Happy Valentine’s Day to our Indian Legal Program family, which keeps growing! We wanted to celebrate this sweet holiday by spreading some of the love we have right here in our program. Thank you to all the couples who submitted their pictures to us!
Featured: LaTonia Bercenti Johnson (’05), her husband, Eli, and their daughter, Brooklynn; Theresa Rosier (’98) and Peter Larson (’02); David Hammond (’04) and his wife, Becky; Glenna Augborne (’16) and Brandon Arents (ASU Law ’15); Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes (’94) and Bradley Bledsoe Downes (’94); Christine Reyes (’17) and John Van Dyk (ASU Law ’17); Ron Rosier (’95) and Kate Rosier; Heather Clah (’05), her husband, Ramondo, and their children; Chia Halpern Beetso (’08) and Derrick Beetso (’10); Jake Schellinger (’12) and Vivian Nava-Schellinger (ASU Law ’12); Aspen Miller (1L) and her fiancé, Seth Jensen; Nikki Borchardt Campbell (’09) and Matt Campbell (’08); Chelee John (’16) and Travis Lovett (’14).
Some iconic ILP couples found love on ASU grounds! Three couples shared their special stories.
Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes (’94) and Bradley Bledsoe Downes (’94)
“We both entered law school in 1991. We both participated in the ILP during our entire law school career. We started dating in the fall of our 2L year. Our first date was a movie and we saw ‘A League of Their Own’. We were married March of our 3L year. Many of our law school and ILP friends traveled to Vegas for our wedding! We will celebrate our 25th anniversary on March 19.”
Christine Reyes (’17) and John Van Dyk (ASU Law ’17)
“John and I met on the second day of law school (not at ASU, we’re transfer students). I had taken a picture of the front of the classroom on the first day of school to post on social media with the caption ‘First day of Law School!’ John happened to be sitting in front of me and so the back of his head made an appearance in the picture. A mutual friend of ours apparently recognized the back of John’s head and messaged me asking if the guy in front of me was John Van Dyk. The next day I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he was John Van Dyk. He turned slightly to acknowledge me and confirmed that he was, but quickly turned back around. I proceeded to tell him ‘I know this might sound weird but yesterday I took a picture of the back of your head and my friend recognized you.’ He again, slightly turned and said, ‘Oh!’ and chuckled, but turned back around quickly. (I must’ve made him nervous). After that day we clung to each other (on that sinking ship) and became best friends and study buddies! We were just friends for the first year of law school until we finally gave in and started dating after 1L year. January 31, 2019, almost 4 years later, he popped the question! And we’re officially engaged!”
Glenna Augborne (’16) and Brandon Arents (ASU Law ’15)
“Brandon and I met through a mutual friend in law school in December 2013. I shared my chicken enchiladas with him, and we talked about martial arts, music and food all evening. Despite having a great introduction, Brandon played it cool for a month before asking me out on an official date. When he finally did, he took me to what is now our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. We were married February 11, 2018––just in time for Valentine’s Day.”
Jake Schellinger (‘12) and Vivian Nava-Schellinger (ASU Law ’12)
“Jake walked into my Torts Law class as I had already set up my necessary highlighters, notebooks for taking down and important information, and had my laptop ready to go. Jake walked in, sat in front of me, and turned around to ask me for a highlighter. He was cute and suntanned (from what I later learned was attributed to time he spent building pools in the Midwest all summer), I figured I could lend him a highlighter. We later found out that we were not only in the same section, but we ended up in the same study group. The third floor of the “old” law library on the Tempe campus because a place of sanctuary for us; an ironic comfort mixed with hours of reading, outlining, and practicing for oral arguments in study rooms cramped with too much Taco Bell and Mountain Dew. While the law library became “our place” learning together and challenging one another began to feel like home.After years of friendship, we started dating in fall 2011, 3L year, and after graduation, Jake proposed to me exactly three days after we took the bar exam. He proposed at my favorite running spot, on the most scenic point in the Franklin Mountains, in my hometown of El Paso, Texas. Our journey brought us to Washington, DC, and tons of adventures in between. We continue to see both the ILP and ASU Law as that representation of “home” that we will always have, no matter where life takes us.”
Mandy Cisneros (’11) and Joe Keene (’12)
“Mandy Cisneros (Kickapoo/Potawatomi) and Joe Keene (Osage/Cherokee) first met in Lawrence, Kansas. Mandy was a graduate student in the University of Kansas Indigenous Nations Studies Program, and working at the dorms on the Haskell Indian Nations University campus. Joe was completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Haskell. Both were on track to attend KU Law, but once they learned more about the Indian Legal Program at ASU, they changed course. Neither had ever been to Arizona before. Mandy started law school the year before Joe, and during her second year and Joe’s first year, the welcomed their daughter Maya. The addition of a new baby did not derail their dreams of becoming attorneys. In fact, the ILP community provided support and encouragement for the new little family to continue their journey, successfully. Since graduating law school, the couple settled in Tempe, AZ and became engaged in 2018. They believe if they survived law school together, marriage should be a breeze. Mandy is an Associate General Counsel at Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton, AZ, and Joe is an Associate Attorney at Sacks Tierney in Scottsdale, AZ.”
Nikki Borchardt Campbell (’09) and Matt Campbell (’08)
“Matt and Nikki met during the summer of 2006 at the Pre-law Summer Institute (“PLSI”) in Albuquerque. Matt had just finished his first year of law school at ASU, and he was working as a teaching assistant for PLSI. Nikki was attending PLSI as a student, and she was planning to attend the University of Utah the following fall. As fate would have it, during PLSI, Arizona State (ahem, Kate Rosier) stole Nikki away from Utah and gave Nikki an offer she couldn’t refuse–an amazing scholarship offer and the opportunity to study with the best Indian legal scholars in the country. Nikki was headed to Arizona. The day Nikki moved to Tempe, she received an unexpected call from Matt. He invited her out with other ASU law students for the evening. He was charming, polite, and fun. They began dating soon thereafter and quickly became inseparable. The two became best friends and fell in love. They married in October of 2011 and welcomed son, Eli, in April of 2013. They now live in Colorado where Matt is a Staff Attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, and Nikki is the Executive Director of the National American Indian Court Judges Association.”
Chelee John (’16) and Travis Lovett (’14)
“ When I started law school, Travis was a 3L. I first noticed him during the ILP’s Welcome Dinner where he was awarded the Judge William C. Canby Scholarship. Professor Clinton introduced Travis and spout off an extensive list of Travis’ law school accomplishments. Let’s just say, I was immediately impressed. A few days later, NALSA hosted its first lunch meeting and, as the President of NALSA, Travis led the meeting. This is the first time Travis remembers noticing me, the overly eager 1L sitting in the front row of the NALSA meeting. Having both noticed each other, you would think as confident future-lawyers that we would just introduce ourselves, but apparently we were not that self-assured. A week or so later, the law school was scheduled to host its inaugural “Gold ‘n Gavel” fundraiser and the ILP had two tickets to give to its students. By mere happenstance (or so I thought) Travis and I were the two ILP students chosen to attend the event… Within hours, we started emailing, quickly exchanged phone numbers, and by the end of the night of the Gold ‘n Gavel, Travis asked me if he could take me out sometime. To which I articulately replied, “fo sho.” And the rest is history. We’ve been together nearly six years, we each graduated from law school; we moved to Canada and back again; had our daughter, Atlanna; Travis got his LLM; we studied and passed the Indiana bar together; and now we drive to work together, both working for the State of Indiana – Travis as a Deputy Attorney General and I as a Law Clerk for Court of Appeals. And to think it all started by being cc’ed on an ILP email.”