Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Claire Vannelli


Claire Vannelli

  Hello!
As is the rest of my class, I am very fortunate and honoured to have been selected to join this unique group of women; Baldwin has already given me a tremendous sense of security and confidence in my first few months at Duke which has strengthened me as an individual. 


I would classify myself as an unconventional student on Duke's campus; I am international (though only a neighbour from the North, I was born in London, Ontario Canada--please excuse any additional 'u's in my spelling from here on!), a member of the varsity crew team and am pursuing engineering. The last semester has been both a culture shock and a whirlwind of meeting fascinating people, being challenged and stretched both in my sport and in academics and doing things I never imagined I would.


I have always been drawn to bodies of water, both small and immensely large. My adventures in rowing have allowed me to travel to waterways in Canada, the US and the UK but I also enjoy long runs by the ocean, paddling and portaging through new waterways on camping trips, swimming both competitively and for pleasure, spending lazy summer days wakeboarding or sailing and consequently, my favourite colour is blue/teal. It is my daily exposure to water that has fueled my love of the sciences, particularly biology. I am fascinated by the workings of the human body, the collaborative effort of millions of micro subunits, which results in the sustainability of an entire organism, and planet. From only my brief exposure to the sciences, I know that this is an area that I need to pursue with great depth and a conscientious mind. I hope to also minor in English, as reading and literature has always been an integral part of my life. From the early days of picture books to the first chapter book, and finally to the classics I peruse today; I rely on the solace I find in escaping reality with an excellent story. My favourite books are ‘The Alchemist’, 'Pride and Prejudice' and ‘A Long Way Gone’, though I am always on the hunt for more!


I know that both my life and myself will continue to grow and change in the presence of the endless opportunities at Duke, especially with the guidance of the Baldwin Scholars.


“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize that good things happen in their lives each day the sun rises” – The Alchemist