Malinda Bridges ’12 Awarded $10,000 Scholarship for Law School

From left, Robert Brooks, Malinda Bridges and Nancy Carriuolo.

From left, Robert Brooks, Malinda Bridges and Nancy Carriuolo.

Malinda Bridges ’12, who was described as the type of daughter, college alumnus and student intern “everyone would love to have,” on Thursday (Jan. 3) was formally awarded a $10,000 scholarship and summer internship from a Providence-based law firm.

Bridges, 22, a native of Coventry who’s currently attending the University of Virginia School of Law, was chosen from among more than 20 applicants to receive the Adler, Pollock and Sheehan Diversity Scholarship.

Robert Brooks ’82, managing partner of the law firm, said Bridges stood out from the other applicants in large part because of her poise and her commitment to giving back to the community.

The firm’s Diversity Committee also noted that Bridges was “incredibly interesting, articulate and well-grounded,” and that she would have “an extremely positive and profound impact” on the law firm and the profession.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo, a guest speaker at the award ceremony, said Bridges graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average last spring, while also being “actively involved in the community.”

Among other things, Bridges co-founded Live, Inspire, Fight, Educate (L.I.F.E.), an organization that is focused on diversity and committed to helping create a culture that addresses global concerns “in a positive, holistic and transforming way.”

The awards program noted that Bridges had earned “a plethora of awards for her participation and leadership in many activities at Rhode Island College and in the community.” Chief among them was the Mary Ann Hawkes Award in Justice Studies because of her “academic excellence and service,” including being the only student in the Justice Studies program to complete an honors thesis while there.

Bridges, who was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Tracy and Carrie Bridges, as well as her grandparents and her fraternal triplet, Natalie, said she was grateful for the scholarship because she considers law school an investment in her future.  

She said she didn’t enter college with the intent of becoming a lawyer but rather became interested in the field after taking several criminal justice courses. She also became involved in the National Black Law Students Association Pre-Law Division, which she said “made her feel inspired.”

Her advice to other Rhode Island College students is to get involved in similar networks, and to not be afraid of seeking advice, especially from mentors. Her mentor, Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur, RIC assistant professor of sociology, was among those at the ceremony. She said she was grateful to have Arthur available, “as someone I could talk to.” She recommended that other students also seek out “a good mentor” to shepherd them through college and into a career.

Bridges is the first Rhode Island College student to have been awarded the Adler, Pollock and Sheehan Diversity Scholarship, according to Toni Bianco ’92, the firm’s marketing manager. She said the scholarship was in effect as of September 2012, but the awards ceremony was postponed until last night because Bridges attended an out-of-state law school.

“She’s just an all-around wonderful young lady,” Carriuolo said, adding that Bridges “has a great many friends and supporters here in Rhode Island.”