Brandy Blanton ‘15
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Joe Dunn, History and Politics
Nisbet Honors student, Brandy Blanton ‘15, witnessed history in the making as a researcher on the front lines of the Scottish independence vote of 2014. Her research project, Scottish Independence: A Youthful Voice, took her to Scotland and was funded by a South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) grant.
Brandy’s focus was on how Scotland’s 18-22 age group perceived the campaign and which side they ultimately voted for. She was also interested on the effect to Scotland’s youth if they ultimately separated from the United Kingdom. The voter turnout of 84.6% at the Scottish independence referendum was the highest recorded for an election in the United Kingdom.
A star debater for the college’s Model NATO and Model Arab League, Brandy said many people expressed a similar reaction to her research: “What?! You mean Scotland isn’t already its own country?” Brandy continued, “I’ve honestly had so many people come up to me and tell me they had no idea that the Scottish Independence movement was even a thing.” Despite the massive visual presence of the “Say Yes for Scotland” pro-independance campaign, the election resulted in a 55.3% majority in favor of remaining within the UK. This was within a percent of Brandy’s prediction for the outcome of the election.
A double major in Creative & Professional Writing and Political Science, Brandy put both majors to work. Her faculty mentor, Dr. Joe Dunn, emphasized the benefits of this experience for Brandy’s background in journalism and political science. Dr. Dunn said, “She will look at what’s happened after the referendum and conduct political analysis of the decision — why did people vote the way they did. It’s a good preparation for the direction she sees herself going in.”
Dr. Dunn worked with Brandy upon her return from Scotland, as she created a presentation from her initial proposal for the SCICU symposium in February 2015. “She has an idea a minute, and the genesis for this came from her,” Dunn said. “It’s indicative of her energy and enthusiasm.”
Brandy graduates in May and hopes to combine her passion for politics and her love of journalism into a flourishing career: “I want to be a public diplomacy officer and work in international politics. I know I have to get back abroad. Because of my research, I’m really thinking about applying for the University of Edinburgh’s Master’s in Nationalism Studies. I think its really interesting that countries and regions are voting for their independence now, instead of the age old tradition of fighting for it.”