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Our Founder

photo of the late Dr. Armstrong, founder of the BOOST program

Dr. Brenda Armstrong grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina and was one of the first African-American students to attend Duke University as an undergraduate. She was the second Black woman in the United States to become a board-certified pediatric cardiologist, and was one of about sixty students who participated in the 1969 Allen Building Takeover to protest the racial climate on Duke’s campus. Dr. Armstrong served Duke University School of Medicine for more than 20 years as associate dean for admissions and most recently as senior associate dean for student diversity, recruitment, and retention. Dr. Armstrong was fiercely passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in medicine, and pioneered this work at Duke and throughout the country. Dr. Armstrong founded BOOST to ensure that underrepresented minorities in the sciences – African Americans, Latino/as, Native Americans, young women, and young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds — have the opportunity to explore their own passions for STEM. Dr. Armstrong passed away in October 2018. Click here to learn more about Dr. Armstrong’s life and work.