Tatum Awarded 2023-2024 Jennifer Carson Single Parent Scholarship

Johndrea Tatum, a part-time student in her third year of law school at UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, was recently named the recipient of the 2023-2024 Jennifer Carson Single Parent Scholarship.

A native of Texarkana, Arkansas, Johndrea has always aspired to be an attorney, but after having children she gave up on the dream.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be an attorney,” Johndrea says. “But after having kids, I sort of gave up on the dream. Becoming a mom meant that all of my focus went to my children, and for a while, it just never seemed to be the right time to pursue the dream.”

Instead, Johndrea put her degree in sociology to work as a family service worker for Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Children & Family Services (DCFS), working to help aid and rehabilitate families in crisis. Ultimately, it was her work in this field that led her back to her dream of becoming an attorney.

“Working for DCFS really helped me to see the ins and outs of the family court system,” she says. “As a family service worker, I often felt discouraged by the lack of representation and advocacy that my clients received; that gave me the extra push to be the change I wanted to see and reignited my fire to become an attorney.”

With the support of her own family, Johndrea started law school in 2021. And though being a single parent added to the already rigorous journey of becoming an attorney, Johndrea says receiving the scholarship is a reminder that none of her hard work is in vain.

“To know that other single mothers have gone ahead of me and are supportive of my journey to become a lawyer is breathtaking,” she says. “I am so very grateful, and I hope to give this feeling to many more single mothers in the future.”

The scholarship, named in honor of the dedication and accomplishment of Bowen alumna Jennifer Carson (‘05), is awarded each year to a student who is a single parent. In addition to a one-time monetary award to aid in the costs of their studies, recipients of the scholarship are offered practical and emotional support from the scholarship’s committee members, many of whom are lawyers who were also single parents while in law school, to encourage them while they balance the demands of law school and the responsibilities of parenting.

“We were impressed by her perseverance … and her clear determination to complete her law studies,” says Jessie Burchfield, Associate Dean of Information & Technology Services and Law Library Director, and member of the Jennifer Carson Scholarship Committee. “The committee voted unanimously to award the scholarship to Johndrea.”

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