Diverse paths, shared dreams: Meet McGeorge School of Law’s newest students
In the diverse landscape of McGeorge School of Law’s first-year class, seven students typify the law school’s student community. At the same time, each of the seven has a unique pathway story. In August, McGeorge welcomed 246 first-year students to campus.
From the first person from Bhutan to attend law school in the U.S. to a legislative aide passionately committed to environmental policy, these seven students have had journeys that inspire and exemplify the ethos of McGeorge — a community that fosters not just skilled legal experts, but also empathetic and influential leaders poised to shape the future of the legal profession.
Visit the website for a full entering class profile.
Meet our JD Students
Kinley Wangdi, JD
Hailing from Thimphu, Bhutan, Kinley Wangdi is breaking new ground as the first person from his country to attend law school in the United States. His motivation to pursue a JD degree in the U.S. stems from a personal experience with an immigration lawyer that enabled him to embark on his American journey.
Wangdi aspires to follow in those impactful footsteps, aspiring to become an immigration lawyer himself. His favorite aspect of McGeorge School of Law is the professors' passion for teaching and the incorporation of humor, making classes both informative and enjoyable.
“I am constantly in awe of how amazing the professors at McGeorge are. Everyone is so passionate about teaching, and it really shows,” Wangdi said.
Beyond his academic pursuits, Wangdi dreams of traveling the world to better understand diverse cultures and, in turn, connecting with immigrants more effectively.
Rachel Buller, JD
Sacramento-native Rachel Buller found her way to McGeorge School of Law driven by a passion for creating effective routes toward positive change. Working as a Legislative Aide for Senator Henry Stern, Buller actively contributed to real legislative changes.
Her favorite aspect of McGeorge is the supportive community, and she aspires to work in environmental and energy policy after completing her JD degree.
When asked why she chose McGeorge School of Law, Buller responded that, “After talking to various individuals through my work in the Capital, it became apparent that McGeorge was the right choice for me. The majority of lawyers that I work with are alumni and they consistently speak highly of the program and their time here.”
Meet our graduate, online, and international program students
Habib Rahmani, LLM
Originally from Herat, Afghanistan, Habib Rahmani brings a wealth of experience to McGeorge School of Law. Having worked as a lawyer in Afghanistan, Rahmani's decision to pursue a LLM degree was driven by a desire to enhance his legal education and better serve his community, especially those who have recently relocated to the U.S. from Afghanistan.
“I recognized the critical importance of advancing my legal education to better serve my community in the United States. Pursuing an LLM at McGeorge School of Law is a significant step toward achieving this goal, including preparing for the California Bar Exam,” Rahmani explained.
His diverse work experiences includes roles as a Child Protection Officer with UNICEF and a Legal Advisor to the Supreme Court in Afghanistan; he now works as a Senior Program Specialist with Friends of the Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan. Rahmani was drawn to McGeorge's supportive and diverse community, envisioning a future where he contributes to the legal system in the United States, particularly in immigration and family law.
Cristina Pérez Caballero, LLM
Hailing from Sevilla, Spain, Cristina Pérez Caballero decided to pursue an LLM in U.S. Law & Policy at McGeorge School of Law to gain insight into the American justice system. Pérez Caballero was first introduced to the U.S. legal system through a semester abroad in Pennsylvania in addition to a summer internship there with a judge at the Erie County Courthouse. Pérez Caballero was already pursuing a JD equivalent in Sevilla at Loyola University, where she graduated this past June at 21 years old.
She chose the LLM program at McGeorge because “of its location in the capital of California, its proximity to the Capitol, the opportunities it offers within the LLM program, and the organization and connections the program itself has.”
Currently volunteering at the California Victims Resource Center, Pérez Caballero aspires to take the California Bar Exam, work in California, and eventually return to Spain to work for an international law firm. She is also currently working on an article about data protection for D’Primeramano Magazine to be published in early 2024.
Oluchi Njoku, MPA
A first-generation Nigerian-American, Oluchi Njoku is a Master of Public Administration (MPA) student with a background in geological and environmental sciences. She was drawn to the MPA program by the welcoming environment and abundant opportunities at McGeorge.
Having previously worked in a public service fellowship with Americorps and Lead For America, where she co-managed the Transformative Climate Communities grant, Njoku finished her fellowship experiences by serving the City of Stockton as a Senior Management Assistant.
This experience has inspired her career path, Njoku explained. “My career aspirations after I finish my MPA is to continue working in government sustainability and actively contribute to improving my community’s environment.”
Breanna Lugaro, MPP
Breanna Lugaro joins McGeorge School of Law as a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. With a bachelor’s degree in political science, she chose the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program to amplify her analytical skills and lay a robust foundation for the public policy work that is her passion.
Opting for McGeorge was an intentional move, as Lugaro was drawn to its small student-to-faculty ratios. She values the program’s focus on hands-on experiences, close-knit community, and vibrant campus events, saying, “there’s always something interesting happening on campus.”
With a background in peer coaching and research, she envisions a career promoting equity through policy. Looking forward, she aspires to take on an advocacy role in the Legislative branch, envisioning herself as a future policymaker or consultant.
Lavenia Kotobalavu, MSL
Originally from Fiji, Lavenia Kotobalavu chose to pursue a Master of Science in Law (MSL) degree at McGeorge School of Law because of her experience in leading international negotiations for undocumented individuals. Kotobalavu's focus is on strengthening connections between governments and business communities. Her favorite aspect of McGeorge lies in the real-world focus of the classroom atmosphere that goes beyond discussing cases.
“McGeorge cultivates a culture that appreciates, challenges, and encourages ideas, creating an intellectually stimulating atmosphere,” Kotobalavu said.
After completing her MSL degree, Kotobalavu aspires to make an impact through business and diplomatic opportunities, driven by her commitment to excellent service for all.
These profiles showcase the diverse backgrounds and aspirations of McGeorge School of Law students, each contributing to the rich tapestry of the legal community in their unique ways.
For more information about McGeorge School of Law, visit our website.
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