McGeorge School of Law

Profile: Michelle Teran

Michelle Teran
Michelle Teran

Class of 2017

MSL, Legislative Aide, California State Assembly
Undergraduate: UC Merced
Major: Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in Spanish

Michelle Teran is passionate about advocating for those facing adversity. After all, she knows all too well what it's like to overcome challenges. "I am one of four children and I am the first person in my family to put myself through and graduate from a four-year university. It was the hardest thing I've ever done."

Teran's Bachelor of Arts degree is in political science with a minor in Spanish at the University of California, Merced. During her junior year at UC Merced, Teran participated in the UC Sacramento program through UC Davis, where she was paired with a full-time internship at the United Farm Workers of America. "I'll never forget a class I took in college about social protests and movements. We looked at different movements in history and I was drawn to farmworker's issues. I was thrilled when I had an opportunity to work for the UFW."

When Teran completed her undergraduate degree, she was hired to work full-time at the United Farm Workers of America. As she worked on policies, she sometimes felt like she needed to take extra steps to understand, and began to seek out further training. "When I began to consider the MSL degree at McGeorge, I started by sitting in on Rex Frazier's legislative decision making course and realized right away that I would benefit greatly from pursuing the degree."

Teran worked on AB 1066, a historic bill that would phase in overtime pay for farmworkers over four years. "The things I've learned in the MSL program have been invaluable. I've received rigorous training and experience in interpreting policy, decision making, and lobbying. I find it all fascinating." The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 12, 2016.

In addition to the curriculum, Teran cites professor accessibility and a close-knit community as her favorite aspects of McGeorge. "In many ways it reminds me of UC Merced. The students and professors are all close and supportive and the professors genuinely want to hear from you. I always tell prospective students and new students not to wait until midterms to get to know their professors but rather, get to know them from the start."

In the future, Teran hopes to stay in the political arena and continue to make change through policy formation. "I find this type of work extremely exciting and hope to always be a part of it. The MSL has really armed me with the tools I need to succeed and grow in my field."