Hi all! My name is Zara and I am so honored to be chosen as a Baldwin Scholar.

I’m from Loudoun County, Virginia, just outside D.C, and have spent my whole life in one place. I am Palestinian and Indian American – two identities that have allowed me to connect with people all across the world at a young age. Growing up between two distinct cultures, I recognized the importance of intersectionality and authenticity. It is what drew me to understanding story-telling and how it is a tool for discovery and liberation. My passions converged into advocacy – for international humanitarian aid, climate activism, and school equity.

As a Virginia native, I had the unique opportunity to work in the VA General Assembly, advocating for better drug price transparency, and for the 2020 presidential campaign. Spending so much time in public work, I became disengaged with partisan politics and instead shifted my focus to community engagement. Coming to Duke, I wanted a space to explore my values of solidarity and justice and turn them into a career.

I am pursuing a Public Policy major with interests in environmental science, economics, and history. While I don’t know what career awaits me when I finish college, I plan to make meaningful change to dismantle systems of oppression and empower others along the way. I hope to take advantage of every opportunity Duke gives me to fail and grow as a leader. By the end of my four years, I hope I have found my place in the Duke and Durham community.

In my free time, you can catch me reading historical fiction books and binging the newest fantasy tv show. I love art history, architecture, and film analysis (I take Oscars season very seriously). My closest confidant is my older sister, and I can’t wait to grow my definition of sisterhood in the Baldwin community.