Hi! My name is Gabriela Pereda, and I am incredibly thankful and excited to be part of the Baldwin Scholars Class of 2025. I’ve always been super passionate about the art of leadership; therefore, I can’t wait to join a program designed specically to help develop strong-minded, driven, and passionate women.

I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. However, my family is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Without a doubt, my Venezuelan identity has been incredibly inuential in the foundation of my perspective on life. I’ve been blessed with a life full of opportunities that not all of my extended relatives have access to in Venezuela. Therefore, I make it a point to never overlook everyday privileges and instead, observe the world with an appreciative eye. My heritage has also fostered my understanding of the importance of taking advantage of opportunities I am presented with because I recognize that individuals without those opportunities yearn for them. Most importantly, my identity as a Venezuelan-American provides me with a strong sense of purpose in life: to serve as a role model for Latina generations. In doing so, I hope to show others that our ethnicity and gender as Hispanic women act as driving forces for our professional success, rather than as inhibitors.

Throughout my life, I always loved the subjects taught in school; however, I found myself most passionate about the work that I do outside of my classes. In high school, I participated heavily in a myriad of student nonprofit organizations such as The Dragonfly Foundation, United for Uganda, Cleats4Kids, and Proyecto Manzana. Through those institutions, I had the opportunity to utilize my strengths to provide pediatric cancer patients social support, academic tuition cost coverage, sports equipment to underprivileged children in downtown Cincinnati, and lastly, resources for vulnerable women and children in Venezuela. I also published personal essays in my school’s news publication where I shared vulnerable stories of my life, in an effort to let others learn from my own experiences. These experiences were incredibly fulfilling to me, as my efforts were always focused on helping my surrounding communities become better places.

At Duke, I am excited to change my own narrative and find a major that excites me and fulfills me just as much as my extracurriculars did in high school. While I am still unsure of my major, I am super interested in the intersection of humanity and technology, learning new languages, traveling, business, writing, and people. Therefore, I am currently considering the study of Computer Science, Economics, Psychology, and Entrepreneurship; however, those are very subject to change ;) With that being said, I still plan on actively participating in a myriad of student organizations. Currently, I work as a Communications Chair for both the Latin Business Organization & the Business Oriented Women at Duke and I teach elementary students in Durham Public Schools computer science twice a week! I also co-founded the Humans of Duke social media page (@thehumansofduke) to share authentic, vulnerable, and untold stories of the incredible people at Duke. In the upcoming semester, I also hope to start a few more organizations at Duke that will allow our community to grow even closer.

Although I am still unsure of what my life path will be after Duke, I know that it will be one that excites me, pushes me to become the best version of myself, and allows me to help others along the way. As always, I will live my life for others and I will ensure that every step closer I get to success, brings others along with me.