Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Ahsha Merson


Ahsha  Merson

Ahsha Merson graduated with the Class of 2009, majoring in both Economics and Philosophy.  She is not just smart, but a curious and reflective intellectual.

Ahsha named Duke Econ professor, Emma Rasiel, as her mentor.  “She taught me to never be ashamed of being good at what I do.  Emma also taught me by her personal example that when we are lucky enough to succeed, we should do our best to help others do the same.  She spends so much time passing on her knowledge both formally and informally, and has made a huge impact on the careers of hundreds of Duke students.”

At Duke, Ahsha was very committed to the Deja Blue a cappella group and Pi Beta Phi sorority.  She also served as an executive board member and president of Duke Venture Forward, an organization that prepares members for post-graduate careers in business.

As a representative of Baldwin Scholars and Pi Phi, she joined the planning group for the 2008 “America the Beautiful” documentary screening and follow-up conversations.  The film questioned America’s obsession with physical beauty.

She advises Duke first-year women to join as many groups as possible.  “Diversify your experience and make friends with people who will help you be a whole person instead of a stereotype.”

After her junior year, Ahsha was selected to complete a summer internship at Morgan Stanley, where she built financial models and created pitchbooks.  She found the experience challenging and energizing.  “Investment banking involves a lot of on-the-job learning and it’s hard to prepare for, so all you can do is take it one step at a time and be continuously aware of yourself.  You are given a lot of work and responsibility and are working with brilliant and interesting people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Ahsha attended an all-girls high school in Baltimore, Maryland.  At Duke, she sought an environment where she would be challenged to examine herself and her environment and to discover how to actively change the status of women in our culture.  She found that place within the Baldwin Scholars program.

When asked to describe a choice that defines the woman she is today, Ahsha responded, “I chose not to be meek, to be loud and strong, and to embrace a femininity that is never docile.”