MLS Student Applying Classroom Knowledge to Human Resources Job

Sona Yesayan, Master of Science student in Legal Studies

Sona Yesayan still has a few months to go before she earns a Master of Science in Legal Studies degree from Loyola Law School. Yet the legal education she’s been receiving already has helped her in her career.

Yesayan works in the human resources department of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Her job involves working with online employee training and compliance programs regarding important issues such as sexual harassment and disability accommodation. “I use the information I get from my professors and my courses in my work all the time,” she said.

The topics she deals with are complex and exacting. “They take an extreme amount of research, but thanks to my Loyola classes, I have a little more knowledge about those fields than some of my colleagues,” Yesayan said. “I’m sharing what I learn.”

For instance, recently her work group was brainstorming ways to update training compliance initiatives. Yesayan could offer insights about how the real world works from her classes in employment discrimination, workers’ compensation and others.

“I was able to bring some of my knowledge to the discussion … so that nothing was missed.”

A native of Armenia, Yesayan came to the U.S. when she was 20 and went to work for the county health department as an emergency room secretary and informal Armenian translator. She graduated from California State University, Northridge a few years ago and decided to pursue an MLS degree because she saw the potential to advance her career at the county.

“I really like that MLS students are able to create our own program and concentrate on the classes that are important to us.” Yesayan is focusing on employment and health care law.

“Everything I have studied has been interesting and useful,” Yesayan said, beginning with her very first class in contracts. Her professor, Sayre Macneil Fellow Katherine Pratt, was a great help to her in learning the language of law as it applies to her work.

Yesayan also has taken classes in employment discrimination and health care regulatory compliance that relate to her job, but some of the more general classes, particularly contracts and negotiation, have also proven especially useful.

“I practice negotiation on a daily basis,” she said. “The skills I’m learning at Loyola as an MLS student are really turning out to be invaluable to my career.”

After a year and a half at Loyola, Yesayan finds she has become a promoter of the law school’s MLS program among her colleagues. “I see how much it’s done for me and how much I love it,” she said. Now, co-workers and supervisors ask her about the program.

“They’re actually very impressed with all that Loyola has to offer to MLS students.”

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