Laurie Saroff appointed to lead USC federal relations office

Saroff was Chief of Staff to U.S. Reps. J. Luis Correa and Janice Hahn, the legislative director for former U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, and the deputy legislative director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. (Photo courtesy of Laurie Saroff)

USC announced Laurie Saroff’s appointment to the position of Vice President of the University’s federal relations office in a statement released Wednesday to their Press Room website. Her term will begin on Monday. 

The federal relations office’s function is to further the University’s “academic, medical and research missions with Congress and the [Biden] Administration.” With the new incoming leadership, USC will be adding to the office a new health policy team, which will tackle all government relations regarding health measures at the University. 

Saroff is a “veteran” in government work in Washington, D.C. After attending Bryn Mawr College for undergraduate degree and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government for her master’s degree in public policy, she worked on Capitol Hill for two decades in senior positions in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. 

Saroff was Chief of Staff to U.S. Reps. J. Luis Correa and Janice Hahn, the legislative director for former U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, and the deputy legislative director for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, all of whom represent California. She has dealt with work in many major government committees, including the House Judiciary Committee, Energy and Commerce, and Homeland Security.

Saroff has also worked in non-governmental areas, including during her time as co-president of the California State Society. She is a board member of 131 & Counting, an organization that focuses on “cultivating, connecting and celebrating the achievement of women lawmakers and women policy professionals.” Saroff also founded and serves as the executive director of the Jewish Women’s Congressional Network.

In its statement, the University expressed its excitement about Saroff’s appointment and outlined the work that she will do during her time with the University, which includes representing and advocating for USC’s interests in Washington. 

“Saroff and her team will work to strengthen USC’s federal policy presence as well as provide enhanced internal customer service to university partners,” the statement said. “That includes increased support for researchers and the medical enterprise. The federal relations team also will connect faculty, staff and students with policymakers and leadership opportunities.”

In an interview with the Daily Trojan, Saroff dove deeper into some of the work that she did on Capitol Hill, including having worked on some “post-9/11” legislation as well as legislation concerning the California energy crisis. 

“I’ve worked on almost every issue that’s [on Capitol Hill] — a lot of them which are really important to USC as well,” Saroff said, nodding to her long tenure on various congressional staffs. 

Saroff said she chose to work at USC because of its notoriety as a research school as well as because of the opportunity it will give her to work with students. 

“It’s a really wonderful opportunity and honor to work for such an esteemed research institute that has so much impact in the world of education and also to be involved with something with students,” Saroff said. “It’s great to be having opportunities to have connections to students and see what they’re doing.” 

Saroff said that the non-governmental work mentioned earlier contributes to her sense of community within the University, which she hopes will contribute positively to her work here. She said she’s excited to begin working at USC, especially as it’s located in a state whose representatives she has collaborated with for the last two decades. 

“It’s exciting to do something that’s also California-related, where I spent most of my career,” she said.