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Cristine Swanson Wilson Scholarship

LAW of Polk County offers a scholarship each year to a non-traditional law student at either Drake University or University of Iowa.  Applications are reviewed by the LAW scholarship committee, and typically the award alternates between universities from year to year. The Greater Des Moines Community Foundation administers the scholarship fund. A portion of each member's annual dues is a tax deductible donation that supports the fund and we welcome all additional donations that allow this fund to grow.

The LAW of Polk County Cristine Swanson Wilson Scholarship is in memory of Cristine Swanson Wilson, daughter of long-time LAW member Margaret Swanson. Cristine was an Iowa attorney who fought for anti-discrimination and justice in housing, education and employment for women. She was the chair of the group that evolved into the first Iowa Commission on the Status of Women. She was injured in a car accident in 1977 and remained in a vegetative state until her death 14 years later. Read more about her life at:


2018 Cristine Swanson Wilson Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Rachel Leigh is a 3rd year student at the University of Iowa College of Law. She has volunteered as an office assistance at Iowa Legal Aid, with Big Brothers Big Sisters, at the Johnson County Crisis Center Food Bank and was involved with the dance Marathon, a student-run organization at Iowa that raises money for children battling cancer.  Finally, last summer, she interned at Kids First in Cedar Rapids, which represents kids in high-conflict divorce and custody cases. (Kids First has recently been established in Polk County and is LAWs 2018-19 philanthropic recipient) Rachel’s goal is to become a child advocacy attorney at a nonprofit center in Iowa. Congratulations Ms. Leigh.

2017 Cristine Swanson Wilson Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Amy Howells has just completed her first year at the Drake University School of Law.  Amy is a non-traditional student since she has a daughter and two step-sons and enrolled in law school after working for over ten years in the public health and non-profit sectors.  She cites her work experience in the government and non-profit organizations as her commitment to public service. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies and also obtained a Master of Public Health which, when combined with a law degree, she hopes will serve her well in a variety of ways but especially as a public interest lawyer who can be an advocate for the health and welfare of women. She plans to work in Iowa upon her graduation.  Congratulations to Amy Howells!



Deadline to apply March 15

Scholarship application form



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