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Empowering The Next Generation


Parker Poe's Scholarship Program at Johnson C. Smith University

Brandi Barron’s goal to be a lawyer became more tangible over the past year.

It was the second year she received Parker Poe’s scholarship at Johnson C. Smith University, a historically Black university in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to the scholarship’s financial benefits, it has opened doors for Brandi to learn more about a legal career, including allowing her to participate in Parker Poe’s THRIVE program designed for law students.

“It was an amazing experience to be able to speak with law students and go to the different sessions and engage with them as if I were already in law school,” Brandi said. “Plus, I was able to network among the professionals who are already lawyers and get their different perspectives.”

Parker Poe created the scholarship at JCSU in 1993 and expanded its scope three years ago. It now covers the cost of tuition, fees, and room and board for one student per academic year.

“Having this scholarship takes off the financial burden of being a student,” Brandi said. “It means I can concentrate more on my studies, getting involved more in the community and in my campus versus trying to figure out how am I going to pay for school.”

The scholarship features a mentoring component as well. During her time as a mentee, Brandi has built strong connections with Shalanna Pirtle, Crystal Jones, Olabisi Ajao, and others at Parker Poe that will last beyond her college years.

“I actually have their phone numbers on call at any moment if I really need something,” she said. “In addition to the mentorship, just having those connections and being able to speak with someone who is willing and ready to help – with whatever – has been great.” 

Brandi says her experience with Parker Poe has affirmed her decision to pursue a career in law.

“Having someone who has already been through the process that you’re trying to go through, and being able to get their insight and knowledge to help you navigate your journey, has been amazing,” she said.

To learn more about the initiatives Parker Poe has undertaken to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our firm and in our communities, click here to read our annual DEI report.