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GPSC elects Kelly Tang as graduate Young Trustee

Kelly Tang
Kelly Tang

Kelly Tang will serve as the next graduate Young Trustee with hopes to represent an authentic Duke experience through promoting affordability, wellness and inclusivity.

The Graduate and Professional Student Council’s General Assembly elected Tang to the position at its Tuesday night meeting. She will be an observer for the first year of her term on the Board of Trustees and then will serve as a voting member for her second year.

The three finalists—Tang, Travis Dauwalter and Ashlie Tyler—gave final presentations to GPSC, whose members then voted among the three. 

"When I was preparing for this presentation, I just really thought about being authentic, and I’m really glad that connected and resonated with people and I really hope I can bring that to the Board of Trustees," Tang told The Chronicle after the election. 

Tang, sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in art history, focused on four main goals that she wished to work toward as graduate Young Trustee: affordability, mental wellness and health, mentorship and professional development, and a diverse and inclusive community. 

In preparing these four key points, Tang met with graduate and professional students from across departments and asked them to identify specific problems or issues they faced.

“Simply put, I want to serve the University. I want to represent the broad experiences of graduate and professional students in a way that is true to those experiences,” Tang said to the assembly.

The San Diego, Calif., native has dedicated much of her time to Duke. She lived on campus in Duke housing for five years, with four of those years as a graduate resident. During that time, she spent three years as the president and founder of the Graduate Women’s Wellness and Self-Care student organization. 

“I have been at Duke for six years, this has been my home the entire time. And I'm ready to listen, I think I can show up for us in a room that's full of really scary and intimidating people,” Tang said.

Her presentation to the Student Council began with colorful, hand-drawn slides.

“I chose to write and scan my slides, just because I really wanted a theme that showed that I'm authentic,” Tang explained.

Tang added that the questions asked during the presentation were “really thoughtful,” specifically the ones regarding affordability and mentorship. “Those are definitely things I’ll be keeping an eye out for when I’m sitting in the room,” Tang said.

The three finalists were picked from 28 applications, a slight increase from the 27 received last year. The school which provided the most candidates was the Fuqua School of Business, with 10 applications.

The other two finalists—Dauwalter, third-year joint Ph.D. candidate in public policy and economics, and Tyler, second-year Fuqua Daytime MBA student—also presented their platforms at the meeting.

In her presentation, Tyler discussed diversity, technological advancement and the breaking down of barriers between programs, while Dauwalter emphasized top-down cultural change at Duke surrounding mental health, lifelong learning and the connection to Durham.

This week will also reveal the undergraduate Young Trustee, chosen by the undergraduate student body in a popular election that began Tuesday at noon and endedWednesday at noon.


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