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Strength—and Success—amid Adversity

Ashley Dunbar

A SCHOLARSHIP HELPED ASHLEY DUNBAR ’19 GET THROUGH HER FIRST YEAR OF LAW SCHOOL while also recovering from hip surgery. Dunbar, who has a physical disability, has had four such surgeries. She headed into law school unable to take any job that would require physical labor. “I was definitely worried,” she said of her finances. “I knew it was going to be a struggle. I didn’t want to take out too many loans because I knew I wanted to go into public service. I just wanted to help people.”

She was awarded the Juanita and John Jackson ’90 Scholarship, which allowed her to succeed amid adversity. “It really took a lot off my plate. It made my first year much less stressful.”

Another gift came to her rescue after graduation. Dunbar went to the Office of Student Affairs to ask for help with studying for the bar exam. She was behind on her utility bill. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to afford her rent. But if she moved back home, she’d be too far away from Albany Law School to benefit from bar prep support. “I was worried about my lights getting cut off,” she said.

Dunbar received a scholarship from an Albany Law alumna to cover the full cost of the bar review program. That freed up enough money for her power bill, rent, and food. “So here I am. Bar prep got me through, and because of that I got a job.” Dunbar recently accepted a position as a Schenectady assistant county attorney. She will be working in family court on child support and juvenile delinquency cases and is eager to use her skills to help people in poverty. “I realize how not having access to certain things—what a difference it can make,” she said. “I know what a difference having a tutor makes. Having the money for things or not, I don’t think it’s a fair way to draw the line.”

Dunbar said she will remember how much Albany Law School and its philanthropists helped her. “I hope to give back to the school as well. Because I realize how hard it can be.”

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