Student Ambassadors

If you have questions about joining USC Rossier, our student ambassadors can provide you with helpful insight through the lens of their own experiences. View the profiles below and connect with a student of your choice.

If you are interested in connecting with current PhD students, please visit the PhD Student Directory.

Click on a program to view its student ambassadors.

 

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EDL)

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Ani Gemalmazyan

Concentration: Higher Education
Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Yerevan, Armenia
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Graduate Institution: University of Southern California

“At USC Rossier, I value knowledge, community and continuous support from my classmates, professors and the staff.”


Timothy Castaneda

Concentration: Educational Psychology
Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Rosemead, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Graduate Institution: University of Southern California

“Every week my beliefs regarding education are challenged and often changed. USC Rossier’s commitment to social justice is profound. You will get the most out of your time if you are aligned with its mission.”


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership online (EDL online)

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Geni Cobb

Concentration: K-12 Urban Education
Graduation year: Class of 2024
Hometown: Northridge, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State University, Northridge
Graduate Institution: California State University Northridge

“I am the first generation to go to college and a parent to three young adults. I grew up about seven minutes away from USC and never felt I could go there as a kid.”


Colleen Evens

Concentration: K-12 Urban Education
Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Elk Grove Village, Ill.
Undergrad Institution: University of Hartford
Graduate Institution: University of St. Thomas

“Attending courses online and engaging with my cohort community from across the United States has brought a unique experience to my educational journey.”


Alia Gates

Concentration: K-12 Urban Education
Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: San Diego State University
Graduate Institution: San Jose State University

“I needed to be at a school that was hyper focused on equity and social justice. I wanted to be part of a community of educators fully committed to improving the communities they serve.”


Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

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Joanna Zada

Graduation year: 2021
Hometown: Buena Park, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State University, Fullerton

“I am a proud child of two immigrant parents from the Kurdistan region of Syria. I first majored in Business Management before I made my way into education.”


Master of Arts in Teaching-Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MAT–TESOL)

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Clara Colin

Credential: World Languages
Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara

“I’ve made friends from all over the world who have enriched my perspective on language education. I’m excited to delve deeper into my role as an educator alongside them.”


Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology online (LDT online)

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Jeannie Chen

Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Los Angeles/Nanjing
Undergrad Institution(s): California State University, Northridge (CSUN)

“I appreciate the flexibility of an online program, which allows me to carve out important time for professional development, career commitments, and research interests.”


Sharon Gonzalez

Graduation Year: 2023
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State University, Los Angeles

“My 20-year gap in education offered me years of work experience from which I can draw upon to understand the perspective from the eyes of an employee learner within a corporate setting”


Mareo-Ahmir Lawso

Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State University, Northridge

“I value camaraderie in the USC community that focuses on inspiring, motivating, and encouraging those who have often been historically marginalized.”


Luis Martiz

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: South Gate, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Berkeley

“My professors and classmates have been the best part of Rossier. We have a pretty diverse group in my cohort so I appreciate the different walks of life we all come from.”


Master of Education in Enrollment Management Policy online (EMP Online)

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Grace Lloyd

Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Allentown, New Jersey
Undergrad Institution(s): Grinnell College

“I wanted a school that, in a virtual format, would still provide the small, intimate learning environment that I find so helpful to have alongside a rigorous academic course load.”


Gabriel Zanipatin

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Irvine

“The focus on a wide range of areas relating to enrollment management policy greatly attracted me. The curriculum is filled with topics that are relevant to improving educational access”


Master of Education in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs (PASA)

Nicholas Alonzo

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Rocklin, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State University Sacramento

“I’m a non-traditional student earning my bachelors 8 years after high school. I have vast experience and knowledge in local government, events, nightlife, and the EDM music industry.”


Jaanvi Chandra

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State University, Sacramento

“I value the sense of community and support amongst students. I also feel supported by my professors. I appreciate how they support students outside of the classroom through advice and connections.”


Rachel Freeman-Cohen

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Temecula, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz

“I really felt like the professors here were dedicated to social justice and change. I could just feel how genuine a lot of people in the program were passionate about the work and saw the opportunities they could provide for me.”


Danelle Go

Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: San Leandro, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): UC Santa Cruz

“From the extensive resources, the diverse faculty and staff, the offered curriculum, and the wide range of opportunities, I knew that this is where I wanted to grow and learn.”


Brandon Garcia

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Huntington Park, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): UCLA

“I was captivated by the idea of being taught by a diverse group of faculty members and having access to research centers working on projects to advance equity and social justice for minoritized communities.”


Brandon Lim

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: San Diego State University

“I am a proud member of Asian American / Filipinx American and LGBTQIA+ communities and the first in my family to pursue a graduate degree”


Nancy Nava

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Covina, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): UC Santa Barbara

“My professors have made sure to create such a safe and interactive learning environment.”


Yesenia Nava

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Westminster, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): University of California, Santa Barbara

“Finding a job is getting harder and harder, and I wanted to attend a university that could set me up with a strong network of people to connect with after I graduate.”


Joyce Noh

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Irvine, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Irvine

“I chose USC because USC Rossier’s mission of educational equity aligned with my vision to address the disparities that continue to oppress.”


Kristin Robbio

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Escondido, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): Chapman University

“I found my greatest fulfillment in the student positions I held in residence life, admission, and university services.”


Diana Santoyo

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Bakersfield, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Davis

“I am constantly being inspired by faculty and my cohort.Their knowledge, experiences, and identity bring so much to the table.”


Master of Education in Educational Counseling (EC)

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Belen Bazan Delgado

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Wenatchee, WA
Undergrad Institution(s): University of Washington-Seattle

“I like our program’s cohort style and appreciate how supportive, encouraging, and caring my classmates are. Faculty and staff are very welcoming and approachable and have a vast amount of knowledge and experience”


Ailene Huang

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan
Undergrad Institution(s): Glendale Community College, University of Southern California

“I chose USC because the curriculum tailors to both advising in a 4-year university and counseling in a 2-year community college. It’s a well-rounded program that allows me to explore my interests while gradually helping me to narrow my focus.”


Antonio Huezo

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: East Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): East Los Angeles College and California State University of Los Angeles

“I began my education as a transfer student and I am now the first in my family in pursuing a master’s degree.”


Aanika Khatri

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: San Diego
Undergrad Institution: San Diego State University

“Growing up as an Indian-American, there was always pressure from those around me to pursue a career in medicine, law, or engineering. However, I knew early on that those career paths did not align with my strengths or goals in life.”


Alex Luong

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Alhambra, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State University, Northridge

“After attending a prospective student event at USC, I was able to experience what a class session would be like and enjoyed how it was both lecture and discussion-based.”


Divina Montejano

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: South El Monte, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: Pasadena City College and Chapman University

“Everyone I’ve met within USC Rossier including faculty, staff and other students have demonstrated that they are about community and believe in creating a network of support during graduate school and even beyond.”


Sarah Oh

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Los Angeles
Undergrad Institution(s): Biola University

“I feel holistically supported as a graduate student. We have access to a variety of personal and professional development workshops that prepare us to be leaders in the field.”


Hector Pimentel

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Arvin, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California Davis

“Being a graduate student at USC Rossier has allowed me to have insightful conversations with my cohort and classmates that’ll soon shift the narrative of BIPOC students and their access to education.”


Mary Rivas

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: South LA, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): University of Southern California

“My professors, cohort, and the staff are so genuine. My professors have been really great at creating a safe space for students to feel comfortable, allowing us to share our experiences and thoughts.”


Cesar Romero

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: South LA, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of Southern California

“I almost went to law school! I thought that if I went to law school I would be “successful”, but I realized that I could live a more fulfilled and joyful life working with students in the education field.”


Kenneth Samson

Concentration:
Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Monrovia, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles

“I love the people surrounding me at USC Rossier! Not just the professors and the staff but my cohort as well. The professors are very approachable, and I benefit from hearing about their experiences in the field.”


Guadalupe Torres

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Long Beach, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: Cypress College and CSULB

“I am amazed and grateful to be surrounded by driven individuals who share a passion for helping students in their higher education journey.”


Victor Valadez

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Santa Barbara, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: Santa Barbara City College and UC San Diego

“I value the diversity of Rossier’s faculty and staff. It empowers me to have a sense of belonging and find community. The cohort establishes a common ground of inclusivity and acceptance.”


Annie Villanueva

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Reseda, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): UC Riverside

“What I value the most is my connection with my professors and my cohort. I feel supported and can always communicate with them about anything that I am going through.”


Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)

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Rachell Alger

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): CSU Long Beach

“I discovered my passion for working with children and families as a dance teacher in my late teens.”


Jacqueline Pineda Arana

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

“Mental health has historically been a privileged service for privileged members of society and I want to work towards providing accessible mental health for historically underrepresented communities. USC provides the encouragement and resources to pursue this vision into reality.”


Brooke Barker

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): Indiana University

“I am a residential counselor at a mental health treatment center and this experience has sparked my passion for working with children and adolescents.”


Courtney Berck

Graduation year: 2021
Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
Undergrad Institution: University of Southern California

“The Trojan family is so supportive, and it just felt right to come back to the place where I already received such an excellent education.”


Jaylyn Broadway

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Inglewood, Calif (but I spent most of my childhood in the Pasadena/Altadena area)
Undergrad Institution(s): UCLA

“Having lived 10 minutes from USC the majority of my life, I chose USC to be closer to my community and learn/train in the same place I grew up.”


Natalie Caballero

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Mid-City, Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: Mount Saint Mary’s University

“Being a part of a traditionally marginalized group myself, I knew that if I wanted to make a change, this school and my program would teach and lead me in the right direction.”


Kaitlyn Chalabian

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: San Diego State University

“I value the connections and support I have had since applying and being accepted into the program. The faculty here are all rooting for all our successes, and I am constantly supported in all my endeavors.”


Monica Chernoff

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Palos Verdes, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): Occidental College

“Although there are many MFT programs in Los Angeles, USC was one of the most impressive and reputable programs.”


Rachel Compton

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: George Washington University

“I always thought I wanted to be a teacher. It wasn’t until I took a volunteer position as a GED tutor for adults at a Maryland County Jail that got me interested in psychology and therapy.”


Monica Deyski

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Woodland Hills, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: San Diego State University

“I’ve valued the program’s emphasis on fostering culturally competent clinicians. All my classes have maintained a diverse perspective that has allowed me to feel confident in treating a variety of people.”


Sofia Gomez

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Undergrad Institution: Harvard University

“From the start of the application process, the sense of support and community that I saw in the USC MFT program was unparalleled. I was attracted to the genuine sense of camaraderie I saw amongst the faculty and the current students.”


Rosemary Hansen

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): Georgetown University

“I worked in the fashion industry, including at Vogue right after college. I also worked in the art and travel industries. Nothing felt like quite the right fit, and I knew I wanted to find a career that would allow me to use my interpersonal skills while simultaneously giving back to the community”


Maaliyah “Mimi” Harris

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Palmdale, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): UCLA (Go Brojans!)

“I was raised by a young, single father for most of my childhood. Although I’ve faced adversity, experienced homelessness, and my own mental health issues, I can confidently say I never felt alone.”


Chanelle Haywood

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: University of California, Irvine

“USC’s MFT program is unlike any other, as it pushes for not only educational equity but also the inclusion of social justice.”


Amy Henderson

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Undergrad Institution(s): UC San Diego

“As an International student, the process of becoming a therapist and the complexities of mental healthcare in America were really foreign to me. It took a lot of research before I was able to decide on a direction for my future.”


Matthew Herrera

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Pico Rivera, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): Pasadena City College and Humboldt State University

“Previously I was pursuing an academic career in history. However, I found myself becoming more passionate about my students’ well-being and helping them succeed rather than reading primary sources and historiographical debates.”


Rachel Nebel

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Calabasas, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

“I wanted to attend a school in the LA area because I knew I wanted to end up here and start creating connections and networking. Besides being a well-known school and an amazing alumni network, I resonated with the USC Rossier mission statement and the statement of the Marriage and Family Therapy program.”


Molly Nestor

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI
Undergrad Institution(s): University of Michigan

“I worked as an elementary school teacher. I loved working in inclusive school settings but found that my passion was in supporting the emotional lives of the kids and their families.”


Sophia Noory

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Milpitas, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: California State University, Fullerton

“I was the first woman in my Muslim immigrant family to leave home without first being married. I began a mental health journey that completely changed who I am and now I want to support others the way I was supported.”


Analia Rey

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): Sarah Lawrence College, Lewis and Clark College

“My future plans and career goals are to work with indigenous populations, incorporating indigenous values and healing modalities into mental health care.”


Kiana Sadrosadat

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): University of California, Los Angeles

“I am a proud second-generation Iranian-American. I have experienced, observed, and understood the hardships felt by minority communities, religiously and culturally. This direct exposure to disparity provided me with a salient lens into the realm of mental health.”


Ava Sambora

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Westlake Village, Calif.
Undergrad Institution: Loyola Marymount University

“The community here is beyond what I imagined a graduate school cohort would be like. The professors are so inspiring and truly care about each student.”


Ally Zhou

Graduation year: 2022
Hometown: Bakersfield, Calif.
Undergrad Institution(s): University of California, Irvine

“I knew that this program’s commitment to being in community for and with one another would help me develop my voice and teach me how to leverage my privileges.”