Boyer scholar confronts cruelty in developing nations

brittany-web.jpgBrittany Brendsel 08
Sociology and international development major/concentration in anthropology
Hometown: BigFork, Montana

The day 17-year-old Brittany Brendsel ′08 came across Messiah College’s Epicenter website (
and learned she could improve the lives of others around the globe, she knew her path was determined … by God.

“I wanted to be as qualified as possible to do the Lord’s will,” said a composed, articulate Brittany. “And Messiah has gotten me there.”

brittany-brendsel-with-a-child-in-ugandan-idp-camp.jpgIn the past four years, the Boyer Scholar and double sociology/international development major with a concentration in anthropology has traveled to Thailand, Rwanda, and Uganda—the latter for a six-month, combined study-abroad/internship program. “Uganda definitely changed my life,” said the resolute senior, recalling her many weeks of work with child soldiers—children abducted and forced to withstand indescribable acts of abuse. “I remember their tears … it is haunting.”

Brittany recalls a day of great sorrow when she sat face to face with a young Ugandan refugee, who by age 13 had birthed two children. “She was raped by a band of rebel soldiers then watched her family burned alive,” she said. “I was overwhelmed by the fact that she was so young, yet had endured so much. I was eight years her senior and had endured next to nothing. This was my life … that’s her life. How is that possible? Life was never the same for me. It gave me a sense of urgency and purpose that I’ve never had before.”

brittany-brendsel-and-kids-in-idp.jpgThat sense of purpose, combined with a passion for intellectual pursuit, has enabled the sensitive yet scholarly Brittany to pursue a unique combination of majors at Messiah College. “Sociology and anthropology have taught me to see the world as others do. International development is about freeing people from economic, cultural, and spiritual poverty,” she said. “Combining these in a culturally sensitive manner will better equip me to do what God has called me to do.”


Posted in 2008, About Reconciliation, Anthropology, Giving Back, Honors Program, Internships, Intl' Development, Service and Learning, Sociology, Study Abroad | Comments Off

Posted on May 20th, 2008

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