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Student Spotlight: Kate Langworthy, candidate ’22

Scottish Highland games and agricultural law interest 1L

Kate Langworthy at the Scottish Highland Games

(photo credits to Larry Ventress, Pioneer Photography)

From the School of Law Alumni Newsletter - Spring 2020

Like most things, Kate Langworthy’s success as a Scottish Highland games athlete is dictated by her amount of training.

“Trying to juggle law school, motherhood, and life in general, sometimes training gets pushed to the wayside, and it shows in your performance,” the Washburn University School of Law 1L said. “Just like in law school, if you're not putting in the time outside of class, it's going to translate to your outcome.”

She and her husband got interested in the games within the last few years. Her involvement has taken her to several locations in Kansas and Oklahoma, where she competed while earning an associate of science in paralegal studies and a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies from Newman University. In her first year at Washburn, she’s seeing connections between the ancient competitions that celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture and attending law school.

“You're mostly competing against yourself and then it sorts out at the end, which is the mentality you have to bring into law school too, otherwise, it gets kind of heavy.”

Heavy like the 80-pound, 14-foot caber she tossed last summer or the workload a 1L will endure.

“What brought me to Washburn and to the Highland Games was the community,” she said. “You’ll never find people who are more helpful. Granted, you have to take the initiative to ask for that assistance, but it's always there if you need it.”

Langworthy wants to work within agriculture law upon graduating. She grew up in an agriculture background and her mother-in-law, Paula Langworthy, ’06, and brother-in-law, Matthew Langworthy, BS ’13, JD ’17, are Washburn Law graduates.

“I think there's an ever-emerging need for advocacy in ag law,” she said. “I'm hoping to use my talents for that. My career may very well take the form of being political and trying to take advocacy in that direction while having a practicing element as well.”

As a mother of two children under 5, Langworthy is happy to be in Topeka near family.

“Without my support system with my family, this wouldn't be possible,” she said. “I just really enjoy being able to be full-time academic.”

Washburn’s strong agriculture and rural law programming present Langworthy with plenty of opportunities to grow. She’s a representative for the Ag-Law Society and she earned the Kansas Corn Next Generation Scholarship. Hearing former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Allie Devine, ’86, present about why Kansas is a great place to work in agriculture from a legislative standpoint was influential. Her favorite class has been Professor Burke Griggs’ Property because she could go home and discuss the concepts with her father, who is a farmer.

Kate Langworthy at the Scottish Highland GamesBetween all this, she will still make time for the Highland games as she signed up for several competitions this spring and summer. Her favorite event is the sheaf toss, where the object is to use a pitchfork to throw a weighted bag over a bar.

“It's kind of an unnatural movement, but having cleaned out several barns with pitchforks, it felt fairly natural to me,” Langworthy said.

The caber toss is probably the most recognizable of the events. Competitors take what many think is a telephone pole and attempt to toss it end over end and have it land straight in front at the 12 o’clock position.

“They’re not actually telephone poles, but we let people think that,” Langworthy said.

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