SWLAW Blog | Awards & Honors

Collage of the ten There is a Light Foundation recipients

May 8, 2024

Arash Homampour '92 Empowers Law Students with Public Service Prizes

Los Angeles, CA—Ten Southwestern Law School students have been awarded the There Is a Light Foundation Public Service Prizes. The Foundation, established by Southwestern alum Arash Homampour '92, donated funds to recognize graduating students who have dedicated themselves to public service. Each recipient—3L Bryon Alvarez, 3L Bianca De La Vega, 4L Alex Gonzalez, 3L Karen Herrera, 3L Mingyu Kong, 3L Carie Martin, 3L Ester Mendez, 3L Zara Mokhtar, 3L Nadia Salcedo, and 4L Philip Schuler — received $7,500 to help them advance their public-service work. 

“Arash is passionate about helping students to help others. Southwestern has a long-standing tradition of inspiring public-service in its students, so these prizes were a perfect match,” said Southwestern President and Dean Darby Dickerson. “We had many outstanding applicants for these prizes, and the ten selected have already demonstrated their commitment and impact in giving back to their communities.” 

The award recipients embody the spirit of public-service. Zara Mokhtar, who currently externs at the American Civil Liberties Union, plans to continue her work advocating for criminal justice reform. Nadia Salcedo aims to support underprivileged communities by representing parents in dependency court, and Alex Gonzalez will advance his focus on tenants' rights. The other recipients have similarly ambitious goals to serve the public good, including children's rights, serving the LGBTQIA+ community, and representing immigrants. 

Carie Martin, a 3L and the school’s Student Bar Association President, emphasized the award’s impact on her ability to continue giving back: "This award helps me serve communities that need recovery and reinvestment, especially after the pandemic. It empowers me to help culturally significant communities thrive, resisting gentrification and displacement. I am grateful to Mr. Homampour and the There Is a Light Foundation for this incredible honor.” 

The There Is a Light Foundation, established by Homampour, aims to assist individuals with limited financial resources in achieving their goals. The foundation's prizes offer financial assistance, enabling recipients to cover tuition, living expenses, and bar exam costs, allowing them to focus on serving the community. 

“Success is about looking beyond oneself and serving others,” said Homampour. “The prize is a way for me to give back to a school and community that supported me, and to empower future legal professionals to do the same.”