Name: Lilia Kavarian Major: Business Administration, Prelegal option Graduation Date: June 2016
Name of award and a brief description:
Capital Fellows Program – Judicial Administration Fellowship in Merced, California. The Judicial Administration Fellow will assist with the following projects:
Direct Calendaring: Direct calendaring is a type of calendaring system for case flow and is designed so that when a case is filed, it will be assigned to one judge and that case will remain with that judge for all hearings. The fellow will assist in interpreting data and compiling and preparing monthly reports, such as cases filed, pending case load and time standards.
Veterans and Homeless Court: The purpose of the Veterans and Homeless court is to provide homeless and veteran persons access to the court system and is a collaborative effort between the social service agency and the court. The fellow will assist in designing a model for a Community Homeless and Veterans Court Program in Merced.
E Citation project: Assist in the creation of a functional process of data interfaces between the Courts, local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway patrol in partnership with the Superior Court of California, County of Fresno.
Law Day: Assist the Human Resources division with the development and planning of the Court’s Law Day. The fellow will research Law Day ideas and collaborate with the local high schools on the Law Day mural project.
Expand Mandatory E-Filing: E-filing is a program that permits the filing of legal papers by electronic means. The fellow will assist the Court in the expansion of its e-filing system to other divisions in the Court.
Youth Court: Youth Court is an innovative approach to juvenile justice and acts as an early intervention for first time offenders by diverting them out of the traditional juvenile system. The fellow will assist the Court in maintaining the Youth Court in Merced County.
Finance Projects: The fellow will assist the Finance Division with various finance projects. HR Projects: The fellow will assist the Human Resources Division with various Human Resources projects.
Facilities: The fellow will assist the Administration Division with various space and facilities projects.
What are your future educational and career goals?
I hope to continue my career in public service by pursuing a law degree and becoming a district attorney. Eventually, I would like to become a judge either at the state or federal level. I also hope to create a non-profit that prevents troubled youth from entering the justice system or prevents those who have from reentering.
What inspired you to apply for this award?
After returning from my congressional internship in Washington D.C., I knew a career in public service was in my future. Working for Congressman Jim Costa and seeing his passion to truly better his district and constituents instilled a fire in me to do the same. Although it is hard to believe, my generation and my peers will be the next members of Congress, our next state officials, and our next educators. I have realized it is in my hands, and my peers, to better the world for ourselves and generations to come through civic engagement and critically thinking about the improvement of our world.
Upon return, I actively searched for more opportunities like the one in D.C., and when I heard about this program through the Honors College tea with Aaron Chua, I knew this was my next step. I really did not think I had a chance due to the competitive nature of the Judicial Administrative Fellowship (only 10 fellows accepted), but I was ecstatic when I heard the good news.
What are you most looking forward to during the fellowship?
I am positive this fellowship is going to change my life in the best way possible. First, I am excited to be moving to Merced for 10 months, which is extremely different than Los Angeles. Merced is rural and has a population of less than 80,000 residents. This drastic change will be very stimulating and show me a different part of California I have always been interested in. A smaller city also means a closer relationship with the community. I hope to be hands on and get to know the different personalities of Merced, and be engaged with the daily life both in and out of the courthouse. I am also looking forward to the small size of the court, consisted of approximately 130 full-time employees and only 9 judges. This will allow me to have close relationships with my colleagues, who I might depend on for guidance along this journey. I hope to use this fellowship experience to learn about the law in practice and how courts engage directly with the communities they serve so I can be better prepared to serve as a district attorney one day.
What tips or suggestions do you have for future applicants?
DON’T BE AFRAID TO LOOK FOR THESE OPPORTUNITIES AND APPLY! Seriously, I feel like students at Cal States sometimes are intimidated to seize opportunities like this one just because they fear they are not competitive enough compared to students from other schools. I, along with countless other students, are proof that this is all a lie and only in your head. We are capable of landing the most prestigious internships/fellowships thanks to our amazing instructors and mentors who dedicate their life to educating students and helping them reach for their goals. My advice is to actively seek opportunities in your area of interest. Go talk to a counselor, look up opportunities online, or talk to one of our greatest resources; Cassidy Zimmerman! She will go out of her way to find fellowships that suit your educational and professional goals. No matter how impressive your grades are, students need this kind of work experience to stand out to employers and attain real personal skills to succeed in the future.
For future applicants of the Capital Fellows Program specifically, I advise you reach out to past and accepted fellows like myself, and ask them as many questions as possible. Also, keep in mind that the interview process is very intense because interviewers are seeing about 20 applicants a day for four days. Do your best to make a great impression and show your dedication to public service in the great state of California.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
If someone takes a look at my resume, they would assume all of my interests are in politics, public policy, and law. This being said, my passions do lie in other areas, specifically hands on and outdoor activities. I enjoy stand up paddle boarding, practicing yoga, and gardening. If time permits, I hope to become a certified yoga or fitness instructor and teach in the near future.
April 2017 Update: Lilia recently accepted admission into George Washington University Law School in Washington D.C. She will begin her studies in Fall of 2017.