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The Student Affairs Blog

Kimberly Jenkins Speaks at Greek Convocation

Kimberly Jenkins
September 16, 2016

Thank you for that introduction. I’m honored to be here tonight. I’ve been to the chapel before. I even got married in this chapel many years ago. 

But I’ve never been at this podium.

I teach classes, run programs and give speeches at Duke all the time, but I’ve never had a chance to speak to so many students at once and certainly not in the chapel. 

So this is a new experience for me. I mean it when I say I’m honored to be here tonight with all of you. 

I hope to honor you back by sharing with a few stories and lessons learned from my life.  I hope to give you something to think about, something to talk about with your friends and perhaps something that will influence your life here at Duke and life beyond Duke.

The story that resonates most with all kinds of people dates back to the years shortly after I graduated from Duke, a time when I was just a few years older than you are now. 

I was fresh out of Duke, had just moved to Seattle. I did not have a job, but I had a passion for mountain climbing so I moved to the best place in America to climb mountains. 

I needed to support my climbing and backpacking habit so I had to get a job.  That was a fairly drawn out process, but the bottom line is that I ended up at a little, no-name company called Microsoft. 

There were 300 employees at the time and I was hired as a designer of programs that would teach people how to use Microsoft software without opening up a manual. My office was in among all the programmers who were working on these products. 

After a few months there, something interesting evolved.  All the programmers had paper over their windows, even interior windows. They lived in a climate of secrecy because they were working on confidential stuff: the development of the first software for the Macintosh. 

Immediately, I saw how powerful this could be for a market I knew a lot about: colleges and universities.  I knew that software could be a powerful teaching and learning tool. 
Seems obvious today, but back then not one software company was thinking about the education market. Apple and IBM were but software had to be part of the solution. And I wanted to help Microsoft get there.

I used what I call my two manila folder strategy.  My boss was Steve Ballmer, who for many years was president of the company. 

I went in to meet with Steve and handed him one manila folder. In it was my one page proposal for starting an education division at Microsoft. I wanted to sell off the shelf software to colleges and universities. 

Well, Steve Ballmer is big in stature and big in personality. He listened to me for a few minutes and said “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard. We’ll never make any money in education.” 

So I handed him my second manila folder, my resignation letter. 

Steve puffed and blustered a bit and told me to sit right there while he went in to talk to Bill, as in Bill Gates. So I sat there and in a few minutes Steve came back. 

He said “Bill thinks that’s the stupidest idea he ever heard.  Microsoft won’t ever make any money in education.” As I was getting up to leave, Steve said “But he loves your chutzpah. He wants you to stay. You can’t have any headcount. You can fly anywhere you want, but it’s just you.”

That was February of 1984. By the end of our fiscal year, December 1984, education sales accounted for 10% of Microsoft’s domestic revenue. With the salary of one person and a lot of airplane tickets! 

You can believe that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were happy that Microsoft was making money. They then gave me the resources to build a real team. 

I can talk for hours about how this illustrates key principles of innovation and entrepreneurship. 

But what does this story have to do with empowerment? In thinking about this, I remembered the questions students typically ask me about this story:

1. What do you do when your boss tells you your idea is the stupidest thing he ever heard?

2. How did I have the courage to resign a good job when I had no money and not much of a resume to get a new job?

3. What made me think I was smart enough and talented enough to put my job on the line for something I didn’t really know would work?

I’ve come up with a framework and a few stories that attempt to answer those questions and address the issue of empowerment.

1. I believe in myself

2. I live my own life script and don’t allow others to define me

3. I make intentional, deliberate choices about how to live my life


1. The foundation for being bold enough, risk oriented enough to put my job on the line with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates was this: I believed in myself. 

A big part of my sense of self originated with my family.  My parents talked about and lived values that all of us in the family adopted.  Kinda had to in order to be at our dinner table. 

They consistently told me that I could “go for it” and “be anything I worked hard enough to be.” And they challenged me with questions about what I value in life and how those values translate into how I treat others.

I had to work hard to “own” all of this myself: the high school achievements, a Duke education, graduate school and experiences in all the jobs leading up to Microsoft and beyond. 

When I did the hard work at school and in jobs, leveraged my core values, and took in inspiration and lessons learned from others, I grew to know and respect myself.

After all of this, I finally realized and embraced that I know what I know. In this situation, I knew how the needs of educators could turn into a major opportunity for Microsoft to make money.  I believed enough in myself to work hard and realize the pretty clear goal that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer put out there for me.  I knew my passion for education. 


2. I create my own life path, I don’t let others define me.

There’s a universal need to belong and to be loved.  We all want to be heard, known and accepted by others.

This desire to be accepted exists within the very real context of powerful cultural forces. We live with strong messages about what it takes to be liked by others and to belong to the group.

This is especially true when it comes to what it takes to be a “real woman” and a “real man.” Too often we give up our true selves and yield to cultural forces that might allow us to be accepted by some, but often at a huge cost to ourselves.

Carol Gilligan of Harvard and James Mahalik of Boston College, in separate research work done over the past decade or so, point out the fairly strict demands that all of us live with in this culture. 

The script we give boys starts super early in life. Typically around the age of five boys are told what it takes to be a “real man.” 

-Masculinity often implies a willingness on the part of boys to stand alone and forgo relationships in order to maintain power and voice.

-Men are valued for money, status, power

-They have to fit into a norm of being all knowing, successful, financially ambitious, and dismissive of others who are “lesser than,” especially women.

-Boys and men must show confidence. They can’t cry, can’t ask for too much nurturing, can’t have too much empathy. They must sacrifice self in order to fit in with the group.

-Boys and men must have a physically imposing presence, show some athletic ability or be avid sports fans.  Boys and men are punished for being perceived as “weak” which is typically associated with being feminine or gay.

Last fall I co-taught a course at Duke called Media and Innovation.  One day at the end of class, the students wanted to talk openly about life at Duke.

One guy said that whenever he interacts with girls here he is almost always impressed. They tend to be smart, fun, engaging people he’d like to know better.  He likes a lot of the girls at Duke!

But when he goes back to his fraternity, he engages in group-talk that dismisses, demeans and degrades those very same girls. But here’s the part that’s most interesting to me: he really doesn’t like being that way.

This guy was courageous enough to say to a class of his peers that too often he regrets how he talks and behaves when he’s with the guys in his fraternity.

Other guys in the class agreed. They too had the strength to say that they don’t feel better about themselves when they denigrate others.  

As you might imagine, the girls don’t like this deal either.

Everyone is feeling like the stakes are incredibly high in the social environment here at Duke. So we go on behaving in prescribed ways that don’t really work for anyone.  The guys, the girls, everyone is feeling pretty disconnected and bad about themselves in this environment. It’s a losing proposition for all. 

Girls are given a few more years than boys to be whomever they want to be, but by the age of 11 or 12, acceptable female behavior means girls are:

-nice or sweet
-relationship oriented
-nurturing to others
-physically attractive and continually focused on looking thin and pretty
-submissive, and
-deferential to men

As I mentioned earlier, I had a desire to fit in and find acceptance and love just like everyone else.  I had enough of the required feminine qualities and attributes to belong and be accepted as a woman.

But somehow I didn’t get the memo on being silent, submissive or deferential! 

I didn’t spend too much time on my hair, make-up and clothes. I spent my time being an athlete, enjoying real friendships with men and women alike, and building companies that make a difference in the world. 

I didn’t engage in self-deprecation that is so common among women. I embraced who I am, including my imperfect body or bad hair days or whatever.  When I liked myself “as is”, I found that others, including men and other women liked me better too. 

I refused to be silent. I spoke up when I had something worthy of saying.

When someone said the “b-word” to my face or behind my back, I wasn’t without some feelings, but I tried hard to let it roll off my back. I saw this as a reflection of their insecurities or their own sense of inadequacy.  I refused to give my time or energy to people who stoop to name-calling or criticizing others for sport. 

I didn’t defer to men, I gravitated to the really good men who are out there and collaborated with them.

I wasn’t submissive, I made a point of working with, dating and marrying men who valued me as an equal and wanted to connect with me at a real level. 

The payback that I’ve enjoyed by following my own path in life is this: I’ve enjoyed money, power and choice in what I do with my life. 

I have respect in the business community and a lot of freedom about what I do professionally.

I have great friends who are there for me and vice versa.

I have the love of my husband, sons and extended family. 

People know who I am because I engage with people as authentically as possible, with all my warts and wonderfulness.

They don’t all think I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they relate to the real me. And if they don’t, I move on to focus my time and energy on the many kind, fun, authentic, simply awesome people who are out there.

I feel compelled to say one more thing about all of the cultural pressures and hoops that women and men jump through.  In fact, I get pretty wound up about this stuff. 

After more than a few decades of wrestling with these standards and expectations myself
as well as watching my sons, husband and good friends deal with all of this,
I’m convinced that this is utter nonsense. 

It’s nonsense to buy into these concepts, to try so hard to please others, to aim to be perfect at standards that are ridiculous from the start and to give up who you really are in order to fit in.  To all of you I say: please don’t engage in nonsense.  Life is truly too short. 

3. I’m intentional and deliberate about the choices I make in life.

My life has not been one series of great adventures that have hugely happy endings. 

Some of this wisdom is hard earned stuff and I rarely got it right on the first pass.

The best way I found to get through the tough times is to be as thoughtful and intentional about life choices as possible.

I have one more story for you.  In the last few years, especially in business circles, the power of teamwork has become celebrated.

Many leaders are now fond of touting the NOAH rule. For those of you who haven’t heard this one yet, it translates to “No A-Hs” allowed on the team. 

Since I’m in the chapel, I’ll go with the phrase “no jerks.”  Jerks can be disruptive and sap the life out of any team.

I recently met with a friend who is an experienced venture capitalist and all round great human being.  I often turn to him when I want either business or life advice. 

Just a couple of weeks ago I was pitching my next new business venture to him and with some confidence I said “I’m all about building a great team of people. Of course, we’ll follow the NOAH principle.” 

He stopped me cold with a brilliant response. “Kimberly, it’s not about ‘no jerks.’  It’s all about choosing to be with only awesome people.”

That’s a seemingly small change of words and it took me awhile to really get it.  But once I did, I realized this is what it’s really all about.

I won’t waste my energy focusing on the negative like how to avoid jerks. I intentionally surround myself with awesome people.

-I intentionally look for and focus on the positive

-I listen and really hear others

-I have empathy for those who don’t feel good about themselves but I don’t give them my energy or attention if they aren’t interested in being open and fair to me or others

-I try to give myself a “timeout” and self correct if I’m not being my best self

-If I blow it, especially if I blow it big time, I take a close look at my mistakes or whatever pain I’m experiencing and I work hard to move beyond that.

I’ve been here for a few minutes sharing my stories and my lessons learned in life.  Now it’s my turn to ask something of you. 

I’m asking you to take a few minutes, ideally soon, maybe even tonight, to find a place where you can be by yourself.

For a few minutes put aside the grades, the groups you belong to, what people think of you, what you think of others, the aspirations you have here at Duke or your goals for the future. 

Ask yourself three questions:

1. Who are you inside?

2. What are your core values?

3. How does your behavior align with who you are and what you value?

It might help to get a little more specific on that last one:
What jokes or stories do you tell?
Do you laugh along when others tell stories that bother you?

Do you participate in the parties your sorority or fraternity holds with themes that don’t really reflect who you are? 

How about rush? 
Does your sorority or fraternity go about rush in a way that is aligned with who you are?

Do you ever drink so much alcohol that you no longer take responsibility for who you are? 
What would it feel like to socialize in ways that allow you to be true to yourself and still have a good time?

These days there's a lot in the news about rape on college campuses across America.
How do you feel about creating a campus free of rape here at Duke?
What might your fraternity or sorority do to put an end to date rapes? 
What might you do as an individual?

Who are the awesome people in your life right now?
Make a list and think about them for a few minutes.  
How might you avoid the jerks in life and focus on finding more awesome people?
How might you build deeper relationships with those awesome people?

The way you go through Duke is formative for the rest of life.

It is much harder to change the bad habits you build here than it is to develop and cultivate effective and positive ones to take with you after Duke.

How you treat others now does matter. The choices you make now powerfully influence the choices you are likely to make later.
If you can be courageous at Duke, you can be courageous anywhere.

Thank you again for this honor of sharing some time with you tonight.


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Duke’s LGBTQ History

Dear Duke parents and families,

Periodically, I like to acknowledge various parts of our diverse community. Today, in advance of some key upcoming commemorations, I want to share some thoughts about our LGBTQ community.

I’m proud to acknowledge an environment where all students, gay and straight, are equal members of our broader Duke family and where we celebrate differences and support persistent struggles which, unfortunately, yet exist. I invite you to check out the website for the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity for an array of current facts that showcase our achievements and pride.

Unfortunately, Duke’s history has not always celebrated the presence of LGBTQ students and President Brodhead noted so in his remarks at the opening of our new Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, when he said:

“As an institution within a larger culture, it's not surprising that the Duke of older times was saturated with homophobia. Last year, students in Blue Devils United brought forward evidence of official intolerance and active repression of homosexuality at Duke from the 1960s. They also shared personal testaments from graduates of that time. These Dukies testified that they could not be the people they knew themselves to be while they were students, could not have the love lives and personal lives they wished, were pathologized -- and even when the situation improved slightly, the pressures of swimming against the stream were dispiriting and exhausting.

I've read these histories, and I'm sure we'll uncover many more in the future.  As president of this university, I would like to say today that this university regrets every phase of that history.  There is nothing in that past that I will not now confidently and totally repudiate. I regret every act that ever limited the human life of anyone who came here.”

Duke’s LGBTQ history is an important reminder of where we’ve come from and of the work that still remains both at Duke and beyond.  To that end, this fall, several events will highlight the past and the future and I hope you and your Duke students will participate when you can. Check out our new website, Queering Duke History (http://queerhistory.duke.edu/) for details.
Thanks again for all your support for your sons and daughters and for all Duke students. The beautiful mosaic represented by the amazing diversity of our special Duke community heralds a wonderful future ahead.

Larry Moneta, EdD
Vice President for Student Affairs​

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My Residence Life Family

As a junior I thought I was prepared for the upcoming school year, especially in my role as a second year RA on East Campus. I expected my life to be relatively similar to my sophomore year in Bell Tower, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the changes that have come with a new RA team in Blackwell this year. Not only do I have 34 new freshmen in my hallway, but I also have five new RA’s who have become my residence life family.

Even as an RA, I sometimes feel slightly out of place being an upperclassman on a freshman campus. It’s hard to maintain relationships with the people in my own class because I live far away, and sometimes it’s difficult to be close friends with freshmen because they view RA’s as an authority. But that’s why it’s important to have a few RA friends who are in the same situation. Facing the same challenges brings us closer together, and when the RA team is strong, the overall community of the dorm is stronger, too.

The Blackwell team this year is five sophomores and myself, so I’ve become the “veteran” RA. I’m more confident this year in my ability to build community through planning events, and I’ve helped the new RA’s to learn about the logistics of our role; the paperwork, planning, and meetings can be a little confusing at the beginning of the year. However, I have had a lot to learn from them as well. They bring fresh new ideas to the team, and they have renewed my enthusiasm for building community. It can be frustrating when people don’t come to programs, but having a team of new RA’s who are excited to work hard for the dorm is refreshing and inspiring.

Before the freshmen arrived on campus, the RA’s went through a week of training to learn and practice the skill of solving problems. We discussed the policies and procedures of dealing with various situations ranging from alcohol and drugs to homesick and depressed students. It’s a lot of information to pack into one week, and after training during the day the teams in each dorm completed tasks such as putting up bulletin boards, making door decorations, and checking for damages. Training could be overwhelming and stressful, but the challenges provided a great way to bond with the other RA’s on our teams. We worked in small groups to accomplish tasks and shared individual experiences during training sessions to help each other learn about new ways to solve problems. When we weren’t working we spent time together at the gym, watching movies, and getting to know one another better. I’m appreciative to have such a supportive team to work with this year, and I’m excited to see how we’ll continue working together to create a home for the freshmen of Blackwell.

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South’s Tastiest Town: Exploring Durham through Food - CLG serise at IHouse

When I decide to eat out, I often look for a restaurant that is not too far, clean, with relaxed ambience and friendly service staff. And, for me it should definitely offer vegetarian options. With my limited knowledge of local eateries, I can only come up with three options that I have tried – Chipotle, Dominos and Subway and I mostly do take-out. So, I hardly eat out. Oh! I and my family have had coffee outside. Want to know where? At the nearest gas station of course.

You must be thinking what a bland life I have been living. Not anymore. This Thursday’s workshop hosted by Annette Moore, IHouse has added spice and variety to my life. We were taken on a gastronomic journey covering the various food options in the “region’s new culinary capital”. Most of these restaurants can be reached by the Bull City Connector, “a Fare-Free route from Duke to Golden belt, including Ninth Street and Downtown Durham”. So, don’t worry if you don’t have a car.

In 2013, Durham ranked as the South’s Tastiest Town according to Southern Living magazine. Some of the things that make the Durham food scene unique are:

* Fusion of old with new: Some of the restaurants in Brightleaf Square were originally tobacco warehouses built in 1900’s.
* Seasonal, local organic ingredients
* Variety of options from Fine Dining to Quick Service, to satisfy your palate without emptying your wallet.

After a brief introduction, the participants got a chance to taste samples from local eateries like The Cupcake Bar, Dales Indian Cuisine, Monuts and Pizzeria Toro. Then, we played a game ‘Name that Restaurant’. You guessed it, I got only three answers right. While going over the answers, Annette gave us a brief idea about each restaurant, special foods they serve and also showed us some video clips. She peppered her presentation with snippets of information about the different restaurants. Overall, we had a feeling that we had visited about ten different restaurants (and a Food Truck Rodeo at Durham Central Park) in the course of the evening.

Want to know where Duke gourmets like to go? (Based on an online survey)

* Favorite place for coffee: Cocoa Cinnamon
* Top restaurant / bar / chill-out place: Full Steam
* Best dining place in Durham: Bull City Burger and Brewery

What better way to end the day than eating food and talking about food! From fine dining to food trucks, pizzas to paninis, sandwiches to samosas, gelato to gingerbread waffles, coffee to cupcakes, donuts to dumplings, outdoor seating to golf courses, breakfast to brunch, small plates to large portions, bakery to brewery, gluten-free to vegetarian, vegan – there is a restaurant in the Bull City to cater to every foodie. So go ahead and explore Durham’s celebrated cuisine at these restaurants.


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Is Your LinkedIn Profile Ready for Networking?

You made a LinkedIn profile, but now what? Are you ready for networking?

Take these steps to be sure that your profile is strong, professional, and represents you well to prospective employers, network connections, and others in your field!

1. Do you have a professional photo?
LinkedIn is not a place for selfies and party pictures with your friend cropped out. Make sure your LinkedIn picture is a picture of just you and is appropriate for a professional setting. It’s a good idea to ask a staff member, a faculty member, or an honest friend whether your picture is a suitable professional representation of you!

2. Do you have a strong heading?
When you appear in search results, your heading is the first thing that appears under your name. “Student at Duke University” might be seem like the easy way out, but it doesn’t set you apart from thousands of others who fit that same descriptor. Instead, consider listing a leadership position, or an internship position title for your heading. Better yet, create a 6-word professional story to use as a creative and personalize descriptor.

3. Have you customized your URL?
If you have a strong LinkedIn profile, you can share the URL on social media, in your email signature, and even on your resume. You can edit your URL by pushing the profile “edit” button, and then editing the URL link found right under your picture.

4. What’s your summary?
Students often overlook the summary text box, but this is the opportunity to tell your unique story in a way that highlights what’s important to you. Telling a story that sets you apart, articulating your strengths or skills, and communicating your goals are all appropriate ways to use this section effectively. Still not sure what to write? Check out others’ profiles for ideas!

5. Are you sharing media?
Do you have a picture of your engineering project or a PowerPoint of a great presentation that you gave? The LinkedIn platform allows you to share multimedia that documents your work and your skills, making your profile more visually appealing and interactive than a printed resume could ever be.

6. Who’s in your network?
LinkedIn is most effective if you are using it for its powerful networking capability! Connect with people you’ve worked with in the past, your friends, family members, classmates, professors, staff, people you meet at conferences, etc. etc. Joining groups is a great way to quickly build your network as well. Be sure to check out the Duke University Alumni Network group, other Duke-affiliated groups, as well as those relevant to your professional interests to start!

7. Post relevant content!
To increase your level of activity and interaction with connections, post articles, blog entries, and other resources relevant to your fields and interests. Sharing information and content will inspire discussion and will help you to remain well connected and visible to your network.

Be sure to check out LinkedIn’s page for students to learn more about using maximizing the site’s student-oriented features and entry-level job boards.

For questions about how to make your LinkedIn profile stronger or learning how to use it as an effective networking tool, be sure to visit the Career Center during drop-in advising or by setting up an appointment by calling our office at 919-660.1050.


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flag of the Week - Cambodia

Cambodia, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia and once referred to as the Khmer Empire, is a country located in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is the 69th most populous country in the world. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, which is practiced by almost the entire population. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic, and cultural center of Cambodia. The kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Norodom Sihamoni, a monarch chosen by the Royal Throne Council, as head of state. The head of government is Hun Sen, who is currently the longest serving non-royal leader in South East Asia and has ruled Cambodia for over 25 years.
Cambodia faces numerous challenges and sociopolitical issues that stunt its development as a nation. In 2013, Cambodia was named one of the most corrupt nations in the world. According to Freedom House, Cambodia is also “not free.” With a low human development index, Cambodia is a low income economy having one of the lowest annual incomes in the world. Finally, Cambodia currently ranks as the 32nd hungriest nation in the world.

Despite its social and political difficulties, Cambodia has had one of the best economic growth records in Asia. Strong textiles, agriculture, construction, garments, and tourism sectors led to foreign investments and international trade. However, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in the world with two million people living in poverty, government corruption and a poor record on human rights. That said, national and international NGOs have a huge presence in the country hoping to improve living conditions.​


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flag of the Week - Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is a sovereign island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. Its capital is Castries.
One of the Windward Islands, Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse by the French, the island's first European settlers. They signed a treaty with the native Carib Indians in 1660. Britain took control of the island from 1663 to 1667; in ensuing years, it was at war with France 14 times and rule of the island changed frequently (it was seven times each ruled by the French and British). In 1814, the British took definitive control of the island. Because it switched so often between British and French control, Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West Indies".

Representative government came about in 1840 (with universal suffrage from 1953). From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the Federation of the West Indies. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations associated with the United Kingdom. Saint Lucia is a mixed jurisdiction meaning that it has a legal system based in part on both the Civil Law and English common law.
The island nation celebrates its independence every year with a public holiday. It is also a member of la Francophonie. The financial sector has weathered the global financial crisis, but the recession has hurt tourism.


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Live Jazz at the Mary Lou

Weekly Jazz Wednesdays add music to study sessions and coworker meetups

John Brown perched on a stool, his fingers flying across the thick strings of his bass. He closed his eyes as the drums, piano and trumpet conversed with each other, taking turns carrying the melody.

Across the room at Duke’s Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, students studied notes on laptops and visitors watched the jazz ensemble, bobbing their heads to the beat.  The tradition of “Jazz @ the Mary Lou” is 10 years old, and Brown, director of the Duke Jazz Program, brings different musicians to the center every Wednesday evening, from professional performers to up-and-coming high school students.

Read more.

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Are you considering buying a car? - CLG workshop on Purchsing a Pre-owned Car

When my family and I came to Duke, we did not feel the need to own a car. With Duke buses and the regular trips to Target by International House, we felt we had it all covered. But when we started expanding our horizons and wanted to explore things around us, we missed a car. When we made the all-important decision to buy a pre-owned car, there were lots of doubts and questions in our minds. If you are going through a similar situation, this Thursday’s workshop on purchasing a pre-owned car would have been perfect for you.

The workshop was hosted by Paige Vinson, IHouse, with valuable inputs from Paul Elliot Cornsweet, an experienced mechanic. It started with an informal discussion on what kind of information the participants were looking for. Then Paige made her presentation that answered the queries that many of the participants had. Some important points discussed were:

* Do I really need a car
* Where do I buy a car
* Can I use unexpired license from home country to drive in NC
* How to get a license
* How much does it cost to own a car

Then we came to the part that many of us may hesitate to do - asking the right (and uncomfortable?) questions to the prospective seller. Paul told us about what to look for in the Carfax report and also emphasized how important it

is to have the car checked by a mechanic. (Anyone remember Barney Fife’s car buying experience in the Andy Griffith show?)

The actual sale or transfer of title can be done in the presence of a notary at the DMV, where you can check for lien on the title. So, the car is yours now but wait, before you drive away remember to register it and get the new license plate.

I know, this seems like a lot of information. But we enjoyed the presentation and scored 100% on the Post quiz. The participants had lots of questions. Paige and Paul’s answers were quite informative and insightful.

Going by the audience feedback, the workshop was “very useful and covered everything”. If you missed the workshop, not to worry! A lot of useful information is available here.



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Take Your Nutrition News with a Grain of Salt

In the past few days, news of a recent study praising the health benefits of a low-carb diet has spread like wildfire through headlines and across the Internet.  Good Morning America featured a segment entitled, “Low-Carb May Trump Low-Fat in Diet Wars” and urged listeners to “back away from the bagel” if they were watching their figures.  TIME magazine exclaimed, “If you’re trying to lose weight, fat might be your friend” and was joined in the lipid lauding frenzy by National Public Radio whose online article leads with “Turns out, eating foods with fat…doesn’t make us fat.”  The New York Times, where I and many other students I know turn for breaking news, issued “A Call for a Low-Carb Diet” and it quickly became the most emailed story on the day of its publication.  But before we as readers get too caught up by these attention-grabbing statements, it’s important to investigate what’s really lying beneath the headlines. 


To start, I’ll summarize my take-aways after reading the New York Times article on this breaking nutrition news.  The article presented the findings of a study published in the September 2014 volume of the Annals of Internal Medicine and funded by the National Institutes of Health – already, this is sounding highly credible with such big names on board.  The study looked at a “racially diverse group of 150 men and women” (yay for generalizability!) who were split into two groups that each received different dietary guidelines.  The low-fat group was instructed to limit their total fat intake to less than 30% of their daily calories as recommended by the federal government guidelines – seems reasonable.  The low-carb/high-fat group upped their fat intake to more than 40% of their daily calories and were told to eat mostly foods like fish, olive oil, nuts, cheese, and red meat.  Both were encouraged to eat veggies and neither group had to watch their calories nor change levels of physical activity.  At the end of a year, the low-carb group lost an average of eight pounds more than the low-fat group, had greater reductions in body fat and greater increases in lean muscle mass, and significantly lowered their heart attack risk.  Seems simple, sign me up!  I can lose weight, build muscle, and have a healthy heart just by eating my eggs and bacon, no exercise or calorie counting required. 


Now before you order up that next cheeseburger without its bun, it’s important to step back from the media and critically assess what the research is really telling us.  David L. Katz, a doctor and director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, published an insightful response article to the low-carb craze headlines, bringing to light some crucial caveats of the study that nearly all news articles are glossing over.  First, not all fats or carbohydrates are created equal so it’s inaccurate and counterproductive to talk about diets in such umbrella terms like low-fat or low-carb.  Secondly, it needs to be known that all study participants had BMIs categorizing them as obese, making the results not nearly as generalizable as they have been portrayed.  Lastly, the true diet conditions for the low-carb and low-fat groups in the study have been very poorly communicated to the public.  Comparing the diet guidelines given in the study with the participants’ pre-study diets reveals that the low-fat group only reduced fat intake by 5%, while the low-carb group reduced carbohydrate intake by nearly 75%.  In light of this evidence, it makes sense that the much more restrictive diet would result in greater weight loss. 


To conclude, Katz leads us away from the trendy diet fads and recommends eating whole foods in sensible quantities.  He also recommends that we approach health headlines with a more careful eye to see past the sensationalism that can make a good story, but not the best lifestyle advice.  It’s important to be aware that not all of the facts surrounding a research study’s methods and findings make their way into the media’s presentations.  But, that doesn’t mean that we need to write off all health and wellness news as nonsense – if a headline does make your head turn, dig a little deeper, seek out more details from primary sources, and look at what other experts and critical voices in the field have to say.  With a little extra effort, you’ll find the news that’s really worth your attention.      


Note of Interest: A few days after this initial media firestorm, the New York Times re-published the article with a new headline, “A Call for a Low-Carb Diet that Embraces Fat.”   


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Integration Engineer at Epic

Q & A with Chelsea Wezensky ’14, Integration Engineer at Epic

Your hometown: Livonia, MI
Your graduation date: May 2014
Your major (and any minors + certificates): Computer Science B.A., Russian Language & Culture minor, Markets and Management Certificate
Your current job (title, employer, city, state): EDI/Integration Engineer, Epic, Madison, WI

Did you know what you wanted to do going into your senior year?
Did I know what I was going to major in when I entered Duke? Nope. Was I certain of my major when I declared it? Not really. Did I have any idea what to do with my Computer Science degree once it was declared? Not a clue.

The search for internships wasn’t nearly as daunting. An internship lasts a predetermined, limited period of time, while Duke waits patiently for my return. If the internship was amazing, great; If it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, no harm done, since I was in no way bound to it.

A job, on the other hand, is the start of the rest of your life, and this end date isn’t for more than forty years.

When I arrived at Duke, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I took it for granted that I would find my passion. Isn’t that what everyone says? That college is a time to explore things and find yourself? That must mean that when I exited Duke, I would know myself and my passions, right?

Yet, as I entered my senior year, I realized that I did not magically know exactly it was that I wanted with my life. I quickly realized that I had no idea at all.

If not, how did you figure it out?
It was a huge wake-up call, realizing that I was entering my senior year without a sense of direction. I immediately scheduled a Career Center appointment, and compiled a list of all of my questions and concerns.

It was quite a long list.

I met with Katie, one of the career counselors, and she helped me through all of my concerns, during that first meeting and throughout the rest of the semester. During our meetings, she equipped me with the tools to narrow my job search and start to determine where my interests and strengths actually lay. I also used DukeConnect to reach out to a Duke alum whose degree and background seemed to align with my interests. These avenues allowed me to gain a better understanding of technical careers and how I fit in with it, and more importantly, that no matter what my first step was, I was not bound to it for the entirety of my career.

What was the most challenging part of your job search?
In truth, the hardest part of the entire job search was just starting. Once I actually determined what my elevator speech was and how to update my resume, searching for jobs became easier and I was able to build momentum. Career fair? No problem! Interviews? Yes, I can speak about my experiences!

What was the best part of your job search?
The best part of my job search was definitely receiving my job offer. At that point, I had interviewed at enough places to know what I was looking for in an employer, and how to identify when a company wasn’t a good fit. When I went to my on-campus interview at Epic, it finally felt right, and I was excited at the possibilities that it provided. The culmination of this entire process was easily one of the best parts of my entire senior year. A new job is always exciting, being able to confidently commit to my next step was all the more important given how lost I was at the beginning of the semester.


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Accessing The Student Affairs Network Attached Storage (NAS): Mac/Windows

The Student Affairs Networked Attached Storage is a collaboration space for departmental files managed by Student Affairs ITS. By default full-time staff are provisioned access to only their assigned department’s staff and student folder(s).  Access to non-departmental, drop-off, and/or student employee access (includes graduate assistant employees) must be submitted in a request to Student Affairs ITS by e-mailing service@studentaffairs.duke.edu to track change management.

Accessing The Student Affairs Network Attached Storage (NAS): Mac Workstations

  • Select "Go" from the "Finder" menu across the top of your screen.
  • Select "Connect to Server..."

  • In the field "Server Address" type (or copy/paste):


  • Select "Connect"

  • Input your netID and associated password (Student Employees: do not use "SA-netID, which is for your computer login only, use your normal netID and associated password here)
  • Select "Connect"


Accessing The Student Affairs Network Attached Storage (NAS): Windows Workstations

  • Select "Start"
  • Select "Computer"

  • Select "Map Network Drive"

  • The "Drive: Letter" does not matter, select any letter you would like.
  • For "Folder" input or copy/paste:


  • Check "Reconnect at logon"
  • Check "Connect using different credentials"
  • Select "Finish"

  • insert your netID with "win\" prior to your netID
  • example: win\netID
  • insert your assocaited password
  • Select "OK"




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Recruiting Student Disciplinary Advisors - Application Due September 15, 2014 by Noon

The Office of Student Conduct is recruiting student Disciplinary Advisors for the 2014-15 academic year. Disciplinary Advisors are individuals trained in the undergraduate disciplinary process. They offer information about how the system works, advice on how to approach each stage of the process, and general support to peers. Although primarily supporting students facing some of the most serious alleged violations of academic or non-academic policies, Disciplinary Advisors serve as a resource to all students with questions about community standards or the disciplinary process.

Any undergraduate may apply for this unique leadership opportunity by September 12, 2014.  A full position description is available here.

ONLINE APPLICATION (due September 15 by noon): http://tinyurl.com/2014ApplyDA

More information available at:



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The Inevitable Adventures of the Day

Hey Dukies! I'm back in the Dirty D and it feels so good. As one of the few juniors who has remained in Durham for the Fall, I have to say that I'm pumped to be part of the elite few who elected for “Duke in Durham” this semester.

This past summer, I lived in rural Nepal for 3 months working for the United Nations. Though Duke was instrumental in giving me that experience, the experience itself was largely Duke-less. I woke up most mornings wondering how I, on my own, was going to navigate the inevitable adventures of the day. (Care for the details? I blogged there, too. Here's the link: http://thelifeperipatetic.tumblr.com) And though this past summer was one of the most rewarding of my life, I'm glad I'm back at Duke. Because I've realized, to tweak that familiar saying, that you can take the Duke student out of Duke, but you can't (by the time she's a rising junior) take Duke out of the student.

I'm still trying to figure out why. Maybe some people would argue that it's due to the trauma of successive mid-term seasons. But I have a few other ideas... Like the fact that more and more, you realize that the people you find yourself missing are the ones not from your home state, but from the Gothic Wonderland. It is because you get up at 1:45am Nepali time to watch the World Cup finals live, because you're craving some stadium spirit that rivals Duke's. It is getting off the plane into the US after months abroad, and realizing that you want your first meal to be the baked oatmeal from the Div Cafe. Nothing else will do.

Bottom line—my months away from Duke (and Duke's people) has helped me appreciate and admit my attachment to this place. This blog is one way to try and do that attachment justice. So, if you're interested for another year of my (attempted) witticisms, observations, and reflections, stay tuned!

Thanks for reading.


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Student Health Closed on 9/1

The Student Health Center will be closed on Monday, 9/1, in observance of the Labor Day holiday.

We will re-open with normal operating hours on Tuesday, 9/2, at 8:30am.

For after-hours care and nurse advice, please call 919-681-9355.


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How To: Adding A Shared Mailbox - Office365

  • Head over to http://mail.duke.edu/
  • Log in to Office365
  • On the left navigation panel, "RIGHT Click" your name, then select "add shared folder"

  • You will then be prompted to enter the address of the shared folder, Student Affairs ITS will provide you with this information when notifying your shared mailbox has been provisioned.

  • You will then see it populate underneath your personal mailbox, if you have multiple folders currently expanded you may need to scroll down to see it. 

  • Once selected, the shared mailbox can be used to read/reply/ or compose messages in parallel with any others your department to avoid duplicate responses to the same emails.


  • To take advantage of sending on behalf of the mailbox's address instead of your personal email address:
  • Compose a new email, select the ellipsis as shown below, then select "Show From" a new field will now show up with your email address populated.

  • Remove your address by right clicking it, then enter the address you used in step 4 that was provided to you by Student Affairs ITS, you can now send on behalf of the shared mailbox and reply's will go back to the box as well.

Note: Mailing lists are not synonymous with Shared Mailboxes.  Mailing lists are used as a distribution method for communication between individuals where the original sender's identity is beneficial, much like a thread with multiple recipients
carbon copied.  Shared Mailboxes are a repository for collaborative communication between a department and a target individual or population such as a email note to a large number of students. If you would like to discuss if a existing mailing list or could benefit from turning into a shared mailbox or the creation of either, contact Student Affairs ITS for consultation on your process by emailing service@studentaffairs.duke.edu

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Greetings Duke community,

I’m Ross Wade, a new assistant director at the Career Center; my portfolio area is media, arts and entertainment, and I’m so excited to join such an excellent team of career professionals!

I’m a Bull City native, and I love all things Durham!  Prior to becoming a career counselor I lived in Chicago, New York City, and Raleigh where I worked in a variety of media industries including documentary, television, digital media, and strategic communications. You may have seen me on Law and Order…okay, probably not…I was just a production assistant asked to step in as “atmosphere” (an extra) for a single episode (I played a hobo)…but I rocked it!

For more information about my professional background, check me out on LinkedIn. When I’m not working with students, I enjoy documenting Durham via Instagram and writing/blogging on career development issues for the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) blog and for my personal blog. Did I mention I’m a social media geek?

(Downtown Durham – Ross Wade)

I thought I’d share with all of you some of my favorite art/media/nerd-out!/career-related resources (blogs, videos, etc.), so y’all can get a better idea of my career counseling philosophy and point of view  - maybe some of you will enjoy and/or find meaning in these resources as well.

#1 – Ira Glass on storytelling. This is a short, two-minute, video of Ira Glass discussing the process of beginning a creative career (or anything creative). It is inspiring and reminds us that it takes time and persistence to grow a skill. Check out the video here.

#2 – Brain Pickings Blog. This is my favorite blog. If you are unfamiliar with this blog and Maria Popova you are in for a treat! Popova describes her blog as “a cross-disciplinary LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces spanning art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, and more; pieces that enrich your mental pool of resources and empower combinatorial ideas that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful.” Check it out here.

#3 – Everything is a Remix. Kirby Ferguson’s website is fantastic with a video series on how life and innovation is nothing but a series of remixes. The remix formula? Copy + transform + combine. I love this idea because it reflects the importance of a liberal arts education and learning through experience (like internships!). Learn (college), then practice (experiential learning), then create and innovate (make your mark on the world!). Check out Ferguson’s website here.

#4 – 99U. Based on Thomas Edison’s quote, “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” 99U posts content to provide the “missing curriculum” to make ideas happen. Interested in career issues, innovation, achievement, and dealing with failure, along with a gazillion other interesting topics? Check out this killer website.

As you can probably tell, I’m big on interdisciplinary learning - just like Duke University (e.g. Duke STEAM Challenge, Bass Connections).

My favorite career advice? I read it on Brain Pickings; Hunter S. Thompson’s thoughts on purpose and living a meaningful life “…look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living within that way of life.”

I’m looking forward to seeing you at various Duke arts/media/entertainment activities, AND at the Career Center. To schedule an appointment with me, or any of the other career counselors, call the Career Center front desk at 919-660-1050.

Tags: careercenter,arts,entertainment,careeradvisor,duke,durham,media,sports,international,


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Duke (Mu) chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity honored with multiple awards!

Pictured are Duke Pi Kappa Phi members Micheal Washington and Ian McKiernan.  Congratulations to the entire Mu chapter!

Champion Master Chapter Award:
At their 54th Supreme Chapter, the Duke Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi was recognized as a Champion Master Chapter for overall excellence. The Champion Master Chapter Award distinguishes the top Pi Kappa Phi chapters in the country who achieved the highest composite score in the Seven Objectives of Chapter Excellence.

W.E. Edington Award:
The Duke chapter of Pi Kappa Phi also received the W.E. Edington award recognizing the chapter with the highest cumulative GPA. The award is given in honor of Pi Kappa Phi brother Edington (Illinois) who served as chairman of the national scholarship committee and played a pivotal role raising the fraternity men average GPA.

Commitment to Continued Growth Award:
The Mu Chapter was recognized with a Commitment to Continued Growth Award for meeting annual recruitment goals for a two-year period.

Retention Excellence Award:
The Mu Chapter was recognized with a Retention Excellence Award for a new member retention rate of 100%.


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Scholarship Cup Award Winner

Duke's (Alpha Alpha) chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was recently honored with their organization's Scholarship Cup.

This award is given to the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter with the highest cumulative GPA over the past school year.  Join us in congratulating the Alpha Alpha chapter on their achievement!  Pictured: Alpha Alpha chapter president, Matt Ostrowski.



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Flag of the Week - Lithuania

Lithuania, officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. It borders Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and south, Poland to the south, and Kaliningrad Oblast to the southwest. Lithuania has an estimated population of 3 million as of 2013, and its capital and largest city is Vilnius. Lithuanians are a Baltic people. The official language, Lithuanian, and Latvian are the only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family.

Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, a full member of the Schengen Agreement and NATO. It is also a member of the Nordic Investment Bank, and part of Nordic-Baltic cooperation of Northern European countries. The United Nations Human Development Index lists Lithuania as a "very high human development" country. Lithuania has been among the fastest growing economies in the European Union and is ranked 17th in the world in the Ease of Doing Business Index.


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