My name is Maggie Pan. I am a sophomore at Duke University pursuing a double major in Mathematics and Public Policy with a Russian minor.
I am from a suburban town in central New Jersey called Edison (yes, where Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb). I love learning, reading science fiction, watching Rick and Morty and Black Mirror, and learning about and how to cook different cultural foods.
I love having interesting discussions about anything from quantum physics to nutrition to even the meaning of life. I find that through these random daily conversations, I not only expand my perspectives but also explore more deeply into my own opinions, challenging myself in thought. By exploring various ideas about countless topics that challenge my truth, I find that I am able to learn more, become more aware, and ultimately live a more interesting life.
Teams and group activities are truly the places where I thrive the most. When interacting and working with people, I always make sure that I am encouraging a collaborative and comfortable environment where everyone feels that they are accepted and meaningful.
I do not back down from a challenge. I have taken on several personal projects including creating and designing this website, cooking, boxing, and even living on my own for the whole summer. From these experiences, I have learned so much about myself and my capabilities. I truly believe that people are capable of doing anything; it is only the mind that inhibits them from achieving it.
When I am not busy, I am religiously listening to rock songs, drawing on my tablet, taking photographs, reading science fiction, analyzing poetry, exploring local art and history museums, or just lying on my bed, daydreaming. I love engaging with all forms of the creative because each variation offers a unique interpretation and portrayal of life. Experiencing someone else’s work of art allows me to understand their narrative, their individual human experience. Music, murals, poetry—these works of art show that everyone shares some commonality, either concrete or visceral. Art and storytelling transcend time and all our social constructs of race, religion, sex, connecting us all in the great human experience.
Here are some of my favorite quotes…
“The greatest scientific discovery was the discovery of ignorance. Once humans realized how little they knew about the world, they suddenly had a very good reason to seek new knowledge, which opened up the scientific road to progress.”
– Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus
“If I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I’m grateful that so many of those moments are nice.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five
“Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.”
– Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies