KOKOMO, Ind. — An Indiana University Kokomo alumna is among the top incoming students at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
Ashley Lowe, who earned her degree in communications in 2016, is one of three chosen for the IU Regional Law Scholars program. It provides a minimum of a renewable half-tuition scholarship as well as guaranteed experiential learning opportunities or research assistant hours.
“I know this scholarship will allow me to go above and beyond my goal of becoming a lawyer,” she said. “This award will allow me to effect real change in the world. That’s my ultimate goal.”
Law school wasn’t always Lowe’s goal.
The Twelve Mile native originally planned to be an event coordinator, but a business law class piqued her interest. She considered changing her major to pre-law, but stayed the course with public relations, not wanting to take on the additional three years of law school at that time.
“The business law professor was great, the subject matter was really interesting, and I just like how there’s no black and white,” Lowe said. “It’s left open to interpretation, and how you see it one way, and somebody else could see it a different way. I thought that was really interesting.”
Now, after being the assistant to the current and previous mayors of Peru, she realized it was time for a change.
“That all came back to me and I thought this is the time to do it,” she said. “If I’m going to ever do it, I might as well do it right now.”
Aside from her business law professor, Lowe said there were many members of the IU Kokomo staff who helped her along the way. The first was her academic advisor Catherine Barnes. Following struggles at another university, Lowe decided to restart her academic career somewhere closer to home. Barnes made her transition as easy as possible.
“She put me at ease, she looked at all my courses I had taken and got every single one of my courses to transfer into something I needed for my degree,” Lowe said.
Barnes also connected her with one of her professors, Joann Kaiser, senior lecturer in communication arts. Kaiser introduced her to her classmates, and advised her on student organizations to join.
“To this day, I am still friends with the people that I met in that class,” Lowe said. “If she had not introduced me to that, I don’t know how my experience would have gone. It just made me feel super included and not like a transfer.”
Kaiser also encouraged Lowe to get out of her comfort zone by auditioning for the role of class speaker at commencement – an honor she received.
“She was just a top-notch presenter,” Kaiser said. “I am not surprised at all that she’s going to go to law school. She had such an inquisitive mind and was able to respond to people and back up her claims.”
Now with the fall semester at the Indianapolis-based law school on her mind, Lowe is ready for the challenge of what lies ahead. She described her upcoming first year as a cornucopia of law classes which can help solidify her law specialty choice, but she has a pretty good idea of what her passion is.
“My big goal right now is to focus on employment and labor law because of discrimination I’ve seen in the workplace,” she said. “That’s actually what I wrote my entrance essay on, what inspired me to pursue this, and my motivation moving forward.”
Sarah Sarber, IU Kokomo chief of staff, congratulated Lowe on her selection.
“We are thrilled that Ashley Lowe has been selected as an IU Regional Law Scholar at IU McKinney School of Law,” Sarber said. “She has worked very hard to prepare for law school and for this opportunity, and we are proud of all she has accomplished and will do in the future.”
The IU Regional Law Scholars program is a partnership with the five IU regional campuses, including IU Kokomo, IU East, IU Northwest, IU South Bend, and IU Southeast. Each campus may nominate up to three students or alumni, and three will be selected each year.