Meet the Class of 2025
A freshman from Duluth, Minnesota, who walked on to the George Washington University varsity sailing team, Mikaela Smith, 1L, helped saved the program when it was slated to be cut as a cost-saving measure. Working with the university administration, she led fundraising efforts that sustained the program as a club team. She was unanimously elected president of the club’s executive board, and last spring the team was ranked #11 in the nation, including varsity programs.
After establishing a career in food and wine photography, Lauren Hamilton, 1L, made the decision to return to college. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French Studies, graduating cum laude from UCLA. She opted to continue her education at Minnesota Law to explore how to make an impact in the public and international sectors through human rights law.
After earning his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Michigan State University, Chad Peltier, 1L, was recruited by the U.S. Navy to oversee the Submarine Force’s psychological screening program. Peltier, who also holds a master's degree in public administration, is enrolled in the joint J.D./MBA program at the University of Minnesota. He plans to use his combined skills to help create well-informed, evidence-based health care policy.
Hans Holzner, 1L, grew up in a multicultural and multilingual home with an American mother and a Mexican father whose parents were Italian immigrants from the German- speaking part of northern Italy. When he was two years old, his family moved to Chad, Africa, where they lived for ten years. He has also lived in France and Spain, and spent signifi- cant time in Cameroon, Kenya, and Italy. As the child of an immigrant, and with significant experience living in places around the world, he says he is drawn to the field of immigration.
Madison Rubin, 1L, graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from Iowa State University. Her work explored areas such as specified drug delivery for cancer treatments and the utilization of biopesticides to address problems throughout agriculture. She experienced firsthand the challenges faced by women in STEM fields and plans to use her combined science and law expertise to assist women innovators.
Reauna Stiff, 1L, served as student body president of Minnesota State University-Mankato, home to 14,000 students. During her term, she helped create a new position for a social worker who could guide homeless students toward housing resources. She also secured a contract for a new housing website that would increase transparency between landlords and student tenants.
David & Kelli Johnson
David Johnson, 1L, and his spouse, Kelli Johnson, 1L, relocated from Seattle to their native Midwest to attend Minnesota Law. David, who most recently served in controller roles within the high-end millwork and lumber industry, is contemplating environmental law. Kelli, who was a senior financial partner at a large healthcare organization, is interested in specializing in health care law, with a focus in reproductive justice. “Minnesota Law has great programs that fit each of our potential areas of concentration,” David says.
Meet the LL.M. Class of 2023
Shaghek Manjikian came to Minnesota Law from Armenia as a Fulbright scholar to obtain her LL.M. with a Business Law Concentration. Originally from Syria, Manjikian lived through the civil war there and has published stories based on her experiences. She is hoping to use the knowledge and experience she gains in the LL.M. program to promote alternative dispute resolution in Armenia.
Samkelo Dlaminihails from Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland). A Fulbright scholar, he has served as a legal officer with his country's Financial Services Regulatory Authority and is interested in pursuing banking and finance law to help alleviate poverty in his native land.