2011 Fellows

Leigh Ann Chute '12

Leigh Ann Chute '12.

[In the summer of 2011] I had the honor of interning with Amnesty International USA, headquartered in New York City. I have been a member of this human rights organization since high school, and was further intrigued after taking a class with the former secretary-general of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, during her tenure at the University at Buffalo last spring. Her class on poverty and human rights helped me decide that I had to be at Amnesty this summer.

Receiving this fellowship truly allowed me to pursue my dream in New York City. Without the financial support, it is unlikely that I would have been able to live and work in New York City this summer. The fellowship provided me the opportunity to experience the mass member-driven organization that is Amnesty International, as contrasted to my other experience in small non-governmental organizations. I got to combine my passion for equality and human rights with my interest in activism. My days were spent researching and writing assignments that I was passionate about in pursuing in my career, along with attending events to raise awareness around the New York City area. We held demonstrations calling for the release of prisoners of conscience, the closing of Guantanamo Bay and clemency for Troy Davis, a death row inmate. This summer increased my expectation to be able to combine advocacy and activism with human rights.