Salam! My name is Niyat Asefaw, and it's an honor getting to call myself a Baldwin Scholar.

I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia for the first fourteen years of my life up until I moved to Ethiopia, where I’m from as an international student at Duke! My father is Eritrean and my mother's Ethiopian so growing up as a Third Culture Kid in the Middle East has been nothing short of insightful to the many things I love now.

Whether it be going to places where I might not understand the language, exploring unfamiliar things, or enjoying different cuisines, I love to travel and visit new spaces on a local and global scale. As someone that often grew up around a different set of cultures, values, and practices from mine, getting to know people from different walks of life or trains of thought is something that I constantly pursue. I’ve seen this manifest itself through being a part of both the Ethiopian/Eritrean and Arab Student Associations at Duke! I’m also on the International Student Advisory Board where I get to enhance and further build the relationship between Duke’s international students within and outside of Duke’s campus.

I love to volunteer and commit myself to humanitarian work whenever I can too. Two of the few projects I’ve taken part in have been serving as a certified counselor in an adult men’s shelter and tutoring kids in an orphanage in Ethiopia. If I’m not out doing something in the community, I still make it a point to implement change where I can, and I’ve gotten the chance to do that as a House council president here at Duke. 

In high school, I played soccer and competed at the regional level. Seriously, I love everything having to do with the sport and the only other person I’ve met that’s a bigger fan than me is my mother! I’m a licensed makeup artist as well and have gotten to build a portfolio of weddings, proms, and big events for the past three years!

I don’t take being a Baldwin scholar lightly and I can’t wait for all the experiences it’ll bring!