1995 Major: Biology
"The quality of teaching and mentorship in Biology at Duke inspired my curiosity and confidence as a young scientist. With that foundation, I was able to spend a year after graduation working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. From there, I went on to my doctoral studies in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, where my research experiences and training at Duke and STRI became a large part of my successful application to the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program. I appreciated not only the foundational skills in science and critical thinking that I gained as a Duke undergraduate, but also the guidance I received in writing, the way faculty encouraged my curiosity about the natural world, and the encouragement and support I received from my professors at a key moment when life events made my academic progress tenuous. Some of my most memorable moments include informal conversations with professors over lunch or while walking across campus -- an exchange of ideas and perspectives that helped me grow intellectually and personally. Now a professor myself, I aspire to create opportunities and support junior scholars in the ways my Duke Biology professors did. I returned to Duke as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow after I completed my PhD and continue to collaborate with outstanding scientists there, retaining a meaningful connection to this outstanding department. I am always grateful that I was a Duke Biology student, as I feel benefits from that experience every day."
"Duke offers exceptional opportunities for research. In my experience, Biology supports and fosters curiosity and intellectual engagement in unique and powerful ways. A summer at the Marine Lab, an independent project in Duke Forest, a conversation with a professor over coffee, a connection with an alumnus -- all can catalyze your interests and help you find a path that might not yet be on your map. In my experience, Duke Biology is great place to grow, with a quality of faculty, students, and resources that makes it special. Making the most of your time there will have a lasting and positive impact on the person and professional you become."