Hatton W. Sumners Scholars

CLASS OF 2019: 1LS

Seth Blanton

Seth Blanton

Seth Blanton, a lifelong resident of Midwest City, attended Rogers State University. There he was a member of the Honors Program, Alpha Chi Honor Society, and Phi Alpha Theta. He also participated in a studies-at-large program in Spain. Upon completing two capstones, “A Study of Poverty and Its Cures,” and “World War II and Espionage,” Seth received a Bachelor of Arts in Military History with a minor in Honors. While at RSU, Seth also participated in the Washington Internship program where he interned at ManattJones Global Strategies as an Analyst for a semester.

While attending college, Seth worked as a Clerk for Taylor Foster Law Firm in Claremore. This helped shape his ambitions toward becoming a lawyer. Seth also worked for the BLAST Program of Rogers County Volunteers for Youth and hopes to be able to put his education to work for at-risk and underprivileged youth.

Evan Davis

Evan Davis

Evan Davis graduated summa cum laude with honors from Texas A&M University – Commerce with a B.B.A in Finance. As a member of the university’s Honors College, he successfully defended his honors thesis entitled “Spain’s Lost Generation.” Evan was a member of several organizations while at Texas A&M-Commerce, including Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and Alpha Lambda Psi Honor Society. In addition, he served as the chapter president for the Beta Alpha Psi International Honor Organization, Order of Omega Honor Society, and Sigma Chi Fraternity. During this time, Evan joined global leadership organizations that traveled to Spain, Germany, and China where he learned firsthand more about community leadership, cultural awareness, and gender equality. He received several awards for his leadership including the Outstanding Fraternity President Award, Greek Leader Award, and Pillar Award. Additionally, he helped set up a competitive, campus-wide scholarship for incoming first year males based on leadership, merit, and accomplishments and helped set up a means for Chinese students to study abroad at Texas A&M University – Commerce.

Katelyn King

Katelyn King

Katelyn King, a native of Edmond, Oklahoma, graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Business. She was an OU Scholars Program scholarship recipient and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She received Dean’s List and President’s Honor Roll recognition.

Katelyn was active in many campus organizations often serving in leadership roles. She was Pledge Class President and Vice President of Membership of Pi Beta Phi sorority where she was responsible for leading over 250 members through the recruitment process and managing an information system of 1,000+ women going through recruitment. She was on the Political Science Student Advisory Committee and was treasurer of the Political Science Club. As a member of the Campus Activities Council Speakers Bureau Executive Board, Katelyn coordinated campus and community speaking events and hosted pre event dinners. These dinners with key note speakers provided invaluable one on one discussion opportunities with successful business executives, distinguished educators and an Olympic athlete. Katelyn also enjoyed serving as a student mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

It was Katelyn’s two year term as one of OU’s seven Superior Court Justices that solidified her passion for pursuing a Juris Doctor. With the guidance of 2Ls and 3Ls also serving as Justices, she affirmed or denied the constitutionality of decisions made by the Campus Activities Council and the Student Government Association.

Beatrize Martinez

Beatrize Martinez

Beatrize Martinez graduated Cum Laude with honors from Oklahoma City University, achieving her BBA in Economics and BS in Criminology. Originally from Fresno, California, she came to Oklahoma in August of 2010 to participate in the OCU’s Women’s Wrestling program, where she earned All-American honors her junior and senior year and helped OCU Wrestling twice become National Champions. Beatrize’s most notable experience stemmed from her time as a two-term Student Body President and Board of Trustee Member, where she managed over a quarter-million-dollar budget, participated in the launching of OCU’s Mobile App, established the Ramadan Interfaith Prayer Room, finalized the Student Grievance Policy, and worked to create more campus unity. In her fifth year of undergraduate, she joined OCU’s JV Women’s Rowing Team.

Beatrize wore several different leadership roles throughout her undergraduate career, including founding Ris4Thursday (OCU Chapter). Ris4Thursday is an organization providing support to both current and former foster youth and is a statewide advocacy group. Beatrize also helped establish Phi Mu Fraternity on OCU’s campus. Beatrize worked at the Winningham, Stein & Basey’s Immigration Law firm and interned at District Attorney David Prater’s office under Detective Gordon. She was also a proud member of the 2015 N.E.W. Leadership Institute Program.

Beatrize maintained two-to-three jobs consistently throughout her college career and still received recognition from the President’s and Dean’s List for her academic performance. Some of the highest awards achieved outside of academics were: Most Improved (Wrestling) 2011 & 2013; OCU Jim Wade Award 2014; OCU Overall Female Athlete of the Year 2014; Most Likely To Actually Be Super Woman (Phi Mu) 2015; Outstanding Student in Justice Studies 2015; The Beatrize Martinez Over Committed University Advocate Award (Ris4Thursday) 2015.

Upon graduation she gave back to her community by volunteering as an Assistant Wrestling Coach at Edison High in Fresno, California, and participating in several events for foster youth advocacy. She attributes her self-efficacy to relying on the educational system to provide her opportunities to create positive change, and believes a law degree will help further impact her goal: to be a voice for disadvantaged youth.

Cassity Reed

Cassity Reed

Cassity Reed was raised on a family farm outside of Carmen, Oklahoma. She was awarded an Oklahoma Regents Scholarship and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Marketing in 2005. During her time at OU, Cassity was active in the Student Business Association and was a member of the President’s and Dean’s Honor Rolls. She was also a member of Golden Key International Honor Society and National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

While earning her degree, Cassity began her career in marketing with a promotion to property manager for First Pacific Investments of Norman. After two years overseeing the onsite and staff performance of several multi-unit apartment properties, she left the leasing industry and worked as a commercial sales account manager for Allied Waste of Oklahoma City.

In 2006, she became the marketing director for Farmers Exchange Bank, of Cherokee Oklahoma and oversaw the operation of its four individual branch locations in Northwest Oklahoma.  While there, she helped create the Take a Closer Look initiative in Cherokee, served as a member of the Northwest Vocational Career Services Council, and was a member of the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance.

Cassity’s motivation for a career in the legal community directly stems from her nearly three years of serving as a certified Oklahoma foster family. While serving as a mentor family and placement provider through Angels Foster Family Network, Cassity was introduced to numerous opportunities to meet the individual, immediate needs of the children in her care.  Increasingly, she began to realize and recognize the need for personal provisions beyond the basic, substantive needs that accompany children in foster care. It is with this awareness that she will serve the intrinsic needs of children in transition by being a source of passionate and proactive legal counsel and protection.

CLASS OF 2018: 2LS

Shannon Bell

Shannon Bell

Shannon Bell graduated cum laude with honors from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.G.S. in General Studies: Legal Studies, Italian, and English. In her freshman year, Shannon was on the Texas Tech Gymnastics Team, where she competed in the NAIGC 2012 Nationals. Shannon was also an inaugural member of the Texas Tech Women’s Leadership Institute, a member on the Texas Tech Grade Appeals Committee, and an ambassador for both the PreLaw Program and the College of Arts and Sciences.

In her different leadership roles, Shannon was involved in multiple philanthropic organizations. As the Alpha Delta Pi Philanthropy Chair, she helped raise over $10,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities and organized volunteer activities for over 200 volunteers. Additionally, Shannon worked two jobs for the majority of her undergraduate career while earning recognition on the President’s List and Dean’s List.

Shannon’s position as a law clerk for the Law Office of Kacee Harvey and a prospective student recruiter for the College of Arts & Sciences helped develop her love for academics and the law. In her junior year, Shannon received the Honor’s College Study Abroad Scholarship to travel to Florence, Italy and further her study of the Italian language. In the summer before beginning her journey at Oklahoma City University School of Law, Shannon worked as a university advisor for Texas Tech University. While at OCU, Shannon plans to work toward the Health Law Certificate in hopes of pursuing a career in the healthcare field.

In Shannon’s first year of law school, she received the CALI award for Excellence in Legal Research and Writing I and II, and earned spots on the Dean’s List and Faculty Honor Roll. She spent her 1L summer working as an intern for Nelson, Terry, Morton, DeWitt & Paruolo in Edmond, Oklahoma, and is continuing to work for them throughout the school year. As a second-year law student, Shannon is a Vice Magister for Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society, Vice President of Future Lawyers for Children, Head Student Representative for BARBRI, and a member of the Oklahoma City University Law Review. During this upcoming summer, Shannon will be a summer associate at Crowe & Dunlevy in Oklahoma City and GableGotwals in Tulsa.

Kelly Kinser

Kelly Kinser

Kelly Kinser, a lifelong resident of Oklahoma City, attended the nationally-ranked Classen School of Advanced Studies and earned an International Baccalaureate diploma in 2005.  Kelly was awarded a National Merit Scholarship to attend Oklahoma City University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and English literature.  While there she made the President’s, Vice President’s and Dean’s Honor Rolls.  OKCU fueled her love of reading, giving her the opportunity to serve as Poetry Editor for The Scarab, OKCU’s literary anthology, and to interview former Poet Laureate Charles Simic.  That interview was later published in the Oklahoma Humanities magazine. Kelly went on to work for the Junior League of Oklahoma City, where she was instrumental in managing and continuing one of its longest-standing community programs.  Prior to accepting the Hatton W. Sumners Scholarship, Kelly worked in the legal department at MidFirst Bank, where she was inspired to advance her legal career.

In her first year at Oklahoma City University School of Law, Kelly made the Dean’s List and Faculty Honor Roll and received the CALI Award for Excellence in Legal Research and Writing I, Contracts II, Criminal Law and Property. Kelly became an active member of the Student Division of the Federal Bar Association, serving as Student Bar Association representative for that organization. She also became a member of the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society. During the summer after her first year of law school, Kelly clerked at the firms of Crowe & Dunlevy and Hartzog, Conger, Cason & Neville. As a second-year law student, Kelly is a member of the Oklahoma City University Law Review, and has taken on a greater role in the Student Division of the Federal Bar Association under her new position as Vice President.

Daniel McClure

Daniel McClure

Daniel McClure, a native of Midwest City, OK, graduated cum laude from Central Oklahoma with dual degrees in Political Science and Economics. He continued on to the University of Oklahoma and earned his Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in public policy. Daniel was extremely involved in extracurricular activities throughout his education including serving as the statewide President of the Oklahoma Student Government Association. Daniel was also a member of the President Leadership Council, an officer for the College Republicans, and a member of the George Nigh Leadership Academy. He has been honored with the Lynn Means Leadership award and the Chamber of Commerce President’s Service award.

After graduation, Daniel returned to his hometown of Midwest City to begin a career in public service. Seeking to improve the community, Daniel served in several leadership roles including the Chairman for the Board of Adjustments, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, YMCA, Leadership Midwest City, and was the past president of the Eastern OK County Young Professionals. He continued his service to the community when he was elected the Councilman for Ward 1. While on the Council Daniel has led the Taskforce on Crime, Punishment, and Rehabilitation and focuses his efforts on community and economic development.

It was Daniel’s efforts on the Council that reignited his spark of interest in attending law school. His passion for crafting public policy and improving the lives of Oklahomans is what motivates him and he plans on using his legal education in advancing those causes.

Aimee Phillips

Aimee Phillips

Aimee Phillips graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California on the Dean’s List with a B.A. in Theology and Religious Studies. While in college, she was a founding member of the Lasallian Community, appointed a leader of the Campus Pastoral Team, and helped teach Confirmation.

After moving to Oklahoma City, Aimee was a youth director of a church and then taught high school Theology for five years.  Aimee’s favorite class to teach was social justice, a course that she designed and implemented in the school.  While working in education, Aimee was the coordinator of the Peru Mission, the senior service project, and the Kairos retreat program. She was able to earn grant funding for the senior service project for the three years that she was coordinator. Sharing her passion with young people was a joy, but she knew that she was called to the legal profession.

Today, Aimee enjoys being active in the community as a founding member and outreach coordinator of the Retro Gamers Society, a founding board member and volunteer coordinator for SUPER! BitCon, a retro gaming expo, and a volunteer with Hotdogs for the Homeless.

At Oklahoma City University School of Law, Aimee has made the Dean’s List and Faculty Honor Roll and has received the CALI Award for Excellence in Civil Procedure I, Legal Research and Writing I, Torts, and Property.  Aimee has created two new student organizations, the Poverty Law Group and the Catholic Law Student Association, as well as holding leadership positions and being actively involved in the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society and the Behavioral Health Law Association.  During the summer, Aimee clerked at GableGotwals and the Oklahoma County Public Defender.  She is thrilled to pursue a career in civil litigation as well as maintain her love of volunteering in the surrounding community.  Aimee is looking forward to returning to GableGotwals as well as having a new experience working with Crowe and Dunlevy next summer.

Marley Sparkman

Marley Sparkman

Marley Sparkman, of Quanah, Texas, graduated magna cum laude from West Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Media and Communication. As a freshman at WTAMU, Marley was awarded the “Most Outstanding Underclassman” award from the Department of Agriculture. Marley devoted herself to leadership at WTAMU and was involved in many different on-campus organizations, including Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. Marley was also a member of the inaugural class of the Leadership Education And Development (LEAD WT) program. As a LEAD Scholar, she was able to expand her leadership abilities and earn a certificate in leadership. Marley was a co-founder of “Join the Herd,” a campus involvement event that became an annual tradition at WTAMU. Marley received the “Most Outstanding LEAD Scholar” award in 2014.

Marley was a Provost Scholar at WTAMU and was a recipient of the Susan Couch Leadership Scholarship through the LEAD WT program. Marley also received the Sandra Cooke Scholarship from the Department of Agriculture. Throughout her undergraduate career, Marley worked several jobs. Her favorite was working as an English tutor at WTAMU. Marley completed an internship with Triangle Realty, LLC in Amarillo, Texas. Through this internship, she learned the ins and outs of the real estate world and had the opportunity to work as an auction clerk for property sales.

Marley’s interest in law sparked during her time as a Cross Examination Debater in high school, where she was highly successful. Marley hopes that going to law school while raising her two-year-old daughter, Laila, will serve as motivation for single parents everywhere to follow their dreams.

CLASS OF 2017: 3LS

Breanna Cary

Breanna Cary

Breanna Cary graduated summa cum laude from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in Spanish. She successfully completed her senior research project titled “Las mujeres en la política en Hispanoamérica” (“Women in Politics in Hispanic America”). In 2014, two of Breanna’s papers were published in the SWOSU Undergraduate Journal of Research. One of the papers, entitled “Los porcentajes para las mujeres en los cargos políticos: Las leyes de cuotas” (“The Quotas for Women in Political Offices: The Quota Laws”) is a research project over the effects of quotas for the number of women involved in politics. The second paper, entitled “Variaciones del carpe diem y los conceptos de la vida y la muerte en el soneto ‘A una rosa’, de sor Juana Inés de la Cruz” (“Variations of Carpe Diem and the Concepts of Life and Death in the Sonnet “A una rosa”, by sor Juana Inés de la Cruz”), is a literary analysis of a poem written by a prominent Spanish author. Breanna’s law review note titled “Differing Interpretations of the Membership in a Particular Social Group Ground and their Effects on Refugees” is forthcoming in the OCU Law Review Journal.

While at SWOSU, Breanna was the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship, Continuing Student Scholarship, and the Who’s Who Among American Universities award. She was Vice President of Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honors Society, Gamma Delta Kappa Honors Sorority, and the Spanish Club. In her leadership roles, she was involved in various philanthropic endeavors. She served as the Gamma Delta Kappa Relay for Life Captain and worked as both a Spanish tutor and a SWOSU Writing Center tutor throughout her time in college. Breanna also volunteered with the Western Oklahoma Literacy Coalition as an English as a Second Language teacher. From her extensive research and work with disadvantaged groups, she was inspired to help meet the needs of the under-represented through the law.

As a 3L at Oklahoma City University School of Law, Breanna is currently a member of the Oklahoma City University Law Review, the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Team, the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society, Federal Bar Association, International Human Rights Law Association, and Immigration Legal Society. Breanna is currently working at Stump & Associates focusing on family-based immigration law.

Preston Gunkel

Preston Gunkel

Preston Gunkel, from Altus, Oklahoma, graduated in 2010 from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  While at OU, Preston received the P.A.C.E. award recognizing the top one percent of the freshman class; was a member of the OU Scholars Program, President’s Leadership Class, National Society of Collegiate Scholars; and received the Sooner Distinction and Sooner Opportunity Scholarships.  Preston concentrated on service while at OU as Chaplain of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity; member of Gamma Beta Phi Honor and Service Organization; was nominated for two consecutive years as “Big Brother of the Year” for the Big Brothers and Sisters of Oklahoma; was elected as chairman for the university-wide Parents’ Weekend; and served on the Campus Activities Council Executive Board. After graduation from OU, Preston continued to serve his community by volunteering weekly at the Jackson County Free Health Clinic and Health For Friends medical clinic and serving as a member of the Oklahoma Blood Institute Student Leadership Panel. Prior to beginning law school at OCU, vocationally, Preston was a partner in a multistate restaurant group and developed his own residential real estate business, which he continues to manage. Preston was employed as a summer associate at McAfee & Taft following his first year of law school and is currently employed at Robben & Associates, focusing on estate planning and corporate law. As a third year student, he is a member of the Oklahoma City University Law Review, Merit Scholars, Phi Delta Phi Honor Society and participates in the Jodi Marquette American Indian Wills Clinic. Preston’s goal is that through his legal education he can enhance his business career.

Tessa Henry

Tessa Henry

Tessa Henry, a native of Yukon, Oklahoma, graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts. At OC, Tessa majored in History and minored in English and International Studies. Tessa earned the Outstanding Freshman History Major Award, the Dean’s Award for Research Excellence, and Outstanding History Graduate Award. She served as the president of her university’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, and was a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, and Alpha Chi Honor Society. Tessa was a member of OC’s delegation for the United Arab Emirates at the Model Arab League competition and earned the Outstanding Delegate Award for the Economic Advisory Commission. While she was a student at OC, Tessa had the opportunity to study abroad in Austria and visit eleven different countries. Tessa also served as OC’s representative and recipient for the Governor George Nigh Leadership Academy and Scholarship. Upon graduation, Tessa received the President’s Medal for earning a cumulative 4.0 grade point average. Tessa is also a proud member of the Chickasaw Nation and is extremely thankful for the never-ending support of her Tribe.

In her first year of law school, Tessa received the CALI Award for Excellence in Legal Research and Writing I and II, and earned spots on the Dean’s List and the Faculty Honor Roll. As a second-year law student, Tessa was a member of the Oklahoma City University Law Review, the Federal Bar Association, the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society, and worked as a BARBRI Representative. Tessa also served as Vice President of the Mental Health Law Association and continued to earn spots of the Dean’s List and Faculty Honor Roll. Tessa worked as a summer associate at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma and Gungoll, Jackson, Box & Devoll, P.C. As a third-year law student, Tessa is a member of the Oklahoma City University Law Review, Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society, and a student member of the William J. Holloway, Jr. American Inn of Court. She also continues her work as a BARBRI Representative. Tessa currently works as a legal intern for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office in the Criminal Appeals Division. Tessa is excited to finish her final year of law school and hopes to work as an appellate attorney someday.

Kelissa Sanders

Kelissa Sanders

Kelissa Sanders, originally from Hollis, Oklahoma, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oklahoma City University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. While at OCU, Kelissa was selected for membership into the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society, was elected Director of Academic Achievement for Alpha Phi Sorority, and received the Robert S. Kerr Leadership Award. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Kelissa interned at Morgan Stanley, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and also worked with local political campaigns. Kelissa served as a legislative assistant to Representatives Mark McBride and Jon Echols during the 2013 legislative session of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

During her time at Oklahoma City University School of Law, Kelissa earned the CALI Award for Excellence in Contracts II, Criminal Law, Property, Constitutional Law I, Criminal Procedure, Cybersecurity Law, and Policing and the Law. Kelissa served as an Academic Fellow for Civil Procedure.

During the summer after her first year at OCU, Kelissa completed a summer clerkship with Fellers Snider. She has interned with the Juvenile Public Defenders office. During the most recent summer, Kelissa worked as a Licensed Legal Intern for Latham, Nelson and Associates in Altus, Oklahoma.

Taylor Tyler

Taylor Tyler

Taylor Tyler moved to Piedmont, Oklahoma from California with her family at the age of twelve. She attended Oklahoma City University, where she graduated magna cum laude with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Political Science and minors in History and Economics. At OCU, Taylor was a Clara Luper Scholar, a scholarship centered on community service and servant leadership. Devon Energy selected Taylor as one of five Devon Energy Scholars from the Clara Luper program. Taylor also received the Gary Moore Great Plan Scholarship from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, which is awarded to students who graduated in the top 10% from their high school. During her senior year, Taylor represented OCU at the George and Donna Nigh Leadership Academy, which gave scholarships to each student who attended the Academy. During her time at OCU, Taylor served in a variety of leadership roles, including President of Gamma Phi Beta and President of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-law fraternity.

While at OCU, Taylor interned for then Oklahoma Secretary of State, Larry Parman, researching Oklahoma policy issues, specifically pension reform. She also had the pleasure of interning at Helms and Underwood law firm in Oklahoma City prior to beginning law school.

As a 3L at Oklahoma City University School of Law, Taylor acts as Vice President of Communications for OKCU’s chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and Clerk of the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society. As a 2L, Taylor founded a new legal interest group, the Behavioral Health Law Association (BHLA), in which she still serves as President. Also during her 2L year, Taylor received the 2015 Holloway Scholarship. The scholarship honors recent Judge William J. Holloway, Jr., the longest siting judge for the Tenth Circuit. Taylor recently joined the William J. Holloway, Jr. American Inn of Court.

The summer after her 1L year, Taylor clerked at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma. During her 2L year, Taylor externed with Judge Cauthron, a federal judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. Taylor currently works at Pierce, Couch, Hendrickson, Baysinger, and Green, where she clerked the summer before her 3L year.