Aigerim Saudabayeva, 2L
Aigerim’s interest in joining the IHRC stems from her experience moving to the United States from Kazakhstan when she was 10 years old, and from learning about human rights crises first-hand from two of her teachers who both sought asylum in the U.S.While attending Barnard for college, Aigerim participated in Model U.N., and spent her junior year abroad at the University of Oxford studying economics. She went on to receiveher MPhil in Sociology and Demography from Oxford.
After Oxford, Aigerim worked as a litigation and antitrust paralegal at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in Washington, DC, where she also assisted the Public International Law & Policy Group (PLIPG) project with researching and drafting a memorandum on the Iraqi High Tribunal and the Yemeni Crisis. This experience bolstered her decision to pursue a J.D., and inspired her to work in human rights in future.Since starting at USC Gould, Aigerim has been involved with the Gould Honors Scholars program, the Women’s Law Association, Phi Alpha Delta, and the International Law and Relations Organization. She spent her 1L summer as a volunteer intern with the International Section of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.
“As someone who grew up in Washington, DC, and as someone whose family moved from Kazakhstan to the United States when she was ten years old, I have [always] been attuned to international issues.”
Arev Hovsepian, 2L
From an early age, Arev was raised with stories of how her family survived the Armenian Genocide. Her upbringing inspired her to pursue peace and justice for the Armenian people by lobbying for legislative initiatives in the halls of the State and National Capitols, coordinating genocide education campaigns across college campuses, and helping to organize the annual March for Justice for the Armenian Genocide in Los Angeles.
During her undergraduate years at UCLA, Arev pushed for the establishment of an International Affairs component in the External Vice President’s Office of the Undergraduate Students Association Council and was appointed its director. Through her involvement in student government, she organized and planned events and awareness campaigns that worked toward coalition building and educating the student body about international human rights violations and global health, as well as providing volunteer opportunities in underserved communities abroad. Based on her interest in global health, Arev also joined a medical brigade mission to Ghana to facilitate access to healthcare in a remote village.After UCLA, Arev pursued a Master’s in Bioethics where she studied about human rights and global public health issues at Columbia University. Arev is excited to continue her work in human rights with the IHRC.
While at USC, Arev has been active with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), the Armenian Law Students Association, and the International Law and Relations Organization. Arev was a judicial extern in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California during her 1L summer
“I have seen and experienced the effects that a genocide, specifically an unrecognized genocide,
can have on a community. This has largely shaped not only who I am as a person, but what I have chosen to involve myself with as well as what I aspire to pursue in the future.”
Ava Habibian, 2L
Ava moved to the U.S. from Tehran at the age of nine, and watched from afar as violent protests broke out in the streets of Iran in 2009 in response to the reelection of President Ahmadinejad. These events inspired a deep interest in human rights and led her to intern during college at an international humanitarian agency, InterAction. While at InterAction, Ava learned more about the vulnerability of transgender refugees, which made her determined to work for refugee rights and against sex trafficking. Ava is excited to continue this work with the IHRC.
After college, Ava worked as a legal assistant to a private immigration attorney, where she was able to help many clients who had been the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally, Ava secured an internship at the San Bernardino’s Public Defender’s office in 2018, working in the mental health, drug, and veterans’ courts, and she volunteered as a Farsi translator for pro bono attorneys’ working at LAX during Trump’s Muslim Ban in 2016.
Since enrolling at Gould, Ava has been active with the International Refugee Assistance Project, and the Sexual Assault Awareness Committee.
“As an immigrant, I believe helping those within marginalized communities find safety and security for their families is an essential and necessary task of our time.”
Ida Ayu Sabrina Putri, 3L
Sabrina has always had a passion for learning about international criminal law, which stems from her upbringing in Indonesia. In Indonesia, her great-grandfather, the lead farmer of his village, was killed during the 1965 massacre by the Indonesian Army which targeted communist party members, sympathizers and bystanders. Learning about this event, which some have called a genocide, has inspired Sabrina to make this world a better place for people who have been the victims of atrocity crimes. Sabrina hopes to further this goal as a student attorney in the IHRC.
Sabrina received her law degree in Indonesia, but pursued her LL.M. at USC Gould in order to work internationally. While at USC, Sabrina joined Conocimiento USC as a volunteer for an immigration project over spring break in 2017; during the trip, her group explored the condition of Nogales, a border city in Mexico and Arizona, and provided humanitarian aid at the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge, leaving food and water for undocumented migrants. This experience bolstered Sabrina’s interest in learning more about immigration and human rights in the U.S.
While at USC, Sabrina has volunteered for the International Refugee Assistant Project (IRAP), helping an Afghan family obtain their special visa, Angelenos Reunited, a non-profit dedicated to reuniting migrant families and as a student representative in the USC Immigration Clinic. Sabrina spent the past two summers as a legal intern at the Los Angeles and Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, respectively.
“I took an international criminal law class two years ago…[and] even though it was intense and sad what had happened to the victims, it makes you think what kind of steps that you can do to make this world is a better place for people that have a dream to live peacefully.”
Laura Penaranda, 2L
Laura’s interest in joining the IHRC stems from her extensive travels during college, where she worked each summer with the Camp Adventure Youth Services on U.S. and British military bases abroad. While working for the camps, Laura experienced the differing cultures on the bases compared with the local cities and towns she visited in Spain, Germany, and Okinawa. Her adventures abroad inspired her to learn more about international law, and gain an understanding of how to approach pervasive and devasting human rights issues around the globe.
Laura studied international relations at UC Davis, with a focus on “peoples and nationalities,” where she focused on understanding the social and cultural foundations of different nations. While at Davis, she also studied abroad at University College Utrecht in the Netherlands. After college, Laura worked as a paralegal before starting law school. She looks forward to bridging her interests and hopes to become a strong advocate through her work with the IHRC.
Since enrolling at USC Gould, Laura has been active with the International Refugee Assistant Project (IRAP)and the Art Law Society. Laura spent her 1L summer as a summer associate at Hogan Lovells.
“I think it is important to try [international criminal cases] for, among many other reasons, to increase justice, protect vulnerable peoples and victims, and affect positive changes around the globe with visibility and deterrence.”
Bichnga Do, 2L
As the only American-born child in a family of eight who fled war-torn Vietnam, Bichnga often had to help her Vietnamese parents navigate the public-service system and meet their family’s basic needs for shelter and food. Her upbringing led her to commit to a future career in public interest serving people like her family who have suffered serious human rights abuses, and who lack the support and resources to advance their rights.
After undergrad, Bichnga worked as a JusticeCorps Graduate Fellow, leading workshops on paternity and dissolution cases for self-represented litigants, and giving legal information to litigants seeking ex parte restraining orders. Working with self-represented litigations helped her practice empathetic and trauma-informed advocacy for such litigants. After JusticeCorps, Bichnga worked as a high school English teacher in Tokyo for two years, helping implement curriculum reforms that would incorporate speaking tests alongside reading and writing tests. Bichnga hopes her lived experience as a child of refugees and her public service work in JusticeCorps and teaching English abroad will allow her to contribute a unique voice to the IHRC.
While at Gould, Bichnga has been involved with the Public Interest Law Foundation, the Women of Color Collective, the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, and the Legal Alternative Break. For her 1L summer, Bichnga externed with Judge Allison Claire of the Eastern District of California. She also served as a research assistant for Professor Laura Riley and James Gilliam and researched the disproportionate impact of homelessness on diverse communities, such as LGBTQ youth, veterans, and undocumented immigrant groups.”
“My upbringing as a daughter of two resilient refugees has led me to commit to a future career in public interest serving people like my family—people whose narratives are often rooted in trauma and war, who have suffered serious human rights abuses, and who lack the support and resources to advance their rights.”
Maura Reinbrecht, 2L
Maura has been a long-time advocate for refugee rights, ever since she began volunteering at a local Hispanic center in her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. After seeing the injustices faced by many clients there, Maura became determined to alleviate the pressing needs of those with limited resources, which she hopes to accomplish as a student attorney in the IHRC.
As an undergrad at New York University, Maura studied abroad in Buenos Aires, where she interned at Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ) which promotes the rights of children with disabilities and migrant children living in slums. For her senior thesis, she wrote about the educational and legal challenges that unaccompanied Latinx minors face in the U.S., receiving grants to travel to Guatemala, a children’s shelter in Brownsville, Texas, and a high school in Los Angeles known as a refuge for migrant children. While writing her thesis, she volunteered at the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic interpreting for Spanish-speakers facing deportation, as well as other organizations providing free legal services to migrant and refugee children. After graduating from NYU, Maura volunteered at Community Justice Project, a non-profit law firm providing immigration services, and spent six months volunteering in Mexico City at Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración (IMUMI), giving presentations to migrants about U.S. asylum requirements, conducting intake interviews of unaccompanied minors, and coordinating information sessions with local migrant shelters.
Since coming to USC Gould, Maura has been involved with the International Refugee Assistant Project (IRAP), and the Public Interest Law Foundation. Maura spent her 1L summer as a legal intern at the Legal Aid Society.
“I am interested in participating in IHRC because I want to learn more about empowering vulnerable communities through direct representation and systematic change.”
Pablo Aabir Das, 2L
Pablo’s interest in international human rights began during high school, where he spent summers volunteering at a small non-profit in rural Rajasthan, India, that organized free educational camps for children who were denied access to education. His experiences in India prompted him to seek-out human rights internships in college, including at the RFK Human Rights Center where he researched LGBTQ rights in Uganda; at Namati, where he focused on citizenship rights of stateless communities in Bangladesh and Kenya; and at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, where he published reports on data privacy and the right to food. While enrolled at Boston University, Pablo also created a social advocacy campaign that pushed the administration to enact more stringent and transparent policies around sexual misconduct.
After college, Pablo was able to live in New Delhi and work at the Observer Research Foundation, a policy think tank, where he analyzed issues of citizenship and human rights around the Rohingya crisis. Pablo is excited to continue his pursuit of social justice as a student attorney with the IHRC.
While at USC Gould, Pablo has been active with the Public Interest Law Foundation, the International Law Organization, and the American Constitution Society. Pablo spent his 1L summer interning in the Law Student Honors Program for the New York Enforcement Division of the S.E.C.
“[M]y interest in the IHRC and its mandate stems from a desire to continue working on the front lines of human rights issues through a legal lens. I am especially interested advocacy projects and how I can use legal advocacy to shape policy that will address the systemic inequality that perpetuates human rights atrocities across the globe.”
Scott Levinson, 2L
Scott, whose ancestors either survived the Holocaust or fled Central Europe shortly beforehand, has always held a deep commitment to human rights and refugee issues, and hopes to continue his work in these areas with the IHRC. While at Colgate University, Scott organized a concert-fundraiser for the Blue Diamond Society and raised over $2,000 for an organization that helps Syrian refugees find homes in the United States and Canada. Additionally, Scott interned at the Community Relations Service (CRS) in the United States Department of Justice, an office dedicated to easing tensions in communities that have struggled with police-citizen relations, particularly in minority communities.
Scott also dedicated time during college and after graduation to directly serving underprivileged clients. At Colgate, Scott volunteered for the Upstate Institute’s Consumer Bankruptcy Law Project, where he helped provide pro bono services to impoverished residents filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Utica, NY. After college, Scott assisted attorneys at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in representing impoverished clients on eviction cases.
Since enrolling at USC Gould, Scott has been active with the Consumer Advocacy and Protection Society, and the Jewish Law Students Association, and spent his 1L summer externing for Judge Rozella Oliver in the Central District of California.
“My interest in the International Human Rights Clinic stems from a combination of my family history and commitment to pro bono service. As a descendant of Jews who either survived the Holocaust or escaped Central Europe shortly beforehand, a commitment to human rights and refugee issues is part of my identity.”