Hi everyone! My name is Shaq Junaid and I’m a junior going on the trip. Here’s a Q&A I did with myself to give you a little insight into who I am!

Where are you from?

I was born in Yonkers, NY, but I grew up in West Palm Beach, FL. I love warm weather, so that’s a plus. I also dislike rain, and in South Florida it only rains intermittently in 5 minute periods.  I didn’t realize this wasn’t normal until I came to North Carolina. When it rains here, it rains all day. Truly heartbreaking. The landscapes and flora here are beautiful though!

What are you studying?

I’m a Pharmacology concentrator in the Biology major; I love learning about drug actions and mechanisms! I plan to apply to medical school this summer…we’ll see how it goes.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love a good runner’s high… I really enjoy playing instruments (guitar and piano) and picking up my favorite songs by ear. I’m a huge FIFA enthusiast (the video game not the organization!!!!!!) I’ll watch any sport that’s on, especially during the Olympics but soccer, basketball, football, and baseball are my favorites. I’m a big fan of books and movies, especially good sci-fi and thrillers, and will binge watch/read anytime I have huge chunks of hours to kill.

Why do you want to go on this trip?

When I heard about this trip, I took the chance to research human trafficking. I quickly realized I knew little about its scope or what it really even was. Though “human trafficking” sounds alarming off the tongue, its ambiguity makes it difficult to comprehend without any prior knowledge. Who are humans being trafficked? Where are they from? What are they being trafficked for? These are questions I could not initially answer and as I looked into the issue more, the more I was shocked by what I read. One of things I strive to do, especially at a place like Duke, is to continually expose myself to new perspectives. Taking in new perspectives, understanding them, and measuring them against your own is one of the best ways to become a more well-rounded person. The fact that I, and most people around me, know so little about human trafficking when it occurs in such a large scope in the U.S. is perplexing. It’s an issue that seems to fly completely under the radar, and that compels me to learn more about it. There are some issues that seem so daunting that most individuals cannot realistically make a measurable difference by themselves. I’ve realized that human trafficking is NOT one of those issues. As I continue to try to expose myself to new perspectives, I hope my experience on this trip equips me to better address this issue both in my future career, and in the present as a Duke student.

I’m beyond excited for this trip. I hope you’ll get to know a little more about me and the issue of human trafficking throughout the week. Stay tuned friends!!!