Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Alethea Toh


Alethea Toh

My name is Alethea and I am so thrilled to be a Class of 2020 Baldwin Scholar!

I was born and raised in Singapore, a tiny multi-racial and multi-cultural island a.k.a. the ‘little red dot’ on the world map. Looking back, I am thankful for the international exposure that being a national age-group swimmer has given me since the age of 9. I have travelled to and competed in places such as Australia, Canada, China, Dubai, Japan, Malaysia, Qatar, Philippines and Vietnam, and these travelling opportunities have broadened my outlook and social awareness.

When I was 15, I accepted a swimming scholarship to study at the British International School in Phuket, Thailand. My school was an incredible melting pot of ethnic, religious and ideological diversity and I interacted with friends from vastly different walks of life. Venturing out of my comfort zone and living without my family in a completely different and unfamiliar environment was initially a little daunting, but it spurred me to make new friends and dive into new activities other than swimming: I joined my school’s student council, taught English and swimming to children from an orphanage, was a peer tutor to my juniors, volunteered with the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project, joined my school’s track and field club and participated in Model United Nations conferences. My exposure to these diverse challenging and rewarding experiences substantially honed my communication skills, independence and self-belief, and instilled in me a more global perspective and a greater sense of civic mindedness.

At Duke, I hope to continually strive to broaden my horizon and interact with diverse people. I’m a staff writer for The Chronicle, am on the executive board for Wiring with Women, and am involved with the Duke Catholic Center. I also love to run, and am a member of Duke Club Running. As an international student, I am still adjusting to life in America, be it reminding myself not to give extended replies to American greetings like ‘How are you?’, to acclimatizing to the ever-fluctuating weather in Durham.

Academically, I’m still exploring possible majors but am very keen on computer science and international comparative studies. Meanwhile, I plan to fully avail myself of the myriad opportunities Duke has to offer, including the Baldwin Scholars Program. I thoroughly look forward to getting to know my fellow Baldwin sisters and to an exciting 4 years of immersion, learning and growth. I hope to contribute to a stronger culture of respect, confidence and equality for all women at Duke.