Alane Roby, a 2007 alumna of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, is the first recipient of the Brett Aspey Memorial Scholarship.
Aspey, who graduated from the College in 2003 and was a criminal prosecutor in the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, died of a gunshot wound at his Phoenix home on Dec. 18, 2004. Police have yet to make any arrests in the homicide.
Roby, who works in the County Attorney Office's Fraud and Identity Theft Enforcement Bureau, received the $3,500 scholarship. Its organizers, which include some of Aspey's classmates, hope to award it annually to a graduate of the College of Law who is interested in public service and is an Arizona native, as was Aspey.
Roby, who has never lived anywhere but Arizona, earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Arizona State University and then worked at the Arizona Attorney General's office, where she assisted crime victims by explaining to them their rights and the workings of the courts.
"I found it so rewarding, but I was very limited, because you had to be an attorney to file the motions, and attorneys had the ability to make the victims' experiences in the criminal justice system the best that it could be," she said.
So, Roby came to law school, with an eye on returning to the public sector someday. She enjoys assisting not only victims, but also criminals, working to get them help "rather than just throwing them in jail."
"I think you can make a difference by being reasonable," said Roby, a single mother of one child. "Sometimes you get black and white, and it's `our side or their side,' and I don't ever want to be like that. I want to focus on the work, rather than how much work I have to do."
Brad Shwer, a classmate of Aspey's who helped establish the scholarship, described him as a smart, personable young man who was always interested in public service.
"I think that always says something about people, that they are a bit selfless, they are willing to put others before themselves, and serve the community as best they can," Shwer said. "We were all shocked and upset by Brett's death, and we hope graduates will be willing to support their scholarship as a way of giving back to the school and, more importantly, keeping his memory alive."
Roby, who put herself through law school while caring for her three-year-old daughter, Gabriella, said she will use the scholarship money to help pay off her debt.
To contribute to the Brett Aspey Memorial Scholarship contact Shwer at (602) 616-4820 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or e-mail Cynthia Kelley, the College's Director of Alumni Relations, at email@example.com.