Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Edom Tilahun


Edom Tilahun

 “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
-Maya Angelou
…so here goes a little part of my story. Hey Duke! My name is Edom Tilahun. I was born and raised in the beautiful place of 13 months of sunshine; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After a wonderful childhood with my brother and two sisters, my family and I moved to the United States in the hopes of a higher education and a better life. Atlanta, Georgia was quite an interesting experience as my first exposure of the American culture. After living in Atlanta for 10 months, my family moved once again to Portland, Oregon. Even though Portland was a culture shock within a culture shock, I learned a lot about myself living there. I met people who shared the same interest for learning and service as me which was such an amazing experience. I leaned to embrace my culture, express myself and feed my passion for art. I got involved with Key Club, Habitat for Humanity, and many other service organizations that have enabled me to learn about my passion, strengths as well as weaknesses.
After two and half years in Portland, the rise of unemployment and financial difficulties pushed my parents to move once again to Alexandria, Virginia. The large volume of immigrant in the D.C. Metropolitan area made it so easy for me to adjust to my new environment, because it was full of culture that I was familiar with. In the small city of Alexandria, I was a proud Titan at T.C. Williams High School (if you have watched Remember the Titans, that’s my school!). Throughout high school, I was heavily involved in service and community. I loved being involved in groups that advocated for social justice and equality. The fantastic groups of friends I made helped me push myself out of my comfort zone and develop my voice. They helped me develop my confidence as a woman and I’m so thankful to have had a great of group of friend around me. I also had a great faculty support system in high school. My English teacher Ms. Kiyak is one of the best women role models who saw my determination and supported me throughout high school, and I’ve learned so much from her as a teacher, a mentor and an amazing woman.
Getting accepted to Duke was something that made my parents and I so happy. Considering the sacrifices they have made for me, there is no grater joy for me than making my parents effort and hard work worth everything. Becoming a Blue Devil is a dream I never thought would become reality. Especially being apart of this amazing group of women is something I value so much. Through every triumph and challenge, I believe this community will help me grow as a woman in every way possible. Having a community of strong and intelligent women is going to be something that makes my Duke experience amazing and I look forward to every minute of it.