News

ASL Student Earns 2019 Tillman Scholarship

GRUNDY, VA (July 9, 2019) – Keri Mills, a second year law student at the Appalachian School of Law, was recently named a 2019 Tillman Scholar.

Mills, a military spouse, was one of 60 individuals chosen nationwide to receive a 2019 scholarship from the Pat Tillman Foundation. Since 2008, the foundation has provided academic scholarships, professional development opportunities and a national network to empower military service members, veterans and spouses.

Mills was one of four law students chosen for the scholarship. Two others attending Harvard were selected; and one student attending Ohio State University was selected.

Born and raised in Northern California, prior to coming to ASL in 2018, Mills spent 11 years in Virginia Beach.

Mills recently completed her first year of law school and is currently completing an externship in Judge Timothy J. Quick’s office in the Juvenile Domestic Relations Court in Virginia Beach.

Her decision to come to ASL, she said, was the right one.

“I love the tight knit feel and the family atmosphere that ASL embraces,” Mills said. “I am not sure I would be as successful at a larger school. Single mom-ing it in law school is a serious thing. Some days the only reason I make it through is because of the help and encouragement I receive from fellow classmates and/or staff members.”

Mills has a nine-year-old son, Cash.

Mills’ journey to ASL began in August 2011 after her husband was killed in action along with 29 fellow Americans and a working dog when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. This life changing moment took her from being a wife of Special Operations Chief Stephen “Matt” Mills, to being a single mother and widow.

In the months after her husband’s death, Mills said she sought guidance and direction as her life plans had been detrimentally altered. Conversations with fellow widows within the community followed and it was then she realized there was a common need and that was guidance in estate planning.

“There was just one large hurdle,” Mills recalled. She had not earned a college degree and that is where her education focus began. She applied to and was accepted at the University of Virginia and graduated there in the spring of 2018. Upon her graduation from UVA, she made the decision to attend law school.

Her goal now is to complete law school, become a licensed attorney and then to educate Gold Star families and service members in the field of estate planning, ensuring that should tragedy strike, the required documents and knowledge have been properly allocated, thus taking the burden off surviving family members.

At ASL, Mills, who is a candidate for her Juris Master degree in 2020 and her Juris Doctor degree in 2021, is the vice president of the Student Bar Association, a member of the Republican Law School Association and a member of Phi Delta Phi.

“We are very proud of Keri and her selection as a Tillman Scholar,” said ASL Dean Sandy McGlothlin. “She is very deserving of this honor and we are proud that she chose ASL to help fulfill her dream of becoming a lawyer.”

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July 9, 2019

Media Contact: Cathy St. Clair – 276.202.0383 or cstclair@asl.edu