Muzzy: From American Studies to New Hampshire Law

Katie Muzzy

Many people don’t realize that the relatively new American Studies major is housed within the History Department. Katie Muzzy ’15 was one of the first American Studies majors to graduate from Saint Anselm College. Aside from her major, Katie also minored in Gender Studies as well as Sociology and was a Presidential Scholar. She is now enrolled at UNH Law School as a Warren Rudman Fellow. One Thing after Another asked Katie about her experiences at both Saint Anselm College and law school.

Q: You are from Henniker, NH, just down the road from Saint Anselm College. Why did you choose St. A’s?

A: I chose St. A’s for the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. None of the other colleges I looked at had anything close to the NHIOP’s hands-on opportunities for students to get involved in politics.

Q: When you entered St. A’s, American Studies was a new major to the college. What made you choose that as your major?

A: I actually applied to St. A’s as a politics major. About a month before freshman year, I went on the first ever Passages trip. We traveled to Gettysburg, and it was amazing. Fr. William went to Philadelphia with us, and he helped me realize that I wanted to study history. Right away, when I got home from Passages, I did research into the different majors at St. A’s. I had no idea that American Studies was a new major, but I was interested in the flexibility and variety of courses. I changed my major on the first day of freshman orientation.

Q: You had several internships while you were a student at St. A’s. Tell me about those. Did you have a favorite? How did your coursework prepare you for the internships?

A: I had quite a few different internships while I was at St. A’s.

My freshman year, I spent a week interning for ABC during the presidential primary debate. I was lucky enough to be the stand-in for Diane Sawyer while the crew set up the stage and lights for the debate. For several days, the student stand-ins held mock debates in front of several producers for ABC.

The summer before my junior year, I interned for New Hampshire Public Radio’s The Exchange. I met Laura Knoy, the show’s host, and Keith Shields, the show’s producer, during a congressional debate while I was working as a student ambassador down at NHIOP. As an intern, I did research, learned about production, and screened calls during the show.

The summer before my senior year, I interned at the New Hampshire YWCA’s domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center. The opportunity stemmed from a sociology class I took called Family Violence, for which I started volunteering on the YWCA’s crisis line. I completed thirty hours of training on domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy. I found my work on the crisis line so rewarding that I decided to interview for a summer internship in the office. As a crisis center intern, I assisted clients over the phone, in the office, at the courthouse, at the police station, and in the hospital.

During the spring semester of my senior year, I interned for the Public Policy Team of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. This was the internship that all of my other internships and classes prepared me for. Specifically, I wrote my senior thesis about the first federal legislation that provided funding for domestic violence shelters. My research fueled an interest in the public policy aspect of domestic violence and sexual assault. As the legislative intern, I spent the semester in the State House attending hearings, researching legislation, and even testifying in front of the House and Senate finance committees about the importance of domestic violence legislation.

I loved all of my internships but my favorite one was with the Coalition. It helped reaffirm my life path and led me to where I am today.

Q: You are now in your first year of law school at UNH. Why did you choose to attend law school? You (unless I am mistaken) were named a Warren Rudman Fellow at UNH Law; that’s a very prestigious award. Tell us about that.

A: I have wanted to go to law school since I visited the Massachusetts State House on a field trip in eleventh grade. During college, I refined my passions and realized in what area of the law I want to practice. My initial instinct, perhaps encouraged by my American Studies major, was to go to law school far away from New Hampshire, in a totally new region of the country. During my internship with the Coalition, I realized how much I love Concord and the New Hampshire State House. When I finally visited the UNH School of Law, which is located within walking distance of the State House, I loved it right away.

As part of my application to UNH, I applied for the Warren B. Rudman fellowship, which is awarded to two incoming 1L students with a demonstrated interest in pursuing public interest law after graduating law school. I did not think I had a chance of obtaining this recognition, but several months later I got called for an interview. On the day of my interview, I was driving straight from the law school to go to a round table on human trafficking with Senator Jeanne Shaheen for my internship. I will never forget that day because it’s the day I knew that I would be staying in New Hampshire for the long haul.

I’m in law school because I want to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence. I do not yet know exactly what type of law career I will have, but I am excited to take advantage of every opportunity I can while I’m at UNH Law.

Q: How do you think your St. A’s education prepared you for law school?

A: The most influential part of my St. A’s education was my experience on the debate team. My coach, Dave Trumble, taught me everything I know about being confident and competent, being a good researcher and writer, and being a poised and eloquent speaker. Ironically, I never even considered joining the debate team until I heard about it during the pre-law information session of my freshman orientation. I genuinely do not think I would have made it through college without the support of Dave and my teammates.

Q: Are you enjoying law school?

A: I really am! I try to think of school as a job. I’m either in class or doing homework at least from 9-5 every weekday, plus a solid weekend day of studying. It is completely different from college but it’s a very exciting time of my life.

Q: I’m sure law school is hard work, but surely you have to relax sometime. What do you do for fun?

A: I just got a kitten! Also I am newly engaged. Additionally, I try to do yoga as often as I can, and I am learning how to cook now that I live in my first apartment.

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