My name is Dina Qiryaqoz, and I am enthusiastic to be part of the Baldwin Scholar class of 2022! 

My story begins in Bakhdida, Iraq, a small rural village, where I was born and spent the first 7 years of my life. I had a great childhood and spent a lot of time outside playing with the neighborhood kids and my siblings. From hop-scotch to hide-n-seek, we had a pretty great time and got ourselves into a fair amount of trouble. In the midst of our adolescent wonder however, the political and social climate was not so great, and my family went through more than its fair share of pain and struggle.

In 2007, my family and I packed up and left our entire livelihood to move to the United States for a new start, for opportunities, and for safety as special refugees. Though I have not been back to my home country since then, I will always remember where I come from. I have maintained a strong hold of my values as a constant reminder of why I need to achieve my goals and live my life not only humbly, but in a way that makes all the struggles we went through and the risks we took worth the outcome.

My family is an important part of my life and consists of my father, mother, two older sisters, and younger brother. We are all close-knit, and I am proud of every single one of my family members for their tremendous courage and look up to each of them for many different reasons.

I am a first-generation low-income student here at Duke University attending as both a Rubenstein and Questbridge scholar. I am beyond thankful for all the opportunities I have been given along my life to get to where I am and believe strongly in always working hard and making not only my family and friends proud, but making myself proud as well. I have learned to be my own advocate and take all the opportunities that come my way; even if that means failing at some, I never like to look back with regret, because I know that in the end I get to learn something I would not have otherwise.

When I am not stressing out about all the above, I tend to be a jack-of-all-trades (and master of none ;))

I like to spend my time doing activities that will give me happiness or will allow me to spend time with loved ones. While I love to curl up in my bed and watch a movie or show all day, I also like to exercise, read books, pull up recipes and try my hand at cooking or baking, listen to music, photograph, swim, and so on.

Academically, I am a pre-med student planning on double majoring in Biology and Global Health. I also love the Spanish language and although it seems like I can not fit any more into my schedule, I plan on going to a Spanish-speaking country, learning more about the culture and improving my fluency. Languages have in fact always been a passion of mine- I currently speak English, Chaldean, Assyrian, can understand Arabic, have had 6 years of Spanish (and hope to have more), and plan on expanding that list through travel.

At Duke, I am part of the Duke Student Government, Duke University Union, House Council, and am a research assistant in a neurobiology lab. I hope to create change during my time at Duke. I want to show my worth after being given the incredible opportunity to attend such a prestigious school.

I have only been part of this community of girls for a short period of time thus far, but from what I have seen, every single one of them is a passionate, independent, resilient, and talented young woman. I feel honored and proud to have my name alongside each of theirs and am excited to see where the next few years and beyond takes us all.