The State Bar of Michigan Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section shall present at least two nonrenewable tuition/books-only scholarships to be limited to the amounts available for distribution. For the year 2013, the scholarships may range from $250 to $1,000, and are available to those enrolling in, or already enrolled in, a paralegal/legal assistant degree/certificate program at a post-secondary college or university located in the State of Michigan. One scholarship may be awarded only to a member of the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section. However, if the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section does not receive enough qualified applicants, then it may elect to award less than two scholarships. Members of the Paralegal/Legal Assistant Section Scholarship Committee are not eligible to receive this scholarship during the year in which they serve on the Scholarship Committee.
$1,000 to Patricia Buttermore, Northwestern Michigan College student
Patricia Buttermore, of Traverse City, works full-time at Traverse Legal PLC, in intellectual property law, while attending evening classes to earn her associate’s degree. Her eight years’ service as Wexford Township clerk first introduced her to the world of law. At age 46, after her grown children left home, she decided it was time to start a new career. She entered her first college class—Introduction to Legal Assisting—on the same day she accepted her first position as a legal assistant. Because she felt she needed a crash course, she read the entire textbook in the first two weeks. Four years into the program, she has a 4.0 GPA and expects to graduate from Northwestern Michigan College’s paralegal program in 2015. Grand Traverse Area Legal Professionals (GTALP) voted her Legal Professional of the Year in 2011. Attending classes at the end of a long workday isn’t always easy, but the law continues to intrigue her and she feels privileged to work in this field.
$750 to Amanda Kaatz, Davenport University student
Pictured: Kathy Ann Blunck (Section chair), Amanda Kaatz and Jennifer Petty (Scholarship Committee chair).
Amanda Kaatz, of Middleville, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Aquinas College (2004) and is currently a student in Davenport University’s post-baccalaureate paralegal studies program. She expects to graduate in May 2013. She serves as treasurer of the Legal Assistants @ Davenport University club and is a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi Foundation and the National Society of Leadership & Success. She has made the school honor roll for community service. During her 2011‑2012 school year, she volunteered for the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program and for Davenport Estate Planning Services (DEPS), which prepares estate-planning documents for low-income people. Amanda also works full-time for Pitney Bowes, both in the imaging department at its national processing center and at the Pitney Bowes copy centers within five Grand Rapids area law offices, providing coverage for absent employees or additional backup.
$500 to Ashley Haney, Grand Valley State University student
Pictured: Kathy Ann Blunck (Section chair), Ashley Haney and Jennifer Petty (Scholarship Committee chair).
Ashley Haney, of Middleville, is a sophomore at Grand Valley State University and majors in legal studies. She first became interested in working in the legal system when she was in seventh grade, but she was hesitant to pursue a career as an attorney because she wasn’t drawn to public speaking. When she reached college, she was pleased to discover that her passion for law didn’t mean she had to be a lawyer. As a student in GVSU’s Introduction to Paralegal Studies class, she realized that a paralegal career would permit her to both live out her passion and feel comfortable in the environment in which she would be working. She has grown as a student, she says. Once she grew accustomed to the demands of a college workload, her initial A’s and B’s turned into A’s and A-’s. Ashley has been a student mentor ever since her senior year in high school. She currently mentors a young boy through the GVSU Pals Student Mentors program, which seeks to care for those who are unable to get the attention they need and befriend those who are in need of a friend.