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Black Love

“Black Love”

On the night of February 11, #BlackDuke all joined for the annual “Black Love” event. Well known in the black community, “Black Love” is endeared by many as an opportunity to discuss the perils of finding a “bae” in the Duke community. Discussed topics ranged from the hook-up culture, interracial dating, off-campus cuffetry, and how academic stresses can stifle a dating culture. For me, though, the narrative I fully expected was lacking from the discussion. Given that I can count approximately 3.5 couples in the entire black community, all heterosexual, in a community as rich with attractive individuals and diversity of sexuality as Duke’s black community, it is absolutely astonishing to me that so few people are “cuffed,” or even remotely considering the pursuit of cuffetry. Literally no one has a Valentine; it’s ridiculous. And since loneliness seems to characterize our community’s bae relations so accurately, I expected someone to cogitate the reasoning for this fascinating phenomenon, or at least bring it up as having been their experience in on-campus boo searches at “Black Love.” I misjudged.

On one hand, when I hear “black love,” I’m reminded of a shackling and oppressive history of black enslavement, and I think what besides a supreme love for a Divine Creator and community support could have helped our ancestors come to terms with the plight they had been subjected to against their wills? More contemporarily, “black love” makes me think of George and Wheezy. Florida and James. Raven and Eddie. (I’m deliberately leaving out the couple that had been my locus of understanding what black love could look like and be, because I’m sick of the husband telling me where on my gluteus maximus I’m allowed to wear my pants AND because that marriage was annulled in my consciousness the moment I discovered that the freakin’ obstetrician had “a thing” for violating women). Juxtaposed with those flowery and arguably unrealistic depictions of black love on television, however, is the seeming reality, both in the Duke community and in the black community in general—nobody is freaking cuffed! Why?

If I may venture a guess, I think that there are quite a few contributing factors to the phenomenon of general baelessness in our black community. For starters, you have to consider the type of black kids who are coming to Duke—mostly middle to upper-middle class; very respectable; having, for the most part, been to the best high schools and preparatory programs in the country. In effect, you have put 800 black valedictorians in an overwhelmingly white space, all of which have been convinced by their parents that exceptional negritude is fundamental to black success and is ideologically unproblematic. Some of us are a bit nerdy or socially awkward, but just about all of us have been told that we are “hot stuff,” contributions to the race—“uplifters”—for as long as we can remember. And yet, many of us have had difficulty navigating race relations, since our respectability made us “too white” for black spaces, and our melanin always made us stand out in white ones. I’d like to posit that that complex scaffolds an environment controlled by pride, formed out of black students’ scorn for their racial pasts. An environment of pride makes genuine, authentic interactions with other black students difficult to come by (to say the very
least). Pride stifles trust and vulnerability, the undeniable building blocks of any successful relationship (platonic or otherwise).

The same phenomenon doesn’t exist in our interactions with whites, I’d imagine, because they landlord the spaces we’re being allowed to rent, like the college environment—the spaces were not made for us, and no has blueprinted a re-model to accommodate our needs and preferences. And yet, we know how valuable the real estate is, and can’t forget how long the waitlist of exceptional negros is behind us; but, I digress. My interest is in deconstructing the environment of pride, such that we facilitate the kinds of loving interactions we’d like to see… (To be continued)​

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Cold and snow no deterrent for Duke’s Greek community

Sigma Chi Beta Lambda brothers beautify Durham with Keep Durham Beautiful

Heedless of the snow and ice on the ground, 24 enthusiastic Duke students turned out last Saturday to spread mulch and stake trees along Main Street with the nonprofit Keep Durham Beautiful. Students were members of Sigma Chi Beta Lambda fraternity and Chi Omega sorority. Other partners helping on the snowy day were City Urban Forestry and City-County Sustainability Office.

Read more.


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Flag of the Week - Zambia

The Republic of Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, neighboring the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west. The capital city is Lusaka, in the south-central part of Zambia. The population is concentrated mainly around Lusaka in the south and the Copperbelt Province to the northwest.

Originally inhabited by Khoisan peoples, the region was colonized during the Bantu expansion of the thirteenth century. After visits by European explorers in the eighteenth century, Zambia became the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century. For most of the colonial period, Zambia was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South Africa Company.

On 24 October 1964, Zambia became independent of the United Kingdom and then-prime minister Kenneth Kaunda became the inaugural president. Kaunda's socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) maintained power from 1964 until 1991. From 1972 to 1991 Zambia was a single-party state with the UNIP as the sole legal political party under the motto 'One Zambia, One Nation'. Kaunda was succeeded by Frederick Chiluba of the social-democratic Movement for Multi-Party Democracy in 1991, beginning a period of social-economic growth and government decentralisation. Levy Mwanawasa, Chiluba's chosen successor, presided over Zambia from January 2002 until his death in August 2008, and is credited with campaigns to reduce corruption and increase the standard of living. After Mwanawasa's death, Rupiah Banda presided as Acting President before being elected President in 2008. Holding office for only three years, Banda stepped down after his defeat in the 2011 elections by Patriotic Front party leader Michael Chilufya Sata. Michael Sata died on October 28, 2014, the second Zambian president to die in office. Guy Scott was the interim president, until new elections that were held on 20 January 2015 elected Edgar Lungu as the 6th President.

In 2010, the World Bank named Zambia one of the world's fastest economically reformed countries. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is headquartered in Lusaka.


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Connected Cores

HK on J was a tremendous moment in time that we got to experience. The march was held in Raleigh and the air was filled with opportunity. We got the chance to speak out against a plethora of injustices and utilized it.  I was with the Duke NAACP and many other Duke students as we took to the streets with the NAACP banner and chanted out against marginalization of black bodies and the ways in which structures in NC and the US help devalue the lives of other oppressed peoples.

Then we were able to hear the many activists speak out against these injustices with a concluding speech given by the NC NAACP President Reverend William Barber. He spoke of the heart as being a core and related that to the fact that we have to use our hearts to have true compassion for the folks who experience these injustices and how the lack of that compassion was very dangerous in and of itself.  As we think about what this march really meant to us and what issues we could personally relate to, it is also important to realize why the people marching beside of us are marching as well. For as we think about our fight against injustice, if we forget about the reasons that others are oppressed in the process then the fight has meant nothing. 

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Student Health Delayed Opening on Friday, 2/27

Due to inclement weather, the Student Health Center will open at 10:30am on Friday, February 27th.

For healthcare options during closed hours, please call us at 919-681-9355.


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Is the Career Center for International Students?

As an international student, where do you feel connected on campus? My guess would be there might be a connection with iHouse as you have found ways to engage with other members of the international community or understand the US culture. Visa Services may be another office you readily identify with on campus as a supportive and necessary part of your experience.

If you haven’t thought of the Career Center as a place for you and a connection point, I hope I begin to convince you today.

The Duke University Career Center engages students and alumni in an ongoing examination and pursuit of what is meaningful and valuable in their lives. The Career Center provides opportunities for individuals to explore the intersection of their education, values, goals, skills and experiences in order to identify and realize their aspirations.

Read on for three ways that demonstrate how the Career Center can be a place for you.

Advocates for and Partners with International Students
We are advocates for international students. The Career Center is staffed with professionals who are excited to work with Duke students and whose goals simply stated are to help students—whether that be in a one-on-one appointment to help a student sift through their interests, a program detailing the best ways in which to interview or a Drop-in Advising session, where we go line by line through your resume.
We advocate for international students through discussions with employers. In speaking with employers about work authorization status, we discuss the value that international students bring to the workplace and encourage those employers to include international students in their pool of candidates.
You want strong advocates and partners for yourself as a student here at Duke. We encourage you to think about the Career Center being that for you!

Connections to Alumni Who Were International Students
In our work, the students who sit across from us in appointments one year are the alumni who have amazing careers and want to advise international students in the process in the years to come.  They are the Supply Chain Manager at Apple, Consumer Product Strategy Analyst at Bank of America, Logistics Analyst at Tesla Motors and Production Coordinator at PDI/DreamWorks Animation. When working with us, we can help connect you with alumni who were in your position and you can learn the lessons they have gathered in the process.

In a one-on-one discussion with a career adviser, you can learn how to connect with alumni (international and domestic) through resources such as LinkedIn, DukeConnect and your already established network.

Resources Online and in Print
Physical books are part of our Resource Library, which you can come review in the center or check out to review on your own.  In the Resource Library, one book in particular may be helpful to you in understanding the U.S. job market, Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the US. This book breaks down the U.S. Job Search for International Students and describes the “players” in the process—recruiters, hiring managers, other employees—to help you better understand where you should spend your time. The author provides real-life examples of international student and how they have been successful or unsuccessful in the U.S. market to prove his points. If you’re looking to better understand the U.S. job search, this is an excellent place to start.

Online Tools & Resources
The Career Center has a wealth of resources—online resources available that are available at all times. You’ll find 15 guides to help you navigate the job or internship search as well as write a cover letter and/or resume, for example.

You’ll find CareerBeam, a comprehensive tool to aid in assessing yourself and working through the process of your career search. You even have the ability to conduct an interview and record yourself to see what improvements can be made. 
GoinGlobal is a one of the online resources I think is particularly valuable to international students. It is a robust system that allows you to view information specific to certain countries or cities.  For example, if you know that you are interested in interning or working Atlanta, here is a sample of what I would learn from GoinGlobal:
H1-B Sponsoring Companies include AirWatch, TEK Services, Manhattan Associations, and a list of over 50 more.
Industry and Employment Trends show that Atlanta is increasingly becoming a tech hub and even tells the reader the number of jobs that certain companies are adding in this area.
• An Overview of the City
• The Cost of Living is 6.5% lower than the national average. A sample of bills are provided so you can understand common expenses and know the salary or hourly rate you would need.
• Professional and Social Networking groups let me know that if I were a student interested in journalism that the Atlanta Press Club, Inc. would be an organization of people with similar interests and provide events and educational workshops.
Cultural Advice about the South tells me about the history, people, food, vocabulary and dialect of a number of people in the region.
Log-in to view this resource and see its applicability for you. It can be helpful in the job/internship search or to simply know more about the different cities within the U.S. and specific countries around the world.

I hope I have made my case and convinced you—or at least created enough intrigue for you to want to know more. The Career Center is a place for you and we hope you will take advantage of this resource soon!

To schedule an appointment with the Career Center, please call 919-660-1050.


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Student Health Closed Thursday, 2/26

Due to severe weather, the Student Health Center will be closed on Thursday, February 26th.

During closed hours, please call us at 919-681-9355 for health care options or nurse advice.


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Student Health Delayed Opening on Wednesday, 2/25

Due to inclement weather, the Student Health Center will open at 10:30am on Wednesday, February 25th.

For healthcare options during closed hours, please call us at 919-681-9355.


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Flag of the Week - Argentina

Argentina is a federal republic located in southeastern South America. Sharing the Southern Cone with its smaller neighbor Chile, it is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast; Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east; Chile to the west and the Drake Passage to the south.

With a mainland area of 1,073,500 square miles, Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the second largest in Latin America, and the largest Spanish-speaking one. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

A historical and current middle power and a prominent Latin American and Southern Cone regional power, Argentina is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies and Latin America's third-largest. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, WBG, WTO, Mercosur, UNASUR, CELAC and OEI. Because of its stability, market size and increasing share of the high-tech sector, Argentina is classed by investors as a middle emerging economy with a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index.

The earliest recorded human presence in the area now known as Argentina is dated from the Paleolithic period. The Spanish colonization began in 1512. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas colony founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, which ended with the country's reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. From then on—while massive European immigration waves radically reshaped its cultural and demographic outlook—Argentina enjoyed an historically almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity: by the early 20th century it already ranked as the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world. After 1930, however, and despite remaining among the fifteen richest countries until mid-century, it descended into political instability and suffered periodic economic crisis that sank it back into underdevelopment.​


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SnapChat Across the Atlantic

What I would send across the Atlantic if I used SnapChat
…Little snippets of my home and study-abroad experience in Spain!

Scene 1—Brr-eakfast:

Each day in my new Madrid apartment brings new comforts, surprises, joys and challenges. These of course begin the very moment I wake up, when I enjoy a delicious breakfast while wearing finger-less knit gloves. (Americans, I have realized, are total whimps when it comes to the cold—we actually turn the heating on. The bad-ass Spaniards on the other hand…)

Scene 2—At  the “Uni”:

Entering a classroom composed entirely of Spaniards speaking animated, rapid Castellano? That brings your “new kid at school” complex to a whole new level. Knowing the answer to the question, but being unable to articulate the language quickly enough to speak a coherent response? That is frustrating. Sitting in class and not understanding what in the world was just said? Ha, well I suppose some confusions are endemic to university life in general.

Scene 3—My host family is better than yours:

I unfold from its tin-foil casing a beautifully made bocadillo. Fresh avocado, sliced cheese of delicious origin, vinaigrette, pepper…You get the idea. This is a damn good sandwich.

A non-Dukie but fellow American student looks laughs. Her host parent also packed a sandwich for her. She unpacks it; two slices of Wonder-Bread. Nada más. The fellow American looks relieved and tells me that it is better than the 5-pack of uncooked Oscar Meyer hot dogs she got for lunch yesterday.


Scene 4—Tripping on your tongue:

When you speak in Spanish, and then afterwards realize that the literal translation went something like this: Yes I will like to have ordered me a pint of coffee…So perhaps their lingering gaze was not because you are incredibly attractive, but rather that you made no sense.


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Are You a Moody Foodie?

I remember several years ago as a young adolescent my daughter and her friend dressing up in homemade Halloween costumes as “We’ve Been Dumped Girls”. The costumes consisted of PJs, bathrobes, fuzzy slippers, hair in sloppy ponytails, smeared mascara and of course empty containers of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  Creative-Yes! Accurate? Let’s see…

New research shows that people with temporary mood lows generally bounce back pretty well on their own regardless of what they may eat. Those with more prolonged mood lows may turn to food on a more regular basis for comfort but the resulting lift in spirits is generally short lived and may result in cyclical emotional eating patterns. For these folks consulting a qualified therapist for an evaluation is the best advice.

But for the majority of us who experience temporary emotional lows the “comfort” we receive from eating certain foods may have more to do with associations we have with that food than any magical mood lifting powers. For example did you and your mom (or dad) make cookies together for fun? Did you share an ice cream cone with a beloved grandparent?

 The memory of the good feelings may be what is actually helping.

Although we do know that foods high in carbohydrate temporarily make you feel better, a piece of fruit or a granola bar will do the job just as nicely as ice cream or brownies or chips—although these foods will probably not be the thing that comes to mind first.

Here is a list of some “comfort” with a healthier twist”

·         Oatmeal

·         Fresh fruit and a little nut butter

·         Nuts and dark chocolate

·         Bean soups

·         Grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread

·         Whole grain granola bar

Let’s face it though; sometimes you do just want a little ice cream because it tastes good. Enjoy it for that reason alone.



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A Night at the Oscars

Duke Dining hosted "A Night at The Oscars" themed dinner event at the Marketplace on Tuesday, 2/17. The event featured a Best Dressed contest and Oscars themed decor to include the nominated movie posters, Oscar statue centerpieces on top of a filmstrip overlay on each dining room table, a Hollywood style backdrop, glitter and glam throughout the Marketplace, strobe lights to mimic the Paparazzi, Oscar nominated movie songs and a limo for our guests to experience as they stepped out onto the red carpet. The "A List" menu included featured menu items such as Duck Consommé, Wild Mushroom Bisque, Deep Fried Pork and Vegetable Pot Stickers, House Smoked Salmon Display, Tenderloin of Beef with a Red Wine Demi-Glace, Seitan Wellington with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, Squid Ink Linguini with Scallops, Shrimp and Pancetta, Rotini Pasta with Lamb Bolognaise, Beef Burger Sliders on Brioche Bun, Parmesan Basil Cod Fries, Goat Cheese and Fennel White Pizza, Cannolis, Chocolate Shells filled with Assorted Flavored Mousse, and Mini Vanilla Cheesecakes with Chocolate Curls. Take a look at our "A Night at The Oscars" photo album!


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Flag of the Week - Thailand

Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam is a country at the center of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.

Thailand is a monarchy headed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX and governed by a military junta that took power in May 2014. The king is the ninth of the House of Chakri, and has reigned since 1946 as the world's longest-serving current head of state and the country's longest-reigning monarch. The King of Thailand's titles include Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Adherent of Buddhism, and Upholder of religions. Although a constitutional system was established in 1932, the monarchy and military have continued to intervene periodically in politics.

With a total area of approximately 198,000 sq mi, Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country. It is the 20th-most-populous country in the world, with around 66 million people. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, which is Thailand's political, commercial, industrial, and cultural hub. About 75–95% of the population is ethnically Tai, which includes four major regional groups: central Thai, northeastern Thai, northern Thai, and southern Thai. Thai Chinese, those of significant Chinese heritage, are 14% of the population, while Thais with partial Chinese ancestry comprise up to 40% of the population. Thai Malays represent 3% of the population, with the remainder consisting of Mons, Khmers and various "hill tribes". The country's official language is Thai and the primary religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by around 95% of the population.

Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1996, becoming a newly industrialized country and a major exporter. Manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy. Among the ten ASEAN countries, Thailand ranks second in quality of life. The country's HDI had been rated as "high". Its large population and growing economic influence have made it a middle power in the region and around the world.



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Important Message From Duke Financial Aid

Each year we ask that you submit current tax information, the CSS Profile form and the FAFSA to be considered for financial aid from Duke. We still need these items, but ask that you WAIT to complete the Profile and the FAFSA until after you’ve completed your 2014 tax returns (assuming you will file by the April 15th deadline, or earlier). 
Here’s why. The Profile process is changing and it will be easier and better if you wait.  You will be able to upload your taxes from a PDF and your information will auto-fill the Profile using your tax data. Then, Profile will ask you a number of basic questions (for example: are you still living in the same house?) and avoid asking you questions it doesn’t need an answer to. It should be faster and less frustrating and since your Profile is not due until May 1st, why not take advantage of this opportunity to save time?
For the FAFSA, if you have filed your return, you have the option of retrieving your tax information directly into your FAFSA from the IRS website. This is much easier and more accurate than typing it in. It also means that if you are selected for a time-consuming process called “verification,” we won’t need a tax transcript from the IRS to verify your income information.  So much simpler! 
On both the FAFSA and the Profile, you can use your 2013 income to estimate your 2014 income if you will not file by the April 15th deadline; however, you won’t be able to take advantage of these nifty new time (and headache) saving options. 
Please let us know if you have any questions about this new and improved process. The link to re-apply for aid will be active on the financial aid website after March 9th. Please give us a call at 919-684-6225 or email us at finaid@duke.edu with any questions you have about the new aid process for returning students.
Thank you and Go Duke!
Duke Financial Aid

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American Common Courtesy - CLG workshop at IHouse

When I am introduced to someone in the US, often I do not know what to do – Say Namaste with my hands pressed together in the traditional Indian way or Say Hi with a tentative wave of my hand or just go forward and shake hands with them. SangHee Jeong at IHouse hosted a workshop on American Common Courtesy, and Duke student Ashley Gibbs, with some help from Ilana Weisman, shared with us the appropriate manners and levels of courtesy in the US.

Okay, let’s start at the beginning. When someone greets you, ”Hi, how are you?” , just say “Good” (don’t start explaining about your stiff back, unless it is your doctor).  When you are introduced to someone, you could give a firm handshake or a hug (I like the sideways hug demonstrated by Ashley and Ilana), depending on the setting and how well you know the person. If you are in a group, remember to introduce them too.

Around Americans, you better watch your mouth – yawning, chewing with your mouth wide open, coughing / sneezing without covering your mouth, talking loudly on the phone, are all considered rude.  When you are talking to someone, respect their personal space and maintain a few feet distance and also, maintain eye contact. During a conversation, do not ask people their weight or salary and definitely don’t ask a woman her age. It is considered impolite if you don’t hold the door when there is someone a few feet behind you.

While punctuality is important, do not show up early to a party. Men do not wear hats indoors but women can wear church hats or fashionable hats. Cutting in line, laughing loudly and staring at strangers are considered inappropriate. While walking, if someone wants to walk past you, please make way for them. With Professors / superiors, play it safe by using Professor / Doctor / Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. / Sir / Ma’am. If they want to be on first name basis, they will tell you.

People in the South like to be friendly. So while passing strangers, if they smile, be polite and return their smile. Do not interrupt them while speaking and when you want something to be done, ask questions (ending with ‘please’) rather than giving orders. But in the North, life is more fast-paced. People do not commonly smile or make eye contact with strangers. They tend to speak fast and do not mind being interrupted.

One thing common to all Americans is they prefer to be direct. So if they offer you something and you want it, then go for it. If you are trying to be polite and say no, you may not get another chance. Now, about eating out, if someone says, “Let’s get a meal together”, it means you are going to split the bill. But if someone says, “I’ll treat you to lunch”, it means they will pay for you too.

As the Berenstain Bears say “Please and Thank you can make your day; they are as nice to hear as they are to say”.


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Celebrating Our Bodies!

Why are we celebrating our bodies, you ask?


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Content is King in 2015!

Meredith Conte, ‘99 discusses career paths in journalism and what it takes create a successful career in media.

All Duke students pursue business, law or medical school, right?

Meredith Conte discusses her non-traditional career path in media that began in politics and public relations, transitioned to marketing with Discovery and National Geographic, and is now broadcasting at Gannett. Success in marketing is all about being creative, curious, and willing to step out of your comfort zone. Check out her professional stats and Q&A below.

Degree: BA, Public Policy; Marketing & Management Certificate
Current Employer: Gannett Broadcasting 
Title: Vice President, Marketing
City, St: Washington, DC
LinkedIn Profile

Describe the process for finding your career path? Was it easy? Hard? What did you learn along the way?
Finding my career path was tough and I tried a lot of things before finding a good match. As a senior, I wasn’t interested in the more mainstream, traditional options: investment banking, consulting, law school, med school, etc.

Graduating in 1999, I decided it would be fun to work on a presidential campaign. So I started there working first as a volunteer and then moving into a paid position. I didn’t love politics though, so I moved into PR. While I liked some aspects of PR, I got burnt out from the agency world so I moved into radio. From there, I jumped over to TV and that’s where I’ve been ever since.

Along the way, I learned it’s okay to make a switch, to follow my gut and to be confident that even though roads are bumpy, if you worked hard enough and smart enough, you will always land on your feet. And that in time, everything you experience will stitch together into a career you can look back on with great pride. 

How can students interested in journalism and broadcast media best utilize their time at Duke?

The best advice I can give is to really take advantage of all that Duke offers. Between the curriculum, the alumni, the professors, the local internship opportunities and the on-campus media there is so much to dig in to. Get involved, get experience and own your education.

The broadcast media and journalism industry has faced many changes and challenges over the past decade. Is the industry dead? What career opportunities/paths are out there for students interested in this field?

The industry is far from dead. While threats are always around, there is no better time to be in the industry. It is a time now where content and innovation are king. So for students really looking to get their hands dirty and make an impact, on an organization, on a community, the broadcast media business is an ideal place to start.

Career paths in the industry run the gamut. Opportunities abound in investigative reporting, original storytelling, community relations, marketing, social media, management, sales and much more and each of those can lead in a myriad of directions. 

What is the best way to find an internship or job in this field?

Most organizations will post internships and jobs on their websites but when it comes to job seeking, there’s nothing more valuable than networking and establishing relationships with people in the industry.

If you see a reporter on the street, go up and talk to them. Stop by your local television station and ask to talk to the head of the department you’re interested in. Email people whose work you admire and ask if they have time to talk. Don’t be shy.

And before you engage in dialogue, do your homework. Show the person you’re talking to that you know who they are and that there’s a specific reason you’ve asked for their time.

Describe the perfect intern or new hire in just three words.

Tenacious. Curious. Creative.

What is your best advice to students interested in this field?

Go for it. It is a real thrill to be in the media business and in journalism specifically. To know that your passion for multimedia storytelling can ultimately create change in communities is an exciting prospect. So if you have any interest at all, I say go all in. Don’t worry if you don’t have a journalism degree – the beauty of the business is that degrees are only one part of the mix. Creativity and curiosity get you pretty darn far.

That being said, tip #2 is be realistic. You likely won’t be in the corner office after graduating Duke but you’re certainly smart enough to get there. My advice is to come in humble, work hard, ask questions, be friendly to everyone and enjoy the ride. The advancement will come.

If your theme song played every time you entered a room, what song would it be? Why? 

Great question! I would say “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield is a go-to for me. It has a vivacious energy and a motivating message about making the most out of life no matter what you’re facing.

Final thoughts?

The media business is a tough one but it is a whole lot of fun. And we need young stars who will help us shape its future.


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Black Popular Music - CLG workshop at IHouse

February is Black History Month. It was created to understand the history of African-Americans from the time they were displaced from their homeland, the hardships they faced and their ongoing struggle to make this land their home. Their resilience and rebellion found expression in the form of music. In celebration of Black History Month, IHouse offered a workshop last Thursday about “Black Popular Music from Spirituals to Hip-Hop”, hosted by Lisa Giragosian, with a presentation by Alec Greenwald, Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture.

The origins of Black music can be traced from the historical context. When people were brought as slaves, they lost their identity and tried to keep their culture alive through music. Their musical traditions began as a form of communication - call and response and their artistic creativity came to the fore when they made musical instruments like the banjos and drums from gourds and hollow tree trunks/ animal skin. The theme of early Black music was mostly coded messages seeking freedom from slavery, conveyed through simple lyrics (“Follow the Drinking Gourd”).

Alec took us on a historical journey through various genres that evolved under the secular traditions of Black music – from the melancholy notes of the blues to the vibrant and energetic beats of hip-hop.

  • Game Song / Play Song: Created by children, involving distinctive imagery and complex dance steps
  • Work Song / Field Call: Lifted spirits, offered encouragement, coordinated the movements of workers
  • Rural Blues: Three phrases performed in simple harmonic foundation, expressing feelings of sadness
  • Boogie Woogie: Evolved in barrelhouses, railroad camps inspired by rhythmic clacking of steam locomotives
  • Urban Blues (Electric Blues): Amplified form of Rural blues that evolved in urban areas
  • Rock ‘N’ Roll: Filled with teenage sense of rebellion, independence, and an aggressive beat
  • Soul: Gospel influenced music with passionate vocalizing, powerful rhythms and honest lyrics appealing to the younger generation
  • Disco: Dance music (soul, Latin-soul, funk) played by mobile DJs in discotheques; recordings exceeded the standard three minute length to keep the dancers moving
  • Funk: Instrumental, vocal dance music based on jazz, blues, R&B, soul; the rhythm helped them dance
  • R&B: Dance music incorporating various styles like jazz, blues; encompassing all types of popular Black music other than hip-hop
  • Hip-hop: Original poetry based on range of experiences and world views sung in rhythm and rhyme; four essential elements are – DJ, rapper, dancer and graffiti artist

Just reading or talking about music may not be that interesting. But Alec kept it lively by playing some music (on the laptop), humming tunes and dancing a few steps. In order to fully appreciate and enjoy Black music, it is important to understand their history and culture. As Lisa nicely summed up, the presentation was not only about music but a combination of history, geography, anthropology, sociology, culture, dance etc.

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Why Are We Celebrating Our Bodies?

Beginning next Monday, February 16th, Nutrition Services is partnering with many offices across campus to host a positive body image week.  In the past, we’ve celebrated National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, but found that students are already aware of eating disorders.  Renaming the week and focusing on learning to embrace our bodies can help students to move away from some of the behaviors that might increase risk of developing disordered eating and exercise patterns.

Here’s a breakdown of the events we have going on next week, all of which are free and do not require tickets.

Monday, February 16th:

From 11am to 1pm, The Center for Multicultural Affairs is offering lunch at their Monday Motivation titled “Being Fine with Who You Are”.  At a roundtable discussion, students can discuss culture and body image with Mazella Fuller, PhD, MSW, LCSW from CAPS, J’nai Adams from the CMA and Kate Sayre, MPH, RDN from Student Health.  Courtney E. Martin will join the discussion.

Our keynote speaker’s talk and launch of our “Identity Over Image” campaign will take place at 7pm in the Nelson Music Room.  Courtney E. Martin, author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and TED talk presenter, will discuss how effortless perfection is harming young women.  One of her quotes that we find most powerful is “We’re a generation of young {people} who were told they could be anything and heard they had to be everything”.

Tuesday, February 17th:

Have you heard of the “fitspo” movement?  These “inspirations” to exercise can be much more damaging than helpful.  We’re hosting a “true fitspiration” event in Brodie Gym from 5-7:30pm.  Here students can focus on positive reasons why they work out.  It may be to build strength, relieve stress or be able to sleep better.  It’s important we think of these benefits rather than superficial ones.

Those of us who treat eating disorders are often asked by students how they can approach a friend who they think is struggling with disordered behaviors.  Partnering with Duke students, we’ve created a recurring event called “Is This Normal?: How to Help a Friend with Disordered Eating”.  Embody Carolina is joining us to empower our community members to help each other.  This session will start at 6:30pm in McClendon 2.

Wednesday, February 18th:

WHOspeaks images remain powerful reminders of how we view our bodies.  The Women’s Center is hosting a showcase of these pictures as well as a discussion from 2-4pm.

Thursday, February 19th:

Me Too Monologues just wrapped up another very successful year.  We’re grateful to those who shared their stories, the actors and all in attendance.  We’re hosting a screening of past monologues that discuss body image.  Join us in the Keohane Atrium at 6:30pm.

Friday, February 20th:

To wrap up our week, we’re kicking it back at the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity from 3-5pm.  Karen Kuebler, the art therapist from Veritas Collaborative, is leading an activity titled "Using Visual Language to Promote Self-Compassion and Positive Body Image". We’ll be creating individual and collective positive art and would love you to join us.  Food will be provided.

With this week of events, we’re hoping to start and continue conversation on campus of how we can better treat ourselves and our bodies.  If you aren’t able to attend the events, we ask that you do your part.  Use positive language, disallow “fat talk” in your social circles, and celebrate your body for all it is capable of.  If you’re concerned about your own behaviors, please take our anonymous screen to assess.

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Life in NYC

Courtney Liu, ‘13 Discusses her Life in NYC as a Professional Dancer and Arts Entrepreneur

What is an arts entrepreneur? How do you become one? Courtney Liu, Duke ’13, shares insights and strategies she’s learned as a professional dancer and arts entrepreneur in New York City. It takes more than just passion. It takes flexibility (literally and figuratively!), a varied skillset, and most importantly, the ability to hustle. Check out Courtney’s story below.

Hometown:  Cincinnati, OH
Graduation date:  May 2013
Major(s), Minor(s), Certificate(s):  Psychology Major (Developmental Psychology concentration), Markets and Management Certificate

Duke Extracurricular Activities and Leadership:
Sabrosura (President, Co-President), Baldwin Scholars, Duke Dancers, Alpha Phi
Internships/Summer Experiences/On-Campus Jobs:
Freshman Summer: DukeEngage in Zhuhai, China (taught ballet, jazz, and English)

Sophomore Summer: Benenson Arts Award to go to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Intensive; Duke in Greece

Junior Summer: VIP Program for Psychology Majors graduating with Distinction; Durham Crisis Response Center, Research Intern and Hotline Responder (funded by SOL grant)

Other Jobs at Duke:  Yoga Instructor at Wilson Gym, East Campus RA, Ballet Instructor at Nina’s School of Dance, Walltown Children’s Theater, Red Apple Day Care and Triangle Youth Ballet

Tell us about what dance means to you and your life, and why you decided to pursue it professionally.
George Balanchine once said, “I don’t want dancers who want to dance.  I want dancers who need to dance.”  Since graduation I have discovered that I fall into the latter category.  There is nothing logical about pursuing a career in dance, particularly ballet.  Most dancers endure excruciating pain, suffer lifelong injuries, receive little compensation, retire before age 40 and rarely become stars in the way that singers and actors do.  For all these reasons I was hell bent on pursing a career outside of dance during my four years at Duke.  However, upon graduation I felt stifled sitting down in an office all day and found myself running out the door each evening for ballet class.  When the opportunity presented itself, I left my job to pursue dance professionally.  
Walk us through how you were able to move to NYC, pay the bills, and begin your professional dance career?
As a senior at Duke, I wanted stability in my life and therefore had no interest in a career in arts entrepreneurship or dance.  Along with my peers, I spent my last year networking and applying to jobs until I landed a Research Coordinator position at Bellevue Hospital in Psychiatry. 

I moved to NYC and paid my security deposit, moving costs, and the first month of expenses with savings I had put aside during my four years at Duke.  I was happy to have a steady salary and spent my weekends and evenings taking contemporary dance classes.  Fellow Dukie, Monica Hogan, ’12, started a dance company and I began performing with her at different gigs she booked throughout the city.  Hungry for more opportunities to perform, I started to browse Backstage.com

When I saw the Phantom of the Opera audition I realized how much I missed ballet.  I was in no condition to attend the audition.  Although I was once a tiny, 17-year old ready to land a ballet contract, I was now an out-of-shape 22-year old who hadn’t taken a ballet class in months. 

I had an unbelievable surge of energy in that moment and used the momentum to push myself through the next two months.  I brought my ballet supplies back from my parent’s house, changed my diet and spent most of my salary on daily ballet classes and pointe shoes.  I ran out of the hospital every day at 5 p.m. to make the 5:30 class at Peridance and stayed for the 7 p.m. class, if I had the funds. 

One Sunday I took class from Stuart Loungway, a former San Francisco and Joffrey Ballet dancer.  I left his class feeling exhilarated.  It was everything I loved about ballet…. graceful physicality, intricate musicality, artistry and care in every step.  I attended this class every week and Sundays became a benchmark for the week’s work as I pushed to re-gain my technique. 

After eight weeks Stuart asked me to join his company, Terra Firma Dance Theatre (TFDT), for their Spring Season at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center.  I was thrilled and also relieved to learn that they rehearsed on Sundays…so I could keep my day job. 

It turns out that most of the other dancers had day jobs as well.  Everyone knows that many dancers/actors/singers move to New York and “don’t make it”.  However, I found that many dancers “make it” in New York (aka. perform on great stages, land contracts with their dream companies) but still cannot pay their bills with a dancer’s salary.  Most dancers in New York work other jobs to pay the bills (e.g. babysitting, waiting tables, Lulu Lemon sales).  In addition, dance is not a career that lasts forever and a single injury can sideline a dancer forever.  By concurrently pursuing another career path I was able to pay my bills and invest in my future, post-dance. 

After Kaatsbaan, I joined another small ballet company and another contemporary company.  Although I was dancing many hours I still could not afford to quit my job at Bellevue until I had booked a dance job that would pay my bills. 

Because I had a good track record at the hospital, I was able to negotiate a flex-time agreement with my boss that freed up my daytime schedule for auditions.  During this time money became very tight as my student loan grace period expired.  Even with a full time research job I was not able to pay my rent, student bills and take daily ballet classes ($19/class).  I started tutoring four hours per week to make ends meet. 

After many auditions, I was offered a contract with the touring cast of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for November and December.  I told my boss and we both agreed it was best for me to leave at the completion of the study in June rather than to start on a new study and leave in October.   

However, I was now unemployed until November and had no income other than tutoring, which was ending for the summer.  I reached out to my networks and found two freelance jobs, one as a grant writer for a boutique PR firm and another as an administrative assistant for a dance institute.  I also began babysitting a few hours per week to supplement my income.

Although the freelance jobs were good, I was still worried they would not provide enough income for the coming months.  I continued applying for jobs and going to auditions. 

I found the solution to my financial worries on Answers4Dancers.com.  Busch Gardens needed dancers for their Halloween shows for September and October.  The gig paid well and was located near my Mom in Williamsburg, VA, which meant I could stay with her and sublet my apartment for a full four months (Busch Gardens and Radio City tour). 

I auditioned in both Williamsburg and New York to increase my chances …. and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I booked the job.  I plan to continue to work in grant writing and arts administration on a telecommute freelance basis while I am touring and am looking forward to embarking on this adventure!

How do you/what is your strategy for continuing to find paid/professional dance gigs and growing your professional dance career? How do you network/meet people that may hire you?
• Find your niche
Although I would love to take every style of dance, I invest in my ballet technique first because this is the skill that sets me apart at auditions.

• Balance high paying jobs with fulfilling jobs
The highest paying jobs are rarely the most “artistically fulfilling” jobs.  I balance my paid and unpaid gigs so I can pay my bills but can also perform the cutting edge work.

• Attend practice auditions
I go to every audition that fits in the schedule because auditioning is a skill that cannot be developed in the classroom. 

• Invest in your technique
Even if I have to take on a second job (e.g. tutoring), I always make sure I have enough money to take ballet class daily to improve my technique.

• Prep for auditions
Before an audition I read the entire website, watch (and sometimes learn) the choreography on YouTube, talk to dancers who may have information about the job or the audition, take extra classes in the style and buy clothing to match the part. 

• Tell people how great they are
Whenever I see an impressive dancer or take an exceptional dance class I always make sure to approach the dancer or teacher after class and compliment their work.  I usually follow-up by friending them on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

• Pursue multiple careers
I continue to pursue a career outside of dance in grant writing and administration to relieve some of the anxiety that comes with identifying oneself as a professional dancer and to create a stream of income that is not dependent on my physical health or the volatile arts industry.   

How did your time at Duke build skills that you have been able to use as an arts entrepreneur?
I am incredibly thankful I spent my time at Duke developing skill sets outside of dance.  The research and writing skills have served me well in telecommute grant writing/administration positions and the Duke degree itself has helped me land tutoring and babysitting jobs.  However, the most valuable skill I learned at Duke is how to “hustle”.  Like many students, I spent my four years constantly looking for new opportunities including summer internships, different classes, various jobs, grant funding and extracurricular activities.   I am crafting my career in arts entrepreneurship in the same way I crafted my four years at Duke, by piecing together various streams of experiences and income. 

What advice do you have for students considering arts entrepreneurship and following their arts passions?
Develop multiple skills (both inside and outside the arts) while at Duke.  An artist’s life is a hodgepodge of jobs and the most sustainable arts careers are those that can balance these multiple responsibilities. 

Describe your life as a dance/arts entrepreneur in three words.
Creative, Flexible, Strategic


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