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Parrish and Grad: Paying It Forward

Feb 1, 2022
5 min Read
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Amy Parrish and Sydney Grad

The fourth installment of our mentoring series shares how one Heider instructor taps into her own academic history to guide current students on a similar path.

Amy Parrish, JD, instructor of business law within the Heider College of Business Management and Marketing Department, is both a teacher and advisor. In addition to teaching such courses as Legal Environment of Business, she also serves as advisor to the current 139 Heider students who have expressed an interest in future legal careers. This includes those following the traditional four-year undergraduate program with the intention of continuing on to law school and students enrolled in Creighton’s 3/3 Law Program, which truncates the two degrees into three years of undergraduate studies and three years in professional school.

One such 3/3 student is Sydney Grad, who is currently in her first year of law school at Creighton after completing three years of her undergraduate degree. This May, she will receive her BSBA at graduation. The Colorado Springs, Colorado, native decided to enroll in Creighton’s 3/3 Law Program to “get a jump” on her career and to extend her stay in Omaha, a community she says she has come to love.

Grad says she selected Creighton because of its accelerated undergraduate/law school track and its friendly environment. Touring campus, she had a sense of being at home, and it’s a feeling that has spanned her time here.

“From my mentorship with Amy to still waving hello to my freshman year accounting teacher, Creighton continues to feel like home,” she says.

Grad’s relationship with Parrish factors heavily into this sense of belonging. Parrish became the college’s pre-law advisor in August 2020, just as Grad was entering her junior year. One of Parrish’s favorite aspects of being an advisor is the opportunity to get to know her students on a much deeper level.

“Knowing their needs and ambitions helps me direct them to the right resources and make the best decisions about their futures,” Parrish says. “I have a goal to go above and beyond the role of advisor by keeping track of my students and their individual situations, and following up with them about their LSAT scores, applications and matriculation at their law schools.”

Grad has taken full advantage of this exposure to learn more not only about the law school application process, LSAT preparation and potential career paths, but also less cerebral topics, such as the dress code for the first-year law student. She appreciates all the articles on study habits Parrish has shared and the hours she has dedicated to helping Grad with her law school application.

“I would not be where I am today without her expertise and kindness,” Grad says.

As far as Parrish is concerned, the feeling is mutual. Being new to the advisory position, Parrish appreciated the time Grad spent brainstorming ways to make the pre-law advising experience more valuable. The two have discussed ways to better connect pre-law students with each other and how to establish beneficial mentorships between current students and Heider alumni who are now practicing attorneys.

“I love that she is willing to share her thoughts about how to make the program better,” says Parrish.

Grad is pursuing the new sports law concentration that the School of Law recently created. It combines her two passions. An athlete herself, Grad has served as president of the Creighton Women’s Lacrosse Club and now is a member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society. As an undergraduate student, she interned with Omaha Storm Chasers.

“Combining a future career I was already excited about with something I adored – sports – seemed like a no brainer,” she says.

Even though Grad is technically not an undergraduate student anymore, Parrish has continued to offer advice and cheer her on during the times they catch up in Parrish’s office or grab a quick cup of coffee between classes. Grad says Parrish has encouraged her to maintain her study habits and to push hard from day one, because the effort exerted now will open up job opportunities in the future. Their friendship has the added bonus of being a stress reliever, something every first- year law student needs.

Grad encourages undergraduate students to seek the counsel of a mentor. Finding someone who has had a similar career trajectory and personality will enhance the experience.

As for Parrish, she says being a mentor is fulfilling and in line with the Jesuit value of cura personalis in that she gets to know her students on a deeper level, help them sharpen their skills and guide them toward their passion.

“Knowing that I make a positive impact on someone’s schooling, future career and life feels good,” Parrish says. “It gives me an opportunity to pay it forward for the mentorship I have received along the way. And one day, I hope that I can serve as an inspiration for my mentees to do the same for someone else.”

 

This story is part of our mentoring series in honor of National Mentoring Month. Read all the stories in the series: Kracher and Taylor: Breaking Through to the Real, Wei and Ge: Shared Experience Academic Focus, Menzel Baker and Wright: Meeting of the Minds, Olson and Idra: Mentoring a Mentor, McMahon and Fohr: From Mentorship to Friendship and Parrish and Grad: Paying it Forward