Buckley's Mix

Student Bios

Posted November 24, 2020, 15:11 ET | Comments Off on Student Bios

Julia Blaszkowski

I am from Houston, Texas, and I went to undergrad at UT Austin, where I majored in government. After graduating, I moved to Germany for a year. There I took part in an immersive German language program and got to travel a bit. I’m interested in criminal law, particularly wrongful conviction work since l have experience working in drug policy. On a more fun note, I enjoy working out, eating Chinese food, going to concerts, and trying out new coffee shops! I’m very excited to be living in Arlington and starting my law school journey!

 Alex Buttram

I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2017, as a dual major in Political Science and Communication. Though I’m actually from a small town in Missouri, my long-time high school girlfriend and I (both National Merit Scholars) were aggressively recruited by OU, and accepted their overtures as a way to stay together. I finished my degree in three years, and though my scholarship would have also covered my first two years of law school tuition, my rigorous schedule had burned me out.

Thus, after I matriculated, I decided to put my education on hold, and started work in my family’s commercial real estate firm, as well as moonlighting as a political campaign surrogate. I brokerage would be a short career detour, but I came to appreciate the work (particularly contract negotiation), and it gave me an opportunity to save for my future. My personality didn’t allow for the idea of being a salesman my entire life, but I didn’t leave until I knew that I’d be able to support myself fully without either incurring debt or relying on my parents. I was fortunate enough to receive a generous offer from Scalia Law that will allow me to do exactly that, and I’m doing  my best to convert my gratitude into motivation to live up to the University’s expectations.

Haley Brechwald

I am from the Northern Virginia area. I have lived in Virginia for the last ten years. Prior to that, my dad was in the Air Force, so I have also lived in Mississippi, Missouri, and California, but the northern Virginia/D.C area is where I am most happy. I completed my undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Political Science and a minor in Legal Studies. Besides falling in love with the city of Pittsburgh and becoming a Steelers fan, I was also a student-athlete at Pitt on the Women’s gymnastics team. An ankle surgery, a shoulder surgery, and a few misplaced joints later, I am retired from the sport and now love to workout, run, and box in my free time.

Additionally, I love the outdoors and taking my sweet pup for walks or hikes. Finally, I came to law school because I wanted to have a positive impact/influence in peoples’ lives. I am most interested in pursuing a legal career in civil rights or public-interest/pro-bono work. I am excited to be at Scalia Law and I look forward to being an active participant in your course.

Taylor S. Lane Daymude

I was born and raised in sunny San Diego, California, before moving to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. I majored in mathematics with a minor in European studies. The mathematics major focused on pure mathematics, particularly around mathematical logic, set theory, and analysis. My minor focused on European government and politics, especially parliamentary governments and politics, including graduate work in political theory.

After graduating UCLA, I served as an elected Council member on the Reseda Neighborhood Council for Los Angeles. While serving, I was also appointed as Secretary of same and authored the Council’s first diversity and inclusion statement. Before attending GMU Law, I worked for a few years as a Policy Analyst for the UCLA Academic Senate. There, I staffed multiple committees, principally the Committee on Rules and Jurisdiction which supervised all academic regulations and bylaws for the university’s approximately 100,000 community members.

Matt DeBenedetto

I am from Westfield, New Jersey. After high school, I attended the University of Scranton where I received undergraduate degrees in Operations Management and Philosophy. While in college I joined the Operations Club, the Business Club, and Residence Life. On the weekends I volunteered with Compassionate Care Hospice, where I offered emotional support to patients and their families.

After graduating this past Spring, I moved to rural New Mexico where I took a seasonal job in Philmont’s logistics office. While it was great living in a tent all summer, I’m excited to rejoin society and begin law school.

Thyme Hawkins

I am originally from Charlotte, NC, but I lived in New Orleans for the past four years. I graduated from Loyola University New Orleans in December 2020. While there, I studied English, philosophy, and French; I specialized my English studies in film and digital media. I have worked in creative media for several years, including editing an undergraduate journal, interning at a local magazine publisher, researching for a documentary, and video editing for online training programs. In the spring of 2020, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, but my semester got cut short due to COVID-19.

I chose to go to law school to apply my passion for writing and rational argumentation in an impactful way outside of the English and philosophy spheres. The protection of people’s rights to their work is important to me. I am most interested in intellectual property or entertainment law, but I plan to explore other fields, too.

Outside of school, I like visiting parks, hiking, and disc golf. I plan to visit all the local and national museums in the area that I possibly can in the next 3 years.

Grace Johnston

I am originally from Alpharetta, Georgia, which is just north of Atlanta. I attended the University of Georgia for undergrad where I majored in public relations and minored in public health and global health. While I was in college, my family moved to Richmond, Virginia. After graduation in spring of2020, I moved to Richmond as well. I spent the majority of the year working on an Attorney General campaign, and I also spent some time on a campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates.

During my free time I love to play tennis, bake, read, and spend time outside. So far, I love living in Arlington and exploring the DC area. I knew that I wanted to go to law school in a city, and I can’t think of a better place to learn and practice law! I have not fully decided on the area of law I would like to practice, but I am interested in corporate law, real estate law, litigation, and potentially national security law.

Nikolai Karavodin

I am from Glendale, California, by way of Fauquier County, Virginia. I hold a B.A. with a major in history from U.C. Berkeley, as well as A.A.’s from Pasadena City College in social & behavioral sciences, and humanities.

Before corning to Scalia Law, I worked for the Manassas Museum and the City of Manassas Department of Parks, Culture & Recreation. As an undergraduate, I interned for a Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development in the Office of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin, Ireland. I have been fascinated by national security and foreign relations ever since. In the future, I hope to utilize my legal education as a judge· advocate in the U.S. Armed Forces, or one of the many security oriented federal agencies.

Heather Kemp

I am originally from a small town in central Florida. I attended Florida State University for my BA. After receiving my MA in History from a university in the Netherlands, I moved to the DC area. I work at the corporate office for an international health and wellness management firm where I mainly focus on compliance. My hobbies include hiking, kayaking, and bartending.

Also, regarding food recommendations, Tupelo Honey in Arlington has a great brunch and house beer if you haven’t tried it yet.

Caitlyn Kinard

I am 21, and from Peachtree City, Georgia. I just graduated from University of Georgia with a degree in Political Science. I minored in criminal justice and religion. During undergrad, I

worked with administrative courts, at the office of student conduct, and as a political science research assistant. Working with the GA Office of State Administrative Hearings was my most valuable work experience, and it was insightful to see how the courts could resolve conflicts between the people and state agencies.

I just moved to Virginia about a month ago, and I love the area so far. I am fascinated by Constitutional Law, and I am hoping to clerk after graduation. In my free time, I love to paint, plant succulents, and occasionally ice skate or roller skate. Planting was the hobby I took up during the pandemic, so my apartment is now filled with a variety of succulents. I also enjoy reading, which I am sure is a non-unique hobby in law school.

Emily Misiorowski 

Despite years of city living, my Midwestern roots still frequently prompt my reflex to smile and say hello to perfect strangers . . . who often want none of that. Regardless, I’m glad that old habits die hard.

Though my greetings can be very Midwestern, my diet is not. I’m one of those people who avoids added sugar and most animal products. If I ever offer you baked goods, it is sure to be a healthy and fibrous experience, so you’ve been warned. 😊

If you are willing to try my banana-pumpkin-blueberry-quinoa-walnut bread, you might just be a fellow risk taker. However, you won’t find me at a slot machine or poker table, but nothing quite engages me like a calculated risk. Law school might be my biggest one yet, so let’s do this thing. ¡Pura vida!

Michael Nadeau 

I am from Long Island, New York. Before law school I went to St. Joseph’s College, where I majored in Philosophy and Religious Studies. During my time at St. Joseph’s, I had the opportunity to play on the golf team. I am a first-generation law student, and I am currently interested in constitutional law and administrative law. My hobbies include golf, volleyball, swimming, and watching sports.

Kate Sabelhaus

I’ve lived in the Detroit area my entire life and completed my undergraduate degree at Michigan State University.  I graduated from there in May of 2020 with a Marketing degree before studying for the LSAT. For the last year, I was acting as an apprentice for my father at his financial advising firm.  As a lawyer, he is able to help his clients with estate planning as well, and it was interesting and beneficial to learn the art of that during my time with him. I was able to intern in Arlington, VA during the summer before my senior year, and fell in love with the area. I’m very excited (and very nervous) about law school, but looking forward to taking it on with all of you!”

Jessica Schuler

I am a Virginia native who has spent most of my life in the Northern Virginia area. I completed my undergraduate degree at VCU where I majored in English and Philosophy with a concentration in Law. I graduated from there back in 2018, but I still have tons of recommendations if anyone wants to go on a weekend trip to Richmond!

I have spent the last three years working a few different jobs in the area, such as substitute teaching, bartending, and working at a social security disability firm; and then I spent about two of those years as a legal practice assistant at a large firm in DC in their corporate group, where I gained a variety of experiences in different types of law. While extremely beneficial, I am still uncertain of the legal path I will follow, but I am looking forward to figuring it out.

When I’m not trying to stay on top of my law school readings, I can usually be found at a thrift store or antiquing, somewhere out in nature journaling or chasing a thunderstorm, rewatching one my favorite TV shows or 80s movies, or at a used bookstore tracking down marked-up copies of Shakespeare plays to add to my collection. I’m excited to get to know everyone a bit more in class!

Jamie Shaw

I am originally from New Jersey. I received my undergraduate degree from James Madison University where I majored in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I have been living in Arlington, Virginia for the past year where I worked remotely at a law firm in D.C. that specialized in affordable housing transactions. In my free time, I like to read, watch movies, take spin classes, and hang out with my family and friends.

Arielle Singer .

I grew up Annandale, Virginia, and attended Boston University for undergrad, where I double majored in History and International Relations (graduating in January 2012). I then spent eight years as the General Manager of Sarma, an award-winning Eastern Mediterranean restaurant, in Somerville, Massachusetts. I love the restaurant industry and count myself fortunate that I was able to have that experience before coming to law school.

I am leaning toward immigration law but am open to exploring other areas during my time at Mason. Outside of school you can find me playing with my kids (a two-year-old and a two-month-old). Coincidentally, I now know the names of all the construction trucks. My husband is the Executive Chef of a restaurant in Ballston, The Salt Line, which opens this month (they also have a location in DC across from the baseball stadium.)

Hailey Sylvander

I am 22 years old and from a small town in Northern New Jersey called Rutherford. If you love football, it is the next town over from MetLife Stadium. I attended Pre-K through 12th grade at a small private school in Montclair, NJ. For college, I didn’t go too far and headed to Fordham University in The Bronx. There, I majored in Classical Languages and minored in French and Middle Eastern Studies. The area of law that interests me the most is Health Law. Nevertheless, I am eager to learn about Contracts and get to know my section better!

Morgan Uveges

I am from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a suburb outside of Cleveland. This past spring, I graduated from Miami University with a degree in Economics and Political Science. I have never lived outside of Ohio (contrary to popular belief, Miami University is not in Miami, Florida) so the move to Arlington to attend Scalia Law is particularly exciting for me. In undergrad, I spent a lot of time doing independent research in economics, where I wrote and submitted a thesis paper on the economic effects of the Affordable Care Act in labor markets. I also worked part-time as an economics tutor, and was the academics chair for my social sorority, Alpha Chi Omega.

In my free time I love to stay active by walking, running, and biking, both indoors and out. Let me know if you are up for exploring new parts of the DMV area with me! So excited to get to know you all.

Angelica Banks.

Howdy y’all, my name is I’m a Californian, born and raised, but (somehow) a mid-westerner at heart. I went to school for the first 7 years of my life in Southern California, then had a brief stint going to secondary school in Edinburgh, Scotland for a year, and then finished out the last 8 years back in sunny So-Cal. After I graduated from college, I did what any rational person would do – give up sunny So-Cal for the gloomy, bi-polar climate in Washington, D.C. (I’ll let you decide if I mean the weather or the people).

I spent the last 9 months working at Economic Innovation Group, where I got the chance to work on economic policy during the height of the COIVD-19 recession. As I was helping develop policy proposals to revitalize America’s heartland and bolster rapidly shuttering small businesses, I shifted my focus to getting on the Hill to actualize these policies. Unfortunately, all the job listings had one barrier to entry: “must have Masters, JD, or equivalent,” and since I’ve always wanted to go to law school, I figured now was my chance. And here we are now.

When I’m not reading for class, I love to cook and bake, read in my hammock when it’s not ungodly humid or raining outside, and go out on hikes/explore the area. If the current environment permits it, I would love to bake some banana bread for the class since it’s the best in the business (so I’ve been told). I look forward to getting to know my classmates, as well as understand the maze that is Property and Contract Law.

 Michelle Bauer

I am 21 and from Saint Marys, Pennsylvania. Growing up I spent most of my time in the woods and still love to be outdoors. I attended Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale where I obtained a Finance degree. In my free time I enjoy running, stand up paddleboarding, and traveling. I try to travel at least once a year and am hoping Corona ends soon so that I can go explore more places. In the future I hope to one day own my own business and use my knowledge in the law field to help me in this endeavor.

 Kevin Beck

I was born and raised in Rhode Island, and spent summers setting up big party tents and rental furniture at the Newport Tent Company. I attended the University of Rhode Island, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, and interned two summers at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. After graduating, I moved to upstate New York to work at the Naval Nuclear Laboratory site in Schenectady. I spent eight years there, providing fleet support for OHIO-class submarines and becoming the cognizant engineer for primary and nuclear instrumentation.

I’m making the change to law because it’s a topic that I enjoyed reading about in my free time, and I was at a good spot in life to explore different options. I enjoy reading, baking, and biking.

Mnelik Belete

I was originally born in Silver Spring, MD and was raised in both Silver Spring and then Bethesda MD. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from George Mason University in Spring of 2020 with a Degree in Criminology with a minor in Forensic Psychology.

My hobbies are pretty much anything that keeps me active (hiking, SCUBA, Kayaking, working out etc.) and things that are adrenaline filled (shooting, going to auto races, etc.) Currently I am exploring the option of going into National Security, Constitutional or International Business Law. I hope to have the opportunity to have some fun times with you all during this crazy time of law school!

Alexis Braswell

I’m originally from Moyock, North Carolina, a small town outside of the Outer Banks. I moved to Blacksburg, Virginia in 2016 to attend Virginia Tech and recently graduated in May. I majored in both Political Science and Spanish, with a minor in Science, Technology and Law. During undergrad, I spent a semester enrolled at the Universidad de Oviedo in Spain, where I completed my Spanish coursework. I’ve interned at a personal injury law firm, a real estate law firm and at GEICO; however, I am currently interested in pursuing immigration law.

 Courtland Culver

I grew up in Ocala, Florida, and received my undergraduate degree from Florida State University where I majored in Economics. I then went on to get my MS in Applied Economics from FSU. I love reading books about economics, politics, and philosophy, as well as playing the piano.

 Becky Fitzgerald

I am from Northern Virginia and come from two homes. I went to school and grew up in Centreville, Virginia where my mom lived for 15 years, and I spent part of my time in Ashburn, Virginia where my dad and stepmom have lived for 17 years. I attended undergrad at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia where I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Spanish Minor. I collaborated with a UMW alum who currently works as Data Privacy counsel for Verizon on a project for students, which facilitated my growing interest in Data Privacy and Information Security law. Additionally, I completed an Honor’s thesis entitled “Latinas in Office: Lack of Party Support and Disproportionate Underrepresentation” about Latina women running for election to the U.S. House of Representatives in specific Latinx-dense states from 2012 to 2018. I am incredibly interested in working with Spanish-speaking clients who face language barriers in navigating the U.S. legal system, in addition to protecting and defending data privacy rights.

The past four summers I have worked as a server at Trump National Golf Club in Lowes Island, Virginia where I have had the privilege to serve the President, Vice President, several Senators, and the head of National Intelligence. My coworkers largely immigrated from Latin-American countries, and as such have inspired me to work in the Immigration Law field pro-bono. My job is not politically affiliated, and it has been a wonderful experience that has provided me with many skills resulting in my nomination for employee of the year. On a more casual note, I love running, working out, cooking, baking, sleeping and wine! If you ever need anything, I am a great listener and would be happy to help. I hope to get to know you all more as the semester progresses!

Merissa Kelberman

I grew up in Bolton, Massachusetts and attended Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY where I played Division I College Soccer. I am also continuing my Division I soccer career here at Mason, playing my last year of eligibility on the Fairfax campus. In undergrad, I majored in Political Science and Philosophy and minored in Professional Writing. I am interested in studying National Security, but I am not sure yet what I would like to do within that field.

Growing up, I split time in Hawaii in the winters and spending the school year in MA. I have never lived in the city before, so Arlington is a really new experience for me, but I am enjoying it so far!

Timothy Kilcullen

Having grown up primarily (though not exclusively) in Illinois, I went to the University of Illinois and majored in Economics and English. After graduation, I worked on several campaigns before becoming a research assistant at State and Federal Communications, a campaign finance and lobbying compliance firm in Akron, Ohio. I am going to Scalia School in the hopes of having a career in campaign finance and related speech law. An avid news-junkie, my other hobbies include watching movies, listening to podcasts, and hanging out with friends and family.

Juliet Lomeo

I am from Pittsburgh, PA. I went to college at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., where I studied finance and minored in sport and entertainment management. Currently, I am interested in entertainment law. I think it would be interesting to negotiate legal issues for music artists or sports players.

Back in Pittsburgh, I have a German Shepherd who is the prettiest, most playful dog you will ever meet. I also have a cat named Louie, who I took with me to keep me company in the big city! I enjoy listening to music, riding my bike, watching college football (I’m an Ohio State fan, sorry), and traveling(pre-pandemic).

I am very excited to see what Arlington and Scalia Law has in store!

Emma Masterman

I grew up in Annandale, Virginia but spent the last four years completing my undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. I’m excited to begin my journey here at Scalia Law, though I’ll admit that I miss waking up to country fog over the Blue Ridge. I majored in Religion and Culture, Pre-Law, and Creative Writing. I’ve worked for a small family law practice for the last three summers. Despite my experience working in the field of family law (or perhaps because of it), I am interested in pursuing criminal law, though this is subject to change, as contract law also piques my interest. My personal interests include non-academic writing, cooking, and hiking with my dog.

Heather McShea

I grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended the College of William & Mary for undergrad where I earned a dual degree in Finance and Psychology (graduating in May 2018). I moved to Washington, D.C. following graduation and have for the past two years worked at a large federal consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, supporting a large-scale shared services initiative at the Department of Labor.

I have always leaned toward corporate/business law given my business background, and was exposed to a fair amount of administrative law through my work at the Department of Labor, but am excited to explore other areas during my time here.

In my free time you can find me reading, exercising/going to workout classes, hiking (nothing too advanced – yet!), attending concerts and musicals/shows, and scoping out new restaurants.

Jannelle (JJ) Medina

I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Upon graduation from high school, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. After completing training, I was stationed in Quantico, VA and served as my unit’s legal chief, sparking my initial interest in law. While in Quantico, I completed an A.S. in Political Science and began working toward a B.A. in English at George Mason University, which I completed in December 2018.

In my spare time I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, and paddle boarding. Outside of that, I love watching rugby and finding good local food.

Zachary Moore

I recently moved to Arlington from Rockaway, New Jersey. I went to Seton Hall University majoring in History and Philosophy, and minoring in Classics. For the last year and a half, I have been employed at a financial consulting firm, where I have been working closely with the sales and marketing group. In my free time I enjoy cooking and watching silent films, especially comedies by Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd.

Payal Patel

I was born and raised in Northern Virginia, and I graduated from George Mason University in Spring 2020. I earned my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and look forward to exploring my interest in patent law. I am excited to go straight into law school and continue my studies at GMU!

I am thrilled to be in Arlington and hope to explore the area more. In my free time, I enjoy trying out different restaurants (I am a “foodie”), watching movies and TV shows, and spending time outdoors

Antonia Mordino

While this will be my first year at George Mason Law School, this will be my second time at a “Mason.” I grew up in Mason, Ohio and attended Mason High School. I graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky where I majored in economics and minored in Spanish. During my undergraduate years, I tutored writing, speaking, and economics. I studied abroad in Costa Rica where I took courses at the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. Last semester, I participated in the Disney College Program in Florida. When that was cut short due to Covid, I moved back to Ohio and contacted one of the local courthouses. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to shadow a judge at the Warren County Common Pleas Court all summer. This recent experience has made me even more excited to start law school.

Outside of school and work, I enjoy reading, playing tennis, baking, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family. I love animals, but I had to leave my two puppies back in Ohio. Since my apartment doesn’t allow pets, I have started a new hobby: indoor gardening. I also hope to use my free time to explore the Northern Virginia and DC area.

 Luz Solano-Florez

I am originally from Colombia but I grew up in an American compound in Saudi Arabia. I have also lived in Spain, Louisiana, Connecticut, and Illinois. I have a bachelor’s in law (LLB) from IE University in Madrid and an LLM from Northwestern University in Chicago. In the past I have worked for both local and foreign law firms in Spain mostly working with international clients and cross border transactions

Colleen Seidel

I was born and raised in Spotsylvania, VA, which is about 1.5 hours south of Arlington. I graduated from Vanderbilt University last May with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. Living in Nashville was incredible, and I highly recommend a trip down if you ever get the chance! Nashville was an awesome city to live in for four years, but I’m excited to be back in VA to explore Arlington and D.C. I love spending time outside, reading, baking, and studying in new locations. I’ve had internships at the USPTO and my county’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Right now I am interested in intellectual property law, but I’m excited to learn about other fields to see if my interests will change.

Alex Shin

I was born in South Korea and emigrated to the United States in 1994. I have lived in Boston, Western Maryland and Virginia. I attended undergraduate at the University of Virginia and graduated with a B.A. in History in 2012. I was in the Marine Corps and the reserves until 2017. I worked full time for a police department most recently as a fugitive investigator until mid-August 2020.

I live in Northern Virginia with my wife Grace, and our two dogs Sydney and Charley. I enjoy spending time with my wife and dogs and have been looking for any reason to spend time(safely) outside the house.

Stuart Spooner

A native of Alabama, I moved to the DC area after college and haven’t left since. I’ve spent the bulk of my career so far in the campaigns and elections space, focusing on providing project and organization management, as well as communications and strategic expertise for a wide variety of campaigns and initiatives across the country.

I graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations, where I was active in several organizations, including serving as a dedicated student-recruiter for our championship-winning football program.

When I’m not studying, you can find me watching the Atlanta Braves, cheering on my Auburn Tigers, going for a run, making my signature smoked ribs or pork shoulder, or spending time with my wife, Rosie — and sometimes all of those on the same day!

Daniel Thetford 

Daniel Thetford is originally from the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Daniel graduated from Patrick Henry College in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Government and a focus on public policy and federal regulatory law. During his time at Patrick Henry College, Daniel competed with the Moot Court and British Parliamentary Debate teams, served as Student Body President and a Student Senator, contributed and edited for the Patrick Henry College Undergraduate Law Review, and served as a Resident Assistant in the dorms. Since graduating, Daniel has been working as a paralegal for two civil litigation law firms, one in North Carolina, and one in Virginia. When he is not studying, you can find Daniel on an outdoor adventure, participating in events at his church, or taking part in lively discussions.

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.