Average to Privileged

I have always considered myself to be an average kid. From my academics to my involvement in my town’s community, I never thought what I did was that special.. I never believed that my comments in class were extremely insightful. I never felt like I was bringing the greatest change that I could.

When I received the email for the Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship, I scrolled passed the email. At the time, I believed there was nothing remarkable about me that would make my dream school offer any type of scholarship to me. In my eyes, my acceptance through the early decision process seemed remarkable enough. When I saw my mom tear up because her “life long dream to see both of her sons get into a good college” had come true, I could not have been more content.

I read over the email for BN and thought that there had to be some mix up in the selection process. Because the BN program would have offered me the ability to make more of an impact and difference in my new community, I had an ambivalent feeling about the program. I was eager to join the tightly knit circle of friends and take advantage of the countless opportunities for involvement. However, I was nervous about my “average” self having to gain a spot in the program when there are such exceptional scholars.

Now, as a member of the BN family, I truly have been privileged to enter a group that will always support us in our endeavor to bring benevolence. If a scholar needs help serving food at a shelter, a swarm of BN’s comes ready to dedicate their time. When there are issues in Durham that we cannot bare to stand, we will talk for hours about ways to resolve the crisis.

Furthermore, being with such a committed yet humanitarian group of friends has truly been a privilege. The BN family will always sacrifice time from its busy days to give us advice. The family will always have a pool of inside jokes and fill a room with laughter within minutes. Whether it’s my love for cricket or my eagerness to enter medicine, the BN community has found a way to not only make me better but also fuel my yearning to make an impact.

The BN community has made me realize how valuable the work I did for my community was and how important these developed skills would be towards my future projects. When I accepted the scholarship, I knew that the family of devoted scholars and the great deal of service opportunities would foster my desire to aid. However, I would never have believed how impacting the BN community could be until I actually was within it.




Academic interests: Intended majors are Global Health and Biology. I am also pre-med.

Extracurricular activities: I am an active member of Duke’s Relay for Life organization. Also, I am a fast bowler for Duke Universities Cricket Club. Through the program Remedy, I help in packaging left over supplies from the Duke hospital for countries in need of medical resources. Furthermore, I tutor local Durham high school students through Partners for Youth Program. I am currently researching in Dr. Dzau’s lab; my research pertains to analyzing the proliferation of cardiomyocytes through the protein HASF.


Choosing to come to Duke and be a B.N. Duke Scholar had everything to do with choosing the corner where the people would support us the most zealously, where we could explode in pursuit of our passions, and where opportunities were not scarce. Stesha Doku Charlotte, NC

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