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Bound for a life of public service

Salutatorian Alexander Fullman heads to Oxford University this fall to pursue a master of philosophy in comparative government. (USC Photo/Dietmar Quistorf)

He has traveled to all seven continents, shaken the hands of three U.S. Supreme Court justices and has had his scholarly research widely published. And he’s not done yet. In the fall, Alexander Fullman, one of this year’s salutatorians, heads overseas to the University of Oxford. And after that, he said, he has big plans to change the world, advocating for justice and equality.

Yet the Los Angeles native has already made great strides toward that goal.

“I’ve tried to work for justice in my own ways here at USC,” he said, explaining his efforts to spread awareness and advocate against genocides and other mass atrocities in Darfur and the Congo as a University Fellow with the Jewish World Watch organization.

From his first days at USC, Fullman, who is majoring in political science at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences with a minor in communication law and media policy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, created a rigorous academic program for himself, preparing for a future in law and public service.

A natural leader, Fullman was also president of the USC Blackstonians Pre-Law Honor Society, vice president of Jewish life at Hillel at USC, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and the Mortar Board national honor society.

And this year, the USC Trustee Scholar became the eighth USC student to receive a Marshall Scholarship, one of the highest honors awarded to American undergraduates.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” said Fullman, who received the University Trustees Award at the Academic Honors Convocation. “From the start of my freshman year and to date, I have found great mentors who encouraged me to pursue the many different opportunities available to undergraduates here at USC.”

Two years ago, one of these mentors, USC Dornsife Professor Alison Dundes Renteln, urged Fullman to revive the USC Journal of Law and Society, a student-run publication featuring undergraduate legal scholarship.

“It was a little bit nerve-wracking,” he said. “I had never participated in or edited, let alone led, an academic publication before.”

As editor in chief, he published two issues: one exploring matters of justice and the other dedicated to election campaigns and political communications. The journal is now in its third year of publication, an admirable legacy for Fullman.

Fullman’s academic prowess twice took him to Washington, D.C., as a Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, where his research focused on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court campaign finance case. His paper was one of just 20 selected for publication.

After he earns a master of philosophy in comparative government from Oxford, Fullman plans to return to the United States and attend law school, and then focus his career on advocating for people and for the causes in which he believes.

“I’m not sure exactly how that plan will manifest itself, whether as a professor, as an attorney or as a judge,” he said. “Ultimately, I’d like to do something fulfilling as it ties into striving for justice in the world.

“I know that sounds a little idealistic,” Fullman continued, “but I’m allowed to be, right?”

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