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Law Alumna Wins Second Place in National Essay Competition

Saundra McDowell

Regent Law alumna '10 Saundra McDowell won second place in the Nightlight Christian Adoptions' 2010 Embryo Donation and Adoption Essay Competition. She was one of three law students from among representatives of 35 law schools throughout the United States to place in the contest.

"The contest offers a great way to stir the debate and hopefully grow an interest among future lawyers to make this area of Assisted Reproduction Technology Law part of their practice," said Executive Director of Nightlight Ronald Stoddart in a College & University Pressroom article on the competition.

Participants in the contest were tasked with addressing a challenging question related to three families living in the states of Louisiana and Georgia, which both have laws specific to human embryos. McDowell's essay explained the law in relation to the major issues surrounding embryo donation and adoption.

This is the second year McDowell participated in the contest. She first entered the competition in 2009, after receiving a Regent Law email highlighting its details.

"Since I didn't know much about the process of embryo donation and adoption, I decided to research it and write about it," McDowell said. "When I started my research, I became very interested in the topic ... With little state laws on embryos, I could see why people did not know much about it."

McDowell then became knowledgeable about the subject and decided to write on the new problem Nightlight presented in their 2010 contest. When she received a call back from Nightlight, McDowell was excited and saw the award as an answer to prayer.

"My husband and I are currently studying for the bar exam in July and apparently it's very difficult to get a bar loan to have funds while you study," she said. "Second place in the contest usually receives $1500, but since I turned my essay in early, I received $2,000. The money I won came in at just the right time!"

McDowell may further her study of embryo law as part of her future career as an attorney.

"I received the contact information for some attorneys that work in this field, and I plan on contacting them to see if I can get my foot in the door," she said. "We'll see what happens."

-- Sarah H. Dolan

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