Senior Amy Kramer’s Young Trustee campaign centers around giving back to Duke as a leader, listener and fighter, by helping “make our second home an even better place.”

Kramer—who is studying public policy and political science—emphasized that her broad range of activities on campus gives her a wider perspective of the University and the problems it must overcome. She is a Robertson Scholar and Schwarzman Scholar, as well as an Army ROTC cadet. As a member of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy Undergraduate Council, she has helped lead a research trip to Vietnam. That role also gave her experience interacting with high-ranking military officers and government officials, which she said gave her the confidence to speak up.

“My commitment to teams bigger than myself, my desire to find innovative solutions to intransigent problems and my passion for diversity and women’s empowerment make me uniquely qualified for the position of Young Trustee,” Kramer wrote in an email. 

Kramer is committed to women’s leadership, as reflected in her membership in the Duke Association for Business Oriented Women and her role as a cohort executive officer in the Penny Pilgram George Women’s Leadership Initiative. She noted that her most important accomplishments include helping write the new national diversity strategy for the U.S. Army Cadet Command and her senior thesis, which focuses on the importance of female leadership in Army ROTC in universities. 

The arts have also played an instrumental role during her time at Duke, Kramer noted, as she has played in the Duke Symphony Orchestra for four years and is a member of the Arts Theme House selective living group.

Kramer wrote that she believes Duke must confront three main challenges in order to rise above its peers—access and equity; diversity and inclusivity; and collaboration and innovation.

“This will only happen through continued support and investment in students beyond [Orientation Week], a commitment to diversity in students and faculty within an inclusive campus environment and a collaborative and innovative real-world education model that prepares students for the world outside Duke,” the email wrote. 

Specifically, she said she hopes that Duke will increase financial aid and access to affordable food on campus, as well as invest in academic assistance, emotional and disability resources and sexual assault survivor support.

She envisions Duke being more diverse in terms of socioeconomic status, female professors in male-dominated fields and minority representation, she wrote.

Kramer also hopes to see Duke’s curriculum become increasingly collaborative, with an emphasis on mentored experiences, a relationship with Durham and mutual respect to help better prepare students. 

Senior Caroline Hubble met Kramer as a first-year in Army ROTC and describes her as resilient and persistent.

“Amy is extraordinarily dedicated in all areas of her life. She always gives 150% to everything,” Hubble said. “She’s just a very kind person, she’s so caring about everybody, no matter what walk of life.”

Professor of Political Science Peter Feaver has taught Amy in multiple classes throughout her time at Duke. He characterized her as a delight in the classroom, tenacious and willing to go out on a limb to argue something. He recounts her trying to gain approval to do a research project in Afghanistan. 

“She didn’t take the initial no as the final word, she stuck with it, in the end she didn’t get to go [due to safety concerns], but I really admire her doggedness in pursuing that and that she wasn’t looking for something to be handed to her, she was going to work hard to make it happen,” Feaver said.

Feaver says Kramer is of the caliber of previous Young Trustees that he has interacted with. He said he believes she would make a great Young Trustee because she would be able to respectfully engage with the other board members—she would be able to challenge them, ask interesting questions and learn from them, but also contribute to the conversation.

“My time at Duke has been some of the best years of my life. I also recognize this has not been the reality for everyone,” Kramer wrote. “I want to be a Young Trustee because it’s time to give back and help others experience the same Duke that I have.”