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Graduate & Professional Students

Eating on Vacation

Vacation-time to relax and indulge, right?  Relax, yes.  Indulge?  Somewhat.  If you use this time to feel like you can really let go, then perhaps you want to ask yourself, “what is it that I want to let go of?”. Because our days are often overscheduled and demanding, we look to our vacation as a time of no scheduling and no demands -- including food.  Although doing this for a day or two may be fine, a whole week or more of “freedom eating” might present its challenges. It’s important to exhibit balance, which includes some indulgences that you like, to meet your nutritional needs.  To continue good habits while traveling, here are a few tips.

·         Aim for balance.  When eating, try to include some protein so that your meal or snack is more satisfying.  If you can include some vegetables, that’s an added bonus!  Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions once in a while (raw or cooked vegetables or fruit salad as a side, etc.).

·         Don’t “save” your calories.  It’s important to eat healthy throughout the day if you’re planning on having a heavier meal later.  If you allow yourself to become too hungry beforehand, you’ll likely overeat.

·         Be aware of portion distortion.  Many servings at restaurants are much larger than what we need.  Listen to your fullness cues and eat until you’re satisfied, not stuffed.

·         Alcohol counts!  If you remember from our previous blogs, alcohol can be a significant source of calories.  Limit the amount you’re consuming by setting a drink limit before events.  If you need more than 2 drinks per hour, you may need to reevaluate why you’re drinking.

·         Include exercise.  Tour a town you’re visiting by foot, go for a stroll at sunset on the beach or swim in a pool or body of water for physical activity.

·         Stay hydrated.  Traveling in general can be dehydrating and warmer climates only exacerbate that.  Carry a water bottle with you and drink throughout the day.

·         Think of the 80/20 rule-if 80% of your overall diet is pretty healthy, it’s fine that 20% consists of higher calorie or “fun foods”.

Eating is all about balance-meeting your nutrient needs while including items that you really enjoy.  You can “recover” from an unhealthy day by getting on track the next day-eating meals that include all the food groups and being physically active.  Have questions?  Make an appointment with one of the dietitians at Student Health by going online or calling 919-681-9355.


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4th of July Recipes

Check out this Duke Today article for some 4th of July recipe ideas, featuring Duke Dining Chefs Darelle Bey, Wallace Burrows and Gloris Daniels! 4th of July Recipes


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Be brave, be persistent and be myself: Walking on the road to my dream career

As a person who wants to study policy related to mental health and make a change back in China, I felt that I needed some advice on my career development from experts. This led me to the Duke Career Center where I met Paul Miceli.
I came from mainland China, and I received my M.A. degree in Economics in Fall 2012. After years of being a full-time student and planning to pursue a Ph.D. in public health, I preferred to take a gap year to explore my real interests while also preparing for my Ph.D. application. 

I joked with Paul that I was on a road less traveled because I was not interested in finding a full-time job but, instead, collaborating with faculty members to do research on mental health. This is particularly challenging for a student whose background is economics! I made appointments with Paul about once a week for almost three months, and we carefully discussed all my options and strategies.

At the beginning, Paul and I worked on looking for a lab with a focus on mental illnesses. I found out that I would need many of the same skills as someone looking for a full-time job or internship. Sometimes you really need to be brave in order to network with people and ask for informational interviews. I contacted my psychology professors and asked for information about their colleagues who are interested in the study of serious mental illness. I read professors’ websites, emailed them, and luckily received many responses. I went to their offices with my questions and research interests. I participated in conferences and I even found out that one professor randomly sitting next to me had similar research interests. I asked him for his contact information and followed up afterwards. Many times I felt nervous and even shaky before I walked into an office and handed out my resume and answered the question, “Why is a Master of Economics interested in mental health issues?” Through those conversations though, I developed a better understanding of the field I really wanted to make a difference in.

Along the way I’ve found that it is very important to have an advisor to be accountable to, and this is especially true for me because I had a big plan but no idea how to prioritize my actions. I tracked all my actions with a spreadsheet and asked for suggestions from Paul. Paul is very insightful and always straightforwardly pointed out the naïve points of my plan, but was also always encouraging.

Life is just like a puzzle game. You need to get many pieces and put them together, and surprisingly I’ve found my beautiful picture. That is, my desired destination. The most important thing is to be brave - do not be shy! A professor at Duke told me not everyone is clear about their dreams, so if they know a person who finds their dream and has passion for it, others usually are happy to help that person chase his or her dream. I have found my dream, and I know that many people are eager to help me achieve it.

Over the past year, extensive networking and perseverance has led to a coauthored academic article, a research position in the Department of Psychiatry, and many useful connections and relationships. I’ve also become the founder of an organization committed to helping depressed persons in mainland China. The skills and tools that I’ve utilized over the past year have been invaluable to getting me where I am today, and I know that I’ll continue using them throughout my career journey, wherever that may lead me.


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Recent Ph.D. alum talks about her successful job search

Starting at an early point in the course of my Ph.D., I was very aware that I did not want to pursue an academic career path. In fact, I had a good idea of this before I even started graduate school. During the final semester of my senior year at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, I took a science policy course that involved directly lobbying congressional offices for a chosen scientific issue of personal interest. Cold-calling and meeting with legislative assistants for some of the biggest names on Capitol Hill was an intimidating process, but it was also eye-opening for me. To my surprise, people listened to us, and my group was actually able to get our issue, which was a grant program to promote green buildings on academic campuses, included in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. That experience brought to my attention a whole different side of science: the policy and administrative side.

When I first applied to graduate school, I was probably guilty of doing so because, like many of us, in some part I did not know what else to do with myself after college. I had done bench research throughout my undergraduate career and enjoyed it, and thought it would be great to get more research experience, but I don’t think I had a good grasp of what a Ph.D. could realistically do for me. However, as I entered Duke in the fall to get my Ph.D. in molecular genetics and microbiology fresh off of my flirtation with science policy, I was invigorated by the fact that there were clearly many avenues available for a trained scientist. In retrospect, I think that knowing early on that I probably did not plan to enter academia was rather freeing; when you are narrowly focused on an academic career, it can be a hard process to let go and consider other options, as I saw with people around me.

As I transitioned from a first-year to a senior graduate student, I felt extremely fortunate to be at a place like Duke: the graduate school made constant and tangible efforts to expose students to alternative career paths, whether in non-academic research or other roles. I was also lucky to have an advisor who was very supportive of me having a non-academic career. As my sixth and final year approached, I started to frequently attend seminars, career fairs, and information sessions for companies. I also started to work with the Duke Career Center to develop my resume, explore job possibilities, and find out more about interviewing. As I worked with my career counselor, consulting came up on my radar fairly quickly and initially seemed quite attractive to me as a great way to implement the analytical and creative thinking skills that I had acquired in grad school in new and different settings. My career counselor and I combed through consulting job listings, and I also spent time on the Duke eRecruiting site to find openings. I identified a number of possibilities, had my resume reviewed and tailored by my counselor, and enthusiastically applied to several companies including some of the “Big 3,” a healthcare consulting firm, and a niche pharmaceutical consulting company. I was surprised to find that I got interviews with two companies, but I was also quite worried, as I had no background with case studies. I conducted practice case study interviews at the Career Center ahead of my interviews, which was a very useful prep tool, although one that should be utilized starting far in advance of potential interviews to give plenty of time for multiple sessions and studying. I interviewed with very nice people at both companies, but I knew walking out from both that I was unlikely to get an offer, and furthermore I was unsure whether I’d want one. However, I chalked up both interviews as good learning experiences.

Soon after those interviews, I started writing my thesis and getting ready to defend in the spring, and I knew that the job search needed to get serious. Having learned a lot about how to conduct a job search through my time at the Career Center, I looked into various science policy positions, and knowing that I liked scientific writing and editing and had a strong background in both, I also applied to several editor jobs at scientific journals as well as scientific and medical writing positions. On the advice of my career counselor as well as my thesis committee, I had a few informational interviews with people in the scientific writing field to find out more about potential opportunities that weren’t immediately apparent to me, and I was interested in a potential career in that direction, but I wanted to look at other options too.

Right after I defended, I had a fortuitous opportunity find its way into my inbox. My advisor, who was very enthusiastic about helping me find a job, forwarded me an internal email from the Duke Human Vaccine Institute  (DVHI) that mentioned they had one or two scientific management positions open and were looking for newly-defended graduate students who wanted to start a non-academic track career. As soon as I saw it, something clicked. I had always enjoyed the administrative roles that I had taken on in the lab—keeping things running smoothly was very fulfilling to me—and I hadn’t ever considered a science management position before because, despite all my exposure to alternative career paths, I didn’t realize that jobs like that existed for new Ph.D.s. Additionally, for personal reasons I was keen to stay in the Durham area, and loved the idea of remaining at Duke. I immediately emailed the head of the DHVI to express my interest, and I was told that day that they’d like me to come in for an interview within the next week or two. One month later, I started at the DHVI.

I am learning how to manage large-scale grants, which entails tracking experimental progress, financial progress, coordinating members of the consortia associated with each grant, coordinating shipments of materials, helping to plan studies, and many other tasks. The skills that I will acquire in this job are incredibly useful and applicable in any management position, and I am very confident that I made the right choice to go in this direction for my first job and to build a strong foundation for my career. Overall, by far the most important part of my job search was finding someone, in this case my advisor, who was connected into a network and could send potential jobs my way. Additionally, I found that it is important to consider job avenues when they come along that you might not have realized you were interested in. You never know how various aspects of your graduate career, in this case some of the laboratory administrative work that I was involved with, turn out to be the tasks you most enjoy and want to pursue.

Samantha Bowen is currently the Program Manager at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute.


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Body type or Body Hype?

Reading the Huffington Post this week, I found yet another diet plan making its rounds.  This strategy asks that the user decide what type of body they have and then follow the recommendations of what to eat before, during and after a workout depending on his or her goals (weight loss, muscle gain, etc.).  So really it’s a diet plan masked as an exercise plan.  Now deciding on body type isn’t the most straightforward thing.  On a “good day” you may feel like an “ectomorph” but on the days where you don’t like your weight as much, you may estimate that you’re an “endomorph”.  Leaving it up to each person to make this decision leads to a wide range of recommendations.  There is certainly truth to the fact that certain types of bodies may have different nutrient needs because fundamentally this has to do with muscle mass. Some types are more prone to be muscular and because muscle burns calories far better than fat does, it would make sense that lean individuals may inherently eat a bit differently. Having said that, there are pros and cons to everything so after discussing with the nutrition team, here is what we’ve concluded.  We’ll start with the positives.

  • It emphasizes eating whole foods.
  • It isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition, but rather accounts for some variation in body type.
  • It encourages portion size using realistic measurements rather than focusing on calories.  For example, using your palm to measure protein and your thumb to measure fat accounts for larger individuals having larger needs.  Think of it as nature’s measuring cups!

Here are a few points that we’d like readers to be wary of:


  • Each person’s needs are highly individualized.  Unfortunately, much like the old Blood Type Diet, we can’t fit everyone into 3 or 4 categories.  If you’re unsure of your needs, speak with a student health dietitian and we can make a plan specifically for your needs.
  • This diet, like most, is not age-specific.  Most college students are at the age where they’re still growing, maturing, laying down bone mass, etc., so they have higher needs than the general public.
  • The plan is low in starches, which are important for energy for your muscles as well as your brain.  Starches also aid in allowing tryptophan to go through the blood brain barrier which then becomes serotonin and can positively affect mood.

So what’s the take-home message?  Unless you’re following a plan that is made specifically for you, generalized diets can be lacking in nutrients and do not address dietary preferences, cultural diversity and economic constraints when it comes to meal planning.  We’re all different, thank goodness – let’s stop trying to label us or put us in categories but rather celebrate our differences.


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The Caged Bird…A Song Well Sung

Maya Angelou entered my life at a time when I very much needed to see someone who looked like me, both in body and in spirit, doing and being something unconventional. I remember reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and hanging onto every word. I was in my first semester of college, at Pace University in New York, and dealing with a particularly trying and debilitating trauma that had recently occurred in my life. A dear friend had recommended this text to me. I didn’t know then that it would serve to reconnect me to pieces of myself that had been silenced/I had silenced. 

I felt daring as I read her words. I saw this woman speaking truths that were mine, in ways that I felt had been forbidden to me. She spoke of pain as though she had conquered it…stood on its neck and reminded it who she was in a world that would tell people who look like me and her otherwise. Maya was unapologetic as she revealed parts of her that were more easily kept covered…private…unseen. There was a communal shame associated with some of the realities that she shared and, rather than embracing that shame, she sang. Sang inside of the cage of racial disparity and cultural invisibility…she sang beautifully. Every now and then I could hear my own muffled voice adding a harmony or timidly carrying the melody while she moved fearlessly on to the next verse of our song. This was one of my first glimpses into what freedom could look like. Speaking…truth to power, words in spaces that preferred silence, poetry as activism…finding and owning my voice.

When I came to Duke University, I was a part of the last class of January Freshmen that Duke admitted, in January 1989. I had no idea that, the fall of that year, I would find out that Maya Angelou was the convocation speaker for the incoming class of freshmen. This, to me, seemed to be divine providence. I had been finding own my voice by listening to the beckoning of hers. Because of Maya Angelou, I was a phenomenal woman before I ever believed it. Because of Maya Angelou, I knew that I was the dream and the hope of the slave in spite of the intimidating voices that said that I didn’t belong here at Duke. These words and truths accompanied me through a harrowing 12 year journey that finally, in 2000, resulted in me proudly finishing my Duke undergraduate degree with my children at my side. 

The power that Maya Angelou gave to words and the fact that speaking was a conscious decision for her gave me the inspiration to speak and act in activism, and social justice advocacy. The universal truths that governed her understanding of being human and loving humanity continue to remind me that there is a responsibility that comes with a poetic gifting. There is a responsibility that comes with choosing to speak and being intentional about that which you articulate for others’ consumption. That freedom is often a journey through which community is developed. That there will be struggles, difficulties, issues and pain…that there will be cages and that cages will never be a reason to stop singing.

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A Brave and Startling Truth

Dr. Maya Angelou delivered the convocation address to incoming Duke students for the past 24 years. With her passing, we offer A Brave and Startling Truth, which she delivered to the Class of 2016. The poem was first delivered in June 1995, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

A Brave and Startling Truth
written by Maya Angelou
Dedicated to the hope for peace, which lies, sometimes hidden, in every heart.

We, the people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth.

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And face sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and
Up with bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi
      who, without favor,
Nurtures all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the       
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people, on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That, in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing,
     irresistible tenderness,
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

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Collaboration & Change for a Common Good


Collaboration & Change for a Common Good
A Reflection on Collaboration in Campus Life
India Pierce and Sean Novak


One way that we can work effectively to create change for a common good is to work collaboratively across communities. With this in mind, India Pierce from the Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity (CSGD) came together with Sean Novak from the Center for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) to create a program that explored the intersections of race and sexual orientation. As part of the CMA’s En/Countering Racism series (E/C), they created a program for students to gather and explore intersectionality. This was done in order to deepen participants’ understanding of themselves and others as a means to building stronger coalitions for social justice.

En/Countering Racism is one part of the CMA’s Race Speaks Initiative. The series aims to provide a safe space for people to share their experiences encountering racism and build participants’ capacity to effectively counter it. The more we explore intersectionality, the more we will see that life is much more complex than our politically polarized times might suggest.

In the beginning, the focus was on doing good works and providing students the opportunity to enrich their understanding of themselves and others. However, in the midst of the project the true essence of collaboration became apparent. As much as they wanted the students to leave anew, they walked away from the experience impacted themselves. The project became more than just another event to host or dialogue to facilitate. It was a lesson in how to successfully collaborate. On the heels of the recent rollout of the Student Affairs Leadership Development model, India and Sean thought to share some insight regarding their experience.

Sean’s thoughts…

I had the pleasure of collaborating with India this past semester for our En/Countering Racism Series. I approached her with a very broad idea. I felt there was a need to host a program that explored the intersections of race and sexual orientation. I came to India with that basic starting point and little expectations. I know that I desired for the program to primarily be geared toward stimulating ideas for how and why individuals and organizations should work across communities (Ex. Black community and Asian Community) and movements (LGBT justice and racial justice movements.)

After a few brainstorming sessions, we came up with a concept about “challenging the face of privilege.” As we talked, India and I found a common desire in challenging ourselves to think about our privilege. On the surface, you can assume that I am White and I am male. Additionally, you can assume that she is a woman and Black. I knew from conversation that we had a similar social economic background, coming from a poor and/or working class background. With our education and current profession, we are both experiencing relative mobility in that aspect of our life. However, both of us are more than just this. As we talked, it was clear that we both acknowledged that we have multiple and intersecting identities. We both acknowledged that we needed to consistently bring our whole selves to the table and not just our racial identity, or sexuality, or gender identity, or class background, etc. We both believe that no aspect of our experience pertaining to our identity operates in isolation of other identities. It all intersects. We thought it important that we all explore our privilege instead of just pointing fingers at those who we perceive as “the privileged.”

In my opinion, what worked so well with India and I was that we were both willing to be open, honest, and vulnerable. We threw ideas around. We had a level of trust built that allowed for us to brainstorm without worry of being ridiculed for our ideas. Neither one of us had ulterior motives. This wasn’t a case of either one of us putting together a collaborative program in order to build our professional portfolio. We did this for the love of the work. India appeared to have a common desire for creating and expanding community and empowering students to work for equity. We had a common goal of providing people a space to explore the complexities of their lived experience not only to see how unique and distinct those experiences are but also, how we might be able to find common interests.

Next, I feel that we had mutual respect for and were resourceful with one another’s strengths. Instead of positioning ourselves against one another, we just focused on the work. I love the work I do. That’s why I committed to it. That’s why I chose this as a profession because I had a deep desire to work particularly with racial reconciliation and justice. It was obvious to me that India had a similar passion and commitment. After observing her track record in the short time she has been here at Duke and the conversations that we’ve had, India had similar motivations as I to embark on this journey together.

Additionally, what worked so well with our collaboration was a mutual willingness to compromise. India may have had an idea and I may have not initially agreed or thought differently. Instead of resisting, I discerned her suggestions. Sometimes, I might come back and say, “I think we should do this instead.” She agreed at times and disagreed at other times. Nonetheless, it was never personal. We had built a strong foundation from the start so we had a common goal. There were no suggestions that intentionally led us off course from that goal. Compromise can be a long and tedious process when you’re trying to organize a collaborative effort. I could easily have taken this program on myself (as could she) and created all the content. It would have been quicker and easier in the short-term. However, I am a firm believer that when you build bridges with weak foundations they are bound to collapse. Compromise and equitable collaborations are absolutely necessary for a sustainable initiative or program. If I wanted something for my professional portfolio, I could have just thrown it together and advertised it. In my opinion, compromise in collaboration is the difference between (1) being seen as a leader and (2) being a leader.

The last item that I will touch on is that we both put in our work. There was a mutual effort. We delegated duties and when one of us thought the other was taking on more than they should, we expressed it. After all, how could we take an inequitable approach to developing a program partially geared toward empowering participants to be more equitable? That wouldn’t be establishing a solid foundation. Sometimes, I was caught up with other projects or was simply slacking. I was open and honest about it with India. She was honest with me when she was falling behind as well. We made adjustments and knew what we were working with most of the time.

It truly was a pleasure working with India and I am going to enjoy working with her to build a larger initiative off this collaboration.


Thoughts from India…

I have been at Duke for a little less than a year but it did not take me long to understand how much of a buzz word “collaboration” is for folks around here. Yet, it seems to be at times easier to talk about than it is to do. Call it newbie naivety, but I believe that if us Student Affairs folks could figure out how to succeed with our collaborating efforts we will all win. I remember sitting down with my supervisor early on during my time here, sharing with her all of my ideas for how we could work with other identity/cultural centers. Encouraging of my enthusiastic spirit she encouraged me to consider every opportunity that presents itself.

Unwavering in my opinion, that’s exactly what I did when I embarked upon a wonderful collaborative project with Sean. He approached me about creating an event that would work for the CMA’s En/countering Racism series and I don’t want to brag but the experience was the stuff dreams are made of. I say this because I have often been approached about collaborating on events where the real intention was simply to use our space or for us to provide financial support. I wasn’t being asked to be a partner in the creation of an event, most of the time the planning for the event was already completed. In those instances I can’t help but feel a little confused because that is not how I see collaboration working. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot and do not want to collaborate on everything. However, what I am normally asked for is to be a sponsor of an event not a collaborator on the creation of an event. It would have been easy for Sean to fall into the same pattern, as En/countering Racism is a series that he plans on his own. He could have come to me with a vision and plan for how we would work together and what the event would be, leaving very little room for me to interject; I appreciate that he did not do this.

Our first few meetings were us just talking about the issues that are important to the students we serve. We discussed the types of programs that were the most successful in each of our offices and sought to take some of those elements and include them into the work we would do together. I can’t remember how we came to the topic of privilege but when we got there everything seemed to fall in place.

Working on this project showed me that there is a clear difference between working with people and collaborating with people. In any working relationship there are some pretty basic expectations that one has for their teammate, like completing tasks and meeting deadlines. However, successful collaborations go beyond the logistics…beyond the things on paper. Successful collaborations push and cultivate the growth of us as individuals. Our project focused on challenging the traditional notions of privilege, a topic that could not be taught to others until we did a little of the work ourselves. We had numerous conversations about the spaces in which we felt we had privilege and those that we didn’t. For both of us, we discovered that it is important that we bring our whole selves into our work. In order to do that we must first see beyond the check boxes of identities and see ourselves as the complex individuals that we are. At first glance it doesn’t seem that Sean and I would have much in common, aside from the fact that our home sports teams were rivals, Michigan and Ohio State.  Despite Michigan’s inferiority to Ohio State, we found out we’ve had some similar experiences in certain aspects of our life and others that were completely different. It was on those things that we were able to build a strong foundation for our work. I didn’t feel the anxiety that I’ve felt when working with others where I had to do x, y, or z otherwise it wouldn’t get done. Most importantly I was able to be myself, I admitted when I didn’t know something or was swamped with other things. It was our flexibility and openness that helped Sean and I work well together. We discussed how we approach creating events and when we’re at our best so we could support one another where we were and not where we would prefer the other to be.

At the center of every collaboration must be trust, and it is probably the hardest part of any true collaboration. We by nature are looking for ways to save our own butts. We expect the worst in others and over compensate for bad things that haven’t even happened yet. Those approaches are a disservice to those who we are committed to serve. I am of the belief that the best collaborative experiences often look like magic. Magic is something that can be taught, you teach it by encouraging people to think outside the box and embrace the process of stepping into the unknown. If we want our division to be one in which we are truly collaborating and creating meaningful programming for students we must first start by teaching the skills that people need to be successful at those things like emotional intelligence, communication skills, and effective management skills.  I believe that these skills helped cultivate a healthy working relationship between Sean and I. I look forward to what happens next as we build off this collaboration.

Sean and India closing…

We had a wonderful time working together. This started off as a one-time program to explore the intersections of race and sexual orientation and it is now developing into a half-day workshop. We plan to restructure and expand this program to provide an opportunity for students to engage even deeper into the complexities of intersectionality. One of the primary purposes will be to galvanize and equip students to work across identities and movements. Additionally, we will be altering this workshop to provide a professional development opportunity for colleagues to consider an intersectional approach to advising student organizations as well. As advisors, we think it is important for students to work collaboratively and not always in isolation from other organizations and communities.

In closing, we believe that collaboration is a vital component for us to provide the best service possible for our students. It is difficult to be influential in encouraging students to work together if we are not setting the tone for what it looks like. One of the most powerful things we can do to increase our ability in advising students is to first advise ourselves. Working collectively can be a daunting task with competing interests. However, we believe that enduring the struggle and fighting through the dissonance can produce sustained initiatives that will prove to serve students and ourselves well.


Thank you for your time.


India & Sean


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Becoming Part of the Career Ambassador Team

Towards the end of my sophomore year I decided that I liked the Career Center so much, that I wanted to work there. So, I applied to become a member of the Career Ambassador Team. In case you don’t know, the Career Ambassador Team (CATS as we prefer to be called) is a group of students who serve as liaisons between the Career Center and the undergraduate community. We assist students with resume and cover letter writing, do presentations regarding the Career Center around campus, and help employers when they come for on campus recruiting events. If any of that sounds like a plug for you to come and join the Career Ambassador Team next year, it definitely is. As you can probably tell, after I applied for CATS, I was accepted, and it has been one of the greatest experiences of my college career. I say this because working and being in the Career Center has its perks. It’s like yeah, the Career Center is a great resource to help you navigate your time at Duke and prepare for the real world, but at the same time there are just some great people there who really want you to succeed. I know that sounds cliché, but it is the truth.

As both a student and CAT I have had the opportunity to sit down with the different advisors and talk about everything from bad resume writing habits to the release date of my favorite movies, and I have done all of this while receiving a constant stream of love and support from those around me. And I’m so serious about that--Cindy literally jumped out of her seat when I told her about a summer program I got into back in May. Was I expecting that? No. But who doesn’t love making others happy, and knowing that someone is supporting you. And that is what you get when you come into the Career Center. It’s not just about getting some quick tips on how you can better address the fact that you built a jetpack over the summer, or whatever fantastic thing you did during your internship. It’s about meeting someone (and by someone I mean everyone in the Career Center) who wants nothing but success for you, and then clinging to them for dear life! I’m kidding. But it is really about fostering a relationship with people who genuinely want to see you succeed. These days as I finish up my time here at Duke as an undergrad, you can still likely catch me in the Career Center talking to undergraduate career counselor Nikki Smith about one of our favorite tv shows Parks and Recreation. #TreatYoSelf to some time in the Career Center.


In the fall, Ashley will be heading back to her home city of Los Angeles and attending UCLA in pursuit of a Masters in Public Health.


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Taking Nutrition on the Road

You did it, finals are over and it is time for a couple of months away from the books. Whether you are working, taking a summer course, or have an internship lined up, chances are you will be traveling at some point during the summer months.

Let’s face it when traveling there isn’t an abundance of appetizing and energizing snack options, also eating on the road can be a budget buster. With a little advanced planning you can satisfy your taste buds and save yourself some time and money.

Here are our top picks for energizing snacks that travel well:
• Nuts and trail mix (without added salt)
• Granola or cereal bars that have some protein and fiber (look for those with at least 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber)
• Dried fruit or fruit leathers ( a small handful will do)
• Small juice box sized flavored milk travel well and don’t need refrigeration (either dairy or soy are a great source of protein and taste good to boot) but certainly taste better cold.
• Nut butters and whole grain crackers
• Fresh fruit such as apples, clementines, oranges and most other fruits don’t need refrigeration and travel well.
• Consider Jerky—although high in sodium it packs a hunger satisfying protein punch and truly travels well.
• If you have access to cooler, pack some string cheese, hummus and veggies or even yogurt (although hard to eat if you are the driver—eat this while visiting a rest area), sandwiches.

Don’t forget some water and your GPS.

What do you pack to snack on (if anything) when you travel? Let us know we’d love to hear from you!


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