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We reach out to Paralegal Programs in Central Ohio to schedule school visits, develop presentations, and perform paralegal panel discussions for paralegal students. 


The PACO Student Spotlight is awarded to current paralegal studies students whom have demonstrated exceptional dedication to their education and passion for the paralegal profession. Nominated by the director of their respective programs at either Columbus State Community College and Capital University, each nominee will be featured for the semester, spotlighting their hard work and commitment as they work towards their professional goals. Join us in congratulating and recognizing these fantastic students. This is just the beginning for them and their future is bright!

Summer Semester 2023

Vanessa Sharpe

Nominated by: Lisa Diem, J.D.
Asst. Dean of Administration & Strategic Initiatives Capital University Law School

Dean Diem had this to say about Vanessa:
Vanessa is a dedicated paralegal student who recently started a position at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in the Tax Benefits & Wealth Planning section. Vanessa did not have experience in this area of law, but was not afraid to dive-in and learn as much as she could in order to quickly become a valuable member of the team.

More about Vanessa:
Vanessa Sharpe graduated from Capital University with a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. While working full-time through her undergraduate course work and exploring various paths, she discovered a love for working and serving others in the community which lead to the pursuit of a career in the legal field. Currently, Vanessa is a paralegal at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in the firm’s Tax Benefits & Wealth Planning division, which includes estate planning, and probate (estate administration). Vanessa finds that being able to help people plan for their futures and help them through difficult times in their lives is extremely rewarding. Vanessa will graduate from the post-baccalaureate paralegal program at Capital University Law School in August. Vanessa plans to use the knowledge and skills gained from this program for continued success in her current position and further her legal career.

Sharice Johnson

Nominated by: Lisa Diem, J.D.
Asst. Dean of Administration & Strategic Initiatives Capital University Law School

Dean Diem had this to say about Sharice:

Sharice is a dedicated paralegal student who has continuously proven herself in her course-work and commitment to the profession. Sharice has taken an interest in the corporate law area as well as eDiscovery. She has identified areas that she wants to improve upon and has located organizations and professionals to connect with in order to explore these areas further.
More about Sharice:
Shanice Johnson is currently working as a lease administrator at Chipotle Mexican Grill and enrolled in the Paralegal program at Capital University Law School. Sharice graduated from Ohio Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in pre-law and a minor in alternative dispute resolutions. Sharice worked primarily with underprivileged youth as a tutor and later a law clerk with the Franklin County Public Defender. Sharice learned a lot during her time at the Public Defender’s Office and appreciated her time there. Recently making the move into the corporate side of the legal system, Sharice has an interest in property law and hopes to see where that may lead her in the future.

Allison Fende

Nominated by: Cathy Ritterbusch, J.D., LPC
Assoc. Prof./Program Director, Columbus State Community College

Ms. Ritterbusch had this to say about Allison:

Allison is a returning student and proud mother of adult children. Allison worked in senior care, residential mental health, and as a home care aide prior to seeking her paralegal degree at Columbus State. While she continues to wrap up her final course work, Allison has already her secured her first role professional position, as a legal assistant with the Nigh Law Group. Allison applies her wealth of communication and interpersonal skills to serve the firm’s family law clients. Allison is smart, a fast learner, dedicated, reliable, caring and kind and Columbus State is proud to have supported her in launching her promising legal career.
More about Allison:
Allison Fende has been a caregiver for over twenty years and has always had a passion for the law, knowing that she wanted to help in some way. Encouraged by her Life Partner, at the age of 42, Allison took the plunge and went back to school. It was a hard transition for her in the beginning but Allison states that she is so glad she did it. Allison was used to always working 2-3 jobs at a time, but now she knew she had to slow down and focus on her studies. Allison is open to exploring all practice areas, is currently a legal assistant at The Nigh Law Group and recently became a Notary Public. Allison is learning a lot as a legal assistant, and is appreciating the opportunity in her new career. Allison will graduate in December with an Associate of Applied Science and completion of the Paralegal Program at Columbus State Community College.

Loren G. Edwards

Nominated by: Kristen Dickerson, Esq.
Instructor, Law Office Technology – Columbus State Community College

Ms. Dickerson had this to say about Loren:

“Loren has transferred from an online university and is now majoring in Paralegal Studies at Columbus State Community College (CSCC). She also has goals to study Forensic Psychology, Black Studies, and Mental Health. She is passionate about public service, she is hard-working, and she is exceling in her classes at CSCC as an exemplary student. Loren has exceptional promise to be a rising star in her academic and career journey! She is a dedicated mother, student, and true crime fan—she is always eager to better understand and learn how the legal process works!”
More about Loren:
Loren Edwards is currently a sophomore at Columbus State Community College with big dreams of serving the public, specifically underserved areas. With 16 years of experience within the healthcare sector, Loren has always had a growing interest the law, advocacy, serving the community, and growing as a professional. Loren has very specific goals for her educational and professional journey, including aiding post-conviction felons with access to resources, such as medical, housing, and education. Her goals also include youth advocacy services to prevent flooding our prison system with underprivileged children, assisting those suffering from mental health issues with resources, including rehabilitation services, and assisting women, specifically single mothers, with access to resources to help secure a positive outcome with their endeavors. Loren is currently completing her final two semesters at Columbus State Community College and will attend Franklin University to attain a degree in Criminal Justice. Following that, she would like to attend law school, as well as study women and gender studies. Loren’s philosophy is that “Education is, indeed, the key to success!”


We schedule school visits, develop presentations and perform paralegal panel discussions for paralegal students.  We also promote the benefits of being a PACO member with access to employment opportunities, industry trends, paralegal panels, mock interviews, and resume reviews.

  • We solicit PACO Members and PACO Student Members to join the committee.
  • We hold committee meetings to set goals and develop program(s) for students.
  • We determine if a budget is needed, if so submit a proposal to the Board for approval.
  • We conduct paralegal panels upon request.
  • We solicit PACO members as speakers upon request.


Every year PACO awards a scholarship in the amount of $500 to a paralegal student which is then presented at that year’s Paralegal Day celebration (third Monday in May).  If you are interested in applying for the Paralegal Student Scholarship, click HERE.


PACO has a mentoring program committee where senior paralegals guide and lead student and junior paralegals down a path to success within the paralegal field.  A paralegal student does not need to be a PACO Student Member in order to apply for a mentor.  To apply for a mentor, click HERE 


Get involved with the committee, please reach out!


Questions about PACO? :

Mailing Address :
P.O. Box 1582
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1582

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