Steve Shennan ’12

After graduating in 2012 with a major in Classics and a minor in History my first job was as a research paralegal, a role in which I worked primarily on patent litigation and tax law. At first blush the two fields seem unrelated, but as I settled into my work I found that the same skillset I had honed as a Classics major transferred very neatly into legal reading; the careful attention to language and word choice, the importance of thorough research to inform conclusions, and even the parsing of fine grammatical distinctions all proved useful to me in the legal world. After some thought I chose not to pursue law school, and decided to try my hand in a more interpersonal role in business.

Over the past year I’ve worked as an associate at a Portland-based consulting firm serving primarily nonprofit clients, and in that capacity I’ve had the good fortune of working with a number of fantastic organizations across a variety of Maine communities. It’s been challenging – and fun – in a different way, with a stronger emphasis on general organization, attention to detail, and strong writing skills; again, Classics had prepared me well. A few evenings a week, I would also make a trip up the coast from Portland to work in a special capacity as a Latin tutor for a local private school.

In addition to keeping me engaged with the Classics, my job as a tutor helped me to brush up on my language skills. This proved crucial, as I ultimately made the decision to pursue graduate study in the Classics. The department was tremendously helpful throughout the process, from the first exploratory discussions through to the end. I relied on Bowdoin’s faculty to guide me during the application cycle and, when good news came, in evaluating my admission offers. I came out of the process with a dream-come-true scenario, and I’ll be starting my Classics PhD at Harvard in the fall; my Classics major at Bowdoin prepared me for every step along the way.