Marlee O’Keefe ’19 is always trying new things, from skydiving in New Zealand during her study abroad semester, to tackling big ideas – like gender roles in stand-up comedy – through her Honors thesis, to challenging herself as Vice President of the rowing team.
“Each opportunity that Bryant allows just makes me love the University more,” says O’Keefe. “I wouldn’t have been able to do everything I’ve done without Bryant.”
She’s also a big fan of the University’s Entrepreneurship program. “I like entrepreneurship because it covers a little bit of everything,” she says. “Wherever my path leads, whether I open up my own business or reinvent existing ones, I’ll have a background in it.”
It was Bryant’s IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) program, a three-day design thinking workshop undertaken by the entire first-year class, that helped her settle on Entrepreneurship as a major. “In IDEA, you’re assigned a big problem and you have to come up with a creative solution,” O’Keefe says. “You have to do the big-picture work, but also figure out the small details – which is kind of like creating a business. I learned a lot over those three days and realized, ‘wow, I could actually do this’.”
In her wide range of experiences, she’s found a variety of mentors, including her professors, her rowing coach, and other students like Samantha Scoca ’17. “She’s one of my good friends, and she did everything. She ran TEDxBryantU, she did an Honors capstone, and she interned in Washington,” says O’Keefe. “It was enough to make you ask ‘how is this physically possible?’ I realized that’s what I wanted for myself.”
The summer of her senior year, O’Keefe interned with The Nantucket Project through a Bryant Summer Internship Fellowship, where she worked with nonprofit organizations to create a positive social impact. The skills she learned are helping her organize the 2019 TEDxBryantU event, which will explore a wide range of innovative ideas and bring together the insights of students, faculty, and alumni.
“By working with groups like The Nantucket Project and TED, I’m working with people who are dedicating their lives to what they care about,” she says. “That’s inspiring to me.”
University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
• Lived in New Zealand for five months, broadening her insight into the world
Sophomore International Experience
• Explored business and culture in South Africa, including interacting with entrepreneurs in the townships and corporate business executives in Cape Town
Working on a thesis studying gender roles in stand-up comedy
Vice President, Bryant Woman’s Rowing Team
• Competes alongside, and helps to manage, the team
Intern for the Academy, The Nantucket Project
• Worked with nonprofit organizations and social projects to create a positive social impact on issues and ideas that matter most in the world
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