Madison College Student Parent Fits Paralegal Studies Into Her Busy Life


No excuses. That is Madison College student Scarlett Wylde-Nunez’s mantra as she pursues her goal to be a paralegal, and eventually a family law attorney. 

It means a busy schedule, not enough sleep, and going into labor with her third child, will not hold Wylde-Nunez back from her education. 

And every triumph, earned with dedication and hard work, is celebrated. 

Her recent 4.0 GPA honor is an amazing accomplishment says Wylde-Nunez, who had her first child at 17. With the father out of the picture, Wylde-Nunez raised her daughter alone and struggled to continue her education. 

“I felt like college wasn’t an option as a parent,” Wylde-Nunez says of her eight-year education break after earning her GED.

Scarlett Wylde-Nunez celebrates her Madison College admission with her daughters.
Scarlett Wylde-Nunez celebrates her Madison College admission with her daughters.

Wylde-Nunez soon found her future career when she started to work in a family law firm. In a lengthy custody battle with her first daughter’s father, she was front and center in the legal system. Experiencing that, Wylde-Nunez knew she wanted to help others in the same situation.

“I went to work for my family law attorney. That’s what formally introduced me to the field, and I just fell in love with it,” Wylde-Nunez says. “It was extremely easy to resonate with people and the situations they were in and offer empathy; I had been in their shoes.”

A search of American Bar Association-approved programs led her to Madison College’s Paralegal program.  Students can finish the program in two years with 60 credits, and there’s flexibility with full or part-time, in-person, and online options.

“I found out the program was all online, which was a huge determining factor for me with the kids,” she says.

She enrolled in Madison College’s Paralegal program in the summer of 2023 and planned to make her second time at a technical college a success. Wylde-Nunez is now married with two more daughters, and her husband takes some of the burden off her when she needs to study. Her “no excuses” motto sometimes does make her laugh, like when she stalled going to the hospital while in labor to finish a final paper that was due.

As an employee, mother, and student, Wylde-Nunez uses her time wisely. She works at her daughter’s daycare and studies while the kids nap, and when her husband takes the girls out, it is time to catch up on her school assignments.

She hopes to graduate from the Paralegal program in 2025, then work as a paralegal, until she is ready to pursue a law degree.

“I’ve really grown to appreciate what lawyers and paralegals do, because it’s a lot of work and work that is always going to be needed,” she says.

Madison College and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater recently signed a legal studies articulation agreement that can help paralegal graduates move to a bachelor’s degree in legal studies.

Even with a heavy work and study load, Wylde-Nunez dedicates time to her husband and three daughters (ages 18 months, 4, and 8). 

“They are a big part of why I went back to school. I have three people who are following my lead; I am teaching them about the world and how they are supposed to navigate it,” she says.

Her daughters like to sit next to her when she studies or help her. “I give them something to do next to me so that they can be involved. That is important, because I want them to witness a healthy relationship with education.”

Being a parent and caregiver is common at Madison College. In a recent 2022 student survey, around 42% cared for an infant or school age child, and over half were caregivers of at least one person. Madison College is committed to supporting its student parents with resources.

“Your life doesn’t end with parenthood, you still have opportunities once you have kids,” Wylde-Nunez says. “And, if you have kids super early like I did, it’s not going to condemn you to a life of struggling. You can still make it for yourself, but you must be willing make sacrifices to get where you want to be.”