» 2015 Diversity Initiative Board Members

photo of Hugo Ivan Salazar
Hugo Ivan Salazar
Symposium Co-Chair; Past President of the Minority Law Students Association and the Environmental Law Students Association
Hugo is a 3L student at Fowler School of Law. He graduated with honors from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and political science. Prior to law school, Hugo was a community organizer, at-risk youth advocate, Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in Los Angeles, California, and a U.S. State Department Fulbright Fellow in the Republic of Colombia. This past summer, he worked at the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) Office of Policy and Strategy in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research and drafted memorandums on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), Central American refugee crisis, and refugee and asylum regulations. After USCIS, he worked as a legal volunteer for Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), where he helped Central American families get released, petition for bond hearings, complete affidavits, and prepare for credible fear interviews at the Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas. His legal interests include immigration, human rights, environmental justice, LGBT rights and gender equality. He is the past president of the Minority Law Students Association and the Environmental Law Students Association. In his free time, he loves to spend time with his wife as they volunteer with the Hispanic Educational Endowment Fund (HEEF), which provides scholarships to Latino high school students.
photo of April Mara  Cristal
April Mara Cristal
Symposium Co-Chair; Member of the Student Bar Association, the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, the Children and Family Law Society, and the Graduates Honor Council
April is a 3L student at Fowler School of Law. She received her bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University in English (linguistics). As a former member of Pin@y Educational Partnerships, she taught Filipina/o American studies to students at Denman Middle School in San Francisco. Aside from her position as co-chair, April is also involved with the American Bar Association, Student Bar Association, Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, Children and Family Law Society and the Graduate Student Council. After graduation, April hopes to work in juvenile law and/or the government. Outside of school, April serves as the co-program director for Lakas Mentorship Inc., a mentorship program aimed at preparing Filipina/o youth for college by pairing them with college mentors.
photo of Carol  Rugh
Carol Rugh
Symposium Vice Chair of Internal Affairs; President of the Chapman Animal Law Society and Member of the Minority Law Students Association
Carol is a 3L student at Fowler School of Law. Before coming to law school, Carol was a social studies teacher and taught various class levels at public schools for more than seven years. She currently works for the Orange County Public Defender's Office on the Felony Trial Division. She aspires to be a public defender to advocate for those who do not have the resources to protect their rights. She is passionate about social justice and came to law school to get the skills and training to better advocate for the poor, underprivileged and voiceless. She is the president of the Chapman Animal Law Society and a member of the Minority Law Students Association.
photo of Sherri  Godfrey
Sherri Godfrey
Symposium Vice Chair of External Affairs; Officer in the National Lawyers Guild, Outlaw and the Minority Law Students Association
Sherri is a 3L student at Fowler School of Law, and a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University. She is pursuing a law degree in order to advocate on behalf of people who lack access to justice. Her passions are employment and civil rights law. Sherri is an officer in the Fowler chapters of the National Lawyers Guild and Outlaw, Minority Law Students Association and other organizations committed to increasing social justice through direct representation and education.
photo of Daniel  Schwarz
Daniel Schwarz
Symposium Secretary-Treasurer; Secretary of the Animal Law Society
Daniel is a 2L student at Fowler School of Law. He grew up in Fontana, CA in the Inland Empire. He received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, San Bernardino in philosophy. He is currently the secretary of the Animal Law Society and serves at the Inn of Court in Riverside. Over the summer he interned with the San Bernardino City Attorney.
photo of Fahima  Amini
Fahima Amini
Symposium Managing Coordinator
Fahima joined the Fowler School of Law family as an L.L.M. student from Afghanistan. She is a passionate advocate for justice and accountability in and between the countries of the world. To further those goals, she has served with the United Nations Children’s Fund in Afghanistan and as a legal trainer with the Afghanistan National Participation Organization. She is using her time at Fowler School of Law to educate the American legal community about the international refugee crisis.
photo of Christie  Harrah
Christie Harrah
Symposium Managing Coordinator; Member of the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Protection Clinic
Christie is a 3L student at Fowler School of Law. She graduated with honors from the University of Michigan with dual bachelors’ of art degrees in political science and psychology. Her passion for social justice began in college where she became a project outreach rehabilitation consultant and mentor, working with incarcerated juveniles at the W.J. Maxey Boys Training School. In this capacity, she created fun and educational activities for the incarcerated youth to help stabilize behavior, build thinking and decision-making skills, and develop pro-social and productive behavior patterns. This past summer, Christie worked at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) in Los Angeles, where she researched and presented findings pertaining to the economic benefit of marijuana legalization in the state of Colorado, specifically as it enables Latino-Americans to obtain financial stability. Working at DPA also enabled Christie to attend Los Angeles city council meetings to assess the needs of the community, and to interact with California state senators and representatives to better achieve prison reform policy enactment. Prior to working at the Drug Policy Alliance, Christie worked as a law clerk with the Orange County District Attorney, Family Protection Unit, which deepened her passion to help victims and survivors of domestic violence. Her legal interests include social justice, human rights, gender equality, prison reform and youth offender rehabilitation. She is currently participating in the Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Protection Clinic, Protection Order Division. Christie’s personal interests include skydiving, beach volleyball, Michigan football and travel.
photo of Lakshmi  Odedra
Lakshmi Odedra
Symposium Submissions Coordinator; Volunteer Chair of the Public Interest Law Foundation, Member of the Warren J. Ferguson Inn of Court
Lakshmi is a 2L student at Fowler School of Law. She graduated with honors from Chapman University with a degree in political science and two minors in communication studies and women’s studies. During her undergraduate education, she spent a semester working at the Department of Justice, Consumer Protection Branch in Washington D.C., and continued to work within Consumer Protection this past summer at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. She is currently working on a global health initiative at 10 Development LLC, to fund and find a cure for HIV, involving top research institutions around the world. Her legal interests include international law, consumer protection and global health law. She is currently the volunteer chair for the Fowler School of Law Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) and a member of the Warren J. Ferguson Inn of Court.
photo of Heidi  Mattson
Heidi Mattson
Symposium Submissions Coordinator; Member of the Entertainment & Sports Law Society, the Intellectual Property Law Society and the Jewish Law Students Association
Heidi is a 2L at Fowler School of Law. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor of arts in political science. She is interested in intellectual property law, and is a member of the Entertainment & Sports Law Society, the Intellectual Property Law Society and the Jewish Law Students Association.
photo of Rana  Abuershaid
Rana Abuershaid
Symposium Public Relations and Online Coordinator; Member of the Public Interest Law Foundation and the Tax Law Society
Rana is a 2L student at Fowler School of Law. She graduated with honors from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in political science. In the past, Rana’s involvement with society has included working with JusticeCorps assisting self-represented litigants in Family and Housing law matters. In addition, she has worked for the Prison Education Program, which allowed her to expose and present inmates on higher education. Lastly, while working at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office-Misdemeanor Unit she drafted motions including, but not limited to, motion to suppress, serna motions, motion to submit and stay of execution. Her legal interests include international law, general equality, human rights and criminal law. She is currently involved with the Public Interest Law Foundation and the Tax Law Society.
photo of Mario  Oropeza
Mario Oropeza
Symposium Public Relations and Online Coordinator; Member of the Minority Law Students Association
Mario Oropeza is a 1L law student at Fowler School of Law. He graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in psychology - law and society. There, he worked at the UC Riverside Career Center where he helped students secure internships and employment, and develop relationships with potential employers. This past year, he helped expand his family’s photography business. He helped his family business open a new branch location, increase its customer base, and develop better customer service. His legal interests include immigration, criminal defense and business law. He is a member of the Minority Law Students Association.
photo of Markeshia  Moore
Markeshia Moore
Symposium Manager; Member of the Entertainment & Sports Law Society and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Team
Markeshia is a 2L student at Fowler School of Law. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University earning two bachelors’ degrees in English and communications arts and science. She also attended Georgetown University, where she earned a certificate from its ABA-approved Paralegal Studies Program. After earning her undergraduate education, she worked as a paralegal specialist with the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. for more than four years. This past summer she interned with an entertainment marketing firm working on brand integration and trade out opportunities for several television series. She also clerked at a small firm, where she conducted research on issues dealing with wills and trust, and state laws on class arbitration waivers. Her legal interests include entertainment and employment issues. She is a member of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society, and a competing member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution team.
photo of Johnson  Wu
Johnson Wu
Co-Symposium Manager
Johnson is a 1L student at Fowler School of Law. He graduated with honors from California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with an emphasis in multi-subject elementary education. This past summer, he worked at the Worcester County District Attorney’s office in Worcester, MA where he assisted the DA and ADAs in administrative tasks, oversaw the DA’s Texting and Driving initiative, and facilitated the DA’s Opiate Task Force. His legal interests include immigration, education and real estate. He is currently a co-manager of the Diversity Board Symposium.
photo of Abinaya  Prabakar
Abinaya Prabakar
Co-Symposium Manager
Abi is a 1L student at Fowler School of Law. She graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fullerton and received a bachelor’s degree in business economics. Moving from one country to another throughout her life due to her father's job, Abi developed a passion for immigration law and helping people with diverse background and experiences. Abi worked as a lobbyist at the state capitol to lobby for allocation of more funding for higher education. She was involved in many advocacy organizations within the student government of her undergraduate school. She served as an orientation leader and student coordinator for orientation programs to help welcome and transition incoming students. She also interned at a law firm, helping those being harassed by creditors. Her legal interests include immigration, gender equality, domestic violence, sex trafficking and education.
photo of Victor  Bachand
Victor Bachand
Articles Editors; Co-Founder and Vice President of the St. Thomas More Society
Victor is a 3L student at the Fowler School of Law. He graduated magna cum laude from National University, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in pre-law studies and minor in criminal justice administration. Following his 14-year career in the United States Marine Corps, where he served in Iraq and attained the rank of Gunnery Sergeant, he worked for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of the Chief Counsel, San Diego as a legal assistant, and as a law clerk for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office. He is a founding member, past president and current vice-president of the St. Thomas More Society at Fowler School of Law, which focuses on the moral and ethical dilemmas that face those in the legal community. He is pursuing a career as a prosecutor upon graduation and will continue to serve his country and community, seeking justice for those that have been wronged.
photo of Sumangala  Bhattacharya
Sumangala Bhattacharya
Articles Editor; Member of Nexus Journal and the Moot Court Team
Sumangala is a 2L student at Fowler School of Law. She has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Smith College and holds a Ph.D. in British literature from the University of Southern California. She is currently employed as a tenured professor of British Literature at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. This past summer, she worked at the Riverside Public Defender's office in Riverside, CA, where she conducted research and drafted memorandum on a range of appellate cases, including juvenile life without parole, gang injunctions and sexual offender parole conditions. She has also participated in pro bono day events on naturalization, family law and elder abuse. Her legal interests include public interest and intellectual property. She is a member of the Nexus journal and the Moot Court team.
photo of Janna  Haider
Janna Haider
Articles Editor
Janna is a 1L student at Fowler School of Law. She graduated from Seattle University with a bachelor's degree in political science, criminal justice and English. During the 2013-2014 academic year, she interned for the Homicide/Major Crimes Unit of the Prosecuting Attorney's Office in King County, Washington. The following school year, she was part of a coalition of students and adjunct faculty mobilizing for the creation of an adjunct faculty labor union at Seattle University. She was also a founding member of an on-campus safe space for women of color.
photo of Suneeta  Israni
Suneeta Israni
Articles Editor
Suneeta is a 1L student at Fowler School of Law. Suneeta completed her undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkley where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in public policy. During her undergraduate education, she worked as a staff assistant for Congresswoman Grace Napolitano and was a chief justice in the Associated Students of the University of California Judicial Council. After graduating she participated in the Teach for America program, where she taught for two years in a low-income community of Los Angeles. She also completed a master’s degree in education policy and administration from Loyola Marymount University where she received the Graduate Student of the Year Award and was a nominee for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award. Her future career plans include a career in public interest law and working as a public servant.
photo of Kevin  Kim
Kevin Kim
Articles Editor; Co-President of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, Social Chair of the Korean American Law Student Association and Advocate on the Fowler School of Law Honor Council
Kevin is a 2L student at Fowler School of Law. He graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Before starting law school, he worked as a legal intern for the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, a Los Angeles Superior Court. During his time there, he worked closely with probate attorneys, who handled all of the ex parte petitions. This past summer, he was a law clerk at the State Bar of California in downtown Los Angeles. As a law clerk, he conducted research regarding the matter of persons involved in the unauthorized practice of law as well as State Bar license identity theft cases. In addition to his work experience, Kim is also involved in the K&L Gates LLP Kickstarter Participant, co-president of Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, social chair of Korean American Law Student Association, and law school advocate for the Fowler School of Law Honor Council.
photo of Rick  Reneer Jr.
Rick Reneer Jr.
Articles Editor; Secretary for Outlaw
Rick is a 1L student at Fowler School of Law. He graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in English, creative writing and a minor in justice studies. Only just embarking on his legal education, Rick has mostly focused on justice theory: exploring issues like education and race/class relations through academic essays. He is also developing a universal education program centered on subjective histories catering to individual countries with universal tie-ins that he hopes will have real-world impact over the course of his lifetime. Aside from his participation in the Diversity Initiative, Rick is the secretary for Outlaw and active in LGBT equal rights efforts on various fronts.
photo of Isaac  Choi
Isaac Choi
Co-Symposium Manager
Isaac is a 2L student at Fowler School of Law. He graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. During his undergraduate education, he was a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Sociology Society, was placed on the President’s List, and graduated with honors. His legal interests include immigration, public interest, and elder law. He is passionate about helping minority groups that are socially mute, deaf, and blind in America.