Rivals turned friends from Hawaii now heading to law school

When David Nguyen ‘18 and Josh Rosenberg ’18 competed against each other in soccer for rival high schools in Hawaii, they had no idea they would carry the Aloha spirit to Dominican and become friends with the same aspirations to attend law school.

“It’s sort of like a rite of passage, moment of personal growth to get off the island,” David says.

They both agree they grew at Dominican and now they are ready to return to Hawaii. David will enter William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu in the fall and Josh has been accepted at five law schools including the University of Colorado in Boulder. He, too, intends to someday open a law practice in Hawaii having benefited from his experience at Dominican.

“I was looking for a school with a good academic reputation,” says Josh, who joined the Penguins soccer team as a freshman from Kamehameha Schools. “I wanted to go to a school that would put me in a position to succeed.”

At Dominican, Josh majored in Political Science with a minor in History. His freshman year he was chosen to represent Dominican in Washington, D.C. at a presentation by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the organization that sponsors all the U.S. presidential and vice presidential debates. Dominican worked as a CPD Voter Education Partner for Dominican’s College Debate 2016, a unique national initiative that provided college students throughout the United States a platform to discuss and debate issues facing the country.

“We gave people voices that I think a lot of them didn’t think they had,” says Josh, who was a delegate for College Debate 16.

Thankful for professors such as Alison Howard and Gigi Gokcek in the Department of Political Science and International Studies and History professor Jordan Lieser, Josh recently joined the campaign for District Attorney candidate A.J. Brady in Marin County and has secured a paid internship this summer with U.S. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii.

“I always knew going to a smaller school like Dominican instead of a big school would lead to more opportunities for me,” says Josh, who serves as a student ambassador for the admissions department.  “That’s what really resonated with me.”

David, too, realizes the quality and quantity of opportunities presented to him at Dominican by professors willing to help and encourage him.

“Without that little extra nudge I think a lot of students, myself included, would not have ordinarily involved themselves in some opportunities. That’s been a big part of growing up,” David says. “When those opportunities arise it sometimes take a little extra to have you jump on it.”

David, a Political Science major and pre-law minor from Saint Louis High School in Honolulu, credits Alison Howard for supporting him as well as professors Eric Sinrod and pre-law advisor Christian Dean.

“Professor Dean has more or less been my mentor,” David says. “He’s shown me the ropes. He’s helped me improve my writing abilities and my rhetorical abilities. His classes have been my greatest asset.”

In addition, Dr. Dean encouraged David to join the debate club. “I felt comfortable. I already had friends within the club. I knew the community around here,” he says. “It made me more courageous to try things I normally wouldn’t.”

David interned in the office of State Senator Mike McGuire, but it was a summer internship last year in Hawaii with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard that helped convince him to pursue a career in law. She is an advocate for criminal justice reform.

“I got to sit in on some court cases there,” David says. “I enjoyed hearing the discourse so much more than the filing of paperwork in the office. Legislation wasn’t for me.”

But law school is.  David and Josh, former rivals and now best friends, share a responsibility to interact rightfully in the natural world. They fondly will say `Aloha’ to Dominican.

“Dominican has helped me grow by giving me the opportunities to develop my maturity and to become more responsible,” Josh says. “Law school is all about time management and working hard and efficient. Dominican has definitely helped my time management skills and developed my work ethic.”

May 7, 2018