My Story

My name is Val, and I’m from Hewlett, NY. I’ve wanted to go to Duke since I was a freshman in high school, and here I am, enjoying every minute of it. Academically, the most appealing part of Duke was the many opportunities to pursue interdisciplinary studies, and through my majors and this certificate program, I’m doing just that. I’m double majoring in Economics and Computer Science, and through the I&E Certificate, I’m able to apply what I learn from the classes in my majors to a more creative and real-world experience.

A view from the top of Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina

Outside of classes, I’m part of Campus Enterprises, an entirely student-run business with the mission of “building better college experiences.” We provide a variety of services to Duke students and the Durham community including restaurant delivery, tutoring, screen printing, event planning, a cleaning service, and more. As a sophomore, I was the Director of Maid My Day – an independently contracted cleaning service for the Duke/Durham community.

I have since joined the Executive Team as the CMO, and have vastly enjoyed my experience seeing the company from an entirely different angle. My experience as CMO has allowed me to learn how every division runs, and has made me think about how to promote our services to the public. In my latest semester, I’ve been leading the Executive Team as CEO, which has been by far my most formative experience at Duke and allowed me to tie a lot of what I’ve learned in the I&E certificate program directly to running my own business.

Some of the CE Team at our Holiday Party hosted by Enterprise Entertainment

My coursework in innovation and entrepreneurship has been an excellent bridge between my academics and work life. As I learn new and exciting things in the classroom, I take those things with me to my work in Campus Enterprises, and I’m sure I will later be able to take those things to McKinsey, where I’ll be working after graduation.

Before I start working, however, I want to take a lot of time to travel. Ever since my semester abroad, which I spent in London, I’ve become what some may call a little obsessed with traveling and seeing as many different places as I can. I think the best way to learn is through travel, and I value every second that I spend immersing myself in and learning about a new place – whether it be through exploring the outdoors or “geeking out” in museums. My most recent endeavor was hiking Machu Picchu!

Besides my love for travel, I am also a huge fan of trying new hot sauces (recently tried Carolina reaper for the first time – ouch), reading quality memes, and watching Game of Thrones (one of the Icelandic horses I met, not pictured here, was Arya Stark’s).

When I first came to Duke, my mind was so made up about what I want to do with my life, but as I progress through my studies at Duke and I’m exposed to more work experiences, my mind changes like rapid fire. After graduation, I’m excited to begin my career as a Business Analyst at McKinsey, which will give me some more time to explore different industries as a consultant. I’ll be joining Digital McKinsey, which will allow me to bring my passion for technology into my work. Down the line, my plan is to run a business of my own.

The impact I hope to have on the world, whether it be in the small microcosm of my own career, or if I can scale that impact, is to see a time when women going into finance or consulting or tech or whatever it may be are not going into a “male-dominated field,” but are going into a field we are respected and not treated any differently in.