Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Rachel Rubin


Rachel Rubin

 “Haikus are easy / But sometimes they don’t make sense / Refrigerator” – Ancient Proverb

Hello! My name is Rachel Rubin and I hail from Fresno, CA, a place lovingly referred to as “the No” or “the armpit of California.” Growing up in a divorced household, I split time between my mother and my father, step-mother, younger brother, and older step-brother. While the two households I occupied could not have been more different from one another, I am exceptionally grateful for the independence I eventually gained as a result of being in a constant state of transition. I learned that I can live with anyone in any place and time with any set of accepted social norms; it forced me to be the accepting, self-aware, empathetic person that I consider myself to be today. I love and miss my family very much, but seeing as the 4 months I spent in my freshman dorm at Duke constitutes the longest amount of time I have slept in the same bed for the past 10 years, I feel I can say with genuine conviction that Duke has become my home.
In high school I was very involved in Leadership/Student Government as well as athletics, improv, math competitions, and spoken word poetry (if you want some funny stories from high school, ask me about the fashion show, hurdles, or that one time I shaved my head). I will always be grateful for the time I spent volunteering at Spirit of Woman, a local drug and alcohol abuse rehab facility for women and their children. My time there opened my eyes to the sheltered life I had been granted, and has really motivated me to explore socially-motivated career options; however, there aren’t many career options I am not exploring.
Duke has a funny habit of peaking my academic curiosity in a thousand ways at once whilst simultaneously forcing me to start narrowing down my ever-growing list of interests. While I may not currently know what my future holds, I try to keep in mind two things: first, the mindset I attribute to my paternal grandfather, Robert Rubin. His humor and generosity knew no bounds, and while I unfortunately never got to know him as an adult, I loved him for my own reasons, juvenile as they were. He taught me that a person’s gifts are their own to be shared at will, not to be used to impress others. People don’t have to know everything about you to love and respect you, and their reasons for loving you, while different from that of others, are whole and complete and perfect as is. Lastly, I do my best to be mindful of a quote by JFK, the only other human I have ever known to have suffered from the same auto-immune condition as I (story for another day). He once said “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” This quote has shaped my own personal definition of success. In my lifetime, I hope to make the difference of an “idea.” I hope that I might add to the collective knowledge of mankind, whether through means of scientific discovery or the gravity of interpersonal connection.
I could not be more honored to be a part of this program, and I can’t wait to get to know my Baldwin peers and absorb their power and knowledge through osmosis (only sort of joking). Thank you for this amazing opportunity!