EU Alumni Perspective: Kelsey Bardwell
Name: Kelsey Bardwell
Graduation Year: 2003
Major: Management and Marketing
Current Position: Managing Partner at Sprott, Golden & Bardwell Law Firm
City and State: Harrison, Arkansas
Tell us about your career and what you do now. I’m an attorney in a general practice law firm in Northern Arkansas.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel? I spent a summer in Croatia with students from Evangel, AGTS, and CBC. It was life-changing, to say the least. I also fell in love with and married my husband, Michael, at Evangel. (He would be disappointed if I didn’t point out his title of Mr. Evangel 1999 where he dressed as Mariah Carey and sang Hero. So funny!) I also miss having all that free time I didn’t know I had.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling? Evangel placed me in an environment where I was able to thrive academically, but also spiritually. I learned the importance of having a mentor and serving others, while also working hard. Attorneys advocate for their clients. Jesus is the great mediator, and our advocate to the throne. While many people say they do not like attorneys (until they need one), I truly see it as a calling. It is an honor to serve my clients and to fight for justice and sometimes mercy.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation? I believe I developed “grit” at Evangel, for lack of a better term. I was a married student and we had our first child in April of my senior year. I graduated a month after he was born, summa cum laude. I draw strength looking back at that time. I worked ahead in all my classes to be essentially done before we had the baby, and my grades didn’t suffer. It was difficult and sometimes lonely to spend so much time in the library, but I set a goal and made it happen with God’s help and the support of my husband and family. It was an insane time, but He was and is faithful.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce? I would encourage students to seek out real-life experiences and opportunities to hone those “soft skills”, such as making eye contact, responding to customer’s requests professionally, following through on assigned tasks, being dependable, and working with a team. Also, be nitpicky and proud of your resume. Don’t just throw something on paper. It should be a work of art that presents who you are professionally to potential employers. If a resume shows little time was invested in its preparation, I toss it immediately.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel? I feel strongly that if a person meets basic educational requirements, is coachable, and has a strong work ethic, we can teach the specific skills that are important in my field. Being personable is very important as an attorney. People are coming to you for advice in what is possibly the most stressful situation in their lives. If you are not empathetic or approachable, you have failed to provide them with the assurance that they are in capable hands.