Francesca Rollo | Photo provided by WVU College of Law Communications
MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University College of Law student Francesca Rollo has been nominated for the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Student Award.
"This nomination is certainly a surprise and an outstanding honor," Rollo said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "I stayed very busy in law school and I quite often forgot that people were watching. When I read the description of what the NAWL was looking for in nominees, I recognized many of the qualities as ones that I had aspired to achieve the past three years—tenacity, enthusiasm, motivation and respect."
Rollo said the nomination encourages her to always keep pushing forward regardless of the roadblocks.
"I hope to have set a positive example for the women who come after me," Rollo said. "I feel so much gratitude for my mentors, my friends and my family. Their support allowed me to truly follow my passions and achieve everything that I wanted to during my time on Law School Hill."
Rollo said she feels she was nominated because she has been able to be an example for the younger women students in the building just as older ones were for her when she was starting her law school journey.
"I also hope that people were able to see just how much I love this school," Rollo said. "My passion for WVU College of Law, the faculty and the students, was the 'why' behind everything I did the past three years. I served because I was passionate about the success of the school and the students. I plan to continue building relationships and lending a helping hand in my capacity as an alumnus."
Rollo said being a third-generation law student in her family, after her father, uncle and grandfather, made her push harder.
"The standard was set very high and I was determined to do as well as the boys," Rollo said. "My dad was on Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif, so those became goals of mine right off the bat. Coming from a family of attorneys also meant that I had a strong support system that truly understood what I was going through—the pressure of finals, being graded on the curve and all of the stresses that came along with law school. That to me was invaluable."
Rollo said her father was always the first person she called whenever anything exciting or scary happened because she knew he understood.
Rollo also said she has been inspired by female mentors at the law school.
"Dean Jessica Haught has been guiding me and pushing me since I took her Business Law class in undergrad at WVU," Rollo said. "And Professor Valarie Blake has certainly done the same. I see these strong women doing incredible things and I can’t help but want to be just like them. They’ve both taught me invaluable life lessons about being a woman in the field."
Rollo said while her dad’s perspective is always appreciated, it certainly helps to pick the brain of one of the successful women she admires.
"I have applied the advice given to me by Dean Haught and Professor Blake in many major decisions this past year," Rollo said.
Rollo hopes to become a U.S. attorney so that she can prosecute drug crimes. After she graduates this month, she will be heading to clerk for Judge Frank Volk with U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.