Graduate hopes to help women around the world from nation’s capital
March 7, 2017
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In the midst of moving to Washington D.C., Oakland University fall 2016 alumna Jenna Blankenship is using her knowledge and experiences from her time at school to pursue involvement in national politics.
“I was originally pursuing a degree in political science because my ultimate goal was to go to law school,” Blankenship said.
After taking her first class in world politics, she found her true passion in foreign affairs. Now, with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, she is taking the next step by moving to Washington D.C.
While at OU, Blankenship held leadership roles in three on-campus organizations: Pan-Hellenic council, Gamma Phi Beta sorority and Model United Nations Club. Blankenship also had two internships during her college career: one with the Macomb County Circuit Court and the other with a grassroots organization called The Borgen Project.
“[Blankenship] represents the age-old notion of speaking softly and carrying a big stick,” said Adam George, a senior studying international relations. George and Blankenship had been friends many years and now have been dating for about a year.
Blankenship has had numerous experiences as a leader.
“A fine blend of deliberation and thoughtfulness go into every decision,” said George of her leadership style. Calling her “unapologetically humble” and “a rare breed of intellect,” George knows how hard she works at making the right decisions.
Paul Kubicek is a political science professor who has been working at OU for about 16 years. He had the chance to see Blankenship’s leadership and hard work both in class and in Model UN.
“She was the first student who had the idea to host a high school conference through our Model UN Club,” Kubicek said.
Both George and Kubicek agreed that Blankenship is focused on making a tangible impact and could be successful in any area of politics.
Blankenship’s personal political agenda is focused on international aid and development.
“I fear this will no longer be a priority in our government,” she said.
She has vowed to keep these issues in the national spotlight by working for organizations that draw attention to them.
“There is no better time than the present to get involved in politics,” Blankenship said.
She said she considers her work ethic one of her strong suits.
“There is no point in sitting back and complaining about issues we can work to overcome,” Blankenship said.
Both pursuing political careers, Blankenship and George intend to make palpable impacts as leaders.
“If I were a betting man, I would place all the monies in my pocket on Jenna having the most impact on the lives of women in developing countries,” George said.
Focused on the elimination of poverty and the promotion of rights for women, Blankenship intends to use her strong communication skills and work ethic to adapt to her environment and strive for her goal.