Amarillo native Madeleine Nelson has received a prestigious full-ride scholarship to the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Dedman School of Law from The Sumners Foundation of Irving, Texas.
Nelson is one of 43 students nationally to be awarded a Sumners scholarship for the 2022 year. Scholarship recipients are determined by the foundation based on academic excellence, civic engagement, and a capacity for leadership.
“The Sumners Scholarship is a very prestigious scholarship,” said Jerry Reis, chairman of the Sumners Foundation. “Sumners Scholars have made significant contributions to their communities, state and country. Following in the footsteps of Congressman Hatton W. Sumners, we are pleased to support students working to improve the political system, address issues through public policy, educate others about civic responsibility, and be active, productive members of society.”
Nelson, born and raised in Amarillo, graduated from Baylor University in the year 2020 where she studied literature and theater; after graduating, she joined a post graduate program which allowed her to live abroad in Spain, where she is living currently, as an English teacher. Nelson said that she is excited to come back home to Texas and decided to get her law degree to help people, especially those in states where she can utilize her fluency in the Spanish language.
"I am going to law school and am hoping to become an attorney, and ideally work in an area where I can focus on public interest law, or in the public sector with topics such as child advocacy, and immigration," Nelson said.
The scholarship recipient said she will begin to study for her law degree at SMU this upcoming fall semester. Nelson stated that she applied for the scholarship and was interviewed to be a recipient this past March. The day after the interview, Nelson was notified to be a recipient.
"I think Dallas is a great city. I'm excited to be close to home. I think SMU is a great school; I'm excited to be in school again. ... And because law school is such an investment, obviously the financial component is huge, and this scholarship allows me the freedom to graduate debt free, which is an unspeakable gift," Nelson said.
The Sumners Foundation was created by former Congressman Hatton W. Sumners in 1949 and later founded as a Texas nonprofit corporation and as a 501(c)(3) organization. The Foundation’s mission is to encourage the study, teaching and research into the science and art of self-government to the end that the American people may understand the fundamental principles of democracy and be guided thereby in shaping governmental policies.
Sumners Scholar alumni include U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, Senior Deputy Attorney General of Oklahoma Dara Derryberry, Chairman of Matador Resources Joe Foran, Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Nathan Hecht, Kerrville City Manager Mark McDaniel, and past Chancellor of the New Mexico Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church Charles L. Moore.
"This is an incredible opportunity given to me by the Sumners foundation, I know as I proceed with my schooling, I will come to appreciate the scholarship more and more," Nelson said.
To learn more about the Sumners Foundation visit them online at https://www.sumnersfoundation.org/
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Amarillo native receives prestigious full-ride scholarship to SMU