Student Spotlight: Brianne Blakey

Brianne Blakey, Wharton junior

MADAM PRESIDENT: Blakey, a Doylestown native and Wharton junior, is president of the Penn chapter of Amnesty International, a human rights organization. “It was something that appealed to me as a way to learn about human rights problems around the world,” she says. “It was one means of seeking to correct them.”

FOCUS ON DARFUR: Blakely and the Penn chapter of Amnesty have focused much of their work on the crisis in Darfur, where 500,000 people have died since 2003. “I find it very moving,” she says. “I also think that’s one thing our peers find motivating and can identify with. It’s not a very abstract topic.”

TOP NOTCH: One of the reasons Blakey chose Penn was because of her desire to attend business school—and also because she wanted to challenge herself and “try for the top” at an elite one like Wharton. Plus, she likes Philadelphia. “I liked the idea of having a campus and being in a city, and I think Penn has an extremely good combination of both,” she says.

GENERATION SLACKER?: Asked about the “slacker” label some try to put on her generation, Blakey says while apathy can be a problem, a lack of empathy can, too. “People have trouble identifying with people in [developing countries],” she says. “It’s hard to imagine because we live in a very stable country.” Blakey believes Penn has “above average awareness” about world issues, but she would like more of her peers to establish a more personal connection to world issues and contemplate how their actions can bring about solutions. “Whether they want to be a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer or whatever, I hope there’s something that they can give back,” she says.

ACROSS CULTURES: Penn’s Amnesty International chapter has worked with Project Nur to promote understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim students, and also held a Human Rights in Africa Week.

EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION: Blakey says education is probably the biggest problem most countries are facing—and that includes our own. “Our primary education system is fairly poor in many areas,” she says.

POST GRAD: “My education is something that I’ve clearly invested a fair amount into and I do want to make sure that I’m able to cement that and practice that, but always with the goal of molding it so that I can contribute and I can give back,” she says. “I would eventually like to find myself in some sort of nonprofit or [non-governmental organization]. That may be Amnesty, it may not be Amnesty.”

Originally published Nov. 13, 2008

Originally published on November 13, 2008