USC Price MPA Ambassador Bios
Alexandra Amadeo is a Master of Public Administration student, originally from Manchester, New Hampshire. Before coming to the Price School, she worked for civil rights and economic development nonprofits, and during her undergraduate studies, interned for a member of the British Parliament. She has lived in Los Angeles for three years and chose Price for its real-world, interdisciplinary approach to learning. Her interests include politics, social and transportation policy, and board games.
Marylin Arevalo is a student in the Master of Public Administration, Master of Social Work, and Certificate in Public Policy programs. Born and raised in Yuma, Arizona she obtained her Bachelor of Social Work from Arizona State University. Before coming to Price Marylin worked with families involved in the child welfare system, terminally ill adults, at-risk youth, unaccompanied minors, and she also interned with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. Currently, Marylin is working as an intern with the American Civil Liberties Union conducting research in their Policing Practices program. Upon graduation, she plans to hold a career working as an advocate for the Latino community and other historically oppressed populations.
Stephanie Castro is a second-year MPA student currently working for the Los Angeles Fire Department as a Personnel Analyst. She has worked for the City in various capacities since 2012, after graduating from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She chose to attend USC Price because of its professional development opportunities and specialization in local government. Through her graduate studies she plans to augment her experience with knowledge on organizational and financial management, and hopes to improve the City’s processes to better serve its communities.
Edmundo Diaz is originally from Miami, Florida and is a first-year MPA student at Price. He is focusing his studies on educational and tech policy, which is the field he has worked in for most of his career. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Florida International University. He chose USC over seven other schools because of the sheer amount of resources and opportunities USC and LA have to offer, in addition to a world-class professional network. He is currently part of five student organizations while holding board and committee positions in 3 of them. In order to stay awake at night while he studies for Econ he makes his world-famous Cuban coffee. Prospective students get free samples.
David Gardinier is driven by his mission to correct legacies of inequality and understanding the realities of life across racial lines. He hopes to take all the things he learns at the Price School and pursue a career in local government. Originally from Washington State, he traded in his cloudy skies for LA sunshine in 2014 and has never looked back. In his free time, David enjoys serving on his Neighborhood Council, exploring Los Angeles, and of course–long walks on the beach.
Joshua Jeffrey is a first-year Master of Public Administration and Master of Planning student at the University of Southern California. He chose Price for its academic focus in local government, career development programs, and unparalleled professional network. Joshua serves as the Vice President of Administration for the Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council. He is passionate about environmental stewardship, and has worked to expand community access to municipal resources throughout the northeast San Fernando Valley. When he isn’t busy searching for parking at a civic meeting downtown, Joshua enjoys exploring Los Angeles and playing music.
Gregory Kajszo is a second year Master’s student pursuing dual degrees in Public Administration and Planning. He is also the president of the Associated Students of Planning and Development (ASPD), an organization that promotes academic and professional development issues related to the field of urban planning. He currently lives and works for the City of Glendale, as a founding member of the city’s new Department of Innovation, Performance, and Auditing.
Vicky Karpilovich is a second-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree and Certificate in Business & Sustainability at USC. Her background is primarily working in the private sector in marketing and public relations roles; she aspires to utilize her MPA degree to bridge gaps between government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector through innovate cross-sectoral partnerships. She is passionate about social justice, equity, and community development. Vicky chose USC due to its academic strength, course diversity, Alumni network, and on-campus involvement opportunities.
Katherine Kirker is a second-year Master of Public Administration student from Canada. She is hoping to pursue the nonprofit management specialization. She chose Price because of the wide range of classes offered to supplement the core courses, and the internship requirement gives practical experience. Price is an incredible place to be able to study.
Shane Lee is Master of Public Administration and Certificate of Public Policy candidate at USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. In 2011, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and a Minor in French from University of California, Santa Barbara. Following his undergraduate studies, Shane interned with the Orange County Child Abuse Prevention Center (CAPC) and led a team in generating over $5,000 of monetary and in-kind donations for child abuse and domestic violence awareness campaigns, and created adoption stories for over 300 families for a holiday adoption program. His time with CAPC led to his employment in administrative and financial support, volunteer engagement, and then early childhood mental health education services. Shane wishes to continue assisting families via community support and development. His passion is to facilitate in helping all children have brighter paths in life. His studies in policy analysis and administration enrich him in how to best approach civic community engagement and service delivery. At USC, he is involved with Price Social Innovation as the Finance Chair, and plans to further engage with International City/County Management Association.
Ryan Lutz is originally from Sacramento, CA and graduated from Wabash College with a B.A. degree in English literature and creative writing. He is currently pursuing a Master in Public Administration with a specialization in Art’s Leadership. Previously Ryan worked as the Strategic Partnerships Manager at SFFILM in San Francisco for four years. Ryan has published creative work in BULL: Men’s Fiction, and The Acentos Review, and he also wrote and produced a short film that has been accepted into the Twin Cities Black Film Festival and the Royal Starr Film Festival. Ryan has an interest in public and private partnerships and is researching the ways media affects public sentiment and the governance process. Ryan chose USC’s Price School of Public Policy because of its interdisciplinary approach to complex problems and its unparalleled network of alumni.
Ebele Obi, originally from northern California, is a 1st year MPA student at USC. Her interests are in non-profit management and social innovation. Particularly, she desires to use these tools and models to enact lasting and meaningful change to improve social welfare.
Before matriculating into USC, Ebele worked in project management. She received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Government from Dartmouth College. Ebele has always had an interest in how structures and systems impact outcomes and how people are an underlying factor in the results we see in life, business, and community.
Ebele enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring new restaurants, and having new experiences.
Grace Olguin is a first-year graduate student pursuing her Master of Public Administration. Since 2015, Grace has worked as an International Education professional focused on diversity outreach and study abroad. Grace attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. After obtaining her B.A., Grace worked abroad in China and Thailand for a year. Grace is currently an e-intern with the Community Liaison Office (CLO) in U.S. Embassy Hanoi, Vietnam. She also co-instructs a creative writing/spoken-word poetry workshop inside a women’s custody-to-community transitional facility through Prison Education Project (PEP) in LA County. Passionate about social justice, Grace has gained an invaluable and unique perspective through her community involvement through PEP and Reintegration Academy, both of which expand educational opportunities for inmates and parolees. In her spare time, Grace enjoys traveling, attending arts & culture/live music events in Los Angeles, and recording her weekly online radio show “Water for Tea.”
Isabel Oropeza is a first-year MPA student currently working as an Administrative Manager for UBS Financial Services, Inc. She began working at UBS Financial Services, Inc. after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Pepperdine University as an organizational communications major. Isabel is passionate about developing sustainable private public partnerships to address social justice issues. She decided to attend USC Price because she identified with the mission of the school to improve the quality of life of others domestically and abroad. Isabel is originally an Orange County native. She attended Fullerton Community College where she was recognized as a Woman of Distinction. She now sits on the Board of Directors for the Fullerton College Foundation. Isabel’s areas of interest include education and environmental policy. One of Isabel’s favorite organizations she has volunteer with for the past five years is Padres Contra El Cancer, a local non-profit based in Toluca Lake. During her free time she enjoys traveling, playing sports, and staying active.
Douglas Tohom is a native Angeleno that grew up in Echo Park and a 2nd year dual Masters of Public Administration and Master of Planning student, with a concentration in Social and Community Planning. He received a dual bachelor in History and Urban Studies & Planning from the University of California, San Diego (2015). Douglas decided to return to Los Angeles to pursue his Master degrees because he felt passionate about the importance of community and civic engagement in the planning process. He hopes to serve as a link between the planning profession, government officials, developers and community members to empower historically underrepresented populations and create a more equitable city. Outside of planning his passions include working towards issues of educational equity and long-distance running.
Helen Yu is a second-year Master of Pubic Administration student with a concentration on nonprofit management, particularly in the areas of strategic planning and public-private partnerships. She is interested in exploring creative and innovative ways for organizations to execute mission. As a Los Angeles native, Helen chose USC Price for its diverse faculty, interdisciplinary teaching approach, and renown network.