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Alumni Spotlight: Summer Connections

Alumni give students valuable, virtual connections during frenzied summer

From School of Law Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2020

Social distancing and COVID-19 meant a traditional externship wasn’t going to happen for rising 2L Megan Storie this summer. To replace the experience Storie and other students missed out on, the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association and the Professional Development Office paired 14 students with alumni volunteers to meet virtually for a summer research and writing experience.

Storie, BS ’19, Candidate ’22, was matched with Kansas City, Missouri, community advocate Kathy Persley, ’95, to launch a project that will provide legal and other needs of domestic abuse survivors.

“COVID-19 increased the level of domestic violence we had seen here in Kansas City and the resulting impact of not having enough shelter, housing or assistance for all the people who might need that,” Persley said. “Our legal aid society is overwhelmed and some of the needs are not being met, so we were looking at ways we could provide those legal services. Unfortunately, domestic violence is still a really prevalent issue that needs to be addressed in the community.”

The two never met in person as Storie spent much of the summer in her hometown of Wichita. She helped Persley by gathering research and brainstorming creative ways to start the project. They will continue the work this fall. For Storie, the experience reinvigorated her passion for helping those affected by domestic violence, a passion she didn’t necessarily get to explore in her first year of classes.

Megan Storie posing“Part of the reason they paired me up with her was that I had a background in working with sexual assault survivors and domestic abuse survivors,” Storie said. “She helped me get back into that passion because my classes didn't focus on that.”

Persley offered Storie comforting mentorship during a stressful transition from virtual learning last spring, moving this summer and then returning to the classroom this fall.

“She was always there to lend an ear about law or just about life and how crazy law school and life is,” Storie said of Persley. “She said to make time for yourself outside of studying.”

Persley is glad she can help Storie work toward something important.

“I found Megan to be a very passionate person. I can't wait to see her in action as a lawyer because I think she will be a great advocate,” Persley said. “Attending Washburn Law School was one of the best experiences of my adult life. Anything we as alumni can do to support young lawyers or law students to come out and continue the work that needs to be done, we should all get involved.”


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