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Student Scholars 2019-2020
Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics

The Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics supports wide-ranging research by the Saks Institute Student Scholars. The institute educates these future legal, medical and public policy leaders to employ cutting-edge research methodology and to serve the larger cause of social justice. The Scholars conduct research on the institute's topic of the year and present work that is published in academic journals. To date, 25 student papers have been published in three journals.

  • Elisa Apra Elisa Apra

    Elisa Apra is a first-year Occupational Science PhD student at the Mrs. T.H. Chan School of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. They received a B.A. in Media Arts & Practice at USC, with a minor in Occupational Science. They currently work in the Sensory Integration Engagement and Family Life lab under Dr. Mary Lawlor, where they are supporting research projects investigating the experiences of autistic adolescents and young adults. Apra's research interests include exploring how technology can be utilized to support people living with mental illness as well as the power of narrative in relation to mental health.


  • Dveen Babaian Dveen Babaian

    Dveen Babaian is a third-year law student at the USC Gould School of Law, where he is an Honors Scholar. He received his B.A. in Political Science from UCLA, where he graduated summa cum laude. Babaian has also worked in politics since graduating from high school. He was an organizer in Los Angeles for President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012 and, in 2016, he started a Los Angeles-based political consulting firm with a partner. He has since served as a consultant/strategist on over 50 campaigns in the greater LA area. As a Saks Scholar – and as a first-generation U.S. born child of immigrants that escaped war-torn countries – Babaian wants to explore this year’s topic of political asylum. Additionally, as an Armenian-American and the descendant of a people that were brutally slaughtered in the millions in a genocide that is still denied by its perpetrators, Babaian is very interested in exploring the idea of multi-generational trauma and the psychological effects of genocide.


  • Ashley Bangunan Ashley Bangunan

    Ashley Bangunan is a second-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. A native Angeleno whose parents immigrated from the Philippines, she earned her B.A. degree in English from UC Irvine in 2014. After completing those studies, she worked as a health information professional. Since coming to Gould, she has been committed to public interest work and, in the past year, worked more pro bono hours than any other first-year law student. Currently, Bangunan is the Co-President of CARES, Fundraising Chair for OUTLaw, and Curriculum Chair for StreetLaw. She also works as a legal extern for Bet Tzedek Legal Services in their Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project. Bangunan is honored to have been selected as a Saks Scholar and is excited to research in the intersection between immigration and mental health.


  • Gregory Costa Gregory Costa

    Gregory Costa is a third-year law student at the USC Gould School of Law. Originally from Gladwyne, PA, he received his B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University. While at Gould, Costa has focused his studies on government and criminal law topics and has interned with the U.S. Army JAG Corps, in Wiesbaden, Germany, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He also served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Kent J. Dawson at the U.S. District Court of Nevada. As a Saks Scholar, Costa is interested in writing about issues related to mental health, law enforcement, and the military.


  • Claudia Fendian Claudia Fendian

    Claudia Fendian is a third-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. She earned her B.A. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University with minors in Legal Studies and Political Science. Currently, she serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, in which she will be published this year. As a Saks scholar, she is interested in analyzing the disconnect between immigrants and accessibility to mental health services in the United States. After graduation, Fendian hopes to work briefly in the private sector before ultimately transitioning to academia to teach.


  • Anissa Ghafarian Anissa Ghafarian

    Anissa Ghafarian is a third-year law student at the USC Gould School of Law. She was born in Canada to Iranian immigrant parents. She graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in psychology and worked as a researcher in the UCLA psychology labs for three years. Anissa's experience in the research labs and personally with the immigration system after the 9/11 attacks inspired her to attend law school so that she could make an effective change. At Gould, Ghafarian continued her effort to help refugee communities through the International Refugee Assistance Project and the International Human Rights Clinic, in which she successfully helped relocate a refugee. She is incredibly excited and honored to be a Saks Scholar and hopes to research the effects of being a refugee and the PTSD suffered.


  • Judah Herskovits Judah Herskovits

    Judah Herskovits was born and raised in Queens, New York, and received his undergraduate education at Hunter College in Manhattan. He earned a B.A. in Psychology and Political Science with a minor in Music Performance. Before starting at Gould, Herskovits interned at MFY Legal Services, a New York-based nonprofit providing pro bono legal services to mentally ill indigent state residents. He also worked as a Litigation Docket Specialist for Seyfarth Shaw, a labor and employment firm based in Chicago. This past summer, he interned at the Health Care Bureau of the New York Attorney General’s Office, which was deeply entrenched in opioid litigation against major pharmaceutical companies. Next summer, Herskovits will be at King & Spalding, one of the top healthcare law firms in the country. 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.


  • Katie Hill Katie Hill

    Katie Hill is a second-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. She received her B.A. in Economics from Pomona College. At Gould, Hill is co-president of Law Students for Better Health, Health Law Society, and International Refugee Assistance Project. She is Treasurer of the IP and Tech Law Society, and a staff member on Southern California Law Review. During her 1L summer, Hill worked at the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law. She is excited to be a Saks Scholar this year.


  • Kewa Jiang Kewa Jiang

    Kewa Jiang is a second-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Psychology with High Distinction. After graduating, she worked as a paralegal on mass torts cases at a leading plaintiffs’ firm in San Francisco. At Gould, Jiang is the alumni chair for the Womxn of Color Collective and the 2L representative for Law Students for Better Health. She is also in the process of establishing a chapter of a consumer justice student organization on campus after working as a law student advocate over the past summer in the Consumer Justice Clinic at the East Bay Community Law Center. As a Saks Scholar, Jiang aims to continue exploring how mental health intersects with the law and its effect on the immigrant community.


  • Sabrina Kumre Sabrina Kumre

    Sabrina Kumre is a second-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. She received her B.A. in Political Science from UC San Diego with a minor in Philosophy. Currently, Kumre is serving as the treasurer for both the Health Law Society and Street Law organizations and is enrolled in a Medical Legal Partnership Practicum. This past summer, Kumre worked in the Health Unit at the Public Law Center, where she first gained exposure to mental health law. She has also done research in this area, including how to teach students to be trauma-informed and on various issues affecting the transgender community. As a Saks Scholar, Kumre is eager to continue exploring the area of mental health law and its broader effects on people.


  • Matthew Lippold Matthew Lippold

    Matthew Lippold is a second-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English from UCLA. At Gould, Lippold became interested in public interest, and took on the role of Vice President of Communications for the school's chapter of the International Refugee Assistance Project. This summer, Lippold worked at the Center for Law and Military Policy and specialized on the issue of veteran deportation, conducting strategic research, drafting policy proposals, and advocating on behalf of veterans to the governor's office. As a Saks Scholar, Lippold seeks to research the intersection between immigration and mental health law in order to promote sensible, humane reform.


  • Nabi Menai Nabi Menai

    Nabi Menai is a third-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. Currently, Menai is the Executive Submissions Editor for the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice and on the Board of Law for Business, a student-run Business journal at USC Gould. He is also on the e-board of SALSA, a newly founded South Asian student-run organization. He spent his first summer of law school working at Silicon Legal Strategy in San Francisco, a boutique law firm specializing in working with emerging companies and venture capital firms. Menai spent the past summer working with the corporate department at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s Palo Alto office. He is passionate about issues pertaining to immigration and in particular refugee crises. His hope is to explore more about the myriad mental health issues refugees who come to the United States face and how to ameliorate these issues from a legal, societal and personal perspective.


  • Courtney Mendoza Courtney Mendoza

    Courtney Mendoza is a third-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. She received double B.A. degrees in Psychology and Political Science at Chapman University. She has interned at organizations like Mental Health Advocacy Services and the National Health Law Program, which advocate for accessible and affordable health care for low-income populations. Her work in USC's Medical-Legal Community Partnership exposed her to the effective methods of collaboration between lawyers and doctors for more sustainable health care outcomes. She has researched the intersections between mental health, homelessness, and incarceration. As a Saks Scholar, Mendoza hopes to research how recent laws, restrictions, and political rhetoric have harmed the health and well-being of underserved immigrant communities.


  • Deirdre O'Sullivan Deirdre O'Sullivan

    Deirdre O'Sullivan is a third-year psychiatry resident at LA County + University of Southern California Medical Center. She earned a B.S. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an M.D. from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She is particularly interested in the intersection between psychiatry and law, and is excited to explore the ethical and philosophical challenges inherent in that intersection. O’Sullivan is grateful for the opportunity to work with the Saks Institute, and hopes to further the understanding of the connections between immigration law and mental health.


  • Ida Ayu Sabrina Putri Ida Ayu Sabrina Putri

    Ida Ayu Sabrina Putri is a second-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. She was an attorney in Indonesia, where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Law from University of Indonesia. Her dream was to be a dual-licensed attorney in Indonesia and the United States. She pursued the Master of Law (LLM) program at USC in 2017. Eager to learn more about American law, she decided to continue to the J.D. program at USC, where she was the only LLM-JD transfer student accepted in 2018. In addition to being a Saks Scholar, she is enrolled in the Immigration Clinic. Putri hopes to help more immigrants to pursue their dreams in the US and gain practical knowledge from providing legal aid to immigrants. She also plans to use this knowledge to inform her research on the mental health issues for immigrants seeking asylum, withholding removal and/or protection under the Convention against Torture. Ultimately, Putri hopes to advocate for a better treatment for detained asylum seekers with mental health issues.


  • Ari Stobaugh Ari Stobaugh

    Ari Stobaugh is a third-year law student at USC Gould School of Law. She grew up in Reno, Nevada, and graduated magna cum laude from USC with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology. After graduation, Stobaugh joined Teach for America and taught high school English for four years in Los Angeles and simultaneously got her M.A. in Urban Education Policy and Administration. During her 1L summer, she worked at Public Counsel’s Audrey Irmas Women and Girls’ Rights Project. During her 2L summer, she was a summer associate in the healthcare practice group at Sheppard Mullin. At Gould, she is a JD writing fellow, on the PILF Executive Board, on the Law Review Executive Board, and part of the Medical-Legal Partnership Practicum. As a Saks Scholar, Stobaugh is excited to be part of a community of students and faculty who are similarly passionate about two of her interests for her long-term career—healthcare and immigration reform.


  • Cody Uyeda Cody Uyeda

    Cody Uyeda is a third-year law student at the USC Gould School of Law. He earned his B.A. in English and Communication and his M.A. in Communication Management from USC. His interests center around how ideas of culture and identity intersect with elements of law, policy, education, and social justice. While at Gould, Uyeda has served as the Alumni Relations Chair for the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and is currently a Senior Copy Editor on Gould's Review of Law and Social Justice. As a Saks Scholar, Uyeda hopes to explore the impact of mental health in relation to immigration and minority communities.


  • Sara Zollner Sara Zollner

    Sara Zollner is a proud Bay Area native. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with degrees in both Political Science and Feminist Studies, as well as a minor in History. At USC Gould School of Law, Zollner is SBA's Admission Chair and co-president of Women's Law Association. She plans to pursue a career in public interest and hopes to increase access to justice for those who have been historically marginalized by the legal system. As a Saks Scholar, Zollner is excited to delve into the intersection of immigration and mental health.


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