Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Karley Whelan


Karley Whelan

 Hello!  My name is Karley, and I am so excited and honored to be a Baldwin Scholar!  I was born and raised in Sewickley, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, but with two parents from Long Island, New York, I now call Southampton, NY home as my mom moved there after I graduated from high school!  Family is extremely important to me.  I have two older sisters who have always inspired me with their hard work and incredible achievements, and I'm lucky enough that one of them (the oldest named Kim) is (sort of!) a classmate here at Duke as she is in the Fuqua School of Business Class of '17.  My parents have always encouraged me to work hard and have been shining examples of hard work and determination and the success it affords.  I have been blessed to follow in the footsteps of my parents and sisters in playing a Division 1 sport in college.  I am a member of the Duke Women's Rowing team and owe my sister Kelly the thanks for getting me involved in rowing after she joined the Harvard-Radcliffe Rowing team in college, and encouraged me to join my high school team at North Allegheny.  I have played many sports, and am passionate about them, even if I'm not playing, I am an avid supporter of Duke Athletics and I can often be found cheering on the Blue Devils!  

Encouraged by weekly trips with my mom to the wonderful science centers and children's museums of Pittsburgh, I developed a love of learning in my childhood which has stayed with me and will continue to drive me in the future.  I have always been particularly fascinated by medicine and have planned on becoming a doctor for almost as long as I can remember!  Doctors, in a brilliant combination of skill, knowledge, and humanity, have the ability to learn, develop, and execute techniques that can save lives, creating a profession that perfectly suits my passions for learning and service.  I am looking forward to the many opportunities Duke and the Baldwin Scholars will provide me to enhance this passion and learn more, hopefully affording me the opportunity to pursue this career and achieve my goal of becoming a great doctor.  

I spend most of my time at school studying and training with my team, both of which I love, but I have many other interests as well! I love to read novels, especially anything written by Jane Austen! I also really enjoy practicing yoga and just spending time outside (so I really love the weather in Durham!). I am also involved with the Duke Catholic Center on campus and love to sing. Most of all, I am grateful to have such a supportive family, team, and school that allow me to grow spiritually, physically, and intellectually.  

Finally, I'd like to share one of my favorite things about the Baldwin mission: its emphasis on self-awareness. I believe that so much good can come from understanding yourelf and being in touch with and aware of your emotions, feelings, goals, intentions, surroundings and so much more! I'm really excited to be a part of a community which understands and encourages this important idea that I try to encorporate in my daily life as I strive to live in the moment and live life to the fullest. 

Be you. Be strong. Be present. Just Be.