Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Sini (Nina) Chen


Sini (Nina) Chen

Hello, my name is Nina and I am extremely honored to be a Baldwin Scholar and to get to know my Baldwin community! I am from a fabulous city on the coast of China called Hangzhou – a scenic city celebrated by poets and painters since the ninth century. Growing up, I slowly discovered what the city had to offer and was always fascinated by the folktales and legends surrounding Hangzhou. From early childhood, the city cultivated in me a sense of curiosity and wonder, and it has since become an integral part of me.

My nuclear family includes my parents, my twin Tina, and my little sister Sisi. My family has been the biggest source of joy and comfort in my life, and though I do not get to see them often, they are my anchor in this sometimes confusing and chaotic world. Both having grown up in relatively low socio-economic backgrounds but obtaining degrees at the doctorate level, my parents are firm believers of education as a tool of self-improvement and a gateway to a better life. My acceptance to Duke has been a dream come true (GO BLUE DEVILS), and I cannot begin to express my gratitude for everything my family has sacrificed for me.

Four years ago, I moved to Omaha, Nebraska (aka the most underrated city in America) and started my high school career at Skutt Catholic High School (GO SKYHAWKS). I stayed with a number of host families, who introduced me to American culture and expanded my horizons. The city of Omaha provided me a place for adventure and growth. I explored the city and sought out many opportunities to get involved. I dedicated myself to community service within the city, as I learned about the history of oppression and problems related to intersectionality within the community. I was also interested in the art scene in Omaha and went to different art exhibits and plays.

I have a passion for storytelling, and I believe that every story deserves to be told. I’m interested in social justice through advocacy, history and awareness through documentary, and community empowerment through education and action. I am concerned about topics such as policy, displacement of people, mental illness, charity and sustainability. Unsure of a definitive career path, I could see myself at law school, or doing advocacy work, among many other things after graduation.

Outside of class, I am a big fan of coffee dates and conversations. I enjoy thrift shopping and consider it bigger than just a hobby. I love spending time outdoors and PWild got me hooked on backpacking. I am easily inspired and my favorite thing is to go to different events, exhibits, and showcases, for inspiration from different perspectives and experiences. Outside of class, you will find me reading, going to the Nasher (10/10 would recommend), taking walks in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, going to concerts, and just spending time with friends.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me at sc422@duke.edu! I cannot guarantee to have all the answers you need, but I am always down for a nice chat!