In monthly sessions held at the USC Caruso Catholic Center, Leonine Fellows are led by Catholic thought leaders from around the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. During these sessions Leonine Fellows will grapple with some of the most important questions at the intersection of Catholicism and public life.



In monthly sessions held at the USC Caruso Catholic Center, Leonine Fellows are led by Catholic thought leaders from around the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. During these sessions Leonine Fellows will grapple with some of the most important questions at the intersection of Catholicism and public life.

Join over 650+ Leonine Fellows across the country 

Become part of a larger community of leaders committed to integrating the teachings of the Church within their professional and civic lives.

Applications for the 2022-2023 Leonine Forum cohort in Los Angeles are now closed.

2021-2022 LOS ANGELES


Russell Abdulla

Russ Abdulla was born and raised in Orange County, California. He spent five years in the seminary at St. Michael's Abbey and completed a degree in Philosophy and Theology. He is married and has a son. Russell is currently a Theology teacher as well as an Admissions Coordinator at JSerra Catholic High School. He also is a Realtor with Compass in the LA and Orange County region. Russ enjoys spending time with his family, reading philosophy, and playing basketball and golf.
Richelle Borrelli

Richelle is responsible for leading PepsiCo Foodservices strategic culinary and salty snack growth agenda across National Restaurants. She recently relocated back to California from Texas where she lived for the past 5+ years. Richelle holds a B.S. in Agricultural Business from California State University, Fresno and graduated with honors from the Augustine Institute where she earned her M.A. in Theology. In her free time, Richelle enjoys cooking, traveling, and volunteering in her community.
Stephanie Caranica
Moorpark College

Stephanie is a Student Success Coach for a First-Year Experience Program at a local junior college. She earned her bachelor's in communication studies at UCLA (2015) and her master's in Counseling for Higher Education at California Lutheran University (2019). As a child of Romanian immigrants who fled communism, Stephanie is passionate about truth, liberty, and speaking up for what is right.
Andrea Cervantes
University of California, Irvine School of Law

Andrea Cervantes is a law student at the University of California, Irvine. A California native, she is happy to be back in Southern California after starting her career in policy and law in Washington, DC. Andrea graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in History.
Gerardo Cervantes
NextGen Aeronautics

Gerardo Cervantes is an Engineer at NextGen Aeronautics working on research and development projects for various Department of Defense branches. He graduated with a Master in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University. Gerardo was born and raised in South Los Angeles and currently lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife.
Erin Coleman
Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman LLP

Erin Coleman is a partner and co-founder of Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman LLP. Prior to co-founding Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman LLP, she worked at national defense firms Arent Fox LLP and Alston & Bird LLP. She focuses her legal practice on matters involving complex civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense. Erin serves on the Dean’s Council for Pepperdine University School of Law and is an active volunteer with the Carmelite Sisters and Missionaries of Charity. She holds a B.A. from University of California, Santa Barbara, and a J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law. She resides in Alhambra, California, with her law school sweetheart.
Kara DiPrima
The DiPrima Residence

After a decade of dedication to clients in the advertising world, Kara DiPrima relocated to California and pivoted to focus on raising her children. She hails from Atlanta, Georgia and is often found incorporating all things southern into her newfound west coast lifestyle. Kara graduated from Converse College as a Trustee Scholar with dual degrees in Marketing + Computer Science. She converted to Catholicism in 2011 and is continually focused on furthering her faith and that of those around her. She lives with her husband and their two children in Orange County.
David Dry
Pepperdine University

David Dry is a Los Angeles native who recently returned to the City of Angels to attend the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. After graduating from Westmont College in 2014, he worked in Washington D.C at the NRCC as a campaign staffer, in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Legislative Assistant, and for the Archdiocese of Washington as a policy advisor. David was received into the Catholic Church in 2016 and spent time as a novice with the Dominican Friars of the Province of St. Joseph. He will complete his Master of Public Policy degree in 2022 and hopes to continue serving his community in Southern California. David enjoys traveling, theology, photography, reading (especially political biographies), and he is an avid supporter of Liverpool F.C., USC football, and the LA Dodgers.
Lisa Ebiner Gavit
Saint Mark School

Lisa Ebiner Gavit was born and raised in Southern California and loves living in Los Angeles. She attended the University of Southern California, first earning a BA in Philosophy and later earning an MA in Teaching. She currently works as a second grade teacher at a Catholic school where she gets to see the Holy Spirit at work every day in her students! During the summers when school is out, Lisa spends her time volunteering in several different areas of pro-life ministry. Outside of work, she enjoys photography, playing sports and board games with family, exploring LA (or foreign countries) with friends, and spending time with Jesus at Mass and Adoration. 
Zach Eckert
JSerra Catholic High School

Zach Eckert is the Director of Campus Ministry & Annual Giving at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, CA, where he has served for the past 8 years. He is passionate for the mission of Catholic education and its institutional advancement, which is practiced in his cultivation of meaningful relationships with students, families, staff, board members, and donors. He believes strongly in the importance of mission branding and strategic leadership to tell the story of an organization and its power to impact the world. Zach is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville and is currently completing his MBA at The University of Dallas. He has a real estate background with experience in sales and marketing. Zach is married to his wife, Sarah, who he met while working together at JSerra, and they have one 2 year old son, Jack. They enjoy going to the beach, cooking good food, and spending time with family. Zach loves to play guitar, surf, and read as much as possible.
Michael Gasparro
Healing and Peace Catholic Therapy Services

Michael Gasparro is a transplant from Texas to California and originally began his career in the field of music performance and music ministry upon graduating from Baylor University with a Bachelor's of Music Degree. After diversifying his work by venturing into the ministerial role of Catholic Confirmation Coordinator at local parishes in Los Angeles, Michael returned to graduate school where he completed a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Hope International University. He now works as a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor in Los Angeles while continuing to explore his passion for the intersection between religion and psychology.
Lauren Geiser
Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP

Lauren is a litigation Associate at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP. Her practice focuses on business disputes and class actions in federal courts. Lauren received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law, and her B.A. in English and Political Science from Case Western Reserve University. A Pennsylvania native, Lauren is a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan. She enjoys hiking, yoga, running, and Victorian novels.
Denise Gomez
Washington Iron Works

Denise was born and raised in the City of Los Angeles where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Cal State Northridge. She works as a Project Manager for Washington Iron Works, a miscellaneous steel fabricator. She currently serves as Recording Secretary for Catholic Daughters of the Americas at St. John Chrysostom's Court in Inglewood, CA. In her free time she teaches confirmation, runs a youth ministry, and likes to stay active by hiking, playing tennis, or traveling.
Peter Grace
Norman's Nursery

Peter is the CEO of Norman's Nursery, which has been family-owned and operated in Southern California for more than 75 years. He previously was in M&A advisory at Harris Williams in Richmond, Virginia. He began his career in the Industrials Group at Spencer Stuart. He holds an A.B. in Philosophy from Georgetown University and a M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
James Herrick

James works as a Civil Analyst for Kimley-Horn, which provides engineering consulting services for a variety of transportation and land development projects throughout the country. James has supported over a dozen offices at Kimley-Horn on a wide range of land development projects, and he currently focuses on large-scale solar projects. Prior to coming to Los Angeles in 2018, he spent two years in New York City working as a Staff Engineer for Langan. James grew up in Colorado, New Jersey, and Virginia, and he earned his bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 2016. Since graduation, he has been an instructor and mentor for high school leadership programs such as The Grade in New York City and Ahead in Los Angeles. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, singing, basketball, and soccer.
Mary Hoffman
Starr Design Group

Mary Hoffman is an architectural designer running STUDIO: Mary Hoffman, a residential design firm based in Los Angeles. She holds an accredited five year Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech and spent her fourth year on bilateral exchange in Düsseldorf, Germany at the Peter Behrens School of Architecture. She values the iterative nature of design and strives to create spatially rich, contextual projects that transcend the everyday.
Lauren Kramer
Office of County Counsel, The County of Orange

Lauren Kramer is a wife, mother of four young daughters and an attorney. After a successful collegiate and professional softball career, she embarked on a career of public service by joining the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor and then the Office of County Counsel in Orange County, California where she has remained for nearly 14 years. She currently serves as the managing attorney for a team that advises County agencies on infrastructure, real estate and environmental laws and regulations.