Rewarding Legal Scholars for Academic Excellence By Cassiette West-Williams

Melodi Green

Melodi Green does more than talk about community service. She leads by example. Green, who serves as the Chief of the juvenile division of the Peoria County State’s Attorney Office, recently gathered resources to present three scholarships for law school scholars at the 17th annual Peoria County Bar Association luncheon.

Many years ago, Green received the same scholarship for her studies at Southern Illinois University School of Law and now she is in the position to give back to her future colleagues. This year’s scholars are diverse and show promise and perseverance for a bright future. The 2020 recipients of the Robert H. Jennetten Diversity Scholarship are Malcolm Wickware, a law student from Southern Illinois University, Tatiyana Rodriguez, also from (SIU) and Gabriela Rosiles, from Northern Illinois University. The scholarships range from $1,000 to $4,000.

Scholars applied and applications were reviewed by a committee. In the past, there were several white females who won the award, but Green sought to find different applicants from the community. “We wanted a diverse set of applicants, which included people from our community (Black and Hispanic students). We genuinely need diversity in the legal field, so that all sectors of society are represented,” she said.

Green is a Peoria native, who grew up on the Southside, watching law shows on television with her mother. She pursued her career dream by paying her dues after law school, commuting to Springfield to work daily for four years. She takes a humble approach to assisting others, whom strive to be like her.

“Sometimes you just don’t know how you are going to do it, but you know that it will happen, I would tell my young self to find a mentor and someone who can be a listening ear,” she said.