USask’s Barbara Baker was the recipient of the Morris and Jacqui Shumiatcher Scholarship in Law. (Photo: Submitted)

Donor support helps law student connect with the community

Inspired by the lawyers who volunteered at the same non-profits as she did during her undergraduate English degree at the University of Calgary, Barbara Baker is now at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) pursuing her dream of practicing law to make a difference in the community.

“I want to be able to break down the barriers of access for justice so that it is available for everyone,” explained Baker.

“I have volunteered with the Pro Bono Students Canada program as well as CLASSIC, the Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc., and each of these committees has a lawyer that oversees everything. This is a position that I would be really interested in pursuing in the future. I believe it will be our duty as lawyers to help everyone in the best way and truly make a change.”

Baker was the recipient of the Morris and Jacqui Shumiatcher Scholarship in Law, which is awarded to one student entering the College of Law each year, based on academic achievement.

“The College of Law places a large emphasis on volunteering, and thanks to the support of donors I was able to really immerse myself in that,” she said. “I was able to volunteer to present legal information to survivors of sexual assault at the YWCA, which is something I don’t think I would have been able to do if I was stressed about finances.”

Baker found that it is quite the transition from having a steady income working in Calgary to being a student again. She noted that without the financial and emotional support from donors it would have been a much larger hurdle for Baker to overcome.

“I think being able to focus on volunteer opportunities and developing connections with community members will assist me in the future, instead of focusing on how I am going to make money and pay for expenses now,” she said. “The experiences I am gaining through volunteering will be really positive in the long run.”

Baker also noted how this support has had a positive impact on her mental health throughout the school year.

“This scholarship has helped me be less anxious and more focused when it matters,” she said. “I feel more confident in my abilities because I know there are people that really care about my well-being and the work I’m doing.”

As a scholarship recipient, Baker said she now has more time to participate and give back to the community, something she is very passionate about and a motivating factor for her to pursue a career in law. 

“I have the time to help the community and give back in a meaningful way that I would not have been able to do if I had to be working,” she said. “It is because of donors that I am able help the community and I can only hope it will make a mark on someone else’s life.”

Baker offered her most sincere thanks to the donors who contributed to her scholarship. She sees the importance of their support and explained how they inspire her to also give back in the future.

“All students want is to better themselves, but they often face a lot of barriers getting in the way of them doing that,” she said. “I think that donors who break down those barriers and make university accessible to people who may not have the finances normally to be able to do that, is really amazing. I cannot thank them enough.”

Here's how you can help our students during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://alumni.usask.ca/news/2020/covid-19-how-you-can-help-our-students.php

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