Izabella Ferayan, 2L
Izabella Ferayan realized her passion for human rights advocacy through a class at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in which she created a hypothetical rehabilitation plan for children survivors of sex trafficking in Somalia. After being inspired to pursue international issues, she studied post-Soviet politics in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Izabella has also worked with Syrian-Armenian refugees seeking asylum in Armenia. While working in Armenia, she met descendants of Armenians who were forced to flee the Ottoman Empire over 100 years ago and were once again forced to flee persecution in Syria. Her experiences abroad inspired her subsequent work at Skadden Arps LLP, where she was drawn to the firm’s pro bono immigration cases. She worked on cases involving unaccompanied minors and refugees from Central America.
“Coming from a family of immigrants and having lived and worked with immigrant communities both here in LA and abroad, I am extremely sensitive to these issues.”
Since starting at USC Gould, Izabella worked as a Gideon’s Promise summer law clerk at the Public Defender’s office. Izabella’s prior experiences have culminated in her involvement in the International Human Rights Clinic, where she will continue to pursue her passion for human rights.
Katie Garcia, 2L
Katie Garcia’s interest in human rights stems from a lifelong commitment to public service. When she was five years old, her grandmother founded a small non-profit in Los Angeles to raise funds for the disadvantaged children from their hometown in El Salvador. Katie now has 10 years of experience working with underprivileged communities.
Prior to law school, Katie worked as an immigration legal assistant, enabling her to work directly with clients on pressing immigration issues. She also worked as an executive intern at the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, giving her first-hand experience with the United Nations. While abroad in Paris, she studied French foreign policy, including the negative effects of international intervention in Mali. Katie also interned at an epilepsy awareness non-profit in Hong Kong, strengthening her understanding of how societies interact in a global context.
“My connection to El Salvador and its relationship to the United States has deeply affected my dreams of working in an international context and reforming the way Western nations interact with developing countries.”
Katie’s dedication to human rights has continued during law school. Katie spent her summer interning for the impact litigation unit of Bet Tzedek Legal Services. She also volunteered with USC Gould’s Legal Aid Alternative Break, reinforcing her commitment to pursue a career as a human rights lawyer.
Anissa Ghafarian, 2L
As the daughter of Iranian refugees, Anissa is familiar with the hurdles and cultural barriers faced by refugee populations. During her early life, she developed personal ties to human rights work through immigrating to the United States as a Muslim-Canadian citizen.
Her exposure to the disparate treatment of minority groups continued through working for three UCLA psychology research labs and Latham & Watkins LLP. While at UCLA, she worked with mentally disabled children from different minority groups and socio-economic statuses. During her time at Latham & Watkins, she was exposed to Kids in Need of Defense (K.I.N.D.), through which she interacted with unaccompanied immigrants and refugees. Through both experiences, she realized her means of effecting these populations was through human rights work.
“By witnessing their struggles to lead normal lives, I have amassed a substantial amount of empathy that instills urgency to be proactive and make changes.”
Since attending USC Gould School of Law, Anissa has served her community through her participation with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and USC Gould’s Legal Aid Alternative Break. With IRAP, Anissa worked on a resettlement case for a Syrian refugee’s referral to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Julie Kvedar, 2L
Julie Kvedar has a longstanding interest in human rights that was only deepened through pursuing her Master of Public Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. While at Columbia, Julie studied human rights and humanitarian assistance. She also spent a summer working at a boutique consulting firm in Geneva, Switzerland advising human rights organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) on facilitating partnerships.
“I am uniquely situated to serve in the IHRC because I have experience in the human rights field both in academia and in real-world settings.”
Julie also worked on a consulting project for UN Women to operationalize the Sustainable Development Goals. While maintaining involvement in the human rights world, Julie has traveled to Haiti for the last five years as a medical volunteer, providing her with further insight into global inequalities. Julie’s prior experiences have led to her interest in initiatives relating to women’s equality, reproductive justice, and LGBT rights.
Since starting law school, she has externed for the First Circuit Court of Appeals and has been involved with the USC Gould’s Health Law Society and the Global Health and Law Collaboration.
Kaili Lynn, 2L
Kaili Lynn was inspired to pursue international humanitarian law while studying at Georgia Tech. While at Georgia Tech, Kaili worked for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), exposing her to the international realm through researching international markets for Georgia exporters.
Kaili’s educational exposure to international humanitarian intervention, the genocide convention, and the resulting tribunals led her to an internship with the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy (GCCLP) in Louisiana. During her time with GCCLP, she interacted with asylum-seeking clients and attended asylum hearings.
“I was exposed to the high level of need for human rights legal assistance both domestically and internationally.”
As the daughter of an immigrant, Kaili grew up viewing the difficulties of the American immigration system. Her experience with the GCCLP furthered her interest in human rights by exposing her to the hardship experienced by refugees. Kaili’s experience with the GCCLP and her study of international humanitarian law set the foundation for her interest in assisting international criminal tribunals.
Since attending USC, Kaili has held leadership positions with the International Law and Relations Organization and USC Gould’s Legal Aid Alternative Break.
John Oltean, 2L
John Oltean’s passion for social justice stems from his time as an educator. John has his Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and spent two years as a special education teacher with Teach for America. His teaching experience fueled his desire to fight against systemic inadequacies through pursuing human rights work.
Since starting law school, he has been an active member of the public interest community and was awarded Public Interest Student of the Year by USC Gould’s Public Interest Law Foundation. He is an active member of many legal clinics, including USC’s Immigration Clinic, LAFLA’s Skid Row Clinic, and the LACAN Citation Clinic.
“Now that I have spent some years in the classroom, and some additional years traveling to research the prevalence and treatment of various disabilities around the Pacific, my desire to fight for human rights has only grown stronger.”
During his 1L year, he drafted and sponsored a resolution that provided start-up funding for the new campus DREAMer Center and publicly declared USC’s Graduate Student Government’s opposition to the Trump administration’s immigration policies. John’s prior experience as a special education teacher, coupled with his dedication to the public interest community, has only strengthened his desire to pursue human rights work.
Rebecca Taylor, 3L
Rebecca Taylor’s interest in international human rights work began while working in Argentina for Grupo de Mujeres, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that defends women and sexual minorities in the Argentine penal system. Through her work in both South America and the United States, Rebecca has witnessed the factors that prevent marginalized communities from exercising their human rights.
Since starting law school, Rebecca has continued to address women’s and immigrants’ rights through her work with Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project in Los Angeles and Women’s Link Worldwide (WLW), an international NGO based in Colombia. At WLW, she drafted legal memoranda on sexual violence perpetrated against Afro-Colombian women during Colombia’s armed conflict and criminalization of abortion in El Salvador.
“While provision of direct services afforded me first-hand knowledge of the issues facing immigrant women, it also highlighted the urgency of taking action on a policy level to protect women and migrants more broadly.”
Rebecca has also been a member of USC’s Immigration Clinic, through which she conducted an asylum hearing before an immigration judge on behalf of an indigenous mother and daughter fleeing domestic violence in Guatemala. Through her participation with the Human Rights Clinic, Rebecca aims to build on her provision of legal services and policy work focused on human rights abuses.
Nicholas Zebrowski, 2L
Nicholas Zebrowski’s interest in human rights work stems from his upbringing on the U.S.-Mexico borderland and his experiences living in six different countries. He grew up on both sides of the Rio Grande and personally experienced the artificial, yet concrete, lines in the sand dividing families and communities.
Prior to attending law school, Nicholas received a fellowship from the University of Chicago Pozen Family Center for Human Rights. Nicholas’s fellowship gave him the opportunity to work for Fundar, a human rights organization in Mexico City. At Fundar, Nicholas wrote a report on the human rights implications that a new militarized police force would have on the country of Mexico.
“Legal mazes can be more effective at keeping people out of this country than walls, and it is necessary to have people who can navigate complicated bureaucratic systems to ensure that peoples’ rights are protected.”
Since starting law school, Nicholas has maintained involvement with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) and the Latino Law Student Association. With IRAP, Nicholas worked on a medical resettlement case for a Syrian refugee, requiring him to prepare a United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) protection referral. Nicholas has also been a legal intern for the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project.