The Next Generation of Leaders

The Next Generation of Leaders

Photo, left to right: Kayla Richardson ’24 and Leah Wilkins ’23

Kayla Richardson ’24, sociology, political science double major

  • Inaugural cohort and only Hollins student, Roadmap Scholars, University of Virginia, 2022
  • Mentor, Student Success Leader, Hollins, 2022-23
  • Class of 2024 Vice President in 2021-22 and 2022-23
  • Senator, Model UN/Model Arab League since 2021
  • Hollins Summer Research Fellow, 2021

I definitely gained a lot of knowledge as a UVA Roadmap Scholar. I have a better understanding of legal writing, applying to law school, and what law school will look like. Before the Supreme Court rulings, [my cohort] already was discussing them. The Roe v. Wade ruling was a tough one for us, even though we saw it coming. It motivates me even more, though. Who else is going to make changes?

Growing up, I was always politically engaged and thought everyone else was into policy, too. I want to see a change in the world, and being a lawyer aligns with that. During my 2021 J-Term class, Trial and Error with Judge David Carson [23rd Judicial Circuit in Roanoke], I saw civil proceedings. Even traffic court was inspiring. I saw lawyers in action, working together in the background for common ground, which isn’t what you see on TV. [As an attorney], I want to be involved directly benefiting marginalized communities. Since the Roadmap Scholars program, I am leaning toward criminal law.

Leah Wilkins ’23, political science major; social justice, gender and women’s studies minors

  • Part of first cohort of Hollins students ever selected for the nationally competitive 2021 pre-law Pipeline PLUS Scholar program; Leah attended the University of Houston Law Center and won the Best Legal Writing Scholar award
  • University of Colorado Boulder Mini Law School, 2022 Marivious Allen intern, Carrier & Allison Law Firm, Beaumont, TX, Summer 2022
  • Georgetown University Junior State of America Summer Program, 2018
  • Chair, Honor Court and Appeals Board, 2021-22, 2022-23
  • Mentor, Hollins University Early Transition Program 2020-21
  • Vice-President, Sandusky Service House 2020-present
  • Vice President, Black Student Alliance

The recent Roe v. Wade decision is so stressful, especially in Texas. It fuels me to work harder. Seeing a Supreme Court Justice who looks like me is monumental. Having J.D. after my name will allow people to see as well as hear my words.

Being Honor Court Chair really makes me think about decisions and consequences. It isn’t just a slap on the wrist. I didn’t realize how real-life this experience is. There are not a lot of students who have the student handbook highlighted with sticky notes.

This past summer, I shadowed at the courthouse, went over depositions, and got a lot of hands-on experience. Originally, I wanted to be a prosecutor, but Professor Chenette said to see both sides. I am loving the defense end of law, which surprised me. At a bigger university, I would not have had this much care from my professors. I know that they listen to me, which will really help me in the legal field and how I will care for my clients.