Ever since eighth grade, Thom Parisi knew he wanted to be a lawyer, “as much as you know anything at that age.” His middle school mock-trial experience in Milford, NH, opened his eyes to the world of law, but it was at UNH where he realized that the law touches every aspect of life, and quickly learned that he’d be able to meld this and his other interests together academically.
Thom credits his older brother, Mike (UNH ’05) for introducing him to cinema and music, and they still share recommendations and reviews with each other regularly. But it wasn’t until he took Intro to Film Studies as a general education requirement, with Professor Delia Konzett, that he fell in love with cinema. As a sophomore, he worked closely with Professor Konzett to submit a proposal for a
self-designed major in Cinema Studies, to add to his first major of Political Science. Since that time, he has taken his love of movies to a new level. Thom has been a teaching assistant (TA) for several courses, been Vice President of Film Underground, and received an Undergraduate Research Award for research on American propaganda
films of World War II. At the end of his senior year, when most students are experiencing senioritis, Thom also started another cinematic venture: reviewing on-demand movies for The New Hampshire.
He approaches his love of music with the same intensity.
Thom has been a member of the UNH Concert Band for four
years, and joined SCOPE as a freshman. As a member of
SCOPE’s executive board, Thom was able to combine his love for music and his passion for the law, by working with agents to book artists and carry out contracts. This also led him to apply for and be offered the position of Sound Director for Men’s and Women’s Wildcat Hockey at the Whittemore arena, where he chose the music played during pregame and game-time. It’s a lot of fun, but Thom is quick to remind his friends that it’s a pretty big responsibility. “If we don’t get the opening just right, the fans
let us know it!”
“If something interests you, go for it,” Thom advises. “Make the time for it. Make it happen.” This has been Thom’s approach throughout his college career, and is his advice for all UNH students. When he learned that there used to be a scholarly journal related to law and political
science, he simply asked what it would take to revive it, and then went ahead and did it. Discourses has published twice under Thom’s editorial leadership. Thom doesn’t wait for someone to invite him or ask him. When he felt strongly about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, he co-founded UNH For Hillary. That’s just the way
Just how does one maintain at 3.97 GPA with two majors and two minors while working on an honors thesis, writing movie reviews, being a teaching assistant, founding a new student organization, editing a scholarly journal, applying to law schools, and working part-time? For Thom, time management is easier when his schedule is full and there are things to do. “The busier I am, the more I get done.”
When he is asked to name just one experience at UNH that had the greatest impact on him, without hesitation, Thom gushes about his internship in Washington DC through The Washington Center. He worked very closely with Paula DiNardo, the UNH Prelaw Advisor and TWC Liaison, to find an internship placement that met his needs and would challenge him. He spent the spring semester of his junior year interning with the lobbying/law firm, Book Hill Partners, in downtown Washington, DC. Being away from New Hampshire for a semester and living and working in a vibrant, multi-cultural city opened his eyes to the opportunities waiting for him, or anyone who was willing to work hard and make things happen. Thom immersed himself in his work, writing press releases and conducting research known as “white papers,” for his employer. But he also immersed himself in the cultural, musical, historical, and culinary diversity of Washington, DC. The experience
melded all his interests together, and convinced him even more strongly that law school, perhaps in our nation’s capital, would be his next step.
Thom has received several acceptances from law schools, and is currently waiting to hear from one or two more before making his final decision on which to attend. His goal is to work as a lawyer in the film industry or with a film production company. Wherever he goes, it is clear that Thom Parisi will “make it happen.”