Fighting for Human Rights

By Emma Kapp

Senior Bradley Petrella has packed more into his UD career than most students.

The international studies and Spanish double major has been heavily involved with the New Abolitionist Movement (NAM) throughout his time as an undergraduate. The opportunities he took advantage of gave him stories and experiences he will hold with him. 

“Because of NAM, I've done over 15 presentations on human trafficking to middle and high school students, twice attended the University of Toledo's annual academic conference on human trafficking and was interviewed for international news,” Petrella said.  “We’ve planned many events to educate about human trafficking and fair trade. In this way, I've gotten incredible hands-on experience in running a mission-focused organization, which is a potential career interest.”

Petrella also works closely with the UD Human Rights Center and was part of the first Moral Courage Project team. This project afforded him the chance to visit Ferguson, Missouri, and gather stories of people standing up to injustice in the community. His experience inspired him to continue speaking out against human trafficking and supporting fair trade.  

“The fair trade work has resulted in tangible impacts to make the university's business practices more fully contribute to the common good,” he said. “The hope is that initiatives to ensure fair, ethical and sustainable business will continue to grow at UD after I graduate.”

Petrella is looking forward to the future and already has many post-graduate plans. He has secured a ten-week paid fellowship with the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services for victims of crime. He may pursue an MBA or a law degree after working for a few years.  

He advises young Honors students to seek learning opportunities outside the classroom through special programs or study abroad. Petrella suggests doing this early, because students will want to find more opportunities after returning from their experience. Asking for help is also crucial.

“If you're struggling in any way, whether it be with time management in general or a specific course, be willing to seek help early and often,” he said.

As Petrella closes the UD chapter of his life, he realizes some of the aspects he finds most important about the school won’t soon be forgotten.

“I thought about saying I will miss the people or the support I have been given by faculty and staff, but I believe I won't truly have to say goodbye to either,” he said. “I believe that with the nature of my friendships at UD, I'll be able to stay in touch, and I know continued professional support from faculty and staff will always be there.”

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