Monday Morning Message 10.11.21 I Am Not Successful in Spite of My Son. I Am Successful Because of My Son.

Posted 2021-10-11 10:30am

“A lot of people will look at me and say that I was able to succeed in spite of being a young, single mother. But they are wrong. I am not successful in spite of my son, I am successful because of my son. He has made me the person I am today and I will have him to thank when I get my diploma in the spring.”  - Jillian Gosser, Founder and Past President, Student Parent Alliance, 3L

“I look forward to the day when Gregory gets to see his mommy walk across that stage and get the degree she gave her blood, sweat, and tears for. Don’t ever give up on your dreams because anything is possible if you dedicate your entire being to it!” -
Gianna Colucci, President, Student Parent Alliance, 3L

“Yes, it’s hard. But the thought of my babies watching me quit is even harder. Forward we go!!” - Latosha Tate, Secretary, Student Parent Alliance, 3L

“ My experience has defied all of the stereotypical cut throat expectations I had, and is instead a place where my daughter and I have expanded our world to include a whole law school family. I'm so glad that the Student Parent Alliance has been formed to tap into that welcoming energy and create even more opportunities for parents to pursue their dreams.” -  Carly Caldrone, 3L

Please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, October 12, 5-6pm,  for a very special event to support a remarkable CSU C|M|LAW student organization, the Student Parent Alliance (SPA).  See CSU C|M|LAW Alumni & Student Panel: Challenges and Opportunities of Attending Law School as a Parent | Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 

Join three prominent CSU C|M|LAW alumni - Christine LaSalvia '03, Tim Misny '80, and David Nager '90 - and two 3L law students, Gianna Colucci, SPA President, and Jillian Gosser, SPA Founder and Past President, as they discuss their experiences attending CSU Cleveland-Marshall.

The event will be live in the Moot Court Room, but if you cannot attend in person, you can also watch live via Zoom. Please click on the link to register for Zoom accessA reception will follow the program.

Gianna Colucci reached out to Tim Misny for help, and thanks to the great support of Tim, Christine, and David, we have created the Student Parent Alliance Scholarship Fund! They generously contributed $10,000 to start the fund, and we are asking alumni and friends to donate and raise at least an additional $15,000 to endow the fund and make it permanent. So far, we have reached 45% of our goal. See here.

The C|M|LAW Student Parent Alliance (SPA) has a twofold mission of aiding current parenting students in law school and making law school more accessible for future parenting students. SPA wants parenting students of all walks of life to know that they are seen and supported. 

The SPA Scholarship Fund was created to aid in removing all barriers for parenting law students that would prevent them from succeeding in law school. This new scholarship fund will aid parents wishing to attend law school by providing financial assistance to those in need that will help cover the cost of tuition, books, child care expenses, or any other expenses related to a parent’s success in law school.

Read the below powerful words of some of our student parents, and please donate to the SPA Scholarship Fund here.

Gianna Colucci, President, SPA, 3L:

“ When I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant at 21 years old, I immediately panicked. I always knew I wanted a higher education, I was scared, I was not ready to be a mother because I knew I had aspirations to go back to school, and I knew that would be near impossible raising a child. I was on my own, working a job I did not like, and had no money in my bank account. Yet, I now had a child on the way, and a dream that was not going anywhere because I remained determined to succeed in life.

 When I applied to law school, I knew it would be difficult juggling a job, work, and a toddler, and to be honest, I felt like an outcast because I was coming in as a young single mother. I knew not many of my colleagues would be able to relate to my predicament. The past two years in law school have been extremely difficult for me. I’ve struggled financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Stress has become my “best friend.” However, starting this journey, I vowed that I would never quit because I wanted to show my son that if your dream is big enough, no obstacle could ever be enough. I’m determined to give my son the life he deserves. I’m unstoppable. May 2022, here I come.”

Jillian Gosser, Founder, Past President, SPA, 3L:

I believe that everyone deserves to have the education they desire. I always took my education for granted until it was threatened. I was less than half way through college when I became pregnant with my son, and finishing school became more important than ever. I knew that if I could finish my education, I would be able to get a great job that would take care of my son and myself for the rest of our lives. Going to college while pregnant gave me hope for the future that my son and I could still have an amazing life. 

 Going to law school as a mom presented new challenges because of the amount of study required to be successful. While every student in law school faces unique obstacles, the majority of law students do not spend several hours of the day feeding, bathing, playing, and doing homework with children.  Enter remote learning and the COVID-19 pandemic, which created even more obstacles to parenting student success. Throughout 2020 and early 2021, I had to learn to manage classes with a 4 year old guest student sitting next to me. It was an isolating experience at times, but I knew I was not alone.

I had met a handful of parenting students at the law school before the pandemic, and I was inspired to create a student organization where parenting students could connect and share resources and experiences. In fall 2020, the Student Parent Alliance launched. Today, we have over 20 members, and they are some of the most inspiring people I know, balancing school, work, and parenting with grace. I recently was looking at the CALI awards for Spring 2021, and saw several of our members on that list. What an accomplishment- to spend so many hours of the day raising children, balancing class while taking care of them at the same time, and to still get the top grade?! The people in the Student Parent Alliance blow me away every day. I am so proud to know each and every one of them. 

 Carly Caldrone, 3L:

 “After getting accepted at Cleveland-Marshall, I know exactly the moment when I knew it was the right place for me. I am a single mom and was very nervous about applying to law school. My daughter is my biggest motivation and my parents are my biggest supporters. So when Dean Fisher sent out an invitation opening up his home to all of the incoming 1Ls that year (it was pre-pandemic world, don't worry), I wanted to include them. I thought I would feel out of place bringing my 8-year-old daughter, but when I thanked Dean Fisher he just said, "you're the first one who's ever asked!" and made her and I both feel at ease and welcome at the event. 

 It was such a small moment, but for me, it set my mind at ease knowing that I was taking this new step forward in my life at a place that understood I'd be carrying my family with me along the way. Since then, I've found that not only the Dean was supportive but so were the professors. One year in a pinch I was able to bring her to class with me and she got to learn a little about offer and acceptance from Professor Matthew Green. At an end of semester celebration, Professor David Forte graciously allowed me to include her for cookies and con law classics. These are just two examples, but just about all the faculty here have been understanding and accommodating in some way that has left me feeling blessed. Now in my final year, I'm still so grateful for those moments and to have had such a great community to be a part of."

Special thanks to Christine LaSalvia '03, Tim Misny '80, and David Nager '90 for creating this new scholarship fund!  Please support our Student Parent Alliance Scholarship Fund

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay Committed to Living Justice.

 Have a great day. Have a great week.

For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages

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My best,


Lee Fisher

Dean, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law | Cleveland State University
Joseph C. Hostetler-BakerHostetler Chair in Law


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