Meet Stephanie Moran (MDR Class of 2024), a student services advisor for USC Gould’s Graduate & International Programs who decided to pursue a Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) to better advocate for students navigating their academic journey at USC.
What sparked your interest in learning about the law?
My interest in the law was sparked in my early childhood after a visit to my mom’s law office for career day. The attorneys at her firm set up a mock trial so that we could try our hand at lawyering. My client was unfortunately found guilty, but it sparked a strong interest in the law nonetheless.
What made you pursue your degree, and why at USC Gould?
I chose to pursue my degree at Gould because of the professors and class structure. I’ve really enjoyed the fact that many of my classes incorporate simulation. As someone completely new to mediation, it was important for me to be able to practice and learn from real-time feedback. I appreciate that my professors are practicing attorneys and mediators who can offer practical guidance.
How was the transition into your program, and how did USC assist you?
My transition to the program was much easier than I expected. The long days of work and school were definitely tiring at first, but I was able to find a good rhythm after a few weeks. My advisors helped me choose classes that fit best with my full-time work schedule and offered drop-in hours during the first few weeks as a resource during that initial adjustment period. It was also helpful to connect with the students in my program who are balancing full-time work and school.
What is the most memorable experience or learning from your USC studies?
One of my most memorable learning experiences has been my Contract Drafting and Negotiation course with Professor Christine Min. Near the end of the semester, I found myself needing to negotiate a new housing contract. I went into my negotiation equipped with the tools Professor Min taught us and was able to successfully negotiate better terms. I was excited I was able to put the skills I’d learned into practice so quickly and felt that she had prepared us well in the few short weeks we had been in class.
What is something that you’ve enjoyed during your time as a student outside of your studies?
Outside of class I have enjoyed volunteering with Team Trojan for WalkUnited LA and volunteering as a mentor for USC undergraduate international students. Another standout moment from last fall was performing alongside the Trojan Marching Band at the homecoming game as an alumni member. Being in the band was one of my favorite undergrad activities and it was so special to be able to relive those moments last fall.
How will your degree from USC Gould give you an advantage in your future career? What do you want to do next with your degree?
My degree from Gould will help me better advocate for students navigating their academic journey at USC. I am excited that I have already been able to apply some of the mediation best practices at work with students. My plans after my program are to continue my career in higher education as an academic advisor.
Our Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) is designed for exceptional students and professionals interested in taking the next step in their careers as authorities in the field of dispute resolution. Graduates come away with a comprehensive understanding of dispute resolution processes, able to effectively navigate the psycho-social components of healthy dispute resolution and confidently bring parties together in otherwise contentious moments.
Interested in pursuing your degree as a full-time professional? Learn more about USC’s tuition assistance for employees and USC Gould’s Corporate & Custom Education Partnerships.