Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Evan Nicole Bell


Evan Nicole Bell

I’m definitely what you’d call a “right brainer,” meaning, as long as I can remember, I have been partial to the artistic side of life. I find beauty in places that are regarded as ordinary, and I find joy in capturing these moments and showcasing them in a way that can be admired by others. Whether it is capturing the inquisitive gaze of a child with my shutter, or strumming a minor chord on my guitar, I strive to make my art possess not only beauty, but significance and sentiment as well.

Growing up in the beautiful, diverse, planned community of Columbia, Maryland, I studied classical ballet for twelve years, and for six years I studied classical and acoustic guitar. Always, I've loved to design, draw, and sing, and since coming to Duke and taking classes in music theory, I have fallen in love with composing and performing my own original music. Although I enjoy these many facets of myself, the medium with which I connect most closely is documentary photography. Through Program II, I combined my propensities for photography and social justice to design a specialized degree entitled Documenting Justice: The Role of Photographic Narratives in Activism. As a RIPP Documentary Arts Fellow at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies, I utilize my love for humanitarianism and the documentary arts to create photographic essays that touch on the subjects of childhood, race, and incarceration (evannicolebell.com).

My passion for documentary is neighbored by my commitment to social justice, specifically regarding mass incarceration, criminal justice reform, and children affected by poverty and incarceration. After completing an independent research project on children of incarcerated mothers, I founded Project InTouch, a nonprofit organization that provides free transportation for children to visit their incarcerated parents. As a Summer Research Fellow at the Kenan Institute of Ethics, I was able to continue my research and produce a documentary about children of incarcerated parents in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

In addition to my on-campus activities, I was one of 30 college students chosen to serve a two-year term on the national State Farm Youth Advisory Board, through which I helped manage and allocate a $5 million budget to fund youth-oriented nonprofits across the U.S, and I am am alumna of the national Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Program. Through Duke's Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, I founded Smile Durham, a nonprofit that provides free portrait photography for economically disadvantaged families in Durham, NC. I've been fortunate to be a part of so many different great experiences thus far in my college career, and I look forward to many more!

The Baldwin Scholars Program has been my home here at Duke. Being a Baldwin has given me the confidence and resources to pursue my passions and strive to be a leader and advocate on campus and beyond. The mentorship, relationships, and opportunities that Baldwin provides serve as a constant reminder to remain true to myself and set high goals for my future. If you have any questions regarding the Baldwin Scholars Program, of if you'd just like to chat, feel free to email me at evan.bell@duke.edu!