The Park Scholarship is the highest academic and leadership award at N.C. State, and a magnet for top high school students from across the country. For Womble Carlyle attorneys Matt Latrick, Larry Moye and Kim Richards, the Park Scholarship also was a launching pad for their current legal careers.
The Park Scholarship is a full academic ride—all tuition, room, board and other expenses are covered by the scholarship. But the benefits go far beyond its sizable monetary value. Park Scholars have the opportunity to participate in learning opportunities that would be the envy of students at any university. Latrick, Moye and Richards all say their experiences as Park Scholars were life-changing, and that the lessons they learned as Park Scholars benefit them today as attorneys.
For example, Latrick and his classmates took a trip to Washington, D.C., where they had personal meetings with high-ranking elected officials and national leaders. Richards and her class held a retreat in Yellowstone National Park, while Moye studied climate change with researchers on the North Carolina coast.
Moye said he always was impressed with how cooperative N.C. State faculty and administrators were to meet the needs of Park Scholars. Scholars are encouraged to create their own independent learning projects and are then provided with the resources to make them happen.
“If you can dream it up, it got worked out,” he said, noting that he first met former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt by virtue of the fact he was a Park Scholar. Years later, Moye worked with Gov. Hunt in Womble Carlyle’s Raleigh office.
Valerie Schwartz, the Assistant Director of the Park Scholarships Program, says the program “establishes a supportive community wherein students are challenged, through healthy competition with their ambitious peers, to step outside their comfort zone, dream big, innovate, be accountable, leave a legacy, and always uphold their personal integrity.”
Service also is a key component of the Park Scholarship and is another lesson that carries over well to the legal profession. Schwartz says service—along with scholarship, leadership and character—is one of the four pillars of the entire scholarship program.
“There is an expectation that you will participate in community service the entire time you are a Park Scholar,” Latrick said. For example, he tutored middle and high school students through the YMCA. Richards served on the Student Judicial Board, which arbitrates honor code and ethics issues, while Moye served in N.C. State’s student government.
Latrick, Moye and Richards all say the Park Scholarship’s focus on service and responsibility benefits all graduates, including those who enter the law.
“Our job as corporate attorneys involves quarterbacking projects,” he said, noting that he got used to organizing such efforts while working on Park Scholarship projects, including the annual Service Raleigh Project.
“We learned project management and leadership skills that we are putting to use here at Womble Carlyle,” Richards said.
Networking is another key benefit of the Park Scholarship. Moye said “The networking opportunities are second to none.”
Recipients meet a wide range of contacts, including faculty and staff members, fellow students and business and government leaders, who can be a tremendous resource for attorneys.
“Park Scholarship officials continued to support me after I graduated,” Richards said. “They are still a resource for us. We have a great network of graduates.” For example, when she was preparing for law school, she received advice from a Park Scholars contact already in the legal profession.
Latrick added, “One of the great things about the Park Scholarship is that it isn’t tied to any major,” he said. “You end up with an incredibly diverse group of friends.”
Finally, Moye said the Park Scholarship was a great preparation for life as a trusts and estates attorney because he was used to setting and meeting high expectations. Park Scholars are expected to produce at a high level, he said, just like Womble Carlyle attorneys.
“Being a Park Scholar prepared me to play at that level,” Moye said.
This story by Bruce Buchanan, Copywriter for Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, was originally published on the Womble Carlyle website.