Notre Dame law students receive prestigious scholarships for women in real estate

Two students from the University of Notre Dame’s Law School have been awarded scholarships for graduate-level education in commercial real estate from The Goldie Initiative

Hope Swantko, a second-year law student, and Jenna Wilson, a third-year law student, are two of 28 graduate and professional students to receive merit-based scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year. As Goldie Scholars, they will each receive a $15,000 scholarship, a mentorship from an executive working in commercial real estate, customized career development training, and exclusive networking opportunities.

Founded by Goldie B. Wolfe Miller, an accomplished commercial real estate broker and entrepreneur, The Goldie Initiative is a prestigious leadership program with a mission to develop the next generation of women executives in the commercial real estate industry. The program provides scholarship support for graduate study, mentorship, and networking opportunities for women with high potential who aspire to become leaders in the real estate industry.

“I’m really looking forward to the mentorship and community aspects that the program provides,” said Swantko. “It’s great to see such a strong and inspirational community of women leaders in the real estate community who are willing to share their experience and wisdom.”

Swantko is an editor for Notre Dame’s Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy. She grew up in a family of real estate brokers, but her interest in real estate took off as an undergraduate intern working with real estate attorneys at Freeborn & Peters, LLP. As a Goldie Scholar, she is looking forward to learning from women in the mentorship program who have made a career for themselves in the commercial real estate space. 

Similarly, Wilson is also excited about learning from others in the program. 

“Real estate law, as well as corporate law more generally, can be such a male-dominated field, and I look forward to learning from the tremendous women who came before me on the best way to navigate career-related challenges,” said Wilson. “I am both humbled and honored to be a Goldie Scholar, and I look forward to connecting with the other scholars and learning from the expertise of those who participate in the program.”

Wilson’s interest in real estate law began while taking Notre Dame Professor Nicole Garnett’s property law class during her first year of law school. She said she enjoyed the tangibility of the work, and future classes as well as an internship at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP solidified her decision to pursue the career path. After her graduation in May, Wilson will be an associate at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP.

Wilson is a senior editor for the Notre Dame Journal on Emerging Technologies, president of the Real Estate Law Society, an assistant rector in Lewis Hall, a research assistant for O'Toole Professor of Constitutional Law Anthony J. Bellia, and a Law School Alumni Ambassador to the City of Philadelphia.

Including Swantko and Wilson, Notre Dame has had five Goldie Scholars. Previous Notre Dame awardees are graduates Katie Dunn ‘95, Colleen Quirk ‘20 MBA, and Natasha Gunasekara ‘21 J.D. Gunasekara, founding president of the Real Estate Law Society, encouraged Swantko and Wilson to apply and the law students received additional insights from faculty and courses in the Program of Study in Real Estate Law. The Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate (FIRE) Faculty Director and Professor of Law Dan Kelly helped to mentor both Gunasekara and Wilson.

“The Fitzgerald Institute is proud to support all Notre Dame students in their pursuit of these prestigious scholarships,” said Kelly. “The Goldie Initiative Scholarship Program provides an unparalleled opportunity for our students to learn from experts in the field and grow in their understanding of the commercial real estate industry. FIRE is thrilled to assist Notre Dame students as we continue to grow our educational programs and career support for real estate.  I encourage all other eligible students interested in this scholarship opportunity to apply.”

To learn more about The Goldie Initiative Scholarship Program, please visit