FIRE is delighted to welcome Amy Gettlin to staff as our new Development Associate.
A Philadelphia native and recent Drexel University graduate, Amy began working at FIRE last year as a Program Assistant as part of the school’s Cooperative Education program. At Drexel, Amy earned her B.A. in International Area Studies with a concentration in Justice and Human Rights. Now, she will join our Development team full-time, focusing on fundraising and working with donors.
But she almost took another path entirely.
“I actually started out at Drexel as a graphic design major and got through two years of that and decided that’s not what I wanted to make a career out of,” Amy said. “So I spent some time thinking about what I was actually really passionate about, and for me that was keeping up with the news, keeping up with politics, and just trying to be aware and somehow make a difference. It’s kind of cliché, but that’s really what it came down to. So I switched to International Area Studies where I studied justice and human rights and I was specifically interested in armed conflict in the Middle East.”
The connections between her studies and civil liberties work were apparent right away.
“Studying the Middle East especially, where so many different rights are so restricted, really made me appreciate freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” Gettlin said.
But it was a 2015 study abroad trip that brought those sometimes abstract concepts into stark relief.
“Studying abroad in Jordan was an incredible experience, but they told us before we went to Amman that we really needed to be careful with how we conducted ourselves in public and what we said to each other,” she recalls. “There are a whole host of discussion topics that are really taboo in Jordan that wouldn’t think twice about talking about here — politics, drug use, dating — and we had to be really careful because they have secret police who will overhear your conversation and they can arrest you or press charges against you. For me, that was my first time being like ‘Wow, I’m actually being censored and I really need to be careful.’ I had never thought about that before and it made me appreciate all the free speech rights we have in the U.S.”
We’re thrilled that Amy has transitioned into a full-time role with our Development team, putting her unique perspective and skillsets to work for FIRE.