Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, I grew up eating at two separate dinner tables in two separate homes. One of three sisters, living with divorced parents, I always felt as though each family member of mine contributed to my personal growth in a different way, especially with my parents. At my moms, I always had this sense of comfort. At her house, I learned about compassion, honesty, and about understanding others. On the other hand, at my dad’s house, I felt smaller. The constant, more sophisticated conversation around politics, technology, and business always drove me to want to learn about the information, the facts. My two separate homes allowed me to find my voice, a combination of understanding both the feelings and the facts. This is what led me to apply to Duke University; I wanted a place small enough to get to know and understand my peers, but also a place focused on expanding every individual’s knowledge of the reality of today’s world. While learning what mattered to me most in terms of my values, I was also going through high school trying to figure out what subjects excited me most. In eleventh grade, I enrolled in a United States history course. Whether it was the course material or the excitement my teacher brought to class, for the first time, I found myself eagerly racing to class each morning to immerse myself in discussion about my country’s history. The learning became so infectious that I found myself engaging in the political realm outside of the course, keeping current with the newspaper and listening to pundits on all sides. Inspired, I applied to work for a presidential campaign in the 2016 election, setting off to New York as soon as the school year ended. Here, I learned that my interest in politics and government was no longer just a burgeoning interest but a full-fledged passion. This is what led me to choose to major in Public Policy here at Duke. However, I quickly realized that learning about policy analysis alone would not allow me to be most prepared for this field.
I discovered two things: the first was that I had to narrow in on which issues I cared about most since it is impossible to tackle everything at once, and the second was that I couldn’t attempt to solve these issues based on data and history, but that to solve today’s extremely complicated problems, I need to come up with innovative solutions. Concerned greatly with the world’s health disparities and knowing I must come up with these new solutions, I found myself adding on a Global Health minor and doing the Innovation and Entrepreneurship certificate program. Since joining the I&E program, the notion of how innovative solutions are necessary to solve the world’s problems has only been reconfirmed. From my social marketing class to my problem solving global health course, the role of technology and innovation in solving public sector issues has been an ever-present theme.
Seeing how all of my interests come together when thinking about how to solve the world’s most pressing problems made me want to look outward of the classroom walls and apply those findings. This is what has allowed me to stay so engaged with an organization I was involved with in high school called WE Charity. WE is an international charity focusing on innovative methods to achieve sustainable development around the world and youth empowerment. Sitting on the Board of Directors as a youth member has showed me how companies who operate in existing sectors are able to be more successful when coming up with novel fixes. I have firsthand seen this as I have watched WE transition from one model to the next, to create the most sustainable one. Although I now find myself engaged in the non-profit world or eager to read the Wall Street Journal, I also enjoy spending my time on the tennis court, listening to music, or being with my friends. Being able to always play tennis like I was able to do so throughout middle and high school has been a challenge here at Duke, but I know it will always be a passion of mine.
As previously mentioned, my parents have greatly influenced me which is something most people would probably second. However, not many people ask me how my sisters have impacted my growth, especially my older sister Grace. Her ability to always stay focused & know what she cares about in all aspects of her life, whether it be academics or entrepreneurial ventures, has driven me to want to find my passion, my place in this puzzle of a world. I have no idea what real impact I will leave on this world, but I do know that I will devote part of my life to working on allowing others to have the same opportunities I was so fortunate to have growing up. I want to be someone who helps send girls to school; I want to be someone who helps get those girls jobs after school. I want to be someone who is able to truly touch the lives of others.