My name is Chisom and I'm so excited to be a Baldwin Scholar!
I come from a pre-K-12 school of around 400 students in Roanoke, Virginia. Virginia was just the latest place I called home—before that, I’d lived in Texas, South Dakota, Ohio, and New York. By graduation, my class consisted of just 40 people, many of whom had spent most of their lives together and had never lived anywhere else. Duke, with an undergraduate population of nearly 7,000 students from all over the world, was more than a little overwhelming at first. I was used to moving around due to my parents’ jobs, but never to an institution with so many people.
I first learned about the Baldwin Scholars the summer before arriving at Duke when a postcard with information about the program showed up in the mail, and I immediately knew it was something I wanted to be a part of. I was attracted to Baldwin because of the sense of community that was immediately apparent. Baldwin selects a few of the students at Duke to spend the next four years together in some capacity. I was excited by the opportunity to form connections with peers that are just as inspiring and diverse as the general population at Duke in a more personal, far less overwhelming, setting.
But more than that, I know that Baldwin will equip me with the tools I need to make an impact on society. I'm no stranger to taking initiative. In high school, I was the president of two clubs and founded one of them myself, a pre-health club called Medico dedicated to preparing students to pursue careers in medicine. I also involved myself in my community, volunteering at a local hospital every weekend, in my school’s after-school-care program, and over the summer at a food bank. But I want to expand my impact, especially in the context of other parts of my identity including my Nigerian-American background as the child of immigrants. I want to empower people with similar intersectional identities and marginalized populations in general. As a doctor and scholar, I want to combat the racism and sexism ingrained in the healthcare and academic systems and inspire others.
Outside of these broader pursuits, I always make time for my hobbies and extracurricular activities. I’ve loved to draw since I was a child, working in various mediums from graphite to ink to watercolors, and I'm currently dabbling in digital art as I plan out a webcomic. I enjoy traveling with my family and experiencing different places and cultures. I continue to involve myself in the community as an intern for the Durham Progressive Democrats, working to curb voter suppression. At Duke, I work as a research assistant in a biomedical engineering lab. Even when I leave Duke, I know that I will take my experiences as a Baldwin Scholar with me long after I leave Duke.