Penn State Law Student Receives Bednarik Scholarship from Pennsylvania Bar Foundation

HARRISBURG, Pa. (June 26, 2023) — Madison Bryan, a third-year student at Penn State Law, is the recipient of the 2023 Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship offered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation. This year’s award is $5,400.

The Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship Fund was created by Bednarik’s husband, Joseph, to support the annual award of a scholarship to a law school student who pursues an interest in animal welfare as part of his/her daily activities and legal training. It can also serve as a grant to a young lawyer who pursues an interest in animal welfare as part of his/her daily activities or law practice. The award celebrates Bednarik’s life and her work in protecting animals, reforming the commonwealth’s animal laws and mentoring those who chose to use their law degrees to ensure better treatment for animals.

With a long history of volunteering at shelters and rescues, Bryan entered law school with the goal of becoming an animal law attorney. After earning her bachelor’s degree at age 19, she further developed her commitment to animal welfare while volunteering at the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Shelter in Sarasota, Florida. After moving to Gainesville, Florida, to attend graduate school, Bryan volunteered as a veterinary technician at Alachua County Animal Services, where she assisted with surgeries, behavior assessments and cruelty examinations to document for court. Soon after her move, she also adopted her rescue “soul dog,” Mama. Later, she worked as a shelter director at Haile’s Angels Pet Rescue, where she promoted animal welfare in the community, shaped policies and enhanced communications with partner shelters in North Central Florida. Currently, Bryan volunteers at the Nittany Beagle Rescue in Bellefonte.

“I knew from my hands-on shelter training, as well as my master’s degree, that so many instances of cruelty weren’t really considered criminal by county ordinances or state laws,” Bryan said. “I needed a legal education to prepare me to not only combat animal crimes in my community, but also to help influence legislation that protects animals and inspires others to be part of that change.”

At Penn State Law, Bryan is president of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Penn State Law Chapter; co-president of the Jewish Law Students Association; and a liaison for the Student Bar Association Law and Equity Committee. Within the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Bryan is a member of the Animal Law Committee.

This summer, Bryan plans to work in the Animal Cruelty and Elder Abuse Unit at the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, Georgia. Recently, she completed an externship in the Animal Law Unit at the Office of the Attorney General in Richmond, Virginia. For her efforts, Bryan received a Titans of Animal Welfare and Protection Award in the law student category from the Virginia Animal Protection Collaborative.

Bryan earned her master’s degree in veterinary forensic sciences from the University of Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida, and her bachelor’s degree in biopsychology from New College of Florida, Sarasota, Florida.

The Patti Rose Scheimer Bednarik Memorial Scholarship is administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, as part of its Advised Fund enabling donor advisement on charitable distributions. For more information, visit



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