Teresa Wilkerson, interim dean of the School of Business at Newman University, will never forget meeting Kate Langworthy for the first time.
Langworthy, a Newman graduate of 2019, arrived in Wilkerson’s office for the first time with her toddler and baby in tow.
“She was in shorts and looked just like the typical harried mom but wanted to speak with me about completing her degree,” Wilkerson recalled. “For some reason, I felt compelled to take a picture because it was just a beautiful moment of a young mom determined to finish what she started and reach her goal of being a lawyer.”
Recently, Langworthy did just that.
A complementary concoction of interests
The Silver Lake, Kansas, native graduated from Newman with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies before attending Washburn University for law school. The recent Washburn graduate is currently studying for the bar exam and will soon be a practicing attorney.
Langworthy chose to pursue a degree in interdisciplinary studies at Newman because it enabled her to integrate the courses she previously took at Kansas State University, where she once pursued an animal science degree, into a successful bachelor’s degree that allowed her to then attend law school — a career path she chose after working as a receptionist at a law firm.
“The best part of being in the degree program was the familiarity and personal investment that everyone on campus has in the students,” she said. “Teresa Wilkerson has a picture of me from an advising appointment during which she happily accommodated my need to bring my children along with me.”
Langworthy also appreciated Newman’s small class sizes that allowed her to form genuine connections with her professors and peers, many of which have remained intact even after graduation.
Hurdling unforeseen obstacles
As a nontraditional student and working mother of two, pursuing her degree didn’t come without several challenges along the way, especially amidst the pandemic.
“I went from attending school in the classroom to logging into Zoom for my law school classes with kids running around in the background,” Langworthy said. “That drain on my attention left me having to retake my Constitutional Law I class after not receiving credit in the spring 2020 semester.”
She added, “In the end, it was a blessing in disguise, as it allowed me the opportunity to learn a difficult subject from a different professor who explained the concepts in a way I understood. My family and my faith have been the forces that keep me moving forward.”
While Langworthy, who grew up on a fifth-generation farm, doesn’t currently have specific career goals, her intention is to serve as an advocate for the agriculture industry. That may mean serving individuals through tax and business planning, in the legal department of administrative agencies or eventually moving into other governmental positions.
“Only time will tell,” she said.
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