Celine Ang, 2L
Celine has a strong interest in addressing international human rights issues. Growing up, she spent time visiting relatives in the Philippines where she found interest in observing linguistic and regional differences as well as the legacies of Spanish and American colonialism. At the University of Richmond, Celine focused on global political and legal systems and French and Arabic language studies. She knew that language skills would help her to delve deeper into various topics such as refugees and migrants in France, the family code in Morocco, and higher education in francophone African nations.
With her multilingual background, Celine appreciates the importance of communication and language in an increasingly globalized world. To deepen her cross-cultural understanding, she also pursued a Fulbright grant in Morocco, where she taught at a university and learned about issues affecting her students, such as current events, sustainability, unemployment, and literacy. After her Fulbright, Celine gained experience as a paralegal in immigration law. She wants to continue to help people navigate the legal system and work to further global understanding with the IHRC.
Since starting at USC Gould, Celine has been involved with the Honors Scholars Program, Art Law Society, Womxn of Color Collective, and Asian Pacific American Law Student Association. Celine spent her 1L summer as a summer associate at Haynes Boones.
“As a law student, I continue to improve my understanding of how legal structures are critical to fostering strong societies. The Clinic’s work resonates with me because I aim to use my law degree to promote stability through international justice, utilize my language skills, and further develop my cultural proficiencies.”
Steph Argent, 2L
Steph’s interest in joining the IHRC stems from her experiences learning about international studies and delving into issues such as anti-human trafficking and refugees’ rights. As an undergraduate at California State University, Long Beach, Steph’s coursework focused on international development and the politics of the developing world. She was interested in learning about humanitarian efforts to rebuild countries affected by atrocities, however, more generally, Steph became deeply concerned and interested in focusing on the challenges women face internationally, and especially in the developing world.
During college, Steph interned with the Long Beach Superior Courthouse where she learned about anti-human trafficking efforts taking place domestically. She also gained experience honing her advocacy skills by lobbying legislators on behalf of students and working with elected officials. With her passion for human rights, Steph looks forward to applying her skills and gaining hands-on experience with the IHRC.
Steph is a Public Interest Scholar at USC Gould. She has been active with the International Refugee Assistance Project as a 1L representative, Court Monitor, and volunteer for a Naturalization Clinic. This year, she will also be serving as Co-President for the Women’s Law Association. During her 1L summer, Steph worked at the Department of Justice in their Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.
“I am driven by the need for perpetrators to be held accountable and [to] bring justice to the survivors.”
Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff, 2L
Sophia’s immigrant background and commitment to justice are two of the guiding forces for her desire to be a part of the IHRC. At an early age, she decided to devote her life to becoming an advocate that pursues justice in service of others. Her father instilled the importance of education to follow her dreams, and after graduating high school in three years, she attended the University of Kansas, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies in three years.
Her interest in international relations deepened when Sophia interned with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, where she attended Security Council meetings, wrote briefs for the Secretary of State’s Office, and conducted research. She was also exposed to human rights abuses and violations around the world. In addition, Sophia has also interned with Kansas Appleseed, a non-profit organization focused on immigrant and refugee rights, where she worked on advocacy campaigns and lobbied the Kansas
legislature to ensure in-state tuition for Kansas residents regardless of immigration status. She is excited to draw upon her experiences as a student attorney with the IHRC.
While at USC Gould, Sophia has been involved with the Latinx Law Students Association and the American Constitution Society. She is also an Honors Scholar. This past summer, Sophie was a legal extern at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division for the Central District of California.
“I would like to protect that moral imperative in criminal justice systems around the globe. After all, human rights abuses will continue to live on if there is no fair outlet for justice to be served.”
J. Zach Hollo, 2L
Zach’s background in press freedom advocacy, journalism, and international relations has motivated him to join the IHRC. As an undergraduate student at Northwestern University’s branch campus in Doha, Qatar, Zach dedicated much of his reporting to covering the plight of Qatar’s low-wage migrant workers, who often face abuse at the hands of their employers. He has also spent time in Jordan, where he reported on the experience of Syrian refugee family, and India, where he reported on the disproportionate effects climate change on the country’s poorest citizens.
As a graduate student and Fulbright scholar at National Chenchi University in Taiwan, Zach completed a master’s degree in international relations. He wrote a thesis on how Taiwanese citizens, through human rights organizations, are able to influence intergovernmental organizations from which Taiwan is excluded. In Taiwan, Zach also interned at Reporters Without Borders, a French NGO that advocates for press freedom around the world. As a student attorney with the IHRC, Zach hopes to take the lessons he learns and apply them to a career dedicated to strengthening mechanisms for accountability, justice, and
At USC Gould, Zach is involved in the Honors Scholars Program and the Public Interest Scholars Program. During his 1L summer, Zach interned at the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento. This year, Zach looks forward to serving on the executive boards for
the Public Interest Law Foundation, International Refugee Assistance Project, and Chinese Law Student and Alumni Association.
“I would like to take part in the International Human Rights Clinic because I believe in the importance of giving a voice to the voiceless and holding accountable those who perpetrate atrocities.”
Emma Husseman, 3L
Emma’s interest in joining the IHRC stems from her undergraduate studies at Bowdoin College where she majored in Government & Legal studies with a concentration in international relations. Emma studied global atrocities such as the Rwandan Genocide and researched ethnic violence in India, Cameroon, and Nigeria in her various courses. During college she also interned at the Boston Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement where she focused on research and projects related to sex trafficking, including examining effective responses at a city level.
Since starting at USC Gould, Emma has continued to hone her skills and interests to contribute to the IHRC as a student attorney. Through coursework, Emma has studied the foundations of international legal systems and has explored systems of globalization in our economy and the human rights violations that occur through wage theft and the dynamics of exploitation between countries. Further, Emma has been passionate about dedicating time to pro bono matters locally through her executive board position with
the Public Interest Law Foundation.
Emma has also been active with the Hale Moot Court Honors Program. During her 1L summer, Emma worked as a judicial extern for a U.S. District Court judge in Maine. This past summer, Emma was a summer associate at Sheppard Mullin in Los Angeles.
“I am very much looking forward to combining my current knowledge and interest in protecting international human rights with the practical application of my legal skills – writing, researching, preparing litigation – in the clinic.”
Tomi Johnson, 3L
Tomi approaches the work of the IHRC through a deeply personal lens. An immigrant herself, Tomi was raised to adopt a global perspective on matters related to quality of life, equality of opportunity, safety, and identity. In her youth, she organized fundraisers for HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa and disaster relief in Japan.
While pursuing her undergraduate degree from the School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton, Tomi conducted research into past and ongoing identity-based conflicts in Belgium, Myanmar, Spain and the UK. She also participated in Model U.N., a passion she first discovered in high school. After college, she worked as a project assistant at a large multinational law firm, where she assisted with asylum cases sponsored by the National Immigrant Justice Center.
At USC Gould, Tomi has served as the President of the Black Law Students Association, the 2L Class Vice President, the Outreach Chair for the Womxn of Color Collective, the Social Chair of the Stanley & Ilene Gold Honors Scholars Program, a Peer Mentor, a Teaching Assistant to Prof. Daniel Klerman, and a 1L Representative for the International Law and Relations Organization. She is presently the 3L Class President and a Senior Articles Editor for the Interdisciplinary Law Journal. Tomi previously split her 1L
summer between Jones Day, where she was an SEO Law Fellow in 2019, and Jenner & Block. She also spent her 2L summer at Jenner & Block.
“The instinct that most strongly guides me is making a difference in the world and impacting it for the better. I’m drawn to the prospect of seeing systems of justice be established, reinforced, and improved in real time, and of having meaningful involvement in such processes.”
Mairin McQueen, 2L
Mairin’s interest in joining the IHRC stems from her passion for public service and experience working with human rights organizations. As a college student, she interned with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, a partnership of attorneys in Haiti and Boston, where she interviewed Haitian asylum-seekers with temporary protected status visas who were subject to mass deportation. Later, Mairin interned with ActionAid in Sydney, Australia, where she drafted case studies about women from 45
countries affected by different human rights crises and researched the impact of ActionAid’s global grassroots efforts to uplift women community leaders, protect human rights in climate emergencies and aid survivors of sexual violence.
Mairin has served in federal, state and local government. She spent an undergraduate semester in Washington D.C. where she studied policy development and presented a lobbying strategy to prohibit the U.S.’s inhumane practice of shackling women who are incarcerated during pregnancy and childbirth.
Mairin is a Public Interest Scholar and has been active in volunteering with the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law. During her 1L summer, Mairin interned with the Board of Supervisors Liaison Division of the Los Angeles County Counsel’s Office. This year, she serves as President to both the American Constitution Society and the National Lawyers Guild. Mairin is excited to continue to expand her skills with the IHRC and engage in cross-cultural lawyering and zealous advocacy.
“My experience working for international human rights organizations honed my drive to empower survivors of trauma through legal aid and policy advocacy.”
Arnold Zahn, 2L
Arnold’s interest in joining the IHRC stems from his hope that international law can be used to alleviate human suffering. Through his studies, he has been inspired by President Wilson and the idea that international institutions can be the primary means by which the world can ensure peace, security, and dignity around the globe.
Arnold has a background in political science from his undergraduate studies at Columbia. He also spent one year studying abroad at the University of Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall where he studied international relations theory and researched the relationship between “collective memory,” historical identity, and foreign policy behavior. In particular, Arnold looked at and compared how World War II and the memory of the Holocaust affected European decisions vis-a-vis the Middle East conflict. Arnold is looking
forward to taking his knowledge and honing practical tools as a student attorney for the IHRC.
Since starting at USC Gould, Arnold has been active with the International Law and Relations Organization, the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and the First Generation Professionals. During his 1L summer, Arnold worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in the Civil Division.
“I hope to start the work of directly advocating on behalf of those whose human rights have been violated and strengthening the role of multilateral institutions in furthering international justice.”
Pablo Aabir Das, 3L (Advanced)
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 co-founded a social advocacy campaign that pushed the administration to enact more stringent and transparent policies around sexual misconduct.
After college, Pablo lived in New Delhi and worked 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 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. Pablo spent the past summer as a summer associate at White & Case in New York. Pablo’s forthcoming note on voting rights issues will be published by the Southern California Law Review.
“[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.”
Laura Penaranda, 3L (Advanced)
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 motivated 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 Hale Moot Court Honors Program, the International Refugee Assistant Project (IRAP), and the Art Law Society. Laura spent both her 1L and 2L summers as a summer associate at Hogan Lovells in Los Angeles. She is also a Research Assistant for Professor Garry.
“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.”
Maura Reinbrecht, 3L (Advanced)
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. She spent her 2L summer as a summer associate at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. Maura has also been named a Douglass Fellow at the Human Trafficking Institute.
“I am interested in participating in IHRC because I want to learn more about empowering vulnerable communities through direct representation and systematic change.”
Aigerim Saudabayeva, 3L (Advanced)
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 receive her 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, D.C., 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 Gold 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. During her 2L summer, Aigerim was a summer associate at Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider in Washington D.C.
“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.”