One of my favorite quotes comes from Muriel Rukeyser: “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” I feel extremely grateful to be a Baldwin Scholar because I know that interacting with and learning from this group of powerful, inspiring women will split my world right down to the core.

My name is Madison (or Maddie if you prefer), and I come from a small suburb near San Francisco. If I learned anything from growing up in such a little town, it’s that diversity and community are exceptionally important. My family has been, without a doubt, the biggest influence in shaping my identity. They were the first people to teach me that what I had to say was worth hearing and gave me the confidence to be unapologetically myself.

I love Duke because it has completely opened up my universe and exposed me to so many people with different backgrounds and experiences. While I have no clue what I want to major in, there is nothing that brings me more happiness than exploring all of the different classes and opportunities to learn here. In terms of extracurriculars, I write for HerCampus and am an on the executive board of a club called NeuroCare. My second home is K-Ville, and I have immense pride every time I put on anything blue and white.

My friends insist that I’m a hippie because I love to walk around barefoot outside, listen to the Grateful Dead, and be in nature in any capacity. Running helps me to combine all of these things—minus the bare feet—and is something that centers me in my life. Some other things I’m passionate about are traveling, reading, and writing. I see travel as a critical component in our efforts to solve humanitarian crises across the globe; only through interacting with different people and cultures can humans develop the personal connections and empathy that is required to generate change. Every person has a unique narrative to share, and I would love to combine my passion for travel with journalism to write and spread those stories.

I feel so lucky to be a part of this incredible program. I know I still have so much to learn and grow, and I can’t wait to do it with the help of this group of unique and strong women!