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New Undergraduate Student Government leader builds foundation at Gould

Becca Speier • June 19, 2024
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After switching her major for the third time, Brianna Sanchez felt lost at the beginning of her time at USC. Sanchez switched her major three times before discovering the Legal Studies program at USC Gould School of Law. One of her first classes through USC Gould was LAW 210, the Fundamentals of the U.S. Legal System, with Vice Dean for Administration Donald Scotten.

This class was the stepping stone for Sanchez to continue her undergraduate studies at USC Gould. She switched her major to Legal Studies for the fourth and final time.

“I’ve been delving more into the Legal Studies courses, and I think it’s by far the best decision I ever made,” Sanchez said. “I’m so happy with my major now, and I do feel it’s the one I belong in.”

Sanchez, who just finished her second year at USC, also has a minor in Forensics and Criminality. During her time as a Legal Studies major, Sanchez felt encouraged by fellow USC Gould faculty and peers to start a campaign and run for Vice President of USC’s Undergraduate Student Government. During the spring 2024 semester, she was elected as the 2024-25 Vice President of USG.

“My class tends to attract students who are active and engaged in the content, with plans to go to law school and enter into public service, so it does not surprise me that Brianna was elected by her peers to be the USG vice president,” Scotten said. “She was an outstanding student who contributed positively to the course and I hope she can carry the lessons from LAW 210 with her throughout her time at USC.”

The Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies program was announced at the beginning of 2022 and is the first program at USC Gould that gives undergraduates an education in the law and legal infrastructure while also discovering legal opportunities that do not require being a practicing attorney.

The program offers more than two dozen undergraduate law courses and requires students to choose a specialized track within their studies, as well as complete a capstone project and internship.

“Every class I take is really interesting and makes me think deeper about different sorts of law, different areas of law, different fields of law,” she said. “And that’s always what I’ve been searching for the moment I came in, so I was really lucky to be able to find that within the legal studies program.”

Sanchez also credits the professors within the Legal Studies program, which include USC Gould’s internationally renowned law faculty as well as practicing attorneys who bring their real-world experience into the classroom. She said her professors actively encourage her to excel outside the normal curriculum while also supporting her academic studies.

“It was astonishing to see how the professors within the legal studies program are not just committed to teaching their undergrad classes at such a high level of academia, but also so committed to their students and beyond the class. They want to see their students succeed.”


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