Social Biases in the Courtroom Scholarship Winner

2020 Winner: Dustin Jesch

Originally from LaPorte, IN, I currently reside in nearby South Bend, IN with my wife, Kimberly, and my daughter, Scarlett. Over the last decade, I have held several positions in social services including adult protective services, the Indiana Department of Child Services, and now juvenile probation for the last four years. I truly enjoy the challenge of working with youth who are dealing with unimaginable life experiences. If I have made a difference in even one youth’s life, the daily grind of my position is certainly worth it.

Reaction Statement: I am deeply humbled and grateful the firm chose me to be the scholarship recipient. Currently, I am attending Pittsburg State University working toward a graduate degree in history, a truly challenging program that has without a doubt strengthened my writing and analyzing skills. Those skills have been critical in my current position where I continue to enhance my writing and analyzing skills. This scholarship will defray a significant portion of my education costs, and for that reason I am truly thankful. It is my hope that the firm will be proud of the work I continue to do with our youth and the effort I put forth in my education at Pittsburg State. Again, thank you.

2019 Winner: Axelle LaBaw

My name is Axelle LaBaw. I am a senior at Glen Cove High School, graduating in June 2020. I am passionate about social justice, having participated in my school’s Teen Court program for 4 years and acted as the Vice President of our Mock Trial club. Outside of the classroom and courtroom, I am a devoted cellist and avid tennis player. I perform as the principal cellist and Co-Captain of the orchestra, and (quite literally) serve as the first singles and Captain of the varsity tennis team. In my free time, you can find me with a legal thriller book in hand.

Reaction statement: To say I am deeply appreciative of the Warshauer Woodward Atkins’s support as I enter college would be an understatement; I am honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Social Biases in the Courtroom Scholarship. Being recognized by the Warshauer Woodward Atkins for my research on jury selection was a reminder of all that I hope to accomplish in the field of law—a glimpse of the force for good that I aspire to become. To have the approval of such a respectable firm is the best way to commence my legal journey. I thank the Warshauer Woodward Atkins for their role in making my aspirations a reality.

2018 Winner: Kylie Gardner

My name is Kylie Gardner and I am currently a dual enrollment student at North Carolina Connections Academy and Forsyth Technical Community College. I will graduate in June 2019 with my high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree. I will attend the Fall 2019 semester at King University in Bristol, TN to obtain a double major in Digital Media Art and Design as well as Political Science as a college junior at the age of sixteen. Finally, upon completion of my bachelor’s degree, I will enroll in law school to obtain a Juris Doctor and Master of Laws degree.

In my spare time, I race mountain bikes in cross-country, dual slalom, and downhill disciplines. I am currently nationally ranked #1 in dual-slalom and #2 in downhill for my age group. I serve as Senior Class President, Youth Student Mentor, and prom queen as well as have received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award and the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award for my school. I am a National Honor Society member, Phi Theta Kappa member, and a Morehead-Cain nominee. Additionally, I represent the constituents of North Carolina District 13 as a political intern for Congressman Ted Budd and work part-time for Salem Professional Anesthesia Services.

Reaction Statement: To say I was shocked to win the Warshauer Woodward Atkins Scholarship is an understatement. Receiving the voicemail that detailed my win caused me to jump from my seat and dance around my family living room. Just being considered, let alone win, despite my age (16) and the idea that I am not a true college student, but rather a dually enrolled high schooler is a tremendous honor. Due to my age, it has been a struggle to be taken seriously when covering topics of great importance, such as the essay prompt: Describe Social Bias in the Courtroom. Therefore, to be selected as the winner of the scholarship reaffirmed my belief that I am capable of distinguishing between the easily-hidden truths and facades that encase the career I wish to pursue despite the idea that some may carry of me being too young to accomplish this.

I truly appreciate being the Warshauer Woodward Atkins Scholarship winner and cannot describe the true honor it is to be chosen as the recipient. This essay was a moment of recognition for me, and I am delighted a venerable establishment such as the Warshauer Woodward Atkins has chosen me.