In August 2022, Ana Alves Shippey, an associate professor of political science, obtained her American citizenship after a decade and a half of learning and teaching in the United States.
Shippey moved to the United States to begin his graduate studies at the University of Virginia in 2007. Towards the end of his studies, Shippey began to seek jobs in the United States and, with the approval of his training visa optional practice, a year long student visa extension granted to students working in their field of study, Shippey began his work at Lee University.
In December 2015, Shippey received her green card and five years later applied for citizenship. After a two-year approval process, Shippey became a dual citizen of Brazil and the United States.
“During the ceremony, you just show up with your papers, they ask you to dress up, because it’s a solemn moment. . . Then everyone, when you’re ready, repeats the oath of allegiance to the United States and you get a little certificate that you’re now a citizen,” Shippey said of the final citizenship process.
Shippey’s journey to citizenship was faster than most, but she spent many hours preparing for her test, interview and ceremony.
“You study for the civics test in which you answer questions, basic questions about American government in history, a bit of geography. It’s not particularly difficult. But I studied a lot. Because , just imagine: a US government teacher failed the civics test. That wouldn’t have been good,” Shippey said.
Her students and her husband helped her study and prepare for the exam and her daunting interviews.
“I was at my wit’s end,” Shippey said. “[It was] something that is so defining for life. . . and the fact that they were so kind and caring, it was encouraging. . . It was a great experience in that sense.
Now Shippey can participate in the political system she teaches in her US government class.
“As Christians, of course, we care about the growth of our communities. But now, as a citizen, I can vote. That’s the first thing I did: register to vote. But it’s really, I think, fair [strengthens] the commitment, but also the responsibility that I have,” Shippey said.
She anchors her philosophy in scripture: “If you hold to a set of a particular set of political beliefs, and I want you to be able to clearly articulate the reason for your faith. . . [1 Peter 3:15] said, we should be able to articulate the reason for our faith and explain with all kinds of respect, And that’s what I want my students to do to explain with all kindness and respect: why do you believe this that you believe.
Shippey exemplifies his commitment to teaching and mentoring through his involvement with Pi Sigma Alpha, Lee University’s political science honor society. The Chapter has a history of excellence with seven Best Chapter awards in nine years, including their most recent award for the 2021-2022 school year.
Adding to the club’s success, Shippey was named Pi Sigma Alpha’s Top Chapter Advisor.