As the students at WVU Law pursue their educational and career goals, they are also contributing to the culture of excellence that helps define the college.
Day to day, WVU Law students are diligently at work outside the classroom, ensuring the success of various projects from student organization events and fundraisers to community service efforts. One of those who routinely dedicates her time to these endeavors is Stephanie Welsh, who graduates in May.
Between serving as the Student Bar Association (SBA) Community Service Chair and the Vice President of the Public Interest Advocates (PIA), Welsh’s hard work has been invaluable to the WVU Law community.
The SBA 5k that Welsh organized this year raised over $1,300 for Legal Aid of West Virginia. She was also instrumental in the Veteran Thank You Project that sent cards and tokens of appreciation to U.S. soldiers overseas.
In addition to these programs, Welsh is active in moot court and the American Bar Association Law Student Division. She has also helped at new student orientation.
Welsh’s contributions to the WVU Law community are why she was selected a recipient of the Spring 2015 Exemplary Student Award, which is part of the Culture of Excellence program at the law school.
“Stephanie goes about her work for others quietly and without the expectation of recognition,” said Janet Armistead, assistant dean of student affairs. “I am glad that we could pay attention to all that she has done, and let her know how much she is appreciated by all of us.”
A native of Wheeling, West Virginia, Welsh earned two undergraduate degrees from WVU—political science and a multidisciplinary studies degree in sociology, philosophy, and economics.
She decided on law school because of her experiences with West Virginia’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, where she has been a volunteer since 2011.
“I saw a lot of the failures of the system,” she said. “And I knew I would need a law degree to be able to make the changes that I want to see.”
Last spring, Welsh’s passion for child advocacy was reinforced when she earned a CALI award for the highest grade in her child protection law class.
This year, Welsh’s career in child advocacy has been given a boost from the West Virginia Fund for Law in the Public Interest. The organization recently awarded her a summer post-graduate fellowship that will enable her to work for Legal Aid of West Virginia in Wheeling. Her focus will be children in foster care.
Welsh’s desire to help others, along with her compassionate nature, is exactly what motivated many of her peers to nominate her for the award. As one fellow student said,
“I’ve never seen someone so willing to help those in need—and it is not just the average unfortunate person that Stephanie reaches out to. It’s children who have been abused and neglected. It’s foster children who don’t have a voice who might be lost in the system. It’s those in extreme poverty who need legal advice to escape a bad situation. I have been inspired by Stephanie.”
Kaylyn Christopher 04/15/15