My name is Philip Liu, and I am a senior from Austin, TX. My relationship with Duke University was love at first sight – the second I stepped on campus, I simply had the intangible feeling of “I know this is right.” As a student interested in pursuing multiple disciplines and exploring many potential career paths, I was searching for a school which enabled undergraduates to easily pursue interdisciplinary interests. Duke was one of those few colleges, allowing me to simultaneously receive degrees in both the Pratt School of Engineering and the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. This online research sparked my enthusiasm for a campus visit (and only college visit) during the fall of my senior year in high school. Needless to say, the visit to Duke was perfect. Besides a great standard campus tour, all the small factors were flawless as well. For example, the weather was fantastic, Cameron Indoor Stadium was breathtaking, and everyone I spoke to was kind, intelligent, and welcoming – contributing to the positive environment. Additionally, Duke maintains an excellent reputation for elite athletics, social life, and campus culture, and I witnessed those characteristics firsthand. With a newfound passion for Duke, I applied early decision and was absolutely thrilled to be accepted. Through six semesters so far, my college experience has been phenomenal, and I continue to take advantage of every amazing opportunity!
An ambitious Blue Devil, I am majoring in Mechanical Engineering, minoring in Economics, and receiving a certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Throughout high school, I immersed myself in competitive robotics on FIRST Robotics Team 2468, fostering my appreciation for technology and design (my I&E pathway). Over time, I transitioned from the technical side to the business side and led the outreach, awards, and fundraising teams. Consequently, this background heavily influenced which degrees I chose to pursue. Extending from robotics, I served as President and Co-Founder of the STEM Advocacy Conference of Texas (SACOT), a program for high-school students to advocate for increased support and funding for STEM activities. Through this venture, our executive team recruited 1,000+ students from 75+ statewide robotics teams, advocating to 80+ legislators and helping upgrade 97% of Texas public schools to high-speed Internet. Overall, these unique experiences improved skills including problem solving, critical thinking, strategic planning, and teamwork.
By pioneering STEM initiatives like SACOT, an entrepreneurial mindset was instilled in my identity early. I’m grateful for the unparalleled opportunities to work with and be mentored by serial entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and renowned professors. At Duke, I was selected as an inaugural A. James Clark Scholar to receive specialized leadership, business, entrepreneurship, and service training. Through this program, I interned for Duke Engineering Entrepreneurship to research and document fundamental entrepreneurial knowledge and skills. These contributions will help finish writing and editing a forthcoming book which creates a high-level overview of the process of founding a new venture. Furthermore, I’ve participated in Duke in Silicon Valley, learning success factors in promising startups as well as established corporations, and completed four internships in various industries – my most recent as a Summer 2021 Operations & Technology Intern at NBCUniversal. Upon graduation, I plan on working at a large company as an intrapreneur – likely in project management. Afterwards, I aim to create a startup, and my coursework in Innovation & Entrepreneurship will certainly help me succeed in both career phases. These experiences have inspired me to utilize entrepreneurship to engage in philanthropic efforts to solve global problems related to clean water access, food shortage, education and technology inequality, and social injustice.
Outside of academics, I am a tour guide for the Undergraduate Admissions Office and the Pratt School of Engineering, a writer for the DukEngineer Magazine, and a volunteer at my local food bank. Recreationally, I have fun by listening to music, browsing YouTube, exploring with my friends, and playing and watching football and basketball. More specifically, I enjoy learning about sports history and analyzing statistics for the NBA, the NFL, and Duke Men’s Basketball. Another significant component of my life is how I constantly read about, listen to, and learn from my main role-models – Alicia Keys, Kobe Bryant, and Bruce Lee.