“Except in mathematics, the shortest distance between point A and point B is seldom a straight line.”
Originally, I hail from a small town in Upstate New York called Niskayuna [Nis-kuh-you-nuh]. My family remain some of the most important people in this world to me, with the closest members comprising of my spouse, mom, a younger brother, and two loving and supportive grandparents with whom I always spent much of my time. As a child I attended Catholic school for seven years, and then switched public, graduating from Niskayuna High School in 2011.
First, a few important things about me. I feel most alive in the outdoors—I grew up hiking with family friends in the Adirondacks and spend nearly every vacation these days in the Rocky Mountains—and love animals. I'm also a passionate environmentalist. Other cultures fascinate me; I have a goal to visit all seven continents; and I collect quotes. Laughing is one of my favorite things to do in the world. I relish solving mathematical problems and try to live by the lessons I learned in my eleventh grade AP English class (I am happy to share for any inquiring minds). I seek to work with children and for social justice in my professional career.
At Duke, I studied a combination of sciences, humanities, French and—a new addition in my later years—ballet. I have an endless curiosity for knowledge of all kinds, and as a consequence, it was quite challenging to decide on a major. In the end, I pursued a dual degree in International Comparative Studies and French Studies and focused on its real-life applications outside the classroom. For eight weeks in the summer of 2012, I traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland and participated in human rights work as a part of the DukeEngage program. In summer 2013, I volunteered in Bangalore, India with the NGO Dream A Dream. I then spent my third year abroad: the fall semester studying social pluralism and development in Cameroon, and the spring at Universités Paris I and VII. When actually on campus, I served as a gender justice intern at the Duke Women's Center. Most recently, I lived and worked for four years in Washington, D.C., supporting the West and Central Africa region at a U.S. government-funded international development organization. Currently, I am pursuing my two-year master's in development studies at Oxford University as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar.
The best thing that I can say about my life thus far is that I may not have gone where I intended to go (at least not at the outset), but ended up where I was meant to be. That is my advice to all Duke women, past and present. Well... and to remember to live in a way highlighted in this excerpt from my one of my favorite novels:
“When we got out of the tunnel...there it was. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. Sam sat down and started laughing. Patrick started laughing. I started laughing. And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."
-The Perks of Being a Wallflower, page 39