University of Minnesota

New voice for justice

Inspired by global studies, Anna Meteyer pursues human rights internship abroad

January 16, 2014

Anna Meteyer (’14) wanted to explore the world through her classes—and to conceive of new ways to bring change.

Q&A with Anna Meteyer
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin

Why did you major in global studies?
I wanted to explore the world through my classes, using my education not only to discover the deep richness of humanity and the many different cultures that define us, but also to understand better the inequalities and injustices afflicting people throughout our world. I hoped to learn about the existing mechanisms for serving others and to conceive of new ways to bring global change and justice.

How do you want to make a difference?
I aspire to be among the leading voices strategizing to close the ever-widening gap between the Global North and the Global South, rethinking the political and economic system to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth and the proliferation of human rights practices. My passions lie in indigenous and labor rights, as well as the right of the community to the enjoyment and protection of the environment in which they live and work.

What’s your career goal?
I think either a position as a professor or journalist would fit me well. I also hope to someday work with indigenous and campesino populations in Latin America in their struggle for obtaining the full enjoyment of their human rights.

What do you love about your major?
The faculty. They’ve been so welcoming and inspiring both as professors and as mentors. They bring an energy and enthusiasm to the classroom that leaves students feeling invigorated and ready to take on challenges. These professors not only teach facts about the world, they also instill within students the ability to understand this world in a new way, and provide them with analytical tools that can then be applied in their future studies, their occupations, and their daily lives.

What’s one opportunity you’ve seized at the U?
As a sophomore, I took a career-planning course that led to my current job at the U. We were assigned to conduct an informational interview with a faculty or staff member from our major department. I stumbled across the Human Rights Program website, and was struck by the many different events, classes, and research it highlighted. I set up an interview with the director, and was offered an internship.

I cancelled my plans to return home for the summer, seizing profoundly meaningful opportunities throughout the two years I have worked here. For example, the program sent me to Antioquia, Colombia, through a project they are carrying out with four universities there. During my internship there, I worked with these schools in developing a human rights law curriculum to be implemented in each of their four law schools.

Advice for freshmen?
Engage! Do not wait around for opportunities to come your way—put yourself out there! Believe me, I know how frightening and intimidating this can seem. The first few times you build up the courage to attend a new student group, meet with a favorite professor, or ask a fellow student to join you in studying for a test may be difficult and rough-going. But don’t give up! It gets easier every time. The U provides truly spectacular opportunities for indulging your academic passions through surrounding you with brilliant individuals on a daily basis. So do it! Be bold and indulge in academia!

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