Law student finds encouragement to succeed through scholarships

Scholarships have defined Beth Crosland’s experience at Washburn University School of Law.

The financial support she has received as a Washburn Law student has given her confidence in her successes and motivated her through her struggles.

Beth Crosland

“Scholarships are what drew me to Washburn,” Crosland, a third-year Washburn Law student, said. “I had already decided to come here when I had my visit.”

Crosland had worked as a paralegal at law firm in Cassville, Missouri, and, while studying psychology at Missouri Southern State University, was a paralegal at a firm in Joplin, Missouri. That experience sparked her interest in studying law after she received her bachelor’s degree, but, as a mother of two, she was concerned about supporting her family as a law student.

“I didn’t think law school was an option,” she said. “I didn’t know what resources were available, and I didn’t know if I would be able to support my family.”

The amount of scholarships offered, some encouragement from a Washburn Law alumnus at the Cassville firm where she was a paralegal, and a panel of students she spoke to about the Topeka community solidified her decision.

Crosland said her first year at Washburn Law was a great experience because she got to meet students through mandatory study groups and build camaraderie while helping each other through their first year of law school. She has also been impressed by the accessibility of her professors.

“I really like the size of the school and that professors are approachable,” she said.

After a year of trying to juggle her focus as a law student and her responsibilities of being a mother, Crosland’s GPA fell, and she lost her scholarship. 

“Coming here as a single parent, I wondered how I was going to keep up with everyone,” she said. “I had to accept that I wasn’t going to perform at the same level as everyone else because of my family responsibility.”

Crosland became more involved in her church community and was able to recover her GPA, which she said gave her more confidence in herself. In the meantime, she received financial support for her education from the Washburn Women’s Alliance.

Most recently, Crosland has been involved with the Washburn Law Clinic. She worked in an internship at the clinic over the summer and in a directed internship there this fall helping with domestic and criminal law cases. She said her interest in psychology and social work led her to want to pursue domestic law after she graduates next spring.

“I’ve grown to appreciate domestic law because I think I excel in it. I fell in love with it over the summer, especially working on adoption cases,” she said. “I just want to help build up families.”