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Sarah Petitto '20

Sarah Petito

A WVU student from Doddridge County will be staying in her home state to work after receiving a full-ride scholarship to the College of Law.

Sarah Petitto of West Milford received the Rural Practice Scholarship which pays for three years of law school in exchange for the student staying in West Virginia after graduation and practicing law in a rural county.

“When I first learned I had been offered the Rural Practice Scholarship, I was overwhelmed,” Petitto said. 

This scholarship was established by the West Virginia State Bar and will allow Petitto to stay in West Virginia without worrying about paying back school loans. 

“Without this scholarship, I may have been forced to practice in areas of law that were not focused on serving the public good solely because of the need to repay my student loans.”

The scholarship committee will also help her find summer jobs after her first and second years of law school.

Pettito earned her undergraduate degree in biology from West Virginia Wesleyan College and originally planned to attend optometry school.  During an internship her sophomore year of college, she learned several of her patients had to reach out to insurance companies and lawyers before making appointments to receive contacts or glasses.

“This internship showed me that many people do not know where to begin when they have little resources. I decided then that I wanted to be the person to advocate for people who could not do it themselves.

Petitto chose to attend the WVU College of Law because of her native West Virginia roots and desire to stay and practice in the Mountain State after earning her law degree.

“I have always been community service-oriented and the outstanding public interest law program at the WVU College of Law made my decision very easy.”

Petitto is excited to help people in disadvantaged communities after her graduation in 2020.

“There are thirteen West Virginia counties that have less than 10 practicing attorneys. Everyone deserves an advocate and every West Virginian deserves equal access to the legal system.”

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