Student Services Fellow

Shianne BowlinBackground

Class of 2021

Hometown: Princeton, Indiana

Undergrad: University of Southern Indiana

Majors/Minors: B.S. Psychology, B.S. Criminal Justice, B.A. Spanish

Grad: Arizona State University

Major: M.S. Forensic Psychology

What did you do prior to coming to the University of Maine School of Law?

While obtaining my Master of Forensic Psychology, I worked in the psychology field. First, I worked as a mental health technician in a group home for people with severe mental illness (mostly schizophrenia) and then in a psychiatric hospital for people with a variety of backgrounds from youth, substance abuse, acute psychiatric issues, and those who were grossly disabled.

Maine Law

Why did you choose to attend the University of Maine School of Law?

I chose Maine Law for the clinical opportunities. I knew I wanted to get hands-on experience, and Maine Law offers amazing clinics. When Carrie Wilshusen told me about the Juvenile Justice Clinic, specifically about the work done in the youth shelter and the Prisoner Assistance Clinic, I knew that Maine Law was where I needed to be. The school is deeply committed to ensuring that students get as much direct experience as possible, through clinics, internships, and externships.

What has been most helpful to you in making the adjustment to the life of a Maine Law student?

The entire community! The professors are always willing to met individually and talk through topics students may be struggling with. The teaching fellows and legal writing teaching assistants were all very helpful in helping us adjust by taking us through the basics and helping us to build our skills properly. I spent countless hours meeting with my legal writing teaching assistant who helped me immensely improve my legal writing. Not once did I ever feel inadequate for seeking help.

How would you describe your experience at Maine Law?

Law school is a lot of work and can wear you down at times. But it’s also so much fun! The professors encourage us to share our thoughts, but also push us to counter our own arguments as a way to make us well-rounded individuals. One of the best feelings was to reflect on the first year and realize how much I truly learned. There are also so many chances to network through lunchtime and evening events, which is a great way to get comfortable with the Maine Law community.

What are you hoping to do after graduation, and how is Maine Law helping you to facilitate that goal?

I came to Maine Law with the goal to do criminal defense work, as that has a large intersection with mental health. Maine Law is great in that it has expanded my interest through various opportunities. I had an internship at the Federal Public Defender’s Office that reaffirmed my interest in criminal defense. I also studied international criminal law in Germany, which broadened my interest to international law. Speaking with the professors about my interests has been vital to achieving my goals, as they are willing to listen and connect students to people and opportunities based on similar interests.

Activities

Are you involved in extracurricular activities, either on or off campus? What are they?

I am a student representative on the Wellness Committee, as well as a part of other student groups. I recently joined the Student Services Office as a fellow and will be a staff member of the Maine Law Review starting this upcoming year. Off-campus, I spend my time volunteering at the Preble Street Resource Center where I serve meals to low-income populations and I take salsa dancing classes at Danza Latina in Portland.

When you are not at school, how do you like to spend your time?

When I’m not studying or working, I love spending my time exploring everything that New England has to offer, including going to beaches, hiking, visiting new cities, and trying the myriad of restaurants in Portland.

Portland

What do you like best about Portland?

The entire vibe of Portland is great. The diversity in Portland is increasing, so there’s a variety of cultural experiences, via food, dancing, music, and art. It provides a great balance of all the things I’m interested in. Portland is a decent sized city that’s close to bigger cities, the ocean, mountains, and Canada! There’s something for everyone.

What are some things that have surprised you about Portland?

It wasn’t nearly as cold as I expected! Which made me very happy, as I do not handle cold weather very well.

Advice

If you could tell a prospective student one thing about Maine Law, what would it be?

You won’t find a more adaptable environment. If there’s something you want to do, the professors at Maine Law will help you get there. The professors come from all over the country and have experience in a variety of backgrounds. They have connections both within Maine and throughout the country, which broadens the experiences offered. I could not be happier with my choice to attend Maine Law.