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SANTA ROSA – Empire College School of Law honored 23 graduates on June 6, ranging from a former CHP officer to an insurance company executive.

It was the school's the 34th annual commencement. A total of 25 graduated in this class.

The school of law was founded in 1973. Roughly 25 percent of the members of the Sonoma County Bar Association are graduates of the program.

The following received their juris doctor degrees.

Andrzej Bednarski – Mr. Bednarski has worked in insurance, sales, publishing and business consulting. While at Empire he provided bilingual assistance to clients at the Immigration Clinic.

Lynnette Brown – In her second year of law school, Ms. Brown began working as a certified law clerk at the Law Office of the Public Defender of Sonoma County.

David Derczo – Mr. Derczo is an eight-year veteran of the United States Navy and has served as a CHP officer for 18 years in both Los Angeles and Sonoma County.

Kayla Ann Egnew – Ms. Egnew volunteered as a paralegal intern and then as a director of the Housing Law Project at the Community Legal Information Center.

Faailoilo Fuimaono – While attending Empire, Ms. Fuimaono participated in the Small Claims, Disability Law and the Elder Law clinics.

Jane Gaskell (Valedictorian) – Ms. Gaskell worked both as a law clerk at the Sonoma County Public Defender’s Office and as a project manager for a local environmental consulting firm.

Shirley Gordon – Ms. Gordon is vice president of operations for State Farm Insurance in Rohnert Park. She has been with the company for 36 years and has been active in the community including the advisory board of the Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics and is a former board chair for United Way.

Kristina Guth – In her senior year at Pacific Union College, Ms. Guth decided to change her studies from medical to legal because she felt she could impact large groups of people through the law.

Jenica Leah Hepler – Ms. Hepler worked for the Sonoma County Superior Court and eventually the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.  While attending Empire, she volunteered at the Elder Law Clinic.

Thomas Hoeft – Mr. Hoeft is interested in combining his law degree with his previous degree in engineering to pursue becoming a patent attorney. While attending Empire College he participated in the Elder Law Clinic.

Katherine Kingsley – Ms. Kingsley is a licensed Realtor in California and Texas and is a certified property manager. During law school, she worked in the area of bankruptcy with a private firm.

Victoria Lancaster – While in school, Ms. Lancaster volunteered with the Sonoma County Small Claims Advisory Clinic, co-authored a case note for the Empire Law Review and is currently serving as editor-in-chief of Volume 5.

Sarah Marie Lewers – During her time at Empire Law School, Ms. Lewers twice competed in the Environmental Negotiations Competition and is co-authoring a case note for Empire Law Review.

Paul McGoldrick – Mr. McGoldrick participated in the Self-Help Access Center, Elder Law Clinic and Small Claims Clinic. He currently is a volunteer at the Elder Law Clinic. He hopes to practice in the area of real estate law.

Christina Marie Ploumen Mortensen – Ms. Mortensen volunteered her time for the Climate Action Campaign and worked with the county of Sonoma as a major contributor for the Sonoma County Climate Action Plan.

Andrew Stephen Quinn – Mr. Quinn participated in the Self-Help Access Center and the Small Claims Advisory Clinic while in school. He is currently employed as a law clerk with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

Yolanda Solano – Ms. Solano is a land use planner for the county of Sonoma. While in law school, she received community service awards for volunteer work with the Elder Law and Immigration Law clinics.

Karin Stoeckenius – Ms. Stoeckenius worked as a legal intern at the Legal Self-Help Center of Marin and also participated in Empire College's Family Law Clinic, Elder Law Clinic and Immigration Law Clinic. She received the Witkin Award for Excellence in contracts, criminal law, professional responsibility and constitutional law and participated in the Roger J. Traynor Moot Court Competition.

Yann Therene – As an Empire student, Mr. Therene participated in the Self-Help Access Center and as a small claims adviser. He has been a hotel night auditor for the past 10 years.

Orchid Vaghti – Ms. Vaghti has been employed with the Law Offices of L. Stephen Turer since 2002, working in her future area of practice, criminal defense.

Jonah Walsh – Mr. Walsh worked for Mendocino County as an information technology coordinator, participated in Empire College’s Self-Help Access Center and has worked as a certified law clerk at the Sonoma County Office of the Public Defender.

R. Ryan Wilber – As a law student at Empire, Mr. Wilber has been a certified law clerk for the Law Offices of David J. Hamilton, the Mendocino County Public Defender’s Office and the Law Offices of Stephen M. Beckwith.

Jennifer Wilson – While at Empire, Ms. Wilson was hired as a law clerk by Empire alumnus attorney O. Ocean practicing in family and juvenile law. She plans to open a practice focusing on family law. She is also interested in helping battered women and children find a safe living environment.