This year’s fine crop of candidates for Young Trustee made endorsing only one difficult. Each had more than his or her share of experience, leadership skills and knowledge of the University. But after interviewing all three nominated candidates, as well as Brooke Kingsland, a write-in candidate, Duke Diya is proud to announce its support of Michelle Sohn as this year’s Young Trustee.
Michelle’s appreciation of diversity was what first set her apart: On the planes of both race and gender, Michelle has done real work to show that she is committed to improving the situation of underrepresented groups of people. As the representatives of Duke’s undergraduate South Asian student body, Diya was particularly attracted to her emphasis on cultural competency—including, for example, her campaign for gender-neutral housing and the house course she taught on Asians in America. Her experience on The Chronicle’s independent editorial board, Duke Student Government and the Board’s standing committee on undergraduate education afford her a broad understanding of the University’s dynamics as well as relationships with leaders at Duke’s highest levels. Finally, we were impressed by her confidence and willingness to take positions on difficult issues.
This is not to say, of course, that the rest of the candidates were anything less than remarkable. Matt Davis distinguished himself with his practical views on Duke’s strategic priorities, and his status as the only Pratt student nominated. We applaud Ben Getson’s vision of a Duke more wholly committed to service, interdisciplinarity and integrating students’ co-curricular interests with Duke’s academic structure. And Brooke Kingsland’s body of experience with the administration and the Board shows in her nuanced understanding of the role of the Young Trustee.
What made our decision, though, was our feeling that Michelle’s values and priorities align best with Diya’s mission. We wish all the candidates the best of luck in this year’s election and look forward to its results.
Co-President of External Affairs, Duke Diya