Salva Named a Top Student by National Jurist

3L Jennifer Salva

3L Jennifer Salva has been named one of National Jurist magazine's 2019 Top Law Students.

The award recognizes "smart, passionate, worthy students...who have overcome a host of obstacles and are resolved to helping others," according to the magazine's website.

Salva's personal story contributed to her desire to become an attorney. It's both remarkable and demonstrates her character and her desire to improve her community and her world. It begins when she was three and her sister Erin arrived. Erin was born with a chromosomal translocation: a genetic mutation that left her with profound developmental disabilities, physical limitations, and deafness. Erin required virtually around the clock care, of which Salva became a necessary part. When Erin reached school age, Jennifer became her advocate — on the playground, in the classroom, to her teachers, and for social experiences. Salva wanted Erin’s peers and educators to understand how to include her in classroom and social activities regardless of her ability levels, and how this would not only enhance her education, but the education of non-disabled students by giving them a better understanding of how to communicate with someone who appears to be different than themselves.

In wanting to create a more inclusive place to live for her sister, Salva uncovered a passion to increase access to justice for marginalized populations, despite what that barrier to justice may be. Her extensive experience working with individuals with poor communication skills, individuals with varying ability levels, and her knowledge of American Sign Language equipped her with a special understanding of how to serve those who are considered to be a different. Salva chose to become an attorney to couple that special gift with a legal education to serve Kansans who have barriers to access to justice.

"This recognition demonstrates how great of a place Washburn Law is to earn a legal education," Salva said. "I chose to come to law school to increase my ability to help others. But I didn't realize how much help I would receive along the way from professors, Washburn Law alumni, and the J.L. Weigand Legal Education Trust as I worked toward my degree. I'm really lucky that I get to have my name on this award, but it is emblematic of Washburn Law, its professors (especially Professor Grant and Dean Mastrosimone, who have been mentors for me and so many others), and other Washburn Law students who are doing incredibly important work in their communities, too. I am proud to represent Washburn Law, and all that it embodies, in this unique way."

Read more of Jennifer's story on the National Jurist website.