Edwards is one of three undergraduate Young Trustee finalists. The other finalists are Max Schreiber and Wills Rooney.

Senior Jamal Edwards emphasizes his wide range of experiences at Duke and ideas for future directions In his campaign for undergraduate Young Trustee. 

Edwards is a Robertson scholar majoring in global health at Duke and journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a member of Dukes and Duchesses, a student ambassador group for the Office of the University President, the former president of Black Students Alliance and was one of 10 undergraduate students in the nation named a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow. Edwards hopes to use the position of Young Trustee to repay Duke for the opportunities it has provided him.

"So many of my peers and mentors have invested in me and I want to give it back and pay it forward by serving the University at large," Edwards wrote in an email Monday night. "I see the role as an opportunity to be a trusted steward of the University and after embedding myself in so many different communities on campus, I know I have what it takes to help make Duke’s best, better."

If elected Young Trustee, Edwards plans on using his knowledge of student life to inform decisions on diversity and inclusivity, sexual assault and gender-based violence and institutional advancement.

Allen Chan, executive director of the Robertson Scholars program, noted Edwards’ intellectual curiosity and his desire to understand others’ points of view.

“He does always seek out information. He’s not one to always act like or think that he knows everything,” Chan said. “He’s very good at informing a new perspective based on things that he learns from other folks.”

A native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Edwards noted that his experiences on campus set him apart from the other candidates and would bring a novel perspective to the Board of Trustees.

"The Young Trustee is charged with the ability to think broadly about the University, and I have demonstrated that ability through my work with senior administration, extensive boardroom experiences and nationally-recognized initiatives," Edwards wrote.

Edwards referenced his tenure as BSA president during the 2014-15 academic year as an example of his dedication to Duke. Additionally, Edwards wrote that his other experiences on campus, from being a residence assistant to a member of the club rowing team, have created a perspective that is relevant to many communities on campus.    

Senior Kristin Miller, president of Dukes and Duchesses, said that Edwards’ experience as a student ambassador gives him a deep understanding of, and appreciation for, Duke’s history and a vision for the future.

“Jamal’s not afraid to speak up and speak his mind, but he does it in a way that’s not aggressive or too forward,” Miller said. “He’s very involved on campus and has a good pulse on a lot of facets of Duke today.”