, California. Her exposure to different value systems—cultural, religious, and economic—sparked her interest in examining what it means to be “good” and led her to double major in Philosophy and Cognitive Sciences at Rice University, where she graduated cum laude. During her undergraduate degree, she developed a passion for unpacking moral dilemmas and conducted research in bioethics and public health.

As a young professional, she worked as a digital marketer in tech. Craving for more nuanced normative reasoning, she pursued a Master’s in Applied Ethics at Utrecht Universiteit in the Netherlands through the Fulbright Scholar Program. Studying ethics at the peak of the pandemic, she was confronted with pressing questions about paternalistic policy, the spread of misinformation, and distributive justice, which became the focus of her degree. Most recently, she spent two years back in Seoul, connecting with her grandparents, working on creative projects, and freelance translating. At Gould, she is excited to build a career in navigating unanswerable questions and explore all the ways that legal expertise can be applied to answering questions of justice.

Outside of law and ethics, she enjoys playing music/singing, cooking, strolling on sandy beaches, biking, and catching up on the latest hit Korean drama.

Jasmine Kerber

Jasmine Kerber

Undergraduate: Stanford University

Jasmine Kerber (“Jazzy”) grew up in the Chicago area, then moved to California to attend Stanford University. She graduated with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Russian language in 2020, then remained at Stanford to earn her M.A. in communications with a journalism focus in 2021. Jazzy was also an editor at The Stanford Daily and enjoyed teaching yoga at the campus fitness center.

A former rhythmic gymnastics National Champion and World Championship finalist, Jazzy worked as a full-time rhythmic gymnastics coach from 2021 to 2023. She also served as an athlete representative on USA Gymnastics’ Programs Council and earned her judging certifications for all levels of rhythmic gymnastics. These experiences gave Jazzy a passion for protecting athletes’ rights as well as an interest in how rules and policies are created in sport, contributing to her decision to pursue law. Jazzy is excited to join USC Gould’s amazing Class of 2026!

Jacob Lind

Jacob Lind

Undergraduate: University of Southern California
Graduate: University of Southern California

Jacob Lind was born in Long Island, New York and raised in Los Angeles. He attended USC for both undergraduate and graduate schools, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in English and History before going on to a Master's degree in Literary Editing and Publishing. While at USC, he focused his studies on student movements of the 1960s, particularly the 1964 Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley. He also was the co-founder and President of the Trojan Advocates for Political Progress, an organization dedicated to political education and advocacy on and off campus.

After graduation from USC, Jacob worked at an employment law firm, representing plaintiffs who had lost their jobs due to discrimination and other unfair labor practices. While there he developed a passion for legal advocacy that complemented his previous experiences both studying and working towards progressive change.

He cannot wait to return once again to USC, and not only because he has missed sitting in the student section at football games. He is looking forward to learning with and from his fellow Trojans at USC Gould and to beginning his legal career alongside them.

Sona Mkrtichyan

Sona Mkrtichyan

Undergraduate: UC Irvine

Sona Mkrtichyan graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences with a minor in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, graduating cum laude. Throughout her three-year undergraduate career, she distinguished herself as a proud member of the Campuswide Honors Collegium. She was also an active participant in the Armenian Student Association and held board membership in the Alpha Gamma Alpha cultural sorority. Sona worked as a laboratory technician at UCI, experimenting with rigorous scientific methodologies while conducting Alzheimer’s research alongside graduate students and senior scientists.

Following her undergraduate pursuits, Sona undertook a role as a settlement negotiator at a prominent Los Angeles personal injury law firm, enhancing her understanding of legal nuances and interpersonal dynamics.

Sona aspires to become a successful patent attorney, navigating the complexities of intellectual property law while seamlessly integrating her scientific and legal interests. She is eagerly anticipating her academic journey alongside this year’s USC Gold Honors Scholars.

Bryon Makel

Bryon Makel

Undergraduate: University of St. Thomas (TX)

Bryon was born and raised in Houston, TX. He graduated from the University of St. Thomas (TX), where he received Summa Cum Laude honors with a joint degree in Communication and Political Science. Bryon was also a member of Lambda Pi Eta and Pi Sigma Alpha, the national honor societies for Communication and Political Science, respectively.

Bryon competed as a member of the UST Basketball team throughout his time at the school. He received numerous awards for his performance on the court and in the classroom as he maintained the highest GPA in the program each season he competed and started every single game for the final 3 years of his career. He was also a member of the Mock Trial team during his final years at UST. Following graduation, Bryon worked in Human Resources at Alight Solutions, with a focus on payroll processing and health benefits.

Bryon has always had an intense passion for sports. Whether it is football, basketball, or baseball season, there’s a good chance Bryon has a game on the TV and knows more than he should about whoever is playing. He is thrilled to study law at USC Gould and hopes to leverage the skills he will gain to effectively represent the next generation of athletes so they can maximize their potential value within the everchanging landscape of name, image, and likeness rights.

Elisa Park

Elisa ParkUndergraduate: UC Los Angeles

Raised in Washington State, Elisa graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2020, where she received her bachelor’s degree in economics. In her junior year, she discovered her passion for community organizing when she served as a high school mentor at a Koreatown youth center, The K.W. Lee Center for Leadership.

Upon graduating, Elisa continued her work as a college mentor for The K.W. Lee Center for Leadership as well as serving as a Special Projects Coordinator for the nonprofit. Her mentorship responsibilities involved the implementation of the High School & College Korean American Youth Leaders in Training (KAYLT) program She also doubled as a legal assistant for The Law Offices of Do Kim, APLC, a civil rights and employment discrimination law firm that specializes in cases involving police misconduct, prisoner abuse, racial discrimination in the workplace and wage and hour.

Elisa also practices film photography with a special interest in documenting the diversity of AAPI femme beauty. She has collaborated on two limited edition zine projects with Heaven by Marc Jacobs, and her photo work has been featured in publications including i-D, Document Journal and Office Magazine. She enjoys volunteering as a mentor at Las Fotos Project, a photography non-profit for teen girls and gender expansive youth in East LA.

She hopes to intersect her interests in mentorship, community organizing and art into her legal practice as an Entertainment and Employment attorney.

Nathaniel Park

Nathaniel Park

Undergraduate: UC Los Angeles

Nathaniel Park was born in raised in Southern California. He graduated in 2017 from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. During undergraduate, he was involved in multiple sustainability research projects including native habitat restoration, integrated pest management, and wildfire management.

After graduation, he was commissioned into the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Commissioned Officer Corps. Following Officer Candidate School at the United States Coast Guard Academy, he served as a Junior Officer aboard the oceanographic research vessel NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette based out of Pearl Harbor, HI. During his sea assignment, Nathaniel facilitated numerous conservation projects including endangered species protection, coral reef monitoring and restoration, and the bottomfish stock assessment throughout the main Hawaiian Islands, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and the Marianas Archipelago. Following this, he served with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Honolulu, HI as a field research team lead and small boat coxswain.

Nathaniel is extremely excited to start law school at USC this year and participate as an Honors Scholar. He hopes to learn more about the legal issues around environmental and ocean conservation and expand his perspectives in many other areas.

Christian Viegas

Christian Viegas

Undergraduate: Chapman University

Born and raised in Orange County, California, Christian graduated from Chapman University in 2022 with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Business Administration. While at Chapman, Christian was the president of Global Brigades Business, a club committed to assisting impoverished communities abroad meet their economic and financial goals.

Christian discovered his passion for the law while volunteering at Veterans Legal Institute, where he got first-hand experience by helping veterans get the benefits they deserve. Pursuing his passion further, Christian later interned under the general counsel at Caravan Canopy. Here, Christian was able to work on a variety of cases, exposing him to all the different areas of law.

Christian loves to give back to his community. Most recently, he volunteered as a head coach for NJB (National Junior Basketball). Outside of school, Christian enjoys attending USC football games, trading on the stock market, and visiting new places.

Christian is ecstatic to attend USC Gould as a Gold Honors Scholar.

2022-23 Honors Scholars

Nathan Abernathy

Nathan Abernathy

Undergraduate: Texas A&M University

Nathan grew up in Dallas, Texas and graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. After his time at Texas A&M, he moved to Houston to join NASA’s team of Flight Controllers that pilot the International Space Station from Mission Control.

For the past five years, Nathan worked with engineers across the globe to train, plan, and execute human spaceflight operations for NASA and partner space agencies. His experience includes leading a variety of ISS missions as well as drafting and negotiating some of the background operational agreements between NASA and partner space agencies.

Through his experience at NASA, Nathan developed an interest in the legal mechanisms that protect valuable IP and technology while enabling human spaceflight in a highly collaborative international environment.

Nathan is excited to begin his legal education at USC Gould with the plan to return to the Space Industry as an attorney and a mission to empower new commercial participants and protect the outer space domain from harmful misuse.

Samantha Abril

Samantha Abril

Undergraduate: Claremont McKenna College

Samantha was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley region of Southern California. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College where she dual-majored in Government and Gender & Women’s Studies. Samantha also completed an accelerated graduate program while an undergraduate and received a Master’s degree from Claremont Graduate University in Public Policy. While attending Claremont McKenna, Samantha was a campus leader focused on gender equity and sexual violence prevention which resulted in her selection as one of ten women from across the nation chosen to serve on the American Association of University Women’s National Student Advisory Council.

Before starting law school, Samantha had a successful public sector career as a Human Resources professional. During this time, she served as a Human Resources Analyst for San Bernardino County where she was responsible for county-wide IT recruiting, managed HR modernization efforts, and spoke across the region encouraging local students to pursue careers in government. Additionally, while with San Bernardino County, she later served as an Equal Employment Opportunity Analyst where she led compliance and policy trainings, spearheaded diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and conducted discrimination and ethics investigations. Through both her career and volunteer work, Samantha has been a passionate advocate for the educational rights of disabled youth and disability benefits and transitional services for military veterans.

Samantha is excited to be a part of the USC Gould Class of 2025 and continue the legacy of the many USC graduates in her family, including her father. Samantha is honored to represent USC as both a Public Interest Scholar and Gould Honors Scholar. In her free time, Samantha enjoys watching documentaries, spending time with her spouse and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, traveling every chance she gets, and tailgating with her family at USC football games. Fight on!

Omololami Nicole Adekoya

Omololami Nicole Adekoya

Undergraduate: American University

Omololami Nicole Adekoya was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Her cross-cultural upbringing sparked her interest in international relations which led her to major in international studies at American University, Washington DC. After graduation, she spent a gap year in Nigeria participating in local community service projects and working as a paralegal at Banwo and Ighodalo, a full-service international law firm based in Nigeria.

As an undergraduate, Omololami minored in women’s gender and sexuality studies, concentrating on global economic development and global security, and how these issues affected women. In her junior year, she studied abroad at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she wrote research papers on global development and African economic history. Outside of the classroom, Omololami served as an American University Diplomat, acting as a guide and mentor to first-year international and global nomad students starting out at the university.

A fierce advocate for gender and racial equality, Omololami was drawn to study law to learn the skills needed to approach complex societal problems and how to advocate for those in need. She is excited to begin her legal studies in the beautiful city of Los Angeles at USC Gould and honored to be among this year’s cohort of Gold Honors Scholars. She is looking forward to learning from Gould’s renowned faculty members, meeting new people, and exploring all that LA has to offer.

Sophia Bordofsky

Sophia Bordofsky

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Sophia grew up in Santa Barbara, California, before moving to Los Angeles to attend USC as a Presidential Scholar. At USC, Sophia double-majored in Political Science and Communication, graduating magna cum laude in 2021. As an undergraduate, she enjoyed studying abroad in London, working as a USC student-athlete tutor, volunteering with unhoused communities in Downtown Los Angeles, and being on the executive board for USC’s chapter of Students Demand Action.

During the year between her undergraduate studies and law school, Sophia worked at Kirkland & Ellis LLP as a Junior Paralegal. At Kirkland, she assisted in numerous complex civil litigation cases, traveled with her team for trial in federal court, and earned a Pro Bono Achiever Award.

In her free time, Sophia loves traveling, hiking, camping, jewelry-making, going to the beach, reading novels, and utilizing her AMC Stubs A-List membership. Sophia is greatly appreciative of everything USC has given to her, from a world-class undergraduate education to some of her best friends, and now the chance to earn her J.D. Sophia is ecstatic to return home and attend Gould.

Kathryn Davis

Kathryn Davis

Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania

Kathryn grew up in Claremont, California. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Consumer Psychology. During her time at Penn, she was involved with the Rodin House Council (RHC) and the Reform Jewish Community. Kathryn was president of RHC during her senior year.

After graduating, Kathryn moved to San Mateo, and then San Francisco. Most recently, she was a project manager at Guidepoint’s San Francisco office, where she served institutional investment clients. Kathryn also volunteered for PennPac, a pro-bono consulting club, where she worked on a team that assisted a financial literacy nonprofit with its social media strategy.

In her free time, Kathryn enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants and museums, and skiing. Kathryn is honored and thrilled to be attending USC Gould School of Law as a Gold Honors Scholar.

Margaret de Berardine

Margaret de Berardine

Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania

Margaret De Berardine (“Hillie”) was born and raised in Connecticut. In 2012, Hillie moved to Philadelphia, PA to attend The University of Pennsylvania. During her undergraduate years, Hillie and her brother, a musician, noticed that Philadelphia lacked music and event spaces present in other major city markets, and endeavored to change this.

After graduating magna cum laude from Penn in 2016 with a degree in Biochemistry, Hillie and her brother opened a venue called NOTO (for “Not of The Ordinary”) in 2017. Since that time, the venue has hosted over 650 different events, from those featuring local musicians to world-renowned artists alike. As a 22-year-old business owner, Hillie quickly learned to communicate in an environment that is not commonly occupied by people either her age or gender, perhaps most satisfyingly, by meeting people with life stories very different from her own. Her first-hand experience working with such musicians and artists exposed her to the complexities of the entertainment industry, and the realization that the law lies at the heart of confronting these issues.

Hillie is thrilled to be attending USC Gould as a Gold Honors Scholar. She hopes to pursue Gould’s Certificate in Media and Entertainment law, and ultimately, apply what she learns at Gould to create a more equitable environment within the entertainment and entrepreneurial communities.

Jeremy Gartland

Jeremey Gartland

Undergraduate: Cornell University

Raised in Madison, WI, Jeremy graduated cum laude from Cornell University in 2018 where he studied Government and Spanish with a focus on US domestic policy. Jeremy completed his honors thesis on the effects of private school voucher programs in Wisconsin. Upon graduation, Jeremy moved to Nashville, TN, where he began his career as a housing paralegal at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee. There he developed a passion for public interest work and the legal field while providing eviction defense and housing discrimination support for low-income community members.

Before joining Gould as a Public Interest and Honors Scholar, Jeremy continued his housing work as a case manager in a Rapid Re-Housing program for young adults experiencing homelessness. He then worked as a manager of housing partnerships and co-founded the Low Barrier Housing Collective, a coordinated property engagement effort to increase housing options for unhoused Nashvillians. Jeremy looks forward to honing his advocacy skills at Gould and continuing to pursue policy solutions that improve the lives of marginalized Americans. Outside of work Jeremy enjoys rock climbing, cooking with his wife, and taking his dog on hikes.

Derek Georgio

Derek Georgio

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Originally from Valencia, California, Derek graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016 with a BS in Business Administration. While at USC, Derek was an executive board member of the Value Investing Fund Club, an undergraduate fellow in the Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows in Government Service program, and was involved in the student-run product incubator, Lava Lab.

More recently, Derek has worked as a financial analyst both within the Entertainment Banking division of City National Bank, as well as within the corporate finance team at WebMD. Going forward, Derek is excited to further explore his interests in project finance, EC/VC, and transactional law. Derek is ecstatic to be back on campus as an Honors Scholar at USC Gould.

Kristine Khosrovyan

Kristine Khosrovyan

Undergraduate: UC Los Angeles

Kristine attended University of California, Los Angeles and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, summa cum laude. During her studies at UCLA, Kristine became curious about the underpinnings of modern society and the laws that hold it together. She became passionate about the field of law and began to fuel her academic curiosity by interning at a local law firm in Los Angeles. Within just a few short months of working in the field and learning various legal skills, she was assured of her career choice.

Beyond her academic interests, Kristine is the co-founder of their family business, LA Gardeenia – a floral design company located in Glendale, California. To this day, when she’s not in her studies, she helps her mom arrange flower bouquets and advertise the business on social media platforms.

In her free time, Kristine enjoys working out, trying out new restaurants, and spending time with family and friends. She is thrilled to join the Trojan family as an Honors Scholar at USC Gould.

Sophie Lee

Kristine Khosrovyan

Undergraduate: Columbia University

Sophie was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. At Columbia, she majored in History and Creative Writing with concentrations in 20th century American History and Poetry.

As an undergraduate, she wrote for Columbia’s Undergraduate Law Review and volunteered with the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, which seeks to provide incarcerated individuals with accessible legal manuals. She also worked as a Legal and Communications Intern with Project Guardianship, a nonprofit organization that aims to aid and inform the public on issues relating to guardianship.

In her free time, Sophie loves playing tennis, cooking, raising houseplants, and comedy. She also loves to stay connected to the arts by writing prose and creating zines. Her self-published zine fundraisers have raised hundreds of dollars for the Loveland Foundation as well as abortion and healthcare funds. She is very excited about attending Gould law and is excited to spend the next few years in Los Angeles.

Edward Muallem

Edward Muallem

Undergraduate: UC San Diego

Edward spent his formative years in Sacramento before heading down to Southern California to attend UC San Diego (UCSD), graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in biology.

As a freshman, Edward discovered a novel bacteriophage that infects Streptomyces platensis, which he named Alvy and presented his findings at the UCSD Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference. In his second year, Edward co-founded Mi Mate, a yerba mate beverage company. As the CEO, Edward grew the company from the shelves of UCSD’s dining halls to distribution in grocery stores, universities, hospitals, museums, and hundreds of small businesses across California. During his senior year at the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic, as a member of JusticeCorps, Edward assisted self-represented litigants seeking a restraining order or stay of execution for eviction. Edward also has a budding interest in the works of Hannah Arendt and presented his essay on Arendt’s many-sided views on Zionism at the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Undergraduate Scholars Conference in Israel Studies.

Edward is grateful for the opportunity to learn from his accomplished peers and the esteemed faculty at USC Gould, and he looks forward to exploring the intersection of his diverse interests and the law.

Natalia Rojas

Edward Muallem

Undergraduate: University of Maryland

Natalia Rojas was born and raised in San Diego, CA. In 2016, Natalia graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Government and Politics. At Maryland, Natalia pursued her interest in the federal government through various internships at the Department of Treasury, the National Archives, Capitol Hill for the Honorable Congresswoman Susan Davis, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Through those internships, Natalia began to develop her appreciation of the regulatory practice of law, including Banking and Consumer Protection.

Post-graduation in 2016, Natalia had the pleasure of working for Arnold & Porter in their Washington, D.C. office as a legal secretary in the IP Prosecution practice group. She assisted with the reporting and proofing of prosecution and direct client relations. In 2018, Natalia moved back to San Diego, CA, to help run her father’s restaurant. In tandem with the restaurant, Natalia had the pleasure of working for Latham & Watkins in their San Diego office as a legal secretary in their Litigation and Corporate Departments and Emerging Company practice group.

Natalia enjoyed her varied work experience at Latham and further cultivated her passion for pursuing law school.

Natalia is grateful and excited to begin her legal journey at Gould and become part of the infamous Trojan Family. Fight on!

Karly Roux

Karly Roux

Undergraduate: Syracuse University

Karly was born and raised in Ware, a small rural town in western Massachusetts. She graduated summa cum laude from the Bandier Program of Recording and Entertainment Industries at Syracuse University. After graduating a year early, she spent a gap year building the creator partnerships program at BeatStars, a music tech company working to empower and educate music producers.

Through her music business education and experience, Karly became interested in the evolution of music copyright as it pertains to emerging music consumption platforms. She now hopes to pursue a legal career where she can research and help musicians better understand their rights and how to sustain a profitable career in the arts.

Karly is thrilled to be spending the next three years in Los Angeles as a Trojan. In her free time, Karly enjoys reading, knitting, playing guitar, and riding her bike through the USC campus.

Sadie Soholt

Sadie Soholt

Undergraduate: UC Santa Barbara

Sadie was born and raised in Riverside, California. She graduated with a BA in Political Science, summa cum laude, from the Honors College at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As an undergraduate, Sadie was a Division I athlete and captain of the dance team. She also held various leadership roles, including Chapter President, as an active member of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. In addition, she was a teaching assistant for several professors and frequently volunteered at an assisted care living facility.

Sadie is absolutely thrilled to be at USC Gould. She is eager to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an attorney and hopes to explore her interest in entertainment and media law. In her free time, Sadie enjoys teaching spin classes, rooting for the Dodgers, and reading thriller novels.

Elan Studebaker

Elan Studebaker

Undergraduate: California State University, Los Angeles

Originally from San Diego, Elan attended California State University, Los Angeles where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in history as a member of the campus’s Honors College.

During her undergraduate degree, Elan focused on engaging in public service, which led to her opportunities through the Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s Congressional Internship Program, the James R. Galbraith Fellowship, and the office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Each of these programs allowed her to deepen her understanding of public policy and enabled her to see how the government operates on both the state and federal level. As Cal State LA’s delegate to the Panetta Institute, Elan worked in the office of Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33). That experience inspired her to continue following her passion for public service, where she would go on to intern for Senator Dianne Feinstein and later be selected as one of two interns for the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs James R. Galbraith Fellowship. As a Galbraith fellow, Elan worked in Governor Gavin Newsom’s Los Angeles office. After graduation, Elan was able to build on her previous experiences and serve for two years as a staffer in Senator Feinstein’s San Diego regional office.

Elan is grateful to be both a Gould Honors Scholar and a Public Interest Scholar, and is excited to be able to begin her career in law while also engaging the Los Angeles community. In her spare time, Elan enjoys weightlifting, playing video games, and expressing herself through art.

Athena Tsianos

Athena Tsianos

Undergraduate: The Juilliard School

Athena was born and raised in southern California. In 2019, she graduated from The Juilliard School as a Kovner Fellow with her Bachelor of Music and subsequently pursued a Graduate Certificate at USC’s Thornton School of Music in piano performance. From a young age, Athena has been passionate about performing for diverse audiences, from those in convalescent homes to those at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Interacting with the nonprofit organizations that sponsored these concerts compelled her to view arts management as both a vital underpinning of live music’s accessibility and a major source of cultural enrichment in the States and beyond.

After graduation, Athena worked in arts administration. At Primo Artists, one of the foremost classical music agencies worldwide, she handled digital media, promotion and publicity, artist liaising, and contracts for musicians performing at such institutions as the Hollywood Bowl. This enlightened her as to the power and necessity of legal work in the industry. Athena believes that she will be able to best foster the music industry’s growth through a transactional legal career. Athena is thrilled to join this year’s class at Gould as an Honors Scholar.

Mia Villegas

Samantha Abril

Undergraduate: Occidental College

Mia (she/her) was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles where she graduated a member of Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a BA in English in 2022. While at Occidental, Mia worked as a teaching assistant for the Multicultural Summer Institute, was a four-year member and soprano section leader of the Occidental Glee Club, an executive board member of Delta Omicron Tau sorority, and a cast member in the musicals Into the Woods and Urinetown.

While her extracurricular passions revolved around the performing arts, Mia discovered her motivation to work in the law through her work at Project SAFE (Project for a Sexual Assault Free Environment) at Occidental. As a programming assistant employed by the college, Mia designed and executed prevention education programs and delivered trainings on the topics of sexual and intimate partner violence, as well as serving as a trauma-informed peer support for students who were impacted by these topics. She hopes to pursue a career in public interest law in order to serve as a legal advocate for survivors.

In her free time, Mia enjoys reading, practicing yoga, dance, singing, and watching musical theater. She is beyond thrilled to begin her education at Gould. Fight on!

Bishop Walton

Bishop Walton

Undergraduate: George Washington University

Bishop hails from Cleveland, OH, where he was born and raised. Bishop received his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, where he studied political science.

During his time at GW, Bishop took advantage of being in the heart of the nation’s capital by learning the systems of government through internships in both Houses of Congress as Intern to the House Majority Leader and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Bishop’s work with organizations like the Black Economic Alliance, Holland & Knight LLP Public Policy and Regulation Group, and the personal office of Former President Barack and Michelle Obama furthered his passion for improving government, public policy, and law. Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government recognized Bishop’s commitment to public service in 2020 when he was named a Public Policy Leadership Scholar in their 20th cohort.

Immediately following racial uprisings in 2020, Bishop found it imperative to unite with university faculty to create the Rethinking DC Youth and Policing Program at GW’s center for public service and civic engagement. Rethinking DC established a partnership with the Metropolitan Police Department to reduce youth arrests, develop dynamic solutions, and improve youth-police interactions.

Here at Gould, Bishop is also a Public Interest Scholar—where he will continue to dedicate time to learn about public interest opportunities and ways to use his J.D. to bring about progressive criminal justice reform. Bishop can’t wait to explore all that USC, the west coast, and the broader legal community offer.

Fletcher Warren

Fletcher Warren

Undergraduate: Bethel University

Fletcher grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated summa cum laude from Bethel University with degrees in History and Business & Political Science. His thesis, which explored the political culture of the Minnesotans who fought in the Spanish Civil War, won the George Watt Prize from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archive at NYU and was recognized with his university’s top undergraduate research award. Fletcher was also involved in classical music at Bethel, serving as the principal violist for two orchestras and participating in three national tours.

Motivated by a family immigration experience from Korea, Fletcher joined an employment-based immigration law firm after graduation and spent four years writing green card petitions for researchers, scientists, and physicians. After an additional three years managing national immigration accounts at AMLAW firms, Fletcher is excited to start law school at Gould and to leverage his experience into other areas of practice, particularly international taxation.

In his spare time, Fletcher enjoys road cycling, playing chamber music, and (gradually) restoring his classic roadster.

2021-22 Honors Scholars

Omar Abdelhamid

Omar Abdelhamid

Undergraduate: Rutgers University

Omar Abdelhamid was born and raised in New Jersey. After graduating from high school, Omar enrolled in Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. However, after just three years, he shifted his career pursuit towards law and completed his degree in Biology at Rutgers University, magna cum laude. During his final year of college, he worked at Better Way Leasing, in which he was responsible for conducting profit analysis of potential lease buyouts, as well as coordinating with the respective banks needed to evaluate and execute these buyouts.

As an undergraduate student, Omar conducted independent research investigating peripheral blood flow and risk of cardiovascular disease. During his pursuit of a career in medicine, his experience served as an inspiration to make lasting and systemic change in healthcare through the Law. His goals are to improve access and quality to underrepresented communities.

Omar has kept a strong presence in his community alongside his academic pursuits. He is a mentor and helps run an academic and social youth program at the Bergen County Islamic Center. Additionally, he coaches and is involved in recreational wrestling programs. His interests include sports, traveling, and spending time with family. The most formative aspects of Omar’s life are his family and his community.

Jonah Berger-Cahn

Jonah Berger-Cahn

Undergraduate: UC Berkeley

Originally from Ventura, California, Jonah graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 with a BA in Political Science. While at Berkeley, Jonah was an opinion writer with the Berkeley Political Review, an undergraduate fellow in the Helen Diller Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies, and a campus board member of J Street U.

More recently, Jonah has worked as a legal practice assistant at an SF-based legal startup and as a legal operations specialist at Axiom Law. Going forward, Jonah is excited to further explore his interests in financial regulation, consumer protection, and the intersection of public policy and law. A third-generation Trojan, Jonah is thrilled to begin his legal career as an Honors Scholar at USC Gould.

Emma Brunel

Emma Brunel

Undergraduate: University of Louisiana - Monroe

Emma was raised in Bordeaux, France, the city of wine. For undergraduate studies, Emma recruited by the 29-time Water Ski National Champion Team at the University of Louisiana Monroe. After winning two National Championship titles and becoming a Team Captain of the Water Ski team, she graduated summa cum laude in 2020 with a degree in Political Science.

Beyond the water ski team, Emma participated on the Gold Mock Trial team where she won the Best Witness Award at the Opening Round of Nationals. She was also a member of the Spanish Honors program Sigma Delta Pi as well as a language tutor in French and Spanish at the ULM Language Laboratory. Her love of language also led her to translate letters from immigrants, who were waiting for a judgment on their case in detention centers. Off campus, Emma interned for a private law practitioner, who she assisted in the different procedural steps leading to trial.

After graduation, Emma went to Costa Rica and volunteered to help endangered turtles and preserve the environment. She also gave English lessons to Costa Rican. Thankfully, Emma managed to get enough Wi-Fi connection to receive the e-mail from USC offering her to be part of Gould’s Class of 2024. Emma is beyond thankful for having been accepted to the school of her dreams, which allowed her to transition from the Bayou State to the Golden State.

At Gould, Emma is excited to start exploring many of her legal interests ranging from intellectual property law to international arbitration law, to whatever valuable opportunity she might encounter.

In her free time, she enjoys surfing, working out, reading, and unsurprisingly, cooking French food!

Uma Fry Demetria

Uma Fry Dementria

Undergraduate: Pitzer College

Uma Fry Demetria was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and raised in Berkeley, CA. In 2021, Uma graduated with Honors from Pitzer College with a BA in Political Studies and a minor in Legal Studies. At Pitzer, Uma served as an appointed member of her college’s Judicial Council where she was responsible for adjudicating cases of student misconduct. While completing her undergraduate degree, Uma pursued a diverse array of legal interests by working for California State Senator Scott Wiener and interning with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

This past summer, Uma had the opportunity to intern with the Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office in their Resentencing Unit. Uma looks forward to continuing to develop her skills as an advocate in the areas of Public Interest and Human Rights Law.

In her free time, Uma enjoys rock climbing, surfing, and listening to crime podcasts.

Alison Gentry

Allison Gentry

Undergraduate: George Washington University

Alison grew up in Connecticut, often spending weekends traveling to New York City to see art shows, which sparked a passion for exploring different artistic mediums of expression and culture. She attended George Washington University in DC, double majoring in Political Science and Political Communication.

During her undergraduate studies, Alison focused on gaining real work experience. During her freshman year, she worked on three political campaigns, leading social media efforts. Alison then became involved in advance work, traveling the country to do advance for numerous Democratic politicians, organizations, and political events. One of her favorite internship experiences in DC was working for President Biden’s campaign. As coronavirus shut down the country, Alison began pursuing more artistic endeavors, mixing her passions for creativity and political action. Alison worked in communications, spearheading graphic design efforts at a fair housing nonprofit and a CEO consulting firm.

Alison is excited to be part of the Trojan family and a Gold Honors Scholar. She hopes to use the next three years to continue building her skills in and out of the classroom and pursue opportunities in entertainment law.

Emma Hair

Emma Hair

Undergraduate: UC Santa Cruz

Emma Leyva Hair was born and raised in Southern California, splitting most of her time between Westlake Village and Pasadena. She eventually traveled north to the beautiful University of California, Santa Cruz, where she graduated in 2018 with Honors in Philosophy. During undergrad, Emma joined the Ethics Bowl debate team, where she competed against the inmate team at San Quentin State Prison to help spotlight effective prison rehabilitation and academic programs.

As a former member of the UCSC Equestrian Team, Emma has a passion for animals and environmentalism. While working for the education department at the Los Angeles Zoo, she witnessed first-hand the effectiveness of the law in how it was utilized to protect the interests of endangered species and habitats. Emma hopes to combine her J.D. and her previous experiences to pursue a career in environmental law. After spending her post-graduate years solo traveling and managing a locally renowned equestrian facility, Emma is more than excited to be joining USC Gould as a Gold Honors Scholar.

Kelsey Henry

Kelsey Henry

Undergraduate: Ohio State University

Kelsey Henry was born and raised in northwest Ohio. She graduated magna cum laude from The Ohio State University, with a BA in communications and political science, and a minor in sociology. While attending OSU, she served as a teaching assistant for the School of Communication, as well as a research assistant for the political science department. She also studied abroad in Poland, where she completed a research project which explored sociological factors that influence political participation.

During high school, Kelsey noticed how issues in her hometown, like the declining economy and the opiate epidemic were ignored by media and government. She became inspired to pursue a legal career when she realized the law can be a powerful tool to address these issues and improve the community for the better.

In her free time, Kelsey enjoys cooking, cycling, and cheering for her beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and USC Trojans!

Yaz Kaveh

Yasaman Kaveh

Undergraduate: UCLA

Yaz was born and raised in the egg capital of the world – Petaluma, CA. In 2019, she graduated summa cum laude from UCLA, with college and departmental honors alongside her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. During her time in undergrad, she served as an editor for the undergraduate philosophy journal, as a copy editor for the Daily Bruin newspaper, and worked part-time at a boutique entertainment law office specializing in indie film development, distribution, and finance.

In the interim between undergrad and law school, Yaz worked full-time in the Film Business and Legal Affairs department at Endeavor Content – a film and television sales, financing, and development company based in Beverly Hills. She loved her involvements in various entertainment transactions and is especially interested in pursuing opportunities in the field of media and entertainment law.

In her free time, Yaz enjoys trying out new restaurants, attending cycling or HIIT workout classes, and spending time with her friends and family. She is thrilled to be attending USC Gould and looks forward to exploring where law school leads her.

Cameron Keel

Cameron Keel

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Cameron grew up in Boulder, Colorado before she “hopped off the plane at LAX” to pursue undergraduate degrees in Communications and Music Industry at USC. She graduated in three years summa cum laude receiving the Academic Achievement Award and the Hall of Fame Scholarship. While studying at USC, Cameron was a member of The FAM Music Industry Networking Group, Phi Alpha Delta pre-law fraternity, Concerts Committee, and Greek life. Some of her favorite undergrad memories were studying abroad in Rome and competing in the College Unions Poetry Slam International in Philadelphia.

Off campus, Cameron worked at a record label, a concert venue, a law firm, and managed marketing and PR for two independent artists. Her experiences working in the music industry led her to be fascinated by intellectual property disputes in this rapidly evolving business. She intends to explore her passion for this area through Gould’s Certificate in Media and Entertainment Law and by joining the Music Law Society.

When she's not studying, Cameron loves traveling and learning new languages and was especially appreciative of the opportunity to practice her Spanish on her most recent six-month trip solo backpacking Central America.

Cameron couldn’t be happier to be returning to USC at Gould. Fight on!

Blake LaClaire

Blake LaClaire

Undergraduate: University of Arizona

Blake was born and raised in Rancho Cucamonga, California, where he still currently resides outside of the academic year. As an adolescent, he found a passion for tutoring and started his own company at the age of 12, which he expanded and worked with until the summer leading up to the start of 1L.  Finishing in 3 years, Blake graduated from the University of Arizona with honors in Mathematics with an emphasis in Probability and Statistics.

After an internship in the field of workers’ compensation law and taking a course dealing with the intersection of economics and the law, he realized law was his calling. He decided to switch career paths and apply to law school in the hopes of using his analytical and logical skills for something more fulfilling. Although he is unsure as to which field of law he wants to pursue, he is looking forward to bringing positive change to society.

In his free time, Blake enjoys going to the gym, watching baseball, and playing poker. He made the final table of the inaugural World College Poker tournament, placing 5th out of 1000+ college students. He is ecstatic to join the renowned Gould community and learn from his faculty and peers over the next 3 years.

Jessica Langdon

Jessica Langdon

Undergraduate: Whitworth University

Jessica was born and raised in San Diego, CA and graduated summa cum laude from Whitworth University in 2018 with a double major in Philosophy and Spanish Language & Literature and minors in Psychology, Latin American Studies, Theology, and Women’s & Gender Studies. As an undergraduate student, she embarked on two study abroad trips to Central America, the latter being a semester-long internship placement in León, Nicaragua. She worked at a feminist nonprofit where she collaborated with Nicaraguan co-workers to develop a city-wide campaign against femicide in the country. Her time abroad in Guatemala and Nicaragua compelled her to connect with social justice causes as they relate to Central American immigrants in the States.

After graduation, Jessica interned at the North County Immigration and Citizenship Center and helped prepare clients for their naturalization test and interview. Soon after this internship, she became a Client Assistant at the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law in Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization which offers free legal aid to low-income clients as they navigate divorce, custody, and restraining order proceedings.

Jessica is honored to enter this year’s class as both a Public Interest and Gold Honors Scholar. She is excited to learn and grow alongside her peers and take advantage of the numerous opportunities to serve the Los Angeles community while at Gould.

Kelsey Leck

Kelsey Leck

Undergraduate: Lehigh University

Kelsey attended Lehigh University as a Journalism and International Relations double-major with a minor in French, graduating summa cum laude. As an undergraduate student, she focused heavily on opportunities to learn about and engage in discussions centered around global issues. To that end, she was enthusiastically involved in the Lehigh University/United Nations (LU/UN) Partnership as well as Lehigh’s Global Citizenship Program. She enjoyed thinking through diverse viewpoints on complex topics and put this into practice as the campus newspaper’s Editor of the Editorial Page. Her dedication to journalism and the principle of freedom of speech led her to the meaningful experience of interning for Reporters Without Borders.

At the conclusion of her undergraduate studies, Kelsey received the Lehigh University Presidential Scholarship to continue her studies as a Political Science Master’s student. After graduating, she served as a Summer Associate for the Congressional Budget Office and then worked for the U.S. House of Representatives as an IT and Knowledge Management Specialist. In her free time, she also volunteered as a literacy tutor at a local nonprofit in D.C. Kelsey is grateful to be a Gold Honors Scholar and looks forward to continuing to volunteer locally and beginning to contribute her emerging legal skills to assist others.

For fun, she enjoys being outside as much as possible and hopes to learn how to surf! She also loves to read, watch standup comedy, and travel.

Patricia "Patty" Licea Guerrero

Patricia “Paty” Licea Guerrero

Undergraduate: Yale University

Patricia Licea Guerrero, “Paty” (she/hers), was born and raised in South-Central Los Angeles.  She graduated with a B.A. in the History of Science, Medicine and Public Health from Yale University. Although she had not yet decided on a legal career at the time, her senior thesis focused on the legal, ethical, and scientific implications of the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act. Paty served as the President of the Yale Animal Welfare Society and the team manager of Sabrosura: Yale’s Latin Dance Team. In addition to her extracurricular leadership roles, Paty worked as a dining hall manager for 3 years and implemented vegan options throughout the campus.

After graduation, Paty worked at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as a Special Victims Bureau paralegal for attorneys in the child abuse and domestic violence units. She later transitioned her skills to Lankler Siffert and Wohl LLP where she assisted with commercial litigation, white-collar crime, and pro bono immigration cases. Her fascinating work experiences left her both unable to pinpoint a desired practice area and excited to explore different fields at Gould!

In her spare time, she enjoys running, hiking, getting way too emotionally invested in novelas, and walking her rescue dog, Cardi.

Noela Malecela

Noela Malecela

Undergraduate: Howard University

Noela was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Daughter to Tanzanian immigrants, she holds strong ties to the city of Dar es Salaam and is fluent in Swahili. In 2021, she graduated summa cum laude from Howard University with a BA in Strategic, Legal, and Management Communications with a concentration in Legal Communications.

While at Howard, Noela was involved on campus as the president of the Pre-Law fraternity (Phi Alpha Delta), the community outreach chair for the Waswahili Students Association, and a proud member of Lambda Pi Eta Honors Society. She also had the privilege of serving as a legislative intern for a United States Senator, as well as an external relations intern at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in Tanzania. In these positions, she examined the impact of overarching legal structures on the communities she calls home. Her work strengthened her passion for learning the law and becoming an advocate for the underrepresented.

Noela is excited to hang up her winter coat and see what the west coast brings. As a proud first-generation college graduate, she is honored to be attending USC Gould especially as a Gold Honors Scholar. In her free time, you can find her at an Orangetheory Fitness class, listening to Drake, or trying a new restaurant.

Jeremy Miller

Jeremy Miller

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Jeremy Miller grew up in Los Angeles, California and graduated from the University of Southern California, receiving a B.S. in Business Administration with emphasis in accounting and strategy. Upon graduation, Jeremy received the USC Trustees Award and the Order of the Troy. During his undergraduate years, Jeremy was an active member of the USC Hillel, serving on its Executive Board, and deeply enjoyed working at the USC Marshall School of Business tutoring and counseling students as a teaching assistant. Jeremy spent time interning in many different disciples from investment banking to accounting to data analytics.

Jeremy was always drawn to the study and practice of the law due to its nuance and complexity as well as its impact on our society. A career in the law will most definitely fit with Jeremy’s endless curiosity and desire to ask “why?” At this point, he intends to take advantage of both his degrees and practice corporate law.

Jeremy is appreciative of the opportunity to begin his legal career at the USCGould School of Law where he will be taught by a renowned faculty alongside exceptional peers.

Laz Pacheco

Laz Pacheco

Undergraduate: Rutgers University
Graduate: Johns Hopkins University

Laz Pacheco was born in Teixeira de Freitas, Brazil and raised in Kearny, NJ. He studied Materials Engineering in college and graduate school, where he specialized in the areas of polymer science, biomaterials, and nanotechnology. Laz has spent several years in research and development in both the academic and industrial setting, having worked in areas ranging from the polymerization and testing of artificial proteins for the treatment of autoimmune disorders to the development of novel rubber-replacing plastics. He has co-authored several papers which have been featured in peer-reviewed journals such as Macromolecules, Biomaterials Science, and Proceedings for the National Academies of Sciences.

Having delved deep into the world of research, Laz found an interest in intellectual property. Particularly close to him are the ongoing legal issues surrounding cyber security and privacy in the digital age.

Laz chose to move to California from the Northeast due to the presence of prominent engineering and biotech companies in SoCal. Now that he’s here, he hopes to get involved in the local community and explore all that LA has to offer.

Niki Patel

Undergraduate: Boston College

Originally from New Jersey, Niki Patel attended Boston College where she graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Management and English. In her senior year, she was recognized with the Dean's Commendation and was selected to deliver the Class of 2017 commencement address based on outstanding academic performance and on-campus involvement.

After graduating, Niki began her career as a certified public accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where she worked as an auditor focusing on mergers and acquisitions and securities disclosures. While undertaking these projects, she became curious about the law that underpins the financial industry and the ways that corporate financial reporting impacts individual investors.

These questions led her to pursue a position at New York University Law School's Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance. At NYU Law, Niki had the opportunity to examine economic policy matters, teach a course on finance and accounting for lawyers, and assist with research regarding the consequences of misconduct for financial advisors under various state and federal regulators. These projects inspired her to continue learning about the intersection of finance and the law by pursuing a JD.

In her free time, Niki enjoys playing the drums, long distance running, and reading. She is delighted to be part of the USC Gould Class of 2024 and for the chance to continue her education.

Aeverie Polintan

Aeverie Polintan

Undergraduate: Northeastern University

Aeverie Polintan was born in Manila, Philippines, and grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. She attended Northeastern University in Boston as a University Scholar and graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics in 2020.

As an undergraduate, Aeverie worked as a legislative intern at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, and at the Human Rights Department of the Greek Ombudsman in Athens, Greece. She also studied abroad at the University of Cambridge in England and the Leuven Institute in Belgium. Through these global experiences, Aeverie developed a keen interest in international law, human rights and refugee law. After graduation, she joined a refugee-focused non-profit in the Bay Area where she was deeply involved with their research and advocacy efforts.  

In her spare time, Aeverie loves listening to podcasts, hiking, and traveling. She is delighted to join the Trojan family and is excited to attend USC Gould School of Law as an Honors Scholar.

Edgar Preciado

Undergraduate: Princeton University

Edgar grew up in Compton, California, and graduated summa cum laude in 2018 from Princeton University where he earned his BA in Spanish & Portuguese. His senior thesis explored the representation of Chicano gang members in the Los Angeles Times and La Opinión and contrasted them with interviews he conducted of former gang members. At Princeton, Edgar served as a head fellow for the Scholars Institute Fellowship Program (SIFP), a mentorship and access program designed for first-generation and low-income students. This ultimately sparked his interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion. After graduating, Edgar stayed at Princeton to work as an undergraduate admission officer in the diversity outreach team. Beyond participating in the admission selection process, Edgar engaged in numerous efforts to improve the outreach process to diverse and marginalized prospective students.

Edgar is excited to be back in Los Angeles with his family and a bright future in law ahead of him. He is looking forward to learning from his professors and classmates at USC Gould School of Law, joining Gould’s Latinx Law Student Association, and continuing a few of his favorite hobbies (including playing the piano!).

2020-21 Honors Scholars

Joseph Abell

Undergraduate: Southern Methodist University

Joseph attended Southern Methodist University and graduated with bachelor's degrees in business management and philosophy, with a minor in cognitive science. During his research in neuroethics, Joseph became curious about the legal implications of new technologies like artificial intelligence and human gene editing. Exploring that topic led him to Gould and a future in intellectual property and technology law.

Beyond his academic accomplishments, Joseph is a successful entrepreneur. He is the President of Ace Peak, an online speech and debate coaching company that has trained 24 national champions. Additionally, soon after choosing Gould, Joseph founded Paladin: an independent online debate league for high schoolers. Paladin League matches students against opponents from all over the country. This turns every tournament into a national competition, something that has never been achieved in debate history.

When he's not studying or running his companies, Joseph enjoys interior design, writing music, cooking, and yoga.

Adedolapo Adeniji

Undergraduate: University of Michigan

Adedolapo (Dolapo) Adeniji was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria - with the exception of attending primary school in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately, neither place prepared her for the Polar Vortex winter during her first year at the University of Michigan.

Aside from perfecting the art of layering, she majored in International Studies with a concentration in International Security, Norms, and Cooperation and minored in Crime and Justice. Outside of class, Dolapo, facilitated hour to semester-long dialogues on various social justice topics. She also guided high school and college students as they developed socially-impactful products/services and interned at an accelerator for 7 early-stage startups.

After graduation, Dolapo moved to Washington D.C. and worked in different areas of HR at Capital One. Though she grew outside of her comfort zone, there was a persistent itch to make an impact in a different way.

At Gould, Dolapo is looking forward to asking a lot of questions, gaining the full breadth of a legal education, and advocating for those who have been denied equal access under the law.

Celine Ang

Undergraduate: University of Richmond

Celine Ang graduated summa cum laude from the University of Richmond, where she double majored in International Studies and French. While attending UR, Celine completed a summer student internship with the U.S. Department of State and studied abroad in Morocco and France. On campus, she worked as a French drill instructor and volunteered as an ESL tutor. Additionally, Celine was an active member of the department dance company, working with professional choreographers each year and creating an original piece during her senior year.

After graduation, she pursued her interests in global affairs and languages. Celine taught English at Université Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco on a Fulbright grant. Most recently, she has worked in business immigration law as a paralegal with large and boutique firms in Atlanta and Los Angeles, supporting Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies to hire foreign talent.

As a "retired" dancer, Celine enjoys seeing live performances and learning more about the thriving arts world. Born and raised in Southern California, Celine is excited to begin her legal career at USC Gould. She looks forward to exploring different legal areas.

Colleen Busby

Undergraduate: California State University, Fresno

Colleen Busby grew up in the Central Valley of California and graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno in May of 2020. During her time at Fresno State, Colleen was an active participant in College Mock Trial and a member of the prestigious Smittcamp Family Honors College. Each year, fifty students are selected for admission into the Honors College at Fresno State and are awarded a full tuition scholarship, and participate in a breadth of honors courses and meaningful volunteer opportunities.

Colleen has a passion for criminal law that is rooted in her family history. Colleen's brother was killed by a drunk driver, and by seeing the legal process firsthand, she saw how impactful a career in criminal justice could be. Colleen has served the public on both sides, working for the Fresno County Public Defender and the Fresno County District Attorney's office while completing her undergraduate degree. As a proud Central Valley native, Colleen has volunteered in her community, and has worked for Central Valley politicians from all levels of government. Colleen intends to return to the Central Valley upon graduation to continue to give back to her community. In her free time, Colleen enjoys cycling, playing tennis, and rooting for the Fresno State Bulldogs and the USC Trojans at football games!

Danny Costandy

Undergraduate: University of California, San Diego

Daniel Costandy was raised in Corona, CA before moving to San Diego to attend the University of California, San Diego. He graduated in December, 2019 with a degree in Global Public Health. His senior year culminated in a capstone program where he wrote his thesis on the positive effects of a "Housing First" solution to homelessness in San Diego and other regions where he worked. At UCSD, Daniel co-founded The Mustard Seed Project, a non-profit organization centered around student-led homeless outreach.

After graduation, Daniel became the legal advisor for Unheard Cries, a non-profit organization aimed at serving and supplying underserved populations in the Middle East. This time also allowed him to work as a legal clerk for a law office in San Diego county. Daniel is excited to become a lawyer for the breadth of opportunities that a law degree affords, as well as to continue serving the non-profit organizations he is involved in.

In his free time, Daniel enjoys going to the beach, playing basketball, and hiking.

Ben Davies

Undergraduate: University of Oregon

Ben was born in the United Kingdom and grew up in Portland, OR. He graduated cum laude with a BS in Psychology from the University of Oregon, writing his honors thesis on juror perceptions of court-appointed experts. Upon graduation, Ben worked in the Eugene area, providing behavioral health services to homeless youth and juvenile offenders. Inspired by these experiences, he published a paper describing the unique psychological challenges facing homeless youth and a review article on psychosocial treatments in adolescents. He then spent three years using MRI studies to investigate neurobiological correlates of maternal depression in a socially disadvantaged population.

In the year before law school, Ben worked for a nonprofit as an advocate for clients whose mental health was placing them at risk for eviction. Ben hopes to use his legal education to advocate for the use of psychological science in legal practice and to represent underserved populations, particularly those with mental illness.

In his free time, Ben plays guitar, rugby and loves cycling.

Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff

Undergraduate: University of Kansas

Sophia is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and is honored to be both a Public Interest Scholar and a Gold Honors Scholar for the Class of 2023. In May 2020 Sophia graduated a year early from the University of Kansas with Honors degrees in Political Science and International Studies. As an undergraduate, Sophia was involved in her student government as the Student Rights Chair, where she worked as the intermediary between students and the University administration involving violations of student rights. Sophia is also an active member of the honors fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Pre-Law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta. Sophia was selected as one of two interns for both the US Department of State in the Office of Foreign Missions and the United Nations in New York City. As an Intern, she acted as the liaison between the US Mission and foreign diplomats concerning criminal and civil violations, housing, and tax exemptions. As a senior, she received a research grant to conduct her thesis abroad in London. Her studies outlined the political, social, and economic effects of Brexit. Sophia's internship and research experiences have strengthened her interest in International Law, and she looks forward to pursuing a public interest career with an international focus following graduation from USC Gould.

A proud second-generation American, Sophia has seen first-hand the injustices that her community endures at the hands of our nation's immigration policies. These experiences are what have empowered her to become an even stronger advocate for oppressed populations through achieving a Juris Doctor. Sophia is overjoyed to be a Trojan and cannot wait to enact change in Los Angeles County.

Lauren Godshall

Undergraduate: Indiana University - Bloomington

Lauren Godshall was raised in West Lafayette, Indiana and attended Indiana University Bloomington. There she graduated with highest honors and a BS in Public Affairs. Her thesis focused on the intersection of whistleblowing rights and national security.

While at Indiana University, Lauren served as a Residential Assistant (RA) for the Civic Leaders Center and volunteered regularly with the Community Justice and Mediation Center in Bloomington. In addition, she was heavily involved in the Political and Civic Engagement program and was particularly focused on bringing their annual Issue Forum to life. Her senior year she planned, trained moderators, and emceed the event.

Following graduation, she moved back to her hometown and began working at a local public library. She loved her work at the library, in particular, serving as a guide and resource for community members on their search for information and knowledge. Lauren hopes to act in a similar role as an attorney and is especially interested in labor and employment law.

In her free time, she enjoys baking, rollerblading, and photography and looks forward to exploring Los Angeles through her viewfinder.

Aron Heikali

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Aron grew up in Southern California, where he stayed to attend USC, completing a BA in economics, BS in accounting, and BS in business administration. As an undergraduate, he put his business-oriented education to work during internships at both a fund of hedge funds and a local boutique investment banking firm.

After graduating from USC, Aron formally began his career as an investment banking analyst focused on the U.S. middle market. During this time, he assisted with engagements in the technology, healthcare, and business services sectors. He later transitioned into a role at a private equity firm and was instrumental in the fund's successful acquisition of one of the largest tire disposal and recycling operations in the United States. Soon after that, he returned to investment banking and business advisory, with a focus on serving manufacturing and industrial technology businesses. He is especially thankful for having had the opportunity to assist a manufacturer of desktop 3D printers as its interim CFO during this period.

Aron's decision to return to USC for his law degree stemmed from his desire to further broaden his skillset, and he knew that USC's Gould School of Law would be a perfect place to do so. He is appreciative of the professors at USC with whom he studied as an undergraduate and hopes to be able to continue learning-this time from the professors and classmates at USC Gould.

James Zachary Hollo

Undergraduate: Northwestern University in Qatar
Master's: National Chengchi University

James Zachary Hollo grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended Northwestern University's branch campus in Doha, Qatar, where he majored in journalism and minored in Middle Eastern Studies. His work in journalism included extensive coverage of Qatar's low-wage migrant labor communities. He also received a grant from the Pulitzer Center to travel to India, where he produced stories about how climate change disproportionately affects impoverished communities.

After undergrad, James taught English in China for two years. He then studied in Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar, where he earned a master's degree in international affairs and wrote a thesis about civil society groups in Taiwan that focus on human rights. He also interned at the Taipei office of Reporters Without Borders and pursued various freelance journalism projects.

James is part of Gould's Public Interest Scholars program, and he is interested in exploring the intersection of international human rights and technology. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, surfing, and studying Mandarin.

Jake Ibrahim

Undergraduate: Westmont College

Jake Ibrahim grew up in Mission Viejo, CA and graduated from Westmont College with a BA in Economics and Business as the department's "Outstanding Graduate." During his time at Westmont, he was president of the Economics and Business Honor Society, Omicron Delta Epsilon, and president of the Westmont Rugby Club. He interned at the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County and the Legal Resource Center.

Jake's impactful experience with Legal Aid made it clear that a career in law would undoubtedly fulfill his passion for helping others and desire to pursue a meaningful career. Although he is undecided as to the area of law he intends to practice, he is motivated to pursue justice and equality as a career objective.

Jake is excited and grateful to be attending University of Southern California Gould School of Law as an Honors Scholar. He is looking forward to making new friends, future colleagues, and integrating into the tight-knit Trojan Family.

Elle Infante

Undergraduate: Duke University

Elle Infante was born and raised in northern New Jersey. Her undergraduate studies took her to North Carolina, where, in 2018, she graduated from Duke University with a degree from the Sanford School of Public Policy. While at Duke, she interned with the Durham County Criminal Justice Resource Center, contributing to both their Misdemeanor Diversion Program and their MacArthur Foundation Innovation Fund Project. Upon returning home, Elle joined Proskauer Rose LLP as a paralegal in the firm's New York litigation practice, working primarily on product liability and mass tort litigations.

In her free time, Elle enjoys watching football (from Pop Warner to the NFL — she was an athletic trainer for the Duke University football team!), cooking her abuelita's picadillo cubano, and spending time with family.

Elle is excited to switch coasts and see what California has to offer. Of course, she is thrilled and immensely grateful to dive into her first year as a Trojan and Gold Honors Scholar. She looks forward to exploring her interest in sports and entertainment law.

Megan Kilduff

Undergraduate: UC Berkeley

Megan grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She double majored in Anthropology and Political Science at UC Berkeley and studied International Affairs and Strategy at Sciences Po.

As an undergrad, Megan worked as a research assistant in art and intellectual property at Berkeley Law. She was also awarded a SMART Undergraduate Fellowship to research rule of law indicators in twentieth-century Spain and Mexico under a political sociologist. During her senior year, Megan advocated on behalf of new arrival refugees and SIV holders as a resettlement intern at International Rescue Committee in Oakland, California. Upon graduation, she worked on grant proposals and contract administration at a Silicon Valley nonprofit research institute.

In her free time, Megan is involved in public arts and education. She has organized free art shows in partnership with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and has volunteered at four Bay Area museums. Megan was drawn to Gould's small class sizes, outstanding faculty, and robust student organizations. She is thrilled to join the USC Gould Class of 2023!

Alyssa Kim

Undergraduate: Emory University

Alyssa grew up in Atlanta, GA before moving to St. Louis, MO during high school. Her undergraduate studies saw her return to Atlanta where she graduated from Emory University in 2019 with degrees in Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

At Emory, Alyssa worked as a psychology research assistant, studying sex differences in mother-infant interactions. She also held several leadership positions in her sorority, volunteered as a coach for Girls on the Run Atlanta, and was involved in Planned Parenthood Generation Action and SAPA (Sexual Assault Peer Advocates). After graduating, Alyssa joined WeWork to open and operate its first market in her hometown, St. Louis.

It only took less than a year for Alyssa to miss school, so she's happy to be a student again, especially at USC. Alyssa is excited to explore her interests in Labor & Employment and entertainment law and to eat her weight in LA sushi. In her free time, you can find her at Corepower, home baking, watching football, or attempting the New York Times crossword (usually to no avail).

Courtney Kim

Undergraduate: UC Los Angeles

Courtney was born and raised in Orange County, CA. She attended UCLA, graduating magna cum laude in March 2020 with a BA in Political Science, emphasis in International Relations, and a minor in Film, Television, and Media Studies.

During undergrad, she spent a semester in Paris studying French language and culture and was actively involved in Greek life and clubs. Through these organizations, Courtney served as a mentor to under-privileged middle school students and chaired a philanthropic fundraiser that raised more than $28,000 to support Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Courtney is thrilled to join her mother and sister, both of whom received their BAs from USC, as part of the Trojan family! She is looking forward to her time at USC Gould where she hopes to pursue opportunities in entertainment law.

Elisabeth Nations

Undergraduate: University of Alabama

Elisabeth was born and raised in Folsom, California. Throughout her childhood, she was blessed with opportunities to travel around the world, visiting 58 countries and developing a love of people and culture. Elisabeth decided to journey across the country for her undergraduate studies in sweet home Alabama. In 2019, she graduated with a BA in Anthropology and minors in Business and French, summa cum laude, from the Honors College at the University of Alabama. Elisabeth is eager to translate her enthusiasm for learning into a passion for her legal studies. During her undergraduate, she engaged in a variety of activities across campus, including serving as Recruitment Chair for Kappa Beta Gamma International Sorority. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Elisabeth worked at a testing clinic in Northern California. In her free time, Elisabeth loves practicing her ballet and embroidery.

Elisabeth is excited to return to California and embark on her legal career at USC. She can't wait to be a part of USC's phenomenal sense of school pride. While she's interested in many subjects and looks forward to where law school will lead her, she has a particular interest in entertainment law and dreams of working for the Walt Disney Company.

Robert Pertierra

Undergraduate: Florida State University

Robert S. Pertierra is from Miami, Florida where he was born and raised. Coming from a family of Cuban immigrants, Robert has always had a strong connection to his Cuban roots. After graduating from a Jesuit high school, he went to Florida State University. He graduated Cum-Laude majoring in Finance with a minor in Economics in 2019.

Throughout his college education, Robert worked in wealth management knowing all along that he wanted to pursue a JD degree. His experience in estate planning continued after graduating and he was hired by a boutique estate firm at the beginning of 2020.

Robert looks forward to combining his Undergraduate degrees in business with his JD degree to pursue a career at the intersection of both worlds. He is interested in corporate law as well as sports and entertainment law and is confident Gould is the path to his success.

Brennen Sharp-Polos

Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley

Brennen grew up in Big Bear Lake, California. Upon graduating from Big Bear High School, he left the mountains to enlist in the U.S. Army for five years as a cryptologic linguist. After learning Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, Brennen completed his intelligence analyst training in Texas, and then qualified as an Army Paratrooper by completing the US Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Brennen served the remainder of his active duty contract in Vicenza, Italy, where he conducted airborne operations, intelligence analysis, in addition to volunteering in the local community.

Having been honorably discharged in 2016, Brennen immediately began pursuing his undergraduate degree and eventually earned his BA in Global Studies—with a focus on peace and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa—from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2020.

Brennen feels both blessed and humbled to be attending USC Gould as an Honors Scholar. He looks forward to exploring his interests in the law and building his legal skills at USC. One day, Brennen hopes to apply those skills in the service of public interest law.

Leilani Stacy

Undergraduate: Wellesley College

Leilani Stacy has lived in ten states and three countries and grew up primarily in Hawaii and Maryland. She graduated with a BA from Wellesley College with a double major in Political Science and Economics, where her passion for racial and gender equity led her to spend time working in community finance and investment banking. After graduation, she completed a Fulbright scholarship researching women-owned businesses and entrepreneurship in Portugal.

Last year, as an AmeriCorps FoodCorps service member, Leilani taught students in Boston about healthy food, and her commitment to public service drove her application to law school. She is honored to be both an Honors Scholar and Public Interest scholar, and to return to USC, her parents' alma mater.

Kylah Turner

Undergraduate: UC Los Angeles

Kylah is a Southern California native who has spent the last ten years living in the Napa Valley. Although she considers the Bay Area home, she was excited to move back to attend UCLA for her undergraduate studies. Three years of personal and academic growth culminated in her early graduation in spring 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in History, magna cum laude.

During her undergraduate studies, Kylah led the fundraising and event planning efforts for a cancer research organization on campus. Her sustained involvement in cancer research allowed her to formally study the humanities while simultaneously working towards her life goal of contributing to a cure for cancer. A summer spent completing an intensive legal internship emphasized her passion for advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves and furthered her desire to study law.

In Kylah's free time, she enjoys reading, playing volleyball, and traveling with friends and family. She hopes to experience as many cultures and places as she can in one lifetime but seems to have a hard time leaving California. Kylah sees her entrance to Gould as the first step in her journey to leaving the world a little bit better than she found it, and looks forward to continuing her education as a member of the Trojan family.

2019-20 Honors Scholars

Camille Brown

Camille grew up in Ontario, California and graduated from Stanford University in 2014 with a BA in Science, Technology and Society. While at Stanford, Camille wrote an honors thesis on how digital media technology shaped the evolution of French Hip Hop. In her bilingual research, she discovered the profound impact copyright law had on digital media in both France and the United States.

After graduation, Camille worked in brand strategy at two Silicon Valley start-ups wanting to explore copyright law's role in emerging technologies. These roles deepened her initial interest in copyright law as she learned how businesses partner to manage their brands across marketing campaigns. After three years, she decided that she wanted to see how a more established institution operated. This led her to a position at the Stanford Alumni Association where she most recently served as the organization's liaison to the university's Trademark and Licensing Committee.

Now that she's taken the leap to pursue law as a career, Camille is positively thrilled to be at USC Gould. In her (albeit limited) free time, Camille enjoys practicing and teaching barre, hanging out in her dad's machine shop, spoiling her niece, and making pasta.

Emma Burgoon

Emma Burgoon was raised in the Bay Area, Fiji, and Arizona before moving to Illinois to attend the University of Chicago. She graduated with honors in Public Policy Studies and Political Science, with a specialization in Urban Policy. Her thesis research focused on the rise of black mega-churches in Chicago, establishing a positive feedback model between black social movements and the growth of religious congregations in the city.

After graduation, Emma moved to Washington, D.C. as a University of Chicago Public Interest Fellow to help non-profit institutions increase their grant-seeking capacity. She then transitioned to the communications field, developing and executing advertising and public relations campaigns for a variety of political, governmental, and corporate clients.

Emma is excited to return to California and further her passion for progressive advocacy at USC Gould. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, watching movies, hiking, and exploring the food scene in Los Angeles.

Luana De Mello

Luana De Mello grew up in Huntington Beach, CA and went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for undergraduate school. She graduated one year early with a BA in Political Science concentrating in Global Politics with a minor in Sociology. During her time at Cal Poly, she was a member of Model United Nations and an editor of Paideia, the University's Political Science Academic Journal. After graduating in 2017, Luana was a Judicial Fellow in Sacramento State's Capital Fellows program. Her placement was in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Management Research Unit and she received a Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government. After the Fellowship Luana moved to Washington, DC for one year to work as the Legislative Director of the California Institute for Federal Policy Research.

Luana is happy to be back in Southern California and is extremely grateful to be attending law school at USC Gould as an Honors Scholar. She is excited to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an attorney and exploring her legal interests that range from international law, to immigration law, to wherever else the future may take her!

Jeffrey (Cameron) Gates

Cameron Gates hails from the Antelope Valley in the northern outskirts of Los Angeles County. Leaving the desert and suburbs behind, Cameron moved to the city to study at UCLA. Earning a double B.A. in Political Science and Psychology, Cameron graduated summa cum laude with college honors in 2017.

During his undergraduate studies, Cameron interned at his local D.A.'s Office, as well as volunteered in the JusticeCorps program, providing free legal information and resources to underserved litigants in the Los Angeles community. Cameron also served as President of UCLA's Kappa Alpha Pi Prelaw Coed Professional Fraternity.

Cameron took two years off between undergrad and law school to gain work experience at a bankruptcy and real estate law firm in Los Angeles. He is excited to continue his legal education at Gould and hopes to explore his interest in entertainment and corporate law. In his free time, Cameron enjoys reading fiction and spending time with his hilarious family.

Samara Harris

Samara was raised in Thousand Oaks, California, as the oldest of three. In 2019, she became the first in her family to graduate from college, earning a BA in Communication, magna cum laude, from USC.

During her three years at SC, she worked in Doheny Library at the circulation desk. This helped her become so well acquainted with the school that she could pass as a tour guide. Samara's passion lies in promoting social justice. Before transferring to USC, she was a member of 'Belle's' at Loyola Marymount University, a service organization dedicated to serving victims of domestic violence. At USC, she became Co-Director of Motivate and Empower, a club that focuses on teaching after school classes on prominent figures of colors in inner city elementary schools.

During her 1L summer, Samara worked as a summer associate at Holland and Knight. This year, she is excited to be a staff member for the Southern California Review of Law & Social Justice and to help incoming 1Ls as a peer mentor.

When she is not studying, Samara enjoys attempting to bake, painting, and spending as much time in nature as possible.

Jordan Johnson

Jordan Johnson was born & raised in Los Angeles, CA. In 2015 he left Los Angeles for Atlanta, GA here he graduated from Emory University in 2019 with a double major in Political Science and History.

While at Emory, Jordan was actively involved on campus, serving as the undergraduate representative for Emory's Honorary Degrees Committee, as well as the Vice President of Finance for the Emory chapter of the Pi Sigma Alpha political science honor society. Jordan has a passion for travel, music, Formula 1 and languages. He has been fortunate enough to visit fourteen countries so far and can speak elementary French, Persian, and Arabic.

Following his 1L year, Jordan spent his summer completing a federal judicial externship with the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He served in the chambers of the Hon. Terry J. Hatter Jr. and worked on a variety of civil litigation rulings. Jordan's externship reaffirmed his interest in pursuing a career in real estate development and land use law.

Tomi Johnson

Undergraduate: Princeton University

Tomi Johnson was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Her undergraduate studies took her to the east coast, where she graduated from Princeton University in 2016 with a degree from the School of Public and International Affairs.

Upon returning to Chicago, Tomi served as a legal extern for Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She later joined Jones Day as a project assistant in the firm's Business & Tort Litigation practice. The summer prior to her start at Gould, Tomi spent eight weeks as an SEO Law Fellow in Jenner & Block's Chicago office. She then split her 1L summer between Jones Day and Jenner & Block.

At Gould, Tomi is Social Chair for the Honors Scholars Program, President of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), 2L Vice President for the Student Bar Association (SBA), Outreach Chair for the Womxn of Color Collective (WOCC), a Peer Mentor, a staff member for the Interdisciplinary Law Journal (ILJ), and a teaching assistant in Professor Daniel Klerman's undergraduate and 1L courses.

In her free time, Tomi enjoys rooting for Chicago sports teams, working on her foreign language skills, and spending time with her friends and three younger brothers.

Maxine Kelber

Maxine Kelber grew up in France and attended high school in San Diego. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2019, where she graduated with honors studying Business Administration and International Relations. During undergrad, she had the opportunity to work and volunteer for many nonprofit organizations throughout Southern California. Her internships in various tech companies allowed her to discover a passion for data analytics and their application. The ongoing growth in this field inspired her to pursue a career exploring the intersection of technology and law, specifically cybersecurity and privacy.

In her free time, Maxine enjoys going to the beach, spending time with her dogs, and traveling. Maxine is also extremely interested in public interest work and hopes to explore the many different public wok opportunities at Gould.

Elizabeth Kirillova

Elizabeth recently graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California with a BA in International Relations. Having completed her undergraduate degree in three years, Elizabeth was determined to streamline her education in an environment proven to cultivate academic and personal growth. Consequently, Elizabeth chose to remain at USC and enjoy the company of intelligent, driven and like-minded individuals studying at Gould.

Before moving to Los Angeles to attend USC in 2016, Elizabeth grew up primarily in Moscow, Russia. Although Elizabeth's family is Russian, she has always been closely connected to the United States, having been born in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, upon graduating from high school in Moscow, Elizabeth did return to her birthplace to pursue a higher education (and also to soak up some Vitamin-D).

Elizabeth has always been grateful for the wonderful opportunities that USC has made available. From traveling to Lake Baikal in Siberia over spring break, to conducting research with reputable professors, Elizabeth managed to augment her involvement in the local community, as well as abroad. Elizabeth passionately worked as a language teacher at USC's American Language Institute to facilitate the college experience for international students. Moreover, Elizabeth spent last summer studying European foreign and security policy in Brussels at the Institute for European Studies. Overall, Elizabeth is ecstatic to be a part of the Honors Scholars Program. And yes, she does want to see pictures of your cats and dogs!

Gabrielle Lipsitz

Undergraduate: Washington University in St. Louis

Gabrielle was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs before moving to St. Louis to pursue her undergraduate degree. She graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis with a major in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and minors in Legal Studies and Writing. While at WashU, Gabrielle studied the neuroscience of psychopathy and began to explore its intersection with the law. Outside of the classroom she was involved in Greek life, interviewed prospective freshmen for the admissions office, volunteered on a farm, and spent a semester abroad in Brisbane, Australia. After graduation, Gabrielle moved to New York City to work in market research consulting at an agency specializing in behavioral science methodologies.

During her 1L summer, Gabrielle worked for the Post Conviction Justice Project representing California life-term inmates. This year she will also be a staff member on the Southern California Law Review, Admissions Chair of Gould's Student Bar Association, and VP Finance for Phi Alpha Delta. She is excited for another year at USC and to continue exploring LA through its restaurants.

Isaac Maycock

Isaac was born and raised in San Francisco. He attended the University of Michigan, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and with High Honors with a BA in Public Policy focusing on International Economic Relations. During his undergrad years Isaac interned for then Minority Leader and current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein and at ESPN. While on campus at Michigan he worked as a tutor for the University of Michigan Athletic Department and as a sports and political writer and editor for campus publications.

After graduating he got his hands dirty as a barback at Trick Dog in San Francisco, which is a mainstay on the World's 50 Best Bars list in spite of Isaac's time behind the bar. He then moved to Chicago where he bartended for the BOKA Restaurant Group.

He is excited to be back in California and at Gould. He hopes to pursue a career in public policy or sports and entertainment law. In his free time you can find Isaac watching movies or adjusting to rooting for the Trojans at the Coliseum.

Emile Nelson

Emile Nelson moved 25 times before he was 25, with the majority of his time split between Stockholm, Sweden, Westlake Village, CA and Santa Barbara, CA. Emile graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2016 as an English major with highest honors and a University Award of Distinction, as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society, and was selected to give the commencement speech.

While at UCSB, Emile served as the Editor in Chief of the University's top-nationally-ranked Newspaper, the Daily Nexus, where he won several awards and broke a story that helped a political refugee gain asylum in the United States. In his free time during college, Emile worked with a top Hollywood director, conducted and published research with the English department, edited a multilingual literary magazine and founded an exercise group.

Since graduating, Emile has published two books - one about student success and the other about the Swedish tradition called Fika - and given talks for a wide variety of audiences. In his free time, Emile loves to read, golf and spend time with friends and family.

Akiko Okamoto

Akiko Okamoto is incredibly honored and thrilled to be a part of the USC Gould community and the Honors Scholars program. She holds a B.A. in Law (International Legal Studies) and an M.A. in Global Studies from Sophia University in Tokyo, where she was born and raised.

After graduating from her undergraduate program, she joined a theater production company and managed commercially successful theatrical productions in Japan, as well as a pre-Broadway try-out production with American cast and staff. As a theater producer, she negotiated and prepared contracts for the cast and staff, goods, and facilities and worked closely with many talented artists from North America, Europe, and Asia.

As a student at USC Gould, she is eager to pursue entertainment law as her focus. She has lived in Tokyo, Shanghai, Osaka, and New York City and could not be more excited to live and study in Los Angeles, the heart of the entertainment industry.

Zachary Ota

Zachary Ota was born and raised in San Jose, California and graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a BA in History. While attending CU Boulder, he participated in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), and upon graduation, he commissioned as an officer in the California Army National Guard.

Following graduation, Zachary returned to the Bay Area and worked as a Field Representative in Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo's District Office. There he focused primarily on issues related to housing, transportation, consumers, financial services, energy, environment, and veterans. In addition, he also actively drilled with the California Army National Guard, achieving his current position as legal support in the 40th Infantry Division's JAG section.

Zachary is excited to continue his education at USC Gould School of Law.

Juan Rehl-Garcia

Juan was born and raised in Orange County, specifically in the city of Anaheim. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from UC Berkeley in 2013. A few years later in 2017, he earned an M.A in Strategic Public relations from USC's Annenberg School. Upon completion of his master's degree, Juan was named Outstanding Scholar for his graduating class.

In the years between earning his two degrees, and before finding his way to Gould, Juan worked in a variety of industries ranging from education, to communications. Some notable career highlights include writing talking points for a CCO of a top-4 bank and helping one of the country's major health insurers build a platform to communicate with their employees. Despite everything Juan has seen and done, he's always known he wanted to eventually pursue a career in law.

Coming into 1L, Juan is excited to work hard toward one day becoming the first lawyer in his family. He looks forward to figuring out which practice areas interest him the most. On his free time Juan likes exploring the city with his wife and taking advantage of the LA's diverse food scene.

Aigerim Saudabayeva

Aigerim Saudabayeva was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and grew up in the DC Metro Area. She graduated from Barnard College in 2015 with a BA in Economics. Aigerim spent her junior year abroad at Oriel College, University of Oxford. Her undergraduate thesis explored exchange rate regimes through the lens of the tenge, the currency of Kazakhstan. While at Barnard, Aigerim served on the secretariat for the Columbia Model United Nations Conference and Exposition.

Upon graduation, Aigerim returned to Oxford to complete an MPhil in Sociology and Demography. Her dissertation used data from the Association of Tennis Professionals to explore factors contributing to breaking into the top 100. During her time at Oxford, Aigerim captained the women's second squash team, played volleyball for the university and rowed on Oriel's first women's boat.

After her time in the UK, Aigerim moved back to Washington, DC, where she worked as a paralegal at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in the litigation and antitrust practices. In her free time, Aigerim could be found rowing with the women's sweep team at the Potomac Boat Club or playing squash at her local courts.

Sona Sulakian

A Bay Area native, Sona Sulakian graduated from Stanford University in 2016 with degrees in Biology and Classics. During her undergraduate, she worked in various research labs in the Medical School, focusing on Neurology and Computational Chemistry. At Stanford, she was the President of the Stanford Armenian Students' Association and Stanford SPOON Project on Hunger, helping collect and distribute leftover food on campus and nearby restaurants for shelters.

She has and continues to volunteer in Armenia on her annual summer trips. Since graduation, she has worked for IMS Health in pharmaceutical consulting and for Salesforce as a Finance & Strategy Analyst to bring data analytical tools like SQL and R to the workplace.

In her free time, Sona tutors high school students and students with learning disabilities in Spanish, English, Math, and Biology. She also avidly follows the four main food groups of sports, especially hockey.

2018-19 Honors Scholars

Hayk Badalyan

Undergraduate: University of California, Los Angeles

Hayk Badalyan grew up in Glendale, CA. He entered UCLA in 2014 as a Regents Scholar and graduated magna cum laude with double majors in Business Economics and Art History (with Departmental Honors in both) and a minor in Spanish.

Hayk is an avid traveler and has been fortunate enough to visit many of the world's finest museums. His love for art turned from a hobby to a passion and, ultimately, to a potential career path. Hayk has worked as a student educator at the Hammer Museum for three years and has served as an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in the American Indian Arts department of the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Mo. His experience at the Nelson-Atkins culminated with his own exhibit, "(RE)CLAIM," exploring expressions of contemporary indigenous identity.

Hayk is extremely interested in art and cultural property law, planning to pursue joint JD/MBA with hopes to put his passion to practice with a career in museum administration.

Karli Dugan

Undergraduate: Washington University

Karli Dugan grew up in Newport Beach, CA and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018 with a BA in International and Area Studies with a Eurasian Studies concentration and a minor in Russian. While an undergrad, she studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia and traveled to Shanghai to attend a student-run conference on national security issues. Throughout her four years in college, she was also an active member of Sigma Iota Rho (the International and Area Studies honorary) and of Kappa Delta Sorority, holding various positions in both. In addition, she tutored and mentored children in St. Louis through Books and Basketball, a community services organization.

Karli is excited to follow her grandfather's example and become a Gould graduate. She is also looking forward to getting involved with the International Refugee Assistance Project. This summer, she will be putting her first year of law school knowledge to use at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Alina Edep

Undergraduate: Georgetown University

Alina Edep grew up in South Florida before heading to D.C. to attend Georgetown University (Hoya Saxa!). She graduated with honors in 2018 with a BA in Psychology and minors in Spanish and Sociology. During her undergraduate career, she developed a passion for criminal justice after interning with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in both Miami and D.C., as well as working as a research assistant for a Georgetown professor studying juveniles in the criminal justice system who waive their right to an attorney. During her 1L summer, she worked as a Law Clerk at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in the Organized Crime division. She also worked at the California Attorney General's Office during her 2L year.

Alina is thrilled to be attending USC Gould as a lifelong lover of the beach, the sun, and pretty brick buildings. During her 2L year, she was President of the Armenian Law Students Association, on the board of the Criminal Law Society, and a member of the Hale Moot Court Honors Program. During her 3L year, she will participate in the Post-Conviction Justice Project (PCJP) representing clients at parole hearings. Following graduation, Alina will join Stroock, Stroock & Lavan's Century City Office as a litigation associate.

Kristina Funahashi

Undergraduate: Harvard University

Kristina Funahashi was born and raised in Newport Beach, CA. She attended Harvard University, where she concentrated in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and was a member of the varsity Cross Country and Track & Field teams. After graduating in 2014 with a passion for healthcare, Kristina worked at a molecular neurobiology laboratory in Boston studying stem cell therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders, as an analyst at a pharmaceutical and biotechnology consulting firm, and most recently, as a consultant at Kaiser Permanente Health Innovation. As a student at USC Gould School of Law, she is excited to pursue a career at the intersection of law and medicine to drive scalable improvements in the healthcare industry. Kristina could not be happier to be back in school and incredibly grateful to be a part of the Honors Scholars program here at USC Gould.

In her spare time, you can catch Kristina at the beach, practicing yoga, hiking, or simply soaking up the California sun and daydreaming about her future career in law

Arsh Haque

Undergraduate: University of Louisville

Arsh Haque grew up in central Kentucky, received a BA in Political Science at the University of Louisville, and received a Master of Public Policy at Sciences Po in Paris, France.

Before arriving at USC Gould, he entertained a cacophony of experiences: these included leading students on a two-week bus trip tracing the civil rights trail, cave explorations, university-level curriculum development, database management at a political research ranch in Montana, poetry publications, running a marathon, teaching K-12 special education, coaching seven national titles in high school Moot Court, conducting VR haptics research, and bootstrapping three start-ups across five countries.

He enjoys building rag-tag, interdisciplinary teams to tackle problems that matter and looks forward to kicking off his next adventure with the Trojan Family. His current interests include wellbeing economics, data analytics, and public policy.

Midori Heap-Baldwin

Undergraduate: University of California, Los Angeles

Midori Heap-Baldwin is a Los Angeles native, a proud "Brojan," and probably behind on her readings. She graduated from UCLA in 2018 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in LGBTQ Studies, summa cum laude with departmental highest honors. As an undergraduate, she served as Co-Director of Queer Alliance as well as President of Gamma Rho Lambda, through which she strove to foster a more inclusive space for all and to advocate for queer justice, in part by organizing large-scale programs and building working relationships with administration. She also wrote a data-driven honors thesis on race and gender in the 2016 general presidential election.

In her free time, Midori enjoys hanging out with her family's rescue California desert tortoises, listening to "This American Life," and backpacking in the local mountains. Away from the High Sierras, however, Los Angeles has always been Midori's home and, in her opinion, the greatest city in the world.

Judah Herskovits

Undergraduate: Hunter College

Judah Herskovits was born and raised in Queens, New York, and received his undergraduate education at Hunter College in Manhattan. There, he earned a BA in Psychology and Political Science with a minor in Music Performance. His favorite activities outside of school are drumming and playing basketball. His band, Shortchange, won Hunter's Got Talent in 2015, and he performed at the French Consulate for Bastille Day that same year.

Before starting here at Gould, Judah interned at MFY Legal Services, a New York-based nonprofit providing pro bono legal services to mentally ill indigent state residents. Following graduation from Hunter, he worked as a Litigation Docket Specialist for Seyfarth Shaw, a labor and employment firm based in Chicago. He is currently a 1L Representative for the Jewish Law Students Association and has his sights set on becoming a litigator, with a particular interest in gaining experience at a District Attorney's office.

Chinelo Nkechi Ikem

Undergraduate: University of California, Santa Barbara

Chinelo Nkechi Ikem grew up in Elk Grove, a suburb located in Sacramento County. She moved six hours south to attend the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated in 2018 with a double BA in Political Science and Philosophy.

During her first three years of undergrad, Chinelo was heavily involved in her college radio station KCSB 91.9 FM. She worked as a news director, leading and curating the station's student-run daily news program, and had her own music show dedicated to playing tunes from the African diaspora, called african + esoteric.

In her senior year, she interned at Pacific Standard Magazine, contributed pieces to Huffington Post, and volunteered at the Santa Barbara Legal Aid Foundation. At the Legal Aid Foundation, Chinelo developed a stronger affinity for public interest law. The summer between the end of undergrad and the start of law school, Chinelo worked as a summer legal intern at a criminal defense law office in Sacramento. Chinelo is currently a 1L rep for both the Public Interest Law Foundation and the Women of Color Collective.

Travis Jahnke

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Travis Jahnke grew up in the Bay Area before moving to SoCal for his undergraduate studies. He attended the University of Southern California and graduated with a degree in Political Science. While at USC, Travis had the opportunity to work in all facets of the music industry, including internships at Atlantic Records, Sony Music and Warner Bros. He also had the opportunity to work in fundraising positions, at USC and other L.A.-based nonprofit organizations.

In his free time, Travis enjoys exploring L.A. with his friends, trying new restaurants, and going to museums. He does his best to avoid the 405 freeway at all costs.

Travis hopes to use his background in music to pursue opportunities in entertainment and copyright law at Gould. He is happy to be back at USC as a double Trojan and to be a part of the Gold Honors Scholars.

Chelsea Landman

Undergraduate: Fordham University

Chelsea Landman was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. She then moved to New York City to attend Fordham University where she majored in Communications with a concentration in television and radio production. While at Fordham, she served as the secretary for the Jesuit honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu, and as the student representative for the Student Development and Athletics Committee for the Fordham Board of Trustees. In addition to her campus activities, she took advantage of everything New York has to offer. She interned in the casting and production groups for Sesame Street, took dance classes around Manhattan, and never missed the chance to see a Broadway show.

After graduation, Chelsea worked as a legal assistant for Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP's New York office in the Capital Markets group. She then made the cross-country move to attend USC Gould School of Law and could not be more excited! Now, as a 1L, she is eager to get involved in the Gould community and the Gold Honors Scholars program and hopes to return to the entertainment industry as a lawyer after graduation.

Jesse Mentz

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Jesse grew up in Indianapolis, moving to Los Angeles to pursue his BA and MA in International Relations at USC. During that time, he interned for International Justice Mission, the Scottish Parliament, and the U.S. Department of State. He spent much of his MA studying the anti-trafficking movement. Through these experiences, Jesse developed a deep appreciation for the importance of a functioning public justice system.

Before law school, Jesse worked for several years in finance, first as a consultant at a real estate valuation firm and later as an investment analyst for an endowment. Jesse and his wife have two children.

Jesse's relationship with Jesus motivates him to pursue law, having become convinced that the God of the Bible cares deeply about issues of violence, injustice, and oppression. Jesse spent his 1L summer as an intern at the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California, his 2L year as a part of the International Human Rights Clinic, and his 2L summer at the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

Jesse enjoys craft coffee, the sound of a jazz trio and a mandolin, conversations about theology and purpose, Yosemite Valley, and spending time with his family.

Aaron Morris

Undergraduate: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Aaron Morris is from South Charleston, West Virginia. After taking a year off to learn German as an exchange student, he attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar with a BS in Aerospace Engineering.

As an undergraduate, Aaron worked as a researcher in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, as well as the MIT Space Systems Lab. In addition to academic work, he enjoyed membership with his fraternity executive board and the MIT Kickboxing team.

After graduation, Aaron moved to Los Angeles to work as an aerodynamicist for Northrop Grumman. Finding himself too far removed from his work, he soon moved to the desert to work as a flight test engineer at Mojave Air and Spaceport. Initially responsible for writing test plans, Aaron soon became the operator of the mission control room, and eventually ended his career as a certified test conductor.

Aaron is now excited to continue his education as a 1L at USC Gould, and hopes to apply his technical background to the legal field.

Chandler Nahigian

Undergraduate: Westmont College

Chandler Nahigian was born and raised in Los Angeles, then moved up the coast to Santa Barbara where he graduated summa cum laude from Westmont College with a major in Kinesiology and minor in Business and Economics. At Westmont, Chandler served as a mentor and teacher's assistant for several undergraduate classes, including Human Anatomy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid. After graduating from Westmont, Chandler worked for two years at a multi-family office and trust company in Santa Barbara, where he provided client support and project management with a particular focus on compliance and investment reporting.

Following his first year at USC Gould, Chandler had a great experience working as a summer associate at Lagerlof, Senecal, Gosney & Kruse, LLP. He is currently serving as the Treasurer of Gould's Student Bar association and looks forward to spending his 2L summer at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Los Angeles.

As a fourth-generation Trojan and third-generation Gould student, Chandler is grateful to be at Gould. When not studying, he enjoys running, reading, traveling, and sharing good food with friends and family.

Alaina Pak

Undergraduate: George Washington University

Alaina Pak grew up in the DC area with her parents and two younger sisters. She graduated summa cum laude from George Washington University with a major in biomedical engineering and a minor in electrical engineering.

During her 1L summer, Alaina externed for the Patent Pilot Program in the Central District of California. During her 2L summer, she worked as a summer associate for Banner Witcoff. After graduation, Alaina will join Banner Witcoff in Chicago.

Samantha Rifkin Mizrahi

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Samantha is a Los Angeles native and a proud two-time Trojan. She earned her BA in History from USC and graduated summa cum laude. Prior to attending law school, Samantha worked as a television writer on USA Network's police drama series Graceland.

At Gould, Samantha serves as Chair of the Hale Moot Court Honors Program and participated in the Post-Conviction Justice Project Clinic. The highlight of Samantha's 2L year was competing in the Final Round of the 2020 Hale Moot Court Competition, where she received the Edward G. Lewis Champion Award. This past summer, Samantha worked at the L.A. District Attorney's Office. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a career in litigation.

Outside of school, Samantha enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Rafi, and forcing him to binge-watch true crime shows. She is also an avid reader and passionate cinephile and hopes to one day write a legal thriller.

Gabrielle Rodrigues

Undergraduate: University of Texas at Austin

Gabrielle Rodrigues, though most just call her Gabby, spent her early childhood growing up in North Brunswick, New Jersey before becoming a Texan. She recently graduated from The University of Texas (UT) at Austin with a BA in English and minor in African and African Diaspora Studies.

While at UT, Gabby focused on engaging with underserved Austin communities as an Austin City Hall Fellow and, later, as a research intern at Austin Community Law Center. Gabby took her passion for community engagement to Cape Town, South Africa where she worked with a nonprofit focused on empowering women who survived domestic abuse and political violence. Gabby wrapped up her college experience at the national level as a Bill Archer Fellow in D.C. where she interned at the National Women's Law Center in the childcare division.

With an interest in corporate law, Gabby hopes to continue to help pave the way for more women of color to join the legal field. In her free time, Gabby spends her time getting acquainted with the hiking trails and good eats of Los Angeles.

Carly Rustebakke

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Carly Ann Rustebakke grew up in North Dakota and enjoyed spending time on the family farm and summers relaxing at the lake cabin. She graduated magna cum laude from USC '15 with a bachelor's degree in Art History, minor in Business Law. While at USC, Carly was a Trojan football fan, in a leadership role at Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and received distinctions as a Renaissance Scholar and a Discovery Scholar for her honor's thesis.

Prior to law school, Carly worked in the Rights and Reproductions department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. There she enjoyed supporting the museum's publication program and educational mission by assisting in the licensing of artistic copyright. She also seized the opportunity to further explore Los Angeles through its food and many parks.

Carly felt inspired from her summer working for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and plans to pursue a career in criminal prosecution. She is excited to continue being a Double Trojan and working with the Criminal Law Society and Law Students for Better Health.

Abigail Sellers

Undergraduate: Arizona State University

Abby is from Phoenix, Arizona and loves living in Los Angeles where you can't bake cookies on the dashboard of a car! She attended Arizona State University where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Biochemistry with an emphasis on Medicinal Chemistry and a B.A. in Spanish Linguistics. She interned with Goldman Sachs in the Operations Division and worked as a test prep instructor for Kaplan. She also volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with Students Emergency Medical Services on Arizona State University's campus.

During her 1L summer, Abby was a summer associate in the Technology & Intellectual Property Group at Stoel Rives in Salt Lake City. This year, she looks forward to being a staff member on the Southern California Law Review, helping 1L students as a peer tutor, and working as a teaching assistant. Next summer, Abby will be a summer associate at Irell & Manella in Los Angeles.

In her free time, Abby enjoys puzzles, yoga and going to the movies. You can usually catch her doing the New York Times daily crossword on her commute to school.

Sophie Sylla

Undergraduate: Binghamton University

Sophie Sylla grew up in New York. She graduated from Binghamton University in 2014 with a BA in English Rhetoric and Global Culture and a minor in Global Studies. As an undergraduate, she was a four-year NCAA Division 1 athlete on the women's soccer team. She was also President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and was a student-athlete representative on Binghamton University's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

After graduating from Binghamton, Sophie was a Teach For America corps member in Phoenix, where she taught sixth grade in a dual language program. She also earned her Master's degree in Elementary Education. After spending two years in Arizona, Sophie moved back to New York where she focused on education reform policy as a U.S. Policy and Advocacy Intern at Global Citizen. Soon after, she moved to Durban, South Africa where she worked for a nonprofit and taught art as a Fulbright Scholar.

Most recently, Sophie was a middle school art teacher in Queens, New York. She hopes to continue to pursue her passion for the arts, education reform, civil rights, and social justice as a law student at USC!

Cristian Torres

Undergraduate: Arizona State University

Cristian Torres grew up in Arizona and graduated with honors from Arizona State University and a triple major in Public Service and Public Policy, Political Science, and Justice Studies. Some of his campus involvements included residence life as a community assistant and student government as a college senator, senate president, and Supreme Court justice.

During his undergraduate years in the Phoenix area, Cristian interned at the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of federal, state, and local governments. Outside of community service and academics, Cristian enjoys discovering new music, film, and architecture (and a good brunch spot like a true millennial).

A native of Southern California, Cristian returned to the Golden State to join the USC Gould Class of 2021 as a first generation professional with a demonstrated passion for law in the public interest. Besides exploring Los Angeles in all its glory, Cristian is taking advantage of all the student organizations, law clinics, and research opportunities that Gould has to offer.

Tim Trost

Undergraduate: University of Chicago

Tim Trost was born in Chicago. After a brief sojourn to Arizona, he returned and remained in Wheaton, IL until he was 17. As a senior in high school he lived as an exchange student in a suburb of Bern, Switzerland. Upon his return to the U.S., he attended the University of Chicago for undergraduate studies. In his sophomore year, he received an international scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to study medical technology in Hamburg.

Upon completion of the exchange, he decided to remain in Germany and finish his BSc in Chemistry and MSc in Material Sciences at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg, one of Germany's oldest academic institutions. During his studies, he worked as a research assistant at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, one of Germany's top public research institutions, in the field of polymer chemistry and solid-state physics.

Tim completed his bachelor thesis in renewable energy technologies and his master thesis in high-power high-voltage semiconductor fabrication. After his time at Fraunhofer, Tim worked for several years as an engineer at Europe's leading multi-junction solar cell producer. Although Tim is still getting used to being stateside again, he is happy to be in L.A. where the sun seems to always shine. Tim hopes to start a legal career in IP and international law.

Ally Wong

Undergraduate: Purdue University

Ally is a 3L student, from Northern California. She graduated from Purdue University with a BA in history and philosophy. As an undergraduate, Ally was actively engaged in a variety of research projects related to policy and politics, including the impact of racial composition on state legislatures, the effects of appearance on female elected officials, and the experiences of Chinese students during the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Outside of school, she interned and worked in government offices at the local, state and federal level. These professional experiences instilled in her the importance of community engagement and political activism at every level of government. After graduation, Ally continued to cultivate her dedication and passion for policy by working in a congressional office.

During her 1L summer, Ally served as a law clerk for Senator Mazie K. Hirono's Judiciary Committee staff, where she worked on judicial nominations, immigration, criminal justice reform and partisan gerrymandering policy. In the fall semester of 2L, Ally externed for Earthjustice's Los Angeles Office. Following her 2L year, Ally worked at Sheppard Mullin focusing on litigation.

2017-18 Honors Scholars

Meaghan Allen

Undergraduate: Transylvania University

Meaghan Allen grew up near Cincinnati and attended Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. for her undergraduate education. There, she earned her BA in PPE (Philosophy, Politics & Economics) and German Studies with a minor in History. She also studied abroad in both Germany and the U.K., the latter experience encouraging her to pursue postgraduate studies there. Between undergrad and law school, Meaghan attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, earning her Master's degree in Gender, Media & Culture.

This past summer Meaghan worked at Fox Networks Group in Century City. She was part of the Business & Legal Affairs team for Fox Broadcasting Distribution. Next summer, Meaghan will join Latham & Watkins in their London office as a summer associate.

Stephanie Alvarez Salgado

Undergraduate: University of California, Santa Barbara

Stephanie was born and raised in Lakewood, Calif. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science. Due to her own experience as a first-generation American, Stephanie became dedicated to helping students from diverse backgrounds succeed academically. During her time at UCSB, she became a mentor for first-generation college students from underrepresented communities, a mentor for honors students, and an academic peer advisor in order to help students from a wide-range of backgrounds overcome educational barriers. In the summer between finishing undergrad and starting law school, Stephanie interned for the Long Beach City Prosecutor's Office and spent her free time at the beach.

Now at USC, she is excited to be an Honors Scholar, a member of the first-generation program, and serve as the 1L representative for the Latino Law Students Association. Fight On!

Nikita Aneja

Undergraduate: University of California, Davis

Nikita (Niki) Aneja was born and raised in Los Angeles and is happy to be back in sunny Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and Psychology with a Math Emphasis from the University of California, Davis.

Niki spent this past summer working in-house at Panasonic Avionics Corporation in Orange County. Niki is looking forward to her 2L year where she will be a member of the Southern California Law Review and the Post-Conviction Justice Project. She will also serve as a Writing Fellow and a Peer Mentor. Additionally, Niki will be the Vice President of Public Interest Law Foundation and the Events Chair of Women's Law Association.

In her free time, Niki enjoys going to Disneyland! She rewarded herself with an annual pass after completing 1L and goes to Disneyland every opportunity she gets. She has recently developed a new hobby of attending group exercise classes at the USC Village gym. Her favorite class is Yoga Sculpt. She also enjoys attempting to teach her dog, Porky, new tricks.

After 2L, Niki will be a summer associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in downtown Los Angeles. Niki is excited for another great year in the Honors Scholars Program!

Michael Ball

Undergraduate: University of Florida

Michael Ball graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Criminology, minor in Anthropology and certificate in Latin American Studies. His concentration on crime, violence, and social conditions in Latin America and the U.S. led him to pursue law school. Michael grew especially interested in international law and its role in defending human rights and prosecuting criminals.

Michael served as a 1L rep for the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and was involved in the Latino Law Students Association (LLSA) and Black Law Students Association (BLSA). This year, he serves as a co-president of IRAP and as a co-chair for Judges & Lawyer's Night for LLSA.

Michael spent the summer after 1L at Sidley Austin LLP and Amazon Studios. The experience was amazing and opened his eyes to different sides of the practice of law. He became most interested in litigation after working on a few assignments while at Sidley.

Outside of law school, Michael enjoys dancing (a holdover from undergrad), going to the beach, and hiking around Los Angeles. Upon returning to LA after Florida, he now appreciates his hometown more and continues to explore new things about this city.

Michael Bloom

Undergraduate: University of Michigan

Before law school, Michael was a general assignment producer at The Atlantic magazine, in both New York and Washington. At The Atlantic, he researched and reported stories on topics ranging from politics and economics to health, technology, and education.

Michael also managed public events in the Obama White House, where he was a staff assistant in the Visitors Office. He previously served as an intern in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs and on Capitol Hill.

Michael studied public policy and history at the University of Michigan. During his time at Michigan, he was a member of the debate team and worked in the Office of Admissions. He was raised in Iowa City, Iowa.

Jeremy Chai

Undergraduate: Case Western Reserve University

Jeremy Chai was born and raised in Foster City, CA. He attended Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) and graduated with a BSE in Biomedical Engineering, with a focus in Biomaterials. While at Case, Jeremy worked in a polymeric materials lab, where he researched a certain polyelectrolyte as a replacement for a commercial proton conductor. He also learned (the hard way) the horrors of winter, which gave him enormous empathy for those North of the Wall.

While not reveling in a refreshing Razzmatazz Jamba Juice, Jeremy enjoys scouring Rotten Tomatoes for his next cinematic conquest and brainstorming names for his future dog. Most recently, he has begun to peruse the contemporary world of group fitness classes, and expects to be a full-blown addict by the end of the semester.

Jeremy aims to use his science and engineering degree to explore opportunities in intellectual property litigation. During his 1L summer, he externed for the Hon. Jesus G. Bernal in the Central District of California. Next summer, Jeremy will be a summer associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in downtown LA.

Michelle Choi

Undergraduate: University of California, Los Angeles

Michelle Choi was born in South Korea, and spent most of her life in the San Fernando Valley before branching out to West Los Angeles. She graduated from UCLA in 2015 with Latin Honors as a Political Science major, concentrating in International Relations. After graduation, she jumped into the workforce as a paralegal, which helped reaffirm her desire to pursue law. She went digital this past summer by interning as a law clerk for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Cyber Crime Division.

In her spare time, she enjoys going on food adventures, polishing up on her amateur Photoshop skills, and taking late night naps.

As a second year at USC Gould School of Law, she looks forward to interning at 21st Century Fox during the school year and working as a staff member of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal. She also serves as the Co-President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA), Co-Events/Alumni Chair of the Womxn of Color Collective, and 

Jaclyn Combs

Undergraduate: University of Alabama

Jaclyn Combs was born and raised in San Diego, but ventured to the South for her undergraduate studies. In 2017, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama (Roll tide!) with a BA in Communications focusing on Public Relations and minoring in Economics. During her time at Alabama, she was heavily involved with the local schools and worked with students at several Title I elementary schools in the area. She was also actively involved in the University's Honors College as well as Phi Mu sorority.

During her first year at USC, in addition to being an Honors Scholar, Jaclyn was a member of the First-Generation Professionals Program and served as a 1L representative for Legal Aid Alternative Break (LAAB). During her spring break, she traveled with LAAB to New Orleans where she did legal aid work with the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Project. She spent the 2018 summer working as a legal extern for Chief Judge Kristi DuBose of the Southern District of Alabama.

This year, Jaclyn is excited about joining the Hale Moot Court Honors Program and developing her litigation skills. During her free time, she enjoys watching college football and taking her dog on long walks in Culver City, where she resides.

Samuel Djahanbani

Undergraduate: University of California, Santa Barbara

Sam Djahanbani was born and raised here in sunny Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in business economics and a minor in accounting. He spent some time working for Deloitte before returning to school and earning a Master in Business Taxation from the USC Leventhal School of Accounting. Sam then worked as a tax accountant for three years for a public accounting firm in West Los Angeles, obtaining his CPA license along the way (look him up!).

Ultimately, Sam decided to leave the accounting world behind and pursue a career in law. He is currently interning at Lionsgate Entertainment in their tax-planning department. Sam spent his first summer as a summer associate with Foley & Lardner. In addition, this summer, Sam will be a summer associate at Venable, with hopes of joining their Tax and Wealth Planning group after graduation.

Sam watches a little too much sports, especially basketball and football; ESPN is background noise to him at this point. He has also forgotten more about Game of Thrones than most people will ever know (yes, he is proud of this). Lastly, if you want to try a new sushi restaurant, go to him for a recommendation!

Rosie Frihart

Undergraduate: University of Tulsa

Rosie hails from Tulsa and is a graduate of the University of Tulsa. While a student there, she served as editor of the creative writing journal and president of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She graduated in 2011 with a degree in Film Studies and History, and minors in Creative Writing and Sociology.

After graduation, Rosie worked briefly in film before joining Teach For America. The program luckily ignored her request to teach high school history and instead assigned her to teach fourth grade math at Gilcrease Elementary in Tulsa. Rosie loved her four years with the Gilcrease World Changers (yes, that is their actual mascot), and hopes to continue to work for them through poverty or education law.

Though Rosie loves cold weather, rain, and parking easily, she couldn't resist the urge to head west when she received her acceptance letter from USC. After all, who wouldn't want to be a member of the Trojan Family? She has enjoyed her experience at Gould thus far, and is thrilled to be a Gold Honors Scholar.

Joseph Harper

Undergraduate: Loyola University

Joseph Harper has had a unique path to law school. After completing his bachelor's degree in English Literature and Spanish at Loyola University New Orleans, he moved to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, Joseph has kept busy as a touring musician, record label and kombucha business founder, and wine director for local restaurants. His passion for learning brought him to USC Gould where he has found that exciting career opportunities abound.

During his first summer, he worked as a Research Assistant for Professor Greg Keating, researching torts and professional responsibility. He is the Communications Director for the Energy and Environmental Law Society and next summer will be working for Winston & Strawn in a project finance group, with an emphasis on renewable energy development. He is a proud father of an especially joyful one-year-old boy and is excited to get going with his legal career while raising a family.

Casey Mangan

Undergraduate: Azusa Pacific University

Casey Mangan grew up in Santa Cruz and graduated from Azusa Pacific University (APU) in 2014 with a BA in Sociology. As an undergraduate, he studied abroad in South Africa and did a fellowship with Polaris, the nation's largest anti-human trafficking organization. After graduating from APU, he spent two years playing backgammon, drinking tea, and teaching at Inonu University in Malatya, Turkey on a Fulbright grant. Wanting to make the most of his gap year(s), he spent another year teaching both English and Spanish in Salamanca, Spain.

Despite the occasional bouts of reverse culture shock, Casey is very excited to be back in California to study at Gould. He interned for Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project in Los Angeles during his 1L summer. As a 2L, he serves as a Pro Bono Chair for the Public Interest Law Foundation, Treasurer for the Gould Christian Fellowship, and Legal Director for the International Refugee Assistance Project. He is also a student in the USC Immigration Clinic. He hopes to spend his career in immigration law-specifically working with and advocating for refugees, asylum seekers, and human trafficking victims. When he is not at the law school, you can usually find him rock climbing, hiking, or cooking.

Joshua McWhorter

Undergraduate: Columbia University

Joshua McWhorter was born and raised in Los Angeles. In high school, he started a clothing line and lifestyle brand, which he maintained throughout his college years at Columbia University, where he received a BA in Psychology.

After graduating, Joshua worked with several startups between Los Angeles and New York. For two years prior to law school he helped grow Klickly, Inc. from a small four-person startup into a rising "Silicon Beach" tech company. Starting as an intern, he quickly became a full-time employee wearing many hats and participating in strategy, hiring, sales, and more.

Joshua loves playing and watching basketball, though his knees and ankles do not seem to much appreciate the former. He also enjoys listening to music and cooking.

Joshua has an interest in Intellectual Property and Entertainment law. This summer, he will be working at Venable LLP in Century City.

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. She was inspired by her work as a student activist to pursue a career in public interest. Nassim is especially committed to the promotion of gender and racial justice. Nassim also served as a Panetta Institute Congressional Intern for the D.C. Offices of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. This inspired Nassim to pursue law school with the goal of holding public office herself.

This past summer, Nassim clerked for the Immigrant Defenders Law Center assisting their Adult Representation Project, which works to represent those in deportation proceedings. She primarily assisted with cases for detained clients, drawing a better understanding of how U.S. laws and legal system continue to criminalize immigrants and prevent their access towards legal status. Joining the Post-Conviction Justice Project this year, Nassim hopes to expand her knowledge of the criminal justice system and prison-industrial complex by working to help incarcerated clients be released on parole.

Ariel Prince

Undergraduate: University of California, Berkeley

Ariel Prince was raised in the San Fernando Valley, and is thrilled to be back in L.A. attending USC Gould. She graduated with a degree in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley in 2015. While at Berkeley, Ariel participated in student government, served as the Vice President of the Jewish Student Union, and learned how to successfully walk backwards as a campus tour guide.

Ariel's enthusiasm for the written word led her to work as an Executive Communications Manager at Hewlett-Packard after graduation. She greatly enjoyed all aspects of this role, from crafting keynote speeches to operating a live teleprompter behind-the-scenes. Ariel spent the summer before law school exploring nearly every coffee shop in San Francisco, savoring tapas in Spain, and honing her urban photography skills.

Following her first year at USC Gould, Ariel had a fantastic experience as a summer associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She is currently involved in several student organizations, including the Hale Moot Court Honors Program and Women's Law Association. She is also proud to continue giving tours - this time as a Student Ambassador for USC Gould. Ariel looks forward to pursuing her interests in real estate law and litigation in her final two years of law school.

Jason Rooindej

Undergraduate: Loyola Marymount University

Jason was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He received concurrent degrees from University of California, Berkeley: a B.S. in Environmental Economics and Policy and a B.A. in Media Studies, with an emphasis on Marketing Strategy. While at UC Berkeley, Jason served on the Interfraternity Council board.

After graduating from UC Berkeley and moving back to Los Angeles, Jason worked as a management consultant at Mercer, where he focused primarily on Mergers and Acquisitions and IPOs. After leaving Mercer, Jason co-founded an education technology startup in Palo Alto, California. Jason is also a co-founder of a real estate investment company here in Los Angeles.

Before coming to law school, Jason volunteered at Bet Tzedek Legal Services and School on Wheels. During his 1L summer, Jason served as an extern for the Honorable Jeffrey S. Sutton of the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. During his 2L year, Jason is looking forward to serving as a staff editor of the Southern California Law Review and as a member of the Mediation Clinic. Jason will be spending his 2L summer in the corporate practice at a prominent New York law firm.

Gurgen Sargsyan

Undergraduate: University of California, Los Angeles

Gurgen Sargsyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia and immigrated to the United States in 2001, at the age of 7. He grew up in Glendale, CA, where he still resides. As a child, Gurgen fell in love with basketball while watching Kobe and Shaq dominate the NBA, and basketball is still a hobby of his. He is also a sneaker enthusiast and owns more than 80 pairs, most of which are Nike Kobe sneakers. Gurgen practiced various forms of martial arts for 10 years, including karate, boxing and MMA. He is fluent in English and Armenian and studied Spanish for four years in high school. Gurgen attended Glendale Community College for two years, before transferring to UCLA, where he earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy.

After graduating from UCLA, Gurgen decided to go straight to law school and chose USC Gould because of the tight-knit community and beautiful campus. He is interested in practicing business law and spent his first summer working as a research assistant for the real estate and business law professor, George Lefcoe.

Eva Schifini

Undergraduate: Occidental College

Eva Schifini grew up in Las Vegas. She earned a BA in economics at Occidental College (Oxy) with a double minor in mathematics and public health.

At Gould, Eva is a Saks Scholar, a peer mentor, and a Writing Fellow for LLM students. Additionally, she is a part of the Hale Moot Court Honors Program and co-president of the Health Law Society.

In her spare time, Eva works as a group fitness and pilates trainer at various studios around the greater Los Angeles area. Reach out to her for a great workout or any Las Vegas travel recommendations.

2016-17 Honors Scholars

Daniel Brovman

Undergraduate: Columbia University

Daniel Brovman grew up in New Jersey with a brief stint in the U.K. He graduated from Columbia University in 2016, where he majored in History and Political Science. During undergrad, he worked for a nonprofit, several state and federal prosecutors' offices, and in political consulting. While at Columbia, Daniel was the President of the Columbia International Relations Council and Association and a member of the Columbia College Senior Fund.

After graduating, Daniel traded the concrete jungle for the City of Angels. At USC, Daniel is involved with the Jewish Law Students Association and the American Constitution Society, having served as President of each organization. He was also involved with OUTLaw as its Treasurer. Now, he serves as the Executive Postscript Editor of the Southern California Law Review. Daniel spent his first summer working at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and his second summer at O'Melveny & Myers in Downtown Los Angeles.

In his free time, Daniel enjoys running (he ran his first half marathon and marathon during 2L), exploring L.A., and hanging out with friends.

Courtney Deklotz

Undergraduate: University of California, Santa Barbara

Courtney attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received a B.A. in Political Science in three years with high honors. While at UCSB, Courtney worked for the Annual Fund and was actively involved in Alpha Phi. She was awarded the Margaret H. Blaney Strong Female Scholarship and the Therese Campbell Scholarship for Academic Excellence.

After graduation, Courtney returned to her hometown in Orange County to work for an investment banking firm. In 2013, Courtney obtained her FINRA Series 79 and Series 63. After four years of working on a broad spectrum of transactions and strategic situations, including M&As, private placements, and restructurings, Courtney decided to join the USC Gould Class of 2019 as a recipient of the Dean S. Butler Scholarship.

In her first year of law school, Courtney served as a 1L Representative for both the Business Law Society and the Public Interest Law Foundation. Her first summer was spent as a summer associate at Paul Hastings LLP, where she will be returning. Courtney is particularly interested in corporate law, with a focus on private equity. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading political thrillers, and watching reality television.

Julie Gantz

Undergraduate: Georgetown University

Julie Gantz is honored to be both the Rothman Scholar and a member of the Gold Honors Scholars for the Class of 2019 at USC Gould School of Law. While at Gould, Julie has been involved with the Energy and Environmental Law Society, the Health Law Society, the American Constitution Society, and the Gold Honors Scholars. She currently serves on the Student Advisory Board. She enjoys exploring the outdoors-especially national parks-adventures with her puppies, baking desserts, and reading biographies.

Julie has deep interests in environmental law and international law, which grew out of her undergraduate studies in International Politics at the Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and her master's studies in Chinese Law at Shanghai Jiao Tong University's KoGuan Law School. In pursuing a juris doctorate, Julie aspires to a career in environmental law, specializing in water law and policy, and is eager to begin this career at Latham & Watkins following graduation.

Alexandra (A.J.) Jackson

Undergraduate: University of California, Los Angeles

Alexandra (A.J.) Jackson graduated magna cum laude from UCLA with a double major in Communications and Political Science. She spent her undergraduate years working as a Student Assistant to the Dean of UCLA Law, volunteering as Head Philanthropy Chair of Chi Omega sorority, and serving on UCLA's Pediatric AIDS Coalition. As a 2L at USC, she was a Stanley & Ilene Gold Honors Scholar, a member of the Hale Moot Court Honors Program, worked as a USC Gould Peer Mentor, and served as the Student Bar Association's Faculty Selection Chair. After finishing second and winning the Judge E. Avery Crary Award in Hale Moot Court, A.J. was awarded a spot on USC's National Moot Court team as a 3L. She will compete nationally representing Gould for 2018-2019.

A.J. plans to become a litigator, focusing primarily on commercial and entertainment litigation. Accordingly, she spent the summer of 2018 working as a summer associate at Sheppard Mullin Century City in its Business Trial Practice Group. She will return as a first year associate in the fall of 2019.

A.J. loves to travel, run, write, visit her hometown of Laguna Beach, and work as a manager for her close friends aiming to "make it" in L.A.'s entertainment industry. She loves USC Gould and could not be happier to spend her years as a law student at the most incredible school!

Shelby Lindholm

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Shelby was raised in sunny San Clemente, and attended the University of Southern California, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, Finance and a minor in International Relations. She graduated magna cum laude in 2015. After graduation, she worked as a marketing relations associate for an aerospace engineering firm, where she had the opportunity to draft press releases and oversee the social media for the entire company. Eager to return to her dream school, she quickly accepted the offer to become a part of USC Gould's Class of 2019. She is thankful everyday she made the decision to stay in southern California and return to the best university in L.A. (Fight On!).

During her 1L summer, Shelby externed for the Hon. Manuel L. Real in the Central District of California. She is currently a writing fellow at the law school and loves teaching the 1Ls the basics of legal writing. Next summer, Shelby will be a summer associate at Paul Hastings LLP, OC. Outside of school, she has an unhealthy addiction to Dr. Pepper, crime shows, and candy.

Anahit Muradian

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

Anahit Muradian grew up in Glendale, CA. She graduated valedictorian of her high school and decided to stay in Los Angeles to be close to her family. As an undergraduate student at USC, Anahit majored in economics and minored in forensics and criminality. Having completed her Bachelor's degree in three years, Anahit spent her fourth year at USC completing her Master's degree in economics. After graduation, she worked as an employment litigation consultant at Resolution Economics in Beverly Hills, where she developed an interest in labor and employment law.

Upon being accepted to USC Gould, Anahit jumped at the opportunity to be a Triple Trojan (or as her soccer-fan dad likes to call her, a hat-trick Trojan). She spent her first summer as a summer associate at Littler Mendelson, a labor and employment law firm, and her second summer as a summer associate at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, & Hampton. She will be returning to Sheppard Mullin as a first-year associate in the labor and employment practice group next fall. Anahit was the co-president of the Armenian Law Students' Association and is currently an editor on the Hale Moot Court Board. She is also a huge soccer fan, with Manchester United being her favorite team.

Elizabeth Nguyen

Undergraduate: California State University, Long Beach

Elizabeth Nguyen grew up in Fountain Valley, Calif. where she discovered the magic of 7leaves' Jasmine Milk tea with grass jelly. She graduated magna cum laude from California State University Long Beach with degrees in Political Science and Sociology. During college, Elizabeth wrote an honors thesis exploring the effects of mono-ethnic communities on local elections and conducted field research on the impact of second-generation Asians on fusion foods and gentrification. Here, Elizabeth developed her passion for the advocacy of diverse representation.

At Gould, Elizabeth was a member of the 2018 Jessup Moot Court team and is currently on the 2019 International Commercial Arbitration Moot team. She was the 2017-2018 Vice President of USC's Asian Pacific American Law Students Association and organized their mentorship program.

During her 1L summer, Elizabeth clerked at the Learning Rights Law Center and worked on due process cases, advocating for students with disabilities. She continues public service work at the Los Angeles District Attorney's office where she conducts preliminary hearings and motions arguments. Elizabeth intends to become a zealous prosecutor.

In her free time, Elizabeth likes to cook Vietnamese food for friends, win escape rooms with her sisters, Cynthia and Meghan, and hangout with her cat, Bader.

Jin Kyoung Oh

Undergraduate: USC Marshall School of Business

Jin Kyoung Oh was born in South Korea and raised in various cities in Southern California. For undergrad, Jin attended USC's Marshall School of Business as a Presidential Scholar, where she led various student groups, including the prestigious Professional Business Fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi.

After graduation, Jin returned to South Korea, where she started up a nonprofit organization called NSDA Korea. NSDA Korea has since partnered with Korea University and continues to serve the youth of Korea today. While in Korea, Jin also became heavily involved with her volunteer work with North Korean refugees, which she continues to this day. Jin subsequently entered USC Gould School of Law to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to aid those like the refugees who need help getting their voices heard.

As a 1L, Jin worked as a Certified Law Clerk with the Post-Conviction Justice Project Clinic, where she represented multiple clients in hearings and habeas petitions. Last summer, Jin worked at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP as a law clerk in the Korean Business & Litigation group.

Jin believes that it is important to enjoy every moment of every day, and often spends her leisure time diving off various coasts and/or exploring new cities and cuisines.

Alexander (A.J.) Pinto

Undergraduate: University of Southern California

A.J. Pinto is a proud double Trojan from Mission Viejo, Calif. He was a USC Presidential Scholar in his undergraduate, where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in History and Political Science in 2015. While in his undergraduate studies, he was involved in student government, where he developed a passion for building strong communities. His passion led him to work in various government offices, nonprofits, and the Los Angeles Times. In the past two years at USC Gould, A.J. participated in the Hale Moot Court Honors Program and served on the board of USC Legal Aid Alternative Break. He is currently one of the student leaders of the Gold Honors Scholars Program.

A.J. has a strong Christian faith and strives to live out that faith in his personal and professional life. He is a Blackstone Legal Fellow and a passionate supporter of free speech and the free exercise of religion. In his free time, he enjoys playing pick-up sports, scoring finds at local flea markets, and telling outlandish stories.

After receiving his JD, A.J. will be working as a Business Trial associate at Rutan & Tucker in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Eric Pittaluga

Undergraduate: Loyola Marymount University

Eric was born and raised in Irvine. He attended Loyola Marymount University (LMU) where he studied history and political science and graduated in 2015. While an undergrad, Eric found a passion for community service through his involvement in LMU's Ignatians Service Organization, where he served as president.

After graduating LMU, Eric did a post-graduate year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), where he was stationed in San Diego and worked with intensive-treatment foster youth. As a 1L, Eric involved himself in Legal Aid Alternative Break (LAAB) and the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), and now serves as President and Public Donations Chair of each organization respectively. During his 1L summer, Eric worked as a law clerk for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Organized Crime Division and found himself fascinated with criminal law and the justice process. Now a 2L, Eric is working as a Certified Law Student for the Post-Conviction Justice Project clinic. In his free time, Eric enjoys going to Dodger games, USC tailgates and football games, and running in Tough Mudders and Spartan races. To relax, Eric enjoys a good IPA at one of the many microbreweries around Los Angeles and trips to Disneyland where he worked as a ride operator for 2.5 years.

Joseph Rudin

Undergraduate: Chapman University

Joseph Rudin was born and raised in Westlake Village, CA. He graduated from Chapman University in 2016 with a BS in Psychology. As an undergraduate, he participated in the University Honors Program, where he used his Senior Capstone project to investigate whether there is scientific evidence of free will.

In July 2017, he attended the Sports Business Classroom at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League, where he learned the business of basketball from industry leaders including front-office executives from NBA teams. In July 2018, he worked as a Team Assistant for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League. Currently, he is an intern for a basketball agent. In his free time, Joseph obsessively follows the NBA as well as USC's football and basketball teams.

Sky Taylor

Undergraduate: Ohio State University

Sky Taylor was born and raised in Tinton Falls, NJ. He attended The Ohio State University where he studied business and graduated in 2012. While an undergrad, Sky served as the Recruitment Chairman of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.

After graduating from The Ohio State University, Sky worked at Coyote Logistics for three years and Amazon Logistics for one year. During his 1L summer, Sky worked as a summer associate at Sidley Austin and spent time at Amazon Studios. As a 2L, Sky served as the Black Law Student Association's Banquet Chair and Academic Chair. During his 2L summer, Sky worked as a summer associate at Cooley. Additionally, Sky has worked in the Small Business Clinic during both his 2L and 3L years. After graduation, Sky will join Cooley's Santa Monica office.

In his free time, Sky enjoys playing with his dog (Sydney), listening to podcasts, meme-ing, playing video games, and following sports of all kinds.