My name is Sara Friedman and I am a Duke University graduate and a member of the Baldwin Scholars class of 2010. Although I was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina I am a bit of a misplaced Northerner. My parents are both from New York City and moved to Durham to continue their careers as physicians at the Duke Medical Center. My older brother and I grew up under their influence in a small but close knit family and I have no doubt my love for all things New York comes directly from them.
While I always loved Duke, I didn’t always know I wanted to go there for college, especially because the idea of growing up in one place and staying in that same place for college seemed too safe. However, after an elaborate trip visiting colleges I realized that I was looking for what I loved about Duke in each place. At the end of the trip I realized Duke was the school for me, and it turned out to really be the case.
There is so much I can say about my experiences at Duke and not nearly enough space. Duke was anything but safe, it was instead challenging, rewarding and life-changing. I was fortunate to have wonderful professors and really enjoyed taking classes within and outside of my political science major. I also was able to engage in a number of fantastic extracurricular activities. I was a member of the club basketball team, the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and participated in a number of clubs and initiatives including: Duke for Obama, the Sports Law Society, Duke Democrats, the Duke-UNC Basketball Marathon and more. While each of these activities meant a lot to me, nothing compares to the impact of the Baldwin Scholars.
I chose to apply for the Baldwin Scholars for a number of reasons. I wanted to be a part of strong network of dynamic and interesting women. I wanted to get mentored by other female leaders from a variety of fields and learn from their stories and lectures. I wanted the opportunity to be in an all female classroom environment especially at a place like Duke where men and women already live, study and interact together. The Baldwin Scholars program offered all of these things, and even as a young freshman I recognized that it was something special I wanted to be a part of. What I didn’t realize was that the program would be so much more than the mentorship, networking and lectures. The Baldwin Scholars program would be the single most important thing to shape my growth at Duke. While I had a number of diverse experiences not connected to the program, every decision I made was made with the influence of my fellow scholars in the back of my head. The Baldwin program taught me so much about what it means to be a leader, the importance of growth, the strength of women working together, and the power of support and friendship.
Even as a graduate, the Baldwin program is still a major part of my life. I know that I can count on the support of my fellow friends and scholars scholars anytime I need something. I know that I can depend on the lessons of my experiences in the program to help guide me throughout new opportunities that come my way. I could not imagine a better experience for college, and I know that is largely because of this program. Beyond that, the Baldwin Scholars helped shaped how I view the world and how much I believe in the power of female empowerment and gender equality.
Today as I look back on experiences at Duke I am grateful to feel as though the Baldwin Scholars program is still guiding me each day. Currently, I live in Washington, D.C. and work for Senator Daschle at the law firm DLA Piper. I absolutely love what I am doing and am so motivated and excited to see what the future will bring, always knowing that the support of the program will be there for me.