About USC Gould
USC Gould is a top-ranked law school with a 115-year history and reputation for academic excellence. We are located on the beautiful 228-acre USC University Park Campus, just south of downtown Los Angeles.
Learn about our interdisciplinary curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and specialized areas.
Participate in an unparalleled learning experience with diversity of people and thought. Get involved in the law school community and participate in activities that enhance your studies.
We work closely with students, graduates and employers to support successful career goals and outcomes. Our overall placement rate is consistently strong, with 94 percent of our JD class employed within 10 months after graduation.
Our faculty is distinguished for its scholarship, as well as for its commitment to teaching. Our 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio creates an intimate and collegial learning environment.
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The global Trojan network of more than 10,000 law alumni and donors include recognized leaders in numerous fields who are deeply committed to supporting student and law school success.
Gold Honors Scholars - Juris Doctor (JD)
USC Gould School of Law
- JURIS DOCTOR (JD) DEGREE
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- DUAL DEGREES
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- DATES AND DEADLINES
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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
2016-17 Honors Scholars
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2017-18 Honors Scholars
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Secretary of the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Society (IPTLS).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2018-19 Honors Scholars
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.
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.
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. This past summer, she worked as a Law Clerk at the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office in the Organized Crime division. Next summer, she will be a summer associate at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in Century City.
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 will be 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Undergraduate: University of Southern California
Jesse grew up in Indianapolis, before moving to Los Angeles 11 years ago to start his BA (and eventually MA) in International Relations from USC. While completing his first two degrees, he interned for an international anti-trafficking agency, the Scottish Parliament, and the U.S. Department of State. He devoted most of his MA to studying the anti-trafficking movement. Through these experiences, Jesse developed a deep appreciation for the importance of a functioning public justice system.
After graduating and marrying his wife (also a Trojan), Jesse spent more than five years working in finance, first as a consultant at a real estate valuation firm and later as an investment analyst for an endowment. While applying for law school, Jesse and his wife welcomed their first child into the world.
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 last summer as an intern at the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California. Also a Public Interest Scholar, Jesse is part of the International Human Rights Clinic at Gould, and he hopes to work in the criminal justice system upon graduation.
Jesse enjoys craft coffee, the sound of a jazz trio and a mandolin, conversations about theology, the crisp air of Yosemite Valley, and spending time with his family.
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.
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.
Undergraduate: George Washington University
Alaina Pak grew up in Texas and Maryland 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. Outside of undergrad classes, she enjoyed interning at MedImmune-AstraZeneca in analytical biotech, externing at the Silicon Valley U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examining medical device patent applications, and interning in GW's technology commercialization office.
During her 1L summer, Alaina externed for the Patent Pilot Program in the Central District of California. This year, Alaina looks forward to joining the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal. She is also excited to serve as the Academic Chair of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) and the External Vice President of the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Society (IPTLS). Next summer, Alaina will be a summer associate at Banner & Witcoff in Chicago.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Undergraduate: Purdue University
Ally Wong grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to West Lafayette, Indiana to attend Purdue University. She graduated with honors as a double major in History and Philosophy, and was named Outstanding Senior for the Philosophy Department.
Her early undergraduate work in political science research inspired her to pursue policy as a means to enact meaningful change within society. She held internships at the Indiana State Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and worked as a research assistant for local government offices and nonprofits. During her time at Purdue, Ally also served as the President of her sorority, Delta Gamma. Before coming to Gould, Ally worked at a congressional district office.
Ally is passionate about environmental justice and public interest work, and she is excited to explore the many opportunities offered at USC Gould. This year, Ally will serve as a 1L representative for the Energy and Environmental Law Society and looks forward to learning more about the Los Angeles area.
2019-20 Honors Scholars
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 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 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!
Jordan Johnson was born & raised in Los Angeles, CA. In 2015 he left Los Angeles for Atlanta, GA to attend Emory University, double majoring in Political Science & History, where he graduated from in 2019. While at Emory, Jordan was actively involved on campus, serving as the undergraduate representative for Emory's Honorary Degrees Committee, as well as serving as the Vice President of Finance for the Emory chapter of the Pi Sigma Alpha political science honor society; among other positions.
Jordan has a passion for travel & languages. He has been fortunate enough to visit fourteen countries so far and can speak elementary French, Persian, and Arabic-in addition to his native English. Growing up in a family with a federal agent as a parent and a Marine Corps veteran as a grandfather, Jordan has been fascinated with the field of law since childhood. Jordan also has a passion for food and cars (Formula 1 being his favorite sport).
Jordan has great interests in corporate (big) law and entertainment law, and is excited for the opportunities Gould will afford him in his search for his niche.
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!
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.
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.
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 was raised in Thousand Oaks, California, as the oldest of three. This May 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 the circulation desk at Doheny Library where she became so well acquainted with the school that she could pass as a tour guide. Samara's passion lies in promoting social equality. Before she transferred 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 where members teach after school classes on prominent figures of colors in inner city elementary schools.
She later interned at the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office where she organized a minimum continuing legal education event with the Directing Attorney of Public Counsel's Immigrants' Rights Project.
Samara is excited to revisit her old stomping grounds as a double Trojan and to see what her first year of law school has in store.
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.
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 actively 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. Now that she has successfully eaten her way through NYC, Gabrielle is excited to explore LA through its restaurants and to begin her legal career at USC.
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 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.
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 Executive Officer of the 1040th Quartermaster Company.
Zachary is excited to continue his education at USC Gould School of Law and is looking forward to pursuing opportunities in public interest law.
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.
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.
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 Woodrow Wilson 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.
In her free time, Tomi enjoys traveling, working on her language skills, and spending time with her friends and three younger brothers. At USC, she is most looking forward to returning to an academic setting, experiencing her first L.A. "winter" and exploring all the art and culture the west coast has to offer. Though her legal interests are ever-expanding, her commitment to making a difference is unwavering.
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