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I liked the small size and the feeling of community when I visited campus. By joining clubs and organizations, I learned how the process works and that you could start your own club, implement your ideas and create change.


Krista Selnau '09
Major: Politics and History , English


 

Krista Selnau '09 - Staff Attorney, Pine Tree Legal Assistance

 

In her keynote speech at Curry's Convocation ceremonies in August 2015, Krista Selnau '09 shared her inspirational story of battling cancer as a young girl, leaving her with an amputated left leg. She said that despite the fear she felt after her diagnosis, she decided to push forward and deal with any adversity that came her way - an experience that she has used as motivation throughout her life. Recently, she climbed a mountain for the first time and used that experience as a metaphor of advice for the incoming students.

Read Krista's Keynote Speech from Curry College Convocation 2015

"This is your journey to whoever you want to become, to the things you dream of doing, to the adventures you've always imagined. But like any journey, you have to take the steps to get there. It won't happen on its own, but when you do take those steps, really cool things happen."

Krista has been a Staff Attorney for Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Portland, Maine, since September 2015. There she works to establish a medical-legal partnership for veterans at the Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta, the oldest Veterans Affairs facility in the United States.

After graduating with a Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School in 2012, Krista worked as an AmeriCorps attorney for Legal Aid of Arkansas through 2013. She was awarded one of 57 law postgraduate Equal Justice Works Fellowships for the 2013-2015 term, sponsored by Walmart and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Working with Legal Aid of Arkansas' Medical-Legal Partnership at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, Krista helped to identify the special needs facing children and their families in the Hematology/Oncology clinic by developing targeted screening protocols through the use of focus groups and data collection. The project addressed the underlying social determinants of health, and Krista directly represented patient-clients in cases such as housing, special education, and SSI/SSDI.

Watch: Krista's Inspirational Experience as an Equal Justice Works Fellow


Says Krista, "Equal Justice Works Fellowships afford recent law graduates the opportunity to develop their dream job in the form of a public interest law two-year fellowship project. I am honored and thrilled to have been chosen!"

An internship as a press aide at the late Senator Ted Kennedy's Boston office for her politics and history major sparked Krista's interest in attending law school after completing her undergraduate degree at Curry. During her internship, Krista wrote press releases and grant support letters, helped manage public events and monitored daily newspapers, media reports and websites for key issues concerning the Senator, which gave her a valuable perspective on the real-world impact of her course work.

Krista cites her connections with Curry College faculty and the opportunity to become a leader and trendsetter at Curry as the keys to getting her where she is today. After her first year at Curry, she made an important decision that positively affected the rest of her college experience - she decided to get serious about getting involved in campus life. "Curry was my first-choice college," says Krista. "I liked the small size and the feeling of community when I visited campus. By joining clubs and organizations, I learned how the process works and that you could start your own club, implement your ideas and create change. Now, I'm better able to take initiative and not be just a follower. Within Curry's supportive environment, I felt comfortable enough to take a risk and step into leadership positions."

Krista's willingness to get involved offered many benefits. "I love reading and writing, so I felt a pull to major in English," says Krista. "Then, in my junior year, I had a class with Professor Larry Hartenian and decided to add a second major in politics and history. He introduced a fascinating world linking government, economics, and politics to personal relations. He challenged me to delve into research and connect it to my writing. And he offered excellent advice on my final project, which dealt with social and economic integration between countries in the European Union."

Another of Krista's favorite faculty members is Professor Allan Hunter. "His class in Therapeutic Writing shows how the self is deeply connected with what you write. Dr. Hunter is very insightful and intelligent about the writing process. He helps you understand yourself better so you can write better." Krista also enjoyed her advisor, Susan Peterson, citing a class about the poetry of the Beatles' lyrics and her helpful guidance for Krista's major in English. "It was easy to meet and talk with her about my career goals and future plans," says Krista. "She provided a lot of resources, and she was always willing to listen and talk about anything."

As her final project in the Honors Thesis Program, Krista chose the topic "Sexual Objectification of Girls in the Media." She researched advertisements, billboards and commercials and found a strong correlation between media portrayals and low self-esteem in girls and women. Krista's mentor, Dr. Sandra O'Neil, reviewed her research and offered editorial support.

During her term as president of Curry's Alexander Graham Bell Honor Society, Krista led monthly meetings and met weekly with College deans to discuss strengthening academic foundations and creating new programs. Lessons in leadership she learned at Curry also carried over into Krista's legal internship at Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Outside of class, Krista enjoyed mentoring new students as a teaching assistant for Curry's First-Year Experience program and writing for the Curry Arts Journal.

Since 2005, she's been a volunteer and cabin counselor at Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Conn., which provides children with chronic and terminal illnesses a safe and supportive summer camp experience. More recently, Krista has enjoyed participating in Curry's Young Alumni Council, where she helps provide direction for future planning for both the alumni community and the College community.

For students considering Curry, Krista says, "Take advantage of everything Curry has to offer - meet the professors, join clubs and organizations, learn everything you can. Make the most of your education and your overall experience at Curry."

 
 
 
 

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