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Krista Selnau ‘09’s journey to becoming a successful social justice attorney and nonprofit leader was not easy.
Throughout her life, she faced adversity—her battle with cancer being at the forefront. As a young girl, a bump on her knee from what she thought was the result of failed bicycle trick resulted in osteosarcoma, and the loss of her left leg. But even with the emotional and physical challenges that come with battling and recovering from cancer, she kept climbing.
And now, she’s at the top.
Krista was recently hired as the Director of Major and Planned Giving for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp based in Ashford, Connecticut, which provides children with chronic and terminal illnesses a safe and supportive summer camp experience. She first became involved with the organization as a first-year student at Curry back in 2005. In June of 2022, she assumed the position of Associate Director of Major and Planned Giving and received a promotion, just seven months later.
Krista cites her connections with Curry faculty and the opportunity to become a campus leader and trendsetter as the keys to getting her where she is today. After her first year, 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.”
During her term as president of Curry’s Alexander Graham Bell Honor Society, Krista led monthly meetings and met weekly with the College’s deans to discuss strengthening academic foundations and creating new programs. 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.
An internship as a press aide at the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s Boston office sparked Krista’s interest in attending law school after her completing her undergraduate degree. 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.
After graduation, Krista enrolled in Suffolk University Law School and got her Juris Doctor degree in 2012. A year later, she worked as an AmeriCorps attorney for Legal Aid of Arkansas in 2013. She was awarded one of 57 law postgraduate Equal Justice Works Fellowships for the 2013-2015 term, sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Walmart. 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.
Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly as a leader in the community to improve the lives of others. In addition to her current position, she also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Ms. JD, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring the success of aspiring and early career women lawyers.
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.”