Buckley's Mix

Student Bios

Posted October 2, 2019, 09:10 ET Comments Off on Student Bios

Kristin Bednarek
I grew up in Bethesda, MD and attended the University of Southern California where I majored in Business Administration and minored in East Asian Languages and Cultures. I moved back to the DC area after graduation and am currently working as an online community manager at Higher Logic in Rosslyn, VA.
I’m a big sports fan and will always be watching USC football and basketball, Minnesota Vikings football, Nationals baseball and F1 racing.

Yingwei Chen
Yingwei Chen is currently working full-time as a principal scientist in Potomac Affinity Proteins, a biotech company in Rockville, Maryland. She has been doing research in protein engineering and cancer therapy for 10 years. The technology that her company develops is widely used in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Her cancer research is successfully targeting an oncogenic protein that drives roughly a third of all human cancers. With legal education, she hopes to gain knowledge to better translate the scientific innovation to legal language and to promote technology protection and commercialization.
Yingwei received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Xiamen University in China where she studied the vaccine and diagnostics of infectious diseases such as influenza and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). During her postdoctoral fellowship, she worked with Dr. Graeme Wistow at National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland where she investigated proteins properties related to eye diseases.

John Cicchitti
John Cicchitti is a Program Manager at the Lexington Institute. Prior to his work at Lexington, Cicchitti worked at America Rising, an opposition research firm, and NTK Network, an online news outlet. He earned a B.A. in political science and Russian from the College of the Holy Cross in 2015, and he originally hails from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Ved Dashputre
I was born and raised in New Jersey by my parents, who are immigrants from India. I am a graduate of Penn State, where I earned a degree in Supply Chain and Information Systems Management. After college, I worked at Ford Motor Company in both office and factory roles. I later worked in rural California on a successful Congressional race (Josh Harder, CA-10).
My academic and legal interests focus primarily on the application of empiricism and economics to the law, with special interest in antitrust and regulatory law.

Liz Faris
I just moved back to Arlington from Honduras. I grew up in Arlington. I went to Boston College for undergrad and studied English, Communications, and Hispanic Studies. After graduation, I moved to NYC, took the LSAT, and applied to some law schools. I was about a month away from heading to California to start law school, when I heard about an opportunity to be a volunteer English teacher in Honduras. I deferred school for a year (or so I thought) and moved to Honduras. I fell in love with the country and the work, and ultimately ended up staying for 5 years. I started as a 3rd-grade teacher and then became Vice Principal of the school. Eventually, I started my own bilingual program with 200+ students. I also married a Honduran and became totally immersed in the community. However, with my LSAT scores about to expire and with zero desire to ever take that test again, I decided to move back to start to law school. My goal is to be an immigration lawyer and work with people similar to the people I met in Honduras.

Patrick Griffo
I am a native of western Kentucky. I am a graduate of Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY, where I studied political science and Chinese language. I first moved to D.C. in August 2016 to work for Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03) as a junior aide. I have spent the last two years working for the Department of Defense, where I primarily worked on East Asia issues until recently switching to focus on technology policy.
I enjoy cooking, running, and traveling back to my family’s home in western Kentucky, which is also home for three potbelly pigs, two goats, an assortment of hens, and one (very mean) rooster.

Will Lacy
I’m in the evening program for Mason Law. During the day I work as a software development product manager at Gartner down in Rosslyn. I’m looking to combine my experience working in private sector technology with the law improve legislation around technology, privacy, and national security. I try to squeeze in meetings of the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy European discussion group.
Before tech consulting, I received an MA in EU Policy Studies from JMU, which granted me to opportunity to work in President Schultz’s cabinet in the European Parliament in Brussels. I later worked briefly with the Syrian opposition in DC to shape US policy in relation to the Syrian civil war. As an undergraduate, I double-majored in History and Philosophy at Boston College, where I was a member of the BC Marching Band, University Chorale, and the Liturgy Arts Group, as well as a murder-mystery improv group called the Committee for Creative Enactments.”

Chaim Lazaros
I was born in Framingham, MA and moved to Brooklyn when I was 15. Then to Memphis, TN followed by Jerusalem, Israel during the 2nd Intifada and the outbreak of the 2nd Iraq War.
I returned to NYC for a year at Yeshiva University. I dropped out to work for ad giant, J. Walter Thompson. I started Brooklyn College at night then transferred to Columbia University. I spent weekends applying for private scholarships, some of which I received. After weaving a financial aid package, I was able to quit my job to attend Columbia full time.
I majored in film and was offered a deal with MTV before graduating. I worked in media production for nearly 10 years before switching careers to the burgeoning electric bicycle industry. After the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs cited our business for almost $20,000 in tickets, I looked up the law, reasoned it didn’t apply, and helped craft the defense we used in court. During this period, I lobbied for electric bicycle legalization in New York City. We won the case. Pedal assisted electric bikes are now legal in New York City.
During a conversation with a legislative staffer regarding electric bike law, I brought up wording in the state bill I thought might be problematic in light of the federal law. The staffer asked how I thought the bill should be written.
That moment was watershed. I began studying for LSATs and am excitedly beginning my formal legal education!
I enjoy riding my bike, spending time with my wife and daughter, cooking, listening to the radio, and reading.

Kyle Maxey
I’m a 22 year old native of Davidsonville Maryland, a rural town outside of Annapolis. Before coming to Scalia Law, I attended Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg Maryland. While there, I received a bachelors degree in Political Science and History as well as an Masters degree in Business Administration. At the Mount, I was a member of the Men’s Lacrosse team as a long-stick-midfielder. While pursuing my Master’s degree, I spent the past year working in the Mount’s athletic department as a member of the Sports Information Office. Outside of school, I enjoy reading (especially works of fiction), watching and discussing Game of Thrones, playing sports such as racquetball and basketball, playing video games, and listening to music. While I am not entirely sure where my interests in law lie, I am planning to explore constitutional and sport law in more depth.

Tabitha McPheron
I am a 25 year old from the Kansas City area, native to the Kansas side. I attended Kansas State University where I studied Secondary Education and Mathematics, then taught High School in Taiwan upon graduating. After my year teaching High School, I moved back to the Kansas City area where I taught 8th grade math the last two years. I really enjoyed my time teaching as I grew some great skills and incredible relationships.
I am extremely excited to be in Arlington, as I love learning new places and making a little more of this world feel like home. This love for learning, exploring, and fun is evident in a lot of my favorite pastimes. I listen to a lot of podcasts, love taking trips to new places, often try out a lot of different styles of workout classes or methods, and enjoy new ethnic food places. I would go watch a musical everyday if I had the time or money, or anything else that sounds fun or spontaneous, except I am not a big fan of concerts or pets (which is usually where I get judged). Of course, all of this only happens after I’ve had my coffee and hopefully around 8 hours of sleep.
I am excited to begin the process of getting to know everyone and working together to all survive this year as best we can. Feel free to reach out with any questions or if you need anything!

Michael Montoya
I was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California. I moved to northern Virginia to attend Patrick Henry College for my undergraduate studies. In college, I majored in Government and worked as a staff aide to the Vice Chairman and then Chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Graduating in 2015, my wife and I moved to Charlottesville where I had the privilege of staying home with our son for two years while my wife went to law school. After a one-year stint in Houston, we moved back to NOVA with one more son in tow. The hours are long, but my purpose in law school is driven all the more knowing I’m setting an example and providing a future for my boys. In any free time I can scrounge, I enjoy watching A’s baseball and birding on the many great trails and preserves in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Travis O’Shell
I was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I graduated from Appalachian State University (yes, that’s “the one that upset Michigan a while back”) in May 2018. During my time at Appalachian, I got involved in student government and earned degrees in Political Science and Communication. After graduating, I worked as a Language and Culture Assistant at an elementary school a suburb of Sevilla, Spain. I had an amazing year enjoying what may be the most upbeat and carefree job I’ll ever have and traveling at every opportunity.
I’m now thrilled to be back to “real life” and getting things going at Scalia Law this fall. While I am among the many 1L’s who are not 100% set on any one career path yet, I am excited to explore my longtime interests in Criminal, International and Public Interest Law throughout my time here.

Veronica Peltz
I am originally from Denver, CO and went to school at Coe College in Iowa where I studied Political Science and Public Relations. I previously interned for Congressman Dan Kildee on The Hill and currently work as an analyst.

Maxwell Reinhardt
I am currently the Compliance Coordinator and in-house Paralegal for Artis Senior Living, LLC, a McLean, VA-based owner and operator of memory care assisted living residences. My professional focus on state-level healthcare regulations inspire my broader interests in administrative law, regulated industries, and secured lending.
I am a 2015 graduate of the University of Mary Washington, where I earned my B.A. in History cum laude. My undergraduate studies focused on Eastern European state socialist regimes and my senior thesis examined the East German secret police’s surveillance of LGBT rights groups within churches. I also hold a paralegal certificate from George Mason University.
I am a dual citizen of the United States and Germany and live in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, VA with my fiance Robyn and their labradane (Great Dane/Lab mix) named Balthazar (after the magus). I balance my professional life and legal studies with healthy commitments to exercise, travel, and being a “foodie.”

Walter Smith
I grew up in northern Virginia and attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and graduating in 2012. For the last four and a half years, I worked at an Alexandria, VA accounting firm, working in tax compliance. During that time, I earned my CPA license and a Master of Taxation from the University of Denver. While at Scalia Law, I hope to focus on tax and get a job in that practice area after graduation.

Garrett Snedeker
Garrett Snedeker maintains the James Wilson Institute’s year-round presence in Washington, D.C. In addition to planning events, handling the Institute’s website, and running its office, he is the main point of contact for all partnership opportunities and media inquiries. A graduate of Amherst College and former student of Prof. Hadley Arkes, he has taught U.S. Government and U.S. History at a boarding school and served as editor of the congressional research website LegiStorm. His writing has been featured in The Federalist and the Online Library of Law & Liberty. He has been quoted in Politico, Roll Call, and the Boston Herald and collaborated on stories for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and National Journal. He is originally from Manhasset, NY. He is married and currently lives in Washington, DC.

Sarah Stewart
I’m originally from the small Oklahoma town of Miami (pronounced my-am-uh). For undergrad, I attended Oklahoma State University, and there I got my bachelor’s in Strategic Communication. My hobbies include drinking ungodly amounts of coffee, writing, trying to stay fit in between study sessions and Netflix binges, and saying, “Go Pokes!” for any and every kind of situation. Currently, I have no idea what type of law I want to practice, or if I even want to practice law in the typical sense, but my interests range anywhere from communications law to immigration law to personal law. We’ll see where the next few years take me!

Payton Thornton
I was born and raised in a Football Coach’s family in West Texas. Growing up around cotton farmers and Baptist preachers, I spent most of my life in a small rural community in Plainview, Texas. I am a proud recent alum of Oklahoma State University, where I studied Marketing and Entrepreneurship. I moved to Washington, DC in the spring after graduation and started working for a think tank.
I have a few ideas of what areas of law I want to go into but am unsure of my exact calling at this point. I am interested in the Law and Economics Program and the Antitrust Program, as well. I am excited to use my background in business and free enterprise in law school, and I look forward to the discussions we will have in Contracts I and II over the coming year.
A little bit more about myself: I enjoy composing music, writing, and visiting different coffee shops in my free time. I actively attend Waterfront Church in DC and enjoy the occasional cigar. Other times, you will find me lounging in my hammock at the park or talking a friend’s ear off! I look forward to a great year.

Stephanie Whiteley
I am from Dallas, Texas. I currently work for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in the strategy and plans division. I am an Army Officer recently returned from deployment to the Middle East and am temporarily assigned to DTRA until I complete law school. I hold a M.S. in Criminal Justice Leadership Management, which was helpful in my last civilian job prior to my deployment. In that position, I worked as a Telecommunications Officer, also known as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher. I was cross-trained to take 9-1-1 calls, function as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher as well as a Police Dispatcher.


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