Student Spotlight: From Law Enforcer to Mediator

USC Gould School of Law • November 9, 2022
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Master of Dispute Resolution student Xochilt Rosas went back to school to transition her career in law enforcement to a career in mediation. In this Q&A, learn why she chose USC Gould School of Law’s dispute resolution program and how she is balancing graduate school as a working professional.

What sparked your interest in learning about law?
I have always had an interest in learning about law. My Barbies arrested and Mirandized each other. I went into the law enforcement field because I loved learning and enforcing the law. What sparked my interest to further learn about law was my transition into a second career as a mediator, learning about law and how to apply it in a mediation setting.

What made you pursue your degree in particular, and why at USC Gould?
I began my career in law enforcement. My whole career has been about conflict resolution. My passion for resolving disputes led me to pursue a degree in mediation as I transition into a second career.

I chose USC for several reasons. The MDR program provided an opportunity for working professionals like me to attend part-time and evening classes. In addition, the Human Resources Law and Compliance Certificate was a perfect addition and benefit for me. After walking the various campuses, USC was the most diverse! The diversity I observed gave me comfort and a sense of belonging. The certification options coupled with the diversity USC provided was a win-win for me!

How has it been transitioning into your program, and how has USC assisted you?
The transition was an experience. The first semester was tough. However, I utilized the law school’s resources, attended seminars, I had my advisor on speed dial and had the best classmates. My classmates and I have formed great friendships that made the transition much easier.

What is the most memorable experience or learning from your USC studies so far?
This is going to sound like a Hollywood moment and corny at the same time. I attended a training years ago and was subscribed to I received the monthly newsletter. In an effort to improve professionally I read the articles, printed them and kept them on my desk at work for reference. I had a stack of articles from a particular mediator. When I enrolled my first semester at USC, ADR Ethics was a requirement for the Mediation Dispute Resolution program. I learned that I was going to be taking a class taught by the very author whose articles I had been collecting, Professor Phyllis G. Pollack. It was like I was star struck; I told everyone in my office, and they all laughed and told me to ask her for an autograph! Professor Pollack did not disappoint, and I loved her short 8-week class. That was my most memorable experience at USC.

How will your degree from USC Gould give you an advantage for your future career? What do you want to do next with your degree?
The mediation degree has provided me with an education and some mediation experience (through the mediation skills clinic) to be well rounded in all aspects of my career. What I have learned I have applied as a board director for the union, my law enforcement career and personal life.

What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours?
I doubted myself when I applied to USC. Returning to school to begin a new career path was not going to be easy. USC has numerous resources to assist in reaching our goals. I loved my classes, professors and the friends I have made. I believe in keeping the faith, having heart and passion for what you want to achieve. Fight On!!

To learn more about the USC Gould School of Law Center for Dispute Resolution, please visit

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