April 23, 2015

My Story

I grew up in the sweet city of Sugar Land, TX before moving to Durham, NC to attend college.  I came to Duke partially for its amazing basketball culture (who hasn’t heard of Coach K and the Cameron Crazies?), but mostly for its outstanding academic program in the sciences. I had it all planned out: I would graduate from Duke after taking all my pre-med classes, head off to medical school, and then go on to become a heart surgeon. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, right?

Well, you know what they say about lemons: when life gives you them, you can make lemonade. Or you can take the lemons and “reinvent” them in whichever creative way you like: the lemon juice as a cleaning component, the rinds as beauty scrubs, the seeds as the beginnings of even more possibilities… Similarly, as I began getting involved in different activities and taking diverse classes at Duke, I discovered that my simple plan to “make lemonade” had already evolved into something bigger.

Now, I am a proud Economics major with a minor in Chemistry and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Along my path of self-discovery, I realized that I had a real penchant for entrepreneurship: I was still incredibly interested in the healthcare sector, but rather than becoming a physician in the future, I was more interested in working in the field of social innovation. The invention of wearable health devices, Minute Clinics, mind-controlled prosthetic arms, and the like enthralled me, and I knew that I had to get involved in that process of creation and change.

At Duke, I became more involved in the entrepreneurship scene as the VP of Entrepreneurship for Business Oriented Women, as well as the Director of Outreach for The Cube. In my junior year, I worked with Don’t Waste Durham’s GreenToGo initiative on its customer acquisition strategy, and I also became involved with the digital health startup Higgs Boson Health, LLC as a business development analyst. In the previous summer, I also served as a community consultant for Social Entrepreneur Corps in Guatemala as part of the DukeEngage program, working with local businesses to improve products and services that could better serve the local market and improve the people’s daily lives. All these experiences led me to become more invested in the field of social entrepreneurship, but I still felt that there was a gap between the economics/finance classes I was taking and the social innovation initiatives I pursued. It was only after my 2017 summer internship with Credit Suisse in the Mergers & Acquisitions investment banking group that I had the inspiration to combine my background in economics and finance with my interest in social entrepreneurship through a campus initiative I launched, the Duke Impact Investing Group, which invests in micro-businesses around the RTP area.

Combining the knowledge I have gained from working in a variety of science research labs, business development roles in corporate firms and startups, and my I&E courses and resources at Duke, I aspire to advance the field of social entrepreneurship and pursue my own impact investing business venture in the future.