John Sonego joined the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy as Associate Dean of External Affairs in 2011. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the successful execution of development and programming for major gifts, corporate relations, foundation and federal relations, alumni relations, outreach programs and annual giving.
Prior to joining USC Price, John was the Assistant Dean of Development and Alumni Affairs for UCLA’s School of Public Health, leading a team responsible for raising more than $13 million per year. Before joining UCLA, he served as a consultant bringing a wide range of development and communications experience to an array of clients, including Enterprise Community Partners, Equality California, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), The Skid Row Housing Trust and the Housing Authorities for the City and County of Los Angeles. He has also served as the Director of Programs and Communications at GLAAD and as Vice President at the Rogers Group.
John received a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a M.A. from the University of Santa Monica.
Melissa Bersofsky joined the USC Price Development team in May of 2015 and serves as the Executive Director of Development. She works closely with alumni, parents, faculty and community supporters to help strengthen the Price School’s academic priorities in conjunction with the school’s $150 million capital initiative. She is responsible for major gift fundraising, planned giving, and donor stewardship.
Melissa has spent more than a decade in higher education, most recently serving as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs beginning in 2011, and the Director of UCLA’s Young Alumni and Student Giving program beginning in 2005. Prior earning her masters degree in Education, Melissa began her career in advertising account management working with clients such as Nabisco and Compaq Computers at Foote, Cone and Belding in New York.
Melissa earned her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University and an Ed.M from Harvard University.
Caroline Bhalla joined the USC Price Development team in September 2012 and serves as the Senior Director of Development and Constituent Relations. She is responsible for the cultivation and oversight of the Athenian Society, the premier philanthropic support organization at USC Price. She is also responsible for annual giving, alumni relations and the alumni board.
Prior to this position, Caroline worked as the Assistant Director of Admissions (interim) at UCLA School of Law. Before returning to California in July 2011, she was the Associate Director of the New York University Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, where she began as a research assistant in 2002. She then became the Project Director for the annual State of the City’s Housing and Neighborhoods report. In 2008, Caroline became the Associate Director, assuming responsibility for human relations, finance and fundraising for the Furman Center. Prior to that, she worked as an Assistant Account Executive in a boutique public relations firm in San Francisco, Graham and Associates.
Caroline earned her B.A. in Mass Communications/ Rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley. Caroline received an M.A. in Culture and Communication from NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education and an M.A. in American Studies from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. Caroline served as an adjunct professor in NYU’s Department of Culture and Communication, where she taught courses in Interviewing Strategies and Conflict Resolution.
Heidi Rosano joined the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy in fall 2009. As the current Senior Director of Events and Sponsorships, she designs and implements development events that align with the goals and mission of the Price School. In this role, she organizes events such as the annual Price Guardian Awards, the Price School’s signature fundraising gala, along with the Dean’s Speaker Series, major symposiums and summits, professional development and networking events, Alumni social gatherings and donor cultivation events. Prior to joining Price, Heidi served in leadership and fundraising roles as the Director of Events at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and as Income Development Coordinator at the American Cancer Society.
Heidi received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine, and a Master of Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Her 10 years of development, fundraising, and events management experience make her a valuable member of the Price team as she continues to cultivate relationships leading to successful fundraising, engagement and participation from alumni, parents, friends, corporations and foundations.
Kristi joined the USC Price Development team in February 2014. As the Director of Alumni Relations and Events, Kristi oversees the management of the USC Price alumni board of councilors as well as alumni and parent-related events. She is responsible for recruiting younger members to the Athenian Society, the school’s premier philanthropic support group. Prior to USC Price, Kristi oversaw stewardship and events at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. There, she spearheaded the opening of the school’s newest state-of-the-art Interactive Media building in June of 2013. She began working at USC in 2007 at the Office of Protocol and University Events, where she planned and executed prestigious large-scale development and fundraising events with most of the units and schools across the university. With her vast knowledge of the USC community and over 10 years of development and event experience, Kristi is a valuable asset to the USC Price Development team.
Kristi has also worked for Nordstrom and ESPN on large scale events including Nordstrom store openings, the ESPY Awards and ESVPN X Games. Kristi holds a B.A. in English from Loyola Marymount University and an M.A. from USC Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism.
Sylvia Dsouza joined the USC Price External Affairs Development team in January of 2016 as the Assistant Director of Development. Sylvia focuses on the cultivation and solicitation of major gifts from parents, alumni, and friends, as well as volunteer management with our growing LEAP Undergraduate Program committee. She is responsible for major gift fundraising, managing parent programming, donor cultivation and stewardship. She is an integral part of helping USC Price achieve its fundraising goals and furthering the mission of the School.
Sylvia comes to USC Price equipped with a diverse background in global hospitality, donor relations, and university development. Prior to joining the Development team at USC Price, Sylvia worked as a front office executive for the Sheraton Group of Hotels for two years, and then as a flight attendant for Singapore Airlines for eight years. Most recently Sylvia joins us from UCLA’s Herb Albert School of Music where she served as their Development Associate.
Sylvia earned her B.A. in Communication Studies from University of California, Los Angeles.
Miguel Mendez joined the USC Price Development Office as the Development Coordinator in March 2014. In this role, Miguel is responsible for processing all gifts and gift acknowledgements, as well as maintaining office expenditures and providing general administrative support.
Prior to this role, Miguel worked with the USC Price Business Office as a Budget Technician where he assisted in managing over twenty accounts.
Previously, Miguel worked at The Multicultural Service Center, a nonprofit organization where he assisted with planning and executing the organization’s programs targeting parents and students.
Miguel received his B.A. from the California State University, Northridge in Criminal Justice.
Kristen DesCombes joined the Price Development team in the summer of 2015. As the manager of events and stewardship, Kristen works closely with Heidi Rosano as support for some of Price’s yearly events including The Guardian Awards, the Dean’s Speaker Series, and other alumni and donor cultivation events designed to further the goals and mission of the Price School.
Prior to becoming part of the development team, Kristen acted as an administrator in the Price Dean’s Office. Her time in the office was invaluable in learning the inner workings of the University, and it was there that Kristen cultivated a passion for the school after seeing first-hand what the students and faculty were capable of creating in their communities and abroad. Kristen maintains those ties as our Dean’s Office liaison, creating and executing events designed by Dean Knott, as well as acting as steward for donors and other important visitors at the University Park Campus.
Kristen earned her B.A. in theater arts at USC. While you can no longer find her on stage, the skills she learned in leadership, improvisation, and cooperation make her a valued member of the Price team.