Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Courtney Liu


Courtney Liu

After six years I have decided its time to update this Baldwin Bio!  19-year old Courtney stated: “I have spent most of my life trying to balance my two loves: dance and education.”  25-year old Courtney is still seeking the same balance.

During high school I aspired to become a professional ballet dancer but took a “detour” to Duke University when the time came to choose between a dance career and an education. 

While at Duke University I served as Co-President of Sabrosura and worked as an East Campus RA and a Teach for America rep.  I explored Durham through teaching dance at local studios and volunteering at the Durham Crisis Response Center and enjoyed completing a thesis through the Psychology Department.  I owe special thanks to the Baldwin Scholars, DukeEngage, the Dance Department, and the Hart Leadership Program for providing incredible opportunities and mentorship throughout my time at Duke. 

Upon graduation I planned to pursue a career in research and accepted a position at Bellevue Hospital / NYU Langone Medical Center as Research Project Manager for an R01-funded study evaluating the effects of Aprepitant on Heroin Addiction.  I spent the first year post-graduation hearing the brave stories of addicts by day and dancing for small companies by night.  I enjoyed my job but yearned to dance more and found I was missing out on many auditions and opportunities available only during working hours.  With some help from Colleen I negotiated flexible hours at my job and began auditioning during the day and working at night.  I decided to leave my job and pursue dance full-time when I booked the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Since leaving the hospital I have worked as a freelance dancer, ballet teacher, yoga instructor, bookkeeper for start-ups, and wedding dance choreographer.  In many ways my life is very similar to Duke in the sense that I juggle many different commitments while concurrently pursuing new opportunities. 

One of the most memorable moments of the past year was when Colleen, Donna (former Director of Baldwin), and a group of Baldwins came to see my Broadway debut in the Phantom of the Opera.  I will never forget that performance and am so grateful to Baldwin for an education in empowerment, life-changing mentorship, and beautiful memories. 

To all the incoming scholars, enjoy the journey and use the alumni network!  We are here for you.