Daily Archives: October 16, 2015

Award-winning senior shows how to rise above life’s challenges

If you looked up “resilient” in the dictionary, it would be fitting to find an image of Heather Spielmaker. The WMU-Cooley Law School graduating senior is the poster child for rising above life’s challenges with grace, strength, and even more options than she began with.

Heather Spielmaker

Heather Spielmaker

A mom at 19, Spielmaker had to trade in a fledgling college career to support herself and her son. When a subsequent marriage ended in divorce, she again found herself struggling to make ends meet for herself, her son, and her daughter.

Spielmaker, 43, didn’t give up. Instead, she not only survived the curves life threw at her, she thrived, and has taken it up another notch, making it her life’s mission to give to others she knows are facing the same challenges she’s gone through.

She’s gone on to graduate with high honors from Lansing Community College, and with honors from Michigan State University. And she’s about to earn her J.D. degree — with honors — from WMU-Cooley Law School.

For nearly nine years, Spielmaker was also the director of the school’s Center for Ethics, Service and Professionalism. In this role, she earned the Ingham County Bar Association’s highest honor for non-lawyers — the Liberty Bell Award — for her work in helping members of the military receive legal assistance through the school’s Service to Soldiers program.

Recently, Spielmaker earned another prestigious accolade when the National Association of Women Lawyers presented her with the Outstanding Law Student Award. The honor is given to a graduating law student who has demonstrated academic achievement; shown motivation, tenacity, and enthusiasm; and contributed to the advancement of women in society and the legal profession.

Giving back to the community is an integral part of Spielmaker’s makeup. She served on the Charlotte, Michigan, City Council, was a volunteer coordinator for Ingham Regional Medical Center, and became a charter member of the Capital Region Community Foundation Legacy Society. With that, she established the Heather Spielmaker Testamentary Fund with the foundation to support assistance for single parents and homeowners and programs that help emancipated minors.


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