Kellie Shea '14

Russian and International Affairs Major | Assistant Attorney with Corporate Immigration

Please tell us a about yourself (can be brief) and where you are now today.

I am now in my final semester of law school at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. I am working at an immigration law firm where I am assisting attorneys with corporate immigration. At Suffolk, I am concentrating in international law and immigration law. I hope to remain in the New England area after I take the bar exam in July.

Did you have another major and/or minor at UNH? What impact did studying a language have on your other field/discipline?

I dual majored in Russian and International Affairs, with a minor in Political Science. Studying Russian really opened my eyes up to diverse culture and educational opportunities. It also has been a significant talking point in interviews both for admissions for law school and in interviews for attorney positions.

Language instructor/professor who made the biggest impact and why?

Professor Arna Bronstein is the reason I majored in Russian. Prior to going to UNH, I spent a gap year between high school and college studying at a public high school in Slovakia through an international exchange program. I learned Slovak language and culture while living there and wanted to continue with Slavic based languages when I came back, so I signed up for Russian class my fall semester of freshman year at UNH. Arna was very patient, encouraging, and promoted the study of the language in a really supportive way. She taught me the importance of studying the language year round, and would correct Russian exercises I did during summer, even when school wasn't in session.

What is your favorite memory from abroad?

My favorite memory from studying in Saint Petersburg, Russia was going to the "Victory Day" parade on Nevsky Prospect (the main street on Saint Petersburg). That holiday celebrates the day that Saint Petersburg broke free from the 900 day siege. It was incredible to see how much pride Russians have in their country and how they honored those who lived during the siege.

Why language was important to your UNH education? How has your language major benefitted you?

Russian has helped me significantly with immigration law. I have translated for immigrants applying to US citizenship and my experiences abroad have given me an understanding of diverse backgrounds that lead to the need for immigration to the US.

High-impact learning experiences while at UNH (e.g. study abroad, URC or other undergrad independent research -- SURF, UROP, IROP, experiential learning, internship, etc.)?

I studied abroad and was a member of the UNH Model United Nations team. Both of these experiences have impacted my experiences studying international law.

If you could talk to a prospective student, what would you tell them about the value of majoring in a language at UNH?

Majoring in a language makes you stand out from the crowds. It helped me gain acceptance to every law school I applied to and has been a reason I am chosen for interviews. Majoring in a language shows that you are open minded, driven, up for a challenge, and accepting of other cultures and diversity. I am incredibly grateful and happy that I found the Russian Program at UNH because it has deeply impacted my life since.

What are your goals for the near and distant future?

My goal is to become an immigration attorney in the Greater Boston area and help immigrants become US citizens. Through my international travels and study abroad experience, I developed a deep sense of pride in being American and saw how fortunate I was to call the United States home.