One of the first things people learn about me is my love of unnecessarily sweet tea and my will to go on an adventure (small or large). A trip to Walmart with friends is priceless to me, and I wouldn’t pass up the chance to spend time with valuable people.

Hi, y’all! My name is Hana Hendi, and I am so incredibly blessed and humbled to be part of a group of inspiring female-identifying students here at Duke. I’ve lived in Dallas, Texas my entire life surrounded by family, and I’m so incredibly proud of my hometown. From its horses to the excessive use of the word “y’all” to its obsession with Girl Scouts, I fit quite a few stereotypes about Texans! But I still love finding the joy in the diversity of lifestyles here at Dallas, not to mention its inclusivity and willingness to grow.

Dallas has raised me to be curious. I have been blessed with opportunities to explore so many possible fields for me, like networking technologies or the non-profit sector, but nothing has stolen my heart as research has. I spent two invaluable summers working in the Chook Lab at UT Southwestern, and my mentors helped me discover a passion for contributing to the world of science. The fact that hard work at the lab bench (combined with a willingness to learn and grow from your mistakes) can produce a medicinal cure is so exciting to me!

A large part of my identity is my hijab, or headscarf. Despite what it looks like, it means so much more to me than just a piece of cloth on my head. It encourages me to fulfill a life that makes me happy, it encourages me to be proud of my faith and background, and it encourages me to become the best version of myself. I never go a day without being grateful for my hijab, my mother, and my family’s support no matter how far – 1,218 miles exactly – they may be.

At Duke, I serve as DSG Senator in the Services and Sustainability Committee, am in the Muslim Student Association, work on Juhood (Duke’s undergraduate academic Journal on the Middle East), and am part of the American Medical Women’s Association! Something I love at Duke is the fact that students are not only passionate but also act on their passion, and I believe that is why our student body is unapologetically confident. My friends have inspired me every day to challenge myself rather than compete to reach the top, and they’ve helped raise me up when I needed a hand. I am so grateful to be a Blue Devil!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out whenever if you want to talk about biomedical research or even funny cat videos! I’m always looking to get a cup of tea (or coffee!) with friends, so I’d love to sit down and get to know you! You can reach me at hana.hendi@duke.edu.