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2007 grad wins scholarship to law school

by Sherry Fisher - June 18, 2007

A 2007 UConn graduate is one of the first five recipients of a new full scholarship to the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle.

Salmun Kazerounian, who majored in cognitive science and philosophy, has been awarded a William H. Gates Public Service Law Scholarship.

The scholarship covers tuition, books, room and board, other fees, and incidental expenses.

The program also provides support for seminars and internships and collaborative opportunities with other law schools in Washington in the area of public service law.

Acceptance of the award represents a commitment on the part of each recipient to work in public service for five years following graduation.

Kazerounian is excited about his scholarship and the opportunity to pursue a law degree.

“I plan to attend law school to find ways that I can help to advance the interests of the exploited and the oppressed, who are neither few nor far,” he says.

“The scholarship allows me to engage in this kind of work without worrying about repaying a six-figure debt.”

While at UConn, Kazerounian worked for social causes, including labor, human rights, environmental, community, and student issues.

He also served as a student trustee.

“I tried to adopt positions, regardless of how controversial, that I believed to be reflective of the interests of students, faculty, and staff,” he says.

Last year he organized a two-day conference on democracy and education which, he says, “is an overarching theme of my activities during the past four years.”

The event included workshops, panel discussions, and lectures.

Kazerounian helped start the UConn Free Press, an alternative student newspaper.

“It was primarily for opinions that wouldn’t have made it into other papers,” he says.

He is one of the founding members of Wrench in the Works, a project in Willimantic.

“It’s a coffee house and social justice center for nonprofit groups run by volunteers and funded by donations,” he says.

The center, which has about 50 members, has a lending library, free movie showings, and poetry and musical performances.

Kazerounian spent a year at McGill University in Montreal through the Study Abroad program, and continues to work as a web developer for the Institute for Teaching and Learning.

He says he has enjoyed being a student at UConn. “You can find some wonderful faculty who are dedicated to their work and genuinely care about the students,” he says.

“UConn is generally a very open-minded institution and there are many ways in which to get involved and participate,” he says.

“I also met a wonderful group of students, and I’ll probably remain friends with them for ever.”

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