University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law alumna Melissa (“Mel”) Moeinvaziri has received the Catherine Caputo Hoskins Emerging Leader Award from the Community Action Partnership of Utah (CAP Utah).
Each year, CAP Utah holds an annual Poverty Conference to train professionals and volunteers in the nonprofit, government and business sectors whose work is focused on alleviating poverty in Utah. The second day of the conference ends with an annual luncheon, where individuals and agencies that have demonstrated dedication and leadership in helping the underserved population and eradicating poverty in Utah over the last year.
Moeinvaziri was nominated on behalf of the Pro Bono Initiative at the S.J. Quinney College of Law for being a true champion of the underserved in the community.
Moeinvaziri was honored Sept. 12 at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo.
She graduated from the S.J. Quinney College of Law in May 2017 and was admitted to the Utah Bar in October 2017. She has been with Perretta Law Office since May 2016, where she focuses on asylum and deportation defense.
Prior to law school, Moeinvaziri graduated with honors from the University of Utah with bachelor degrees in political science and international studies. She also earned a master’s of science in refugee and forced migration studies from the University of Oxford. There she wrote her thesis on the post-deportation monitoring of rejected asylum seekers. She also interned with the Rights in Exile Programme, where she managed the Post-Deportation Monitoring Network. She continues to serve as a resource person for the network.
During law school, Moeinvaziri interned at the Salt Lake City Immigration Court as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. Additionally, she focused her study on immigration law and received a CALI award in Legal Methods (legal writing). Moeinvaziri exercised her passion for public service by working with the law school’s Pro Bono Initiative (“PBI”). With PBI, Moeinvaziri served as director of the Hartland Clinic (2015-2016), director of the Community Legal Clinic: Sugarhouse (2016-2017), and a Pro Bono Fellow (2016-2017). She also served as the president of the Minority Law Caucus and continues to serve as a member of the Dean’s Diversity Council.
Moeinvaziri was born and raised in Salt Lake City. Her father immigrated to the U.S. from Iran, her mother from Portugal, and her stepmother from the Philippines. Moeinvaziri has never lost the global perspective of her upbringing and carries her knowledge of international affairs into her work at the local community level.