Adjunct Professor and bar coach in the UDC Law Academic Success Program Genet Amare ’17 has established the Amare and Ava Scholarship to support parents and legal guardians in law school who demonstrate financial need. The scholarship is named after her father and her daughter to honor the roles they’ve played in her own success. The Advocate reached out to Amare to share her story.
By Genet Amare
I am a first-generation immigrant; my family came to the United States from Sudan. My father was determined to provide a better life for his children, and that meant leaving behind everything he knew and moving to the United States to build a better life for his family. Once in the United States, he worked tirelessly to ensure we had everything we needed to succeed emotionally, mentally and academically. You see, my father did not have the privilege of growing up with his parents, and he did not have the opportunity to obtain an education. To my father, education was critical for a person to be successful. Most importantly, it was imperative for his children’s success. He drilled into us that we needed to work hard, get an education and then find a good job. I knew that one day, when I had a child of my own, I wanted to be the parent my father was to me. I wanted to be supportive as my father was of me.
That opportunity arrived a lot sooner than I expected. In my first year of law school, I became pregnant with my daughter, Ife Ava. After she was born, I took a semester off to bond and care for her. During this time, I thought about how I was going to finish law school and what I was going to do about the bar exam. I thought about the time I needed to take off to study for the bar and whether I could afford to do that, which was a concern many of my law school colleagues shared. Like many, I had to consider the financial implications of taking leave to study for the bar and daycare costs. I had doubts and fears. Throughout this entire process, although she did not know it yet, but my daughter gave me the strength I needed to persevere. She reenergized me and renewed my purpose. The drive to succeed was kicked into overdrive.
After successfully passing the bar, I started to think about my journey and the impact it had on me. I wanted to find a way to help students like myself by creating a financial support system for students. Unfortunately, time passed, and I became busy at home and work. At that time, I was unable to put my plan into action.
In 2019, I was hired to work in the Academic Success Program as an Adjunct Professor and bar coach. I had no idea just how impactful Dean (Twinette) Johnson was going to be to the program and on me. I had no idea how much she would influence the students, UDC Law’s bar passage rate and me. As a graduate of UDC Law, I understand all too well the struggles of being a full-time parent, full-time employee and a part-time student. I also know how important it is to have a person who believes in you, believes in what you are trying to accomplish, as well as understands what it takes and what you need to achieve your goal. It was this understanding and compassion that invigorated me to finally put into action what I wanted to do – what I needed to do – which is to be the support system that I always wanted, the support system Dean Johnson was and is to students.
Dean Johnson’s hard work and sacrifices resulted in her completely revamping the legal and bar programs that are now thriving. Seeing her success motivated me, so I decided this was the right time to create a scholarship to support this thriving program. I am creating a scholarship for moms in law school who demonstrate a financial need. The Amare and Ava Scholarship is named in honor of my father and daughter, both of whom played a pivotal role in me becoming the person I am today. I hope I can be an example to the class of 2016 and 2017, and I hope they will join me in supporting the Amare and Ava Scholarship.