Hometown: Sevastopol, Ukraine
Undergraduate Institution: University of Iowa
Undergraduate Degree: Sociology
Zdravstvujtye, privit, or hello — whether it’s in Russian, Ukrainian, or English, or whether she’s twirling away on the ballroom floor, Kseniya Stupak won’t hesitate to share her experience last summer interning for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa, where she found her passion of Federal Criminal law.
“I worked with different cases including drugs, gangs, guns, child pornography, sexual abuse, and murder,” Stupak, a University of Iowa College of Law 2L, said. “I actually practiced law, not just learned how to think like a lawyer. I realized that I want to prosecute such crime and not defend.”
As a law clerk, her job included research, writing memos, briefs, observing criminal trials, pre-trials, sentencings, and plea hearings. Not only did she observe the federal criminal procedures, but participated fully in every step of the process. She interviewed the defendant in prison, wrote questions for cross-examination, and wrote sentencing memos, worked with FBI agents, Secret Service, U.S. Marshall’s, and Federal Prosecutors.
The trilingual student grew up in Sevastopol, Ukraine and moved to Cedar Rapids in October 2004, with her family. When she’s not studying law, she travels the world participating in ballroom dancing competitions — and has been named a champion. She said her background traveling all over the world helps her be open to different points of view and understand different cultures.
Stupak is involved in several UI Student Organizations including Organization For Women Law Students and Staff, where the group fundraises for Pro Bono trips around the United States to help people and volunteer. She is also active in Legal Clinic, and last semester she participated in Divorce Pro Bono Clinic. Stupak joined the Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems Journal and would like to be in the Moot Court team next semester.
As a mother, student, wife, ballroom champion, and volunteer, Stupak said her life becomes hectic but still feels like she can do it all, and knows that her positive attitude and energy will push her through.
“Boxing and gym are the best stress releases,” she said. “Sometimes right after the classes I feel overwhelmed and release my stress by boxing or dancing and then go home and start being myself again.”
Stupak said she loves the University of Iowa Law School because of its relatively small size. All students know each other and all professors know every student. She said they don’t only study, but have fun socializing together with theatrical plays, cards games, picnics, and many more other activities.
However, academia is the College of Law’s forte.
In Iowa Law School, Stupak said they learn how to think like a lawyer, therefore, they find internships, externships and volunteer opportunities to practice law. The combination of both helps to prepare each student for a new career.
“When I started to learn law, I realized that my brain started to think differently,” she said. “I am more careful with anything I do, anything I sign. I developed great communication skills, writing skills. I feel that I am more freely can talk to different people with different backgrounds and be open for their opinions by being a good listener.”
Those skills helped her land the internship of her dream this past summer.
“I have no regrets that I joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office during the summer,” she said. “Everyone was extremely helpful at the office and helped me in my understanding in federal procedure and law. All of my questions were answered and I received a lot of feedback and suggestions.”