Though students do not elect the undergraduate young trustee anymore, they will have a chance to participate in the selection process after a virtual meeting Thursday evening.
The meeting, held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, will give students a chance to hear from current young trustees about the position and from the four finalists about their interest in the role, and finalists will answer student questions. Students who attend the meeting or watch a recording can provide feedback on the finalists through a survey.
The nominating committee will take survey results into account during their final deliberations, before making an official recommendation to President Vincent Price.
Students can register for the meeting and submit questions at this link. A recording will be available until 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 31.
In advance of the meeting, here’s a brief introduction to the four finalists.
Junior Kacia Anderson is a sociology major from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She has been a resident assistant, as well as a mentor for DukeLIFE and the David M. Rubenstein scholars. Anderson is a student representative on the Board of Trustees Undergraduate Education committee and has been elected the 2021-22 executive vice president for the Duke University Union.
“Much of my college experiences have been shaped by the various relationships and community that I found—even those that I’ve least expected. I’m all the better for these interactions,” Anderson wrote in an email. “They keep me grounded in my work and allow me to think critically and find joy in all aspects of life.”
If appointed young trustee, Anderson hopes to spend her final year at Duke interacting with the student body and “pursue a redefined trajectory and make strides in the landscape of higher education.”
“I’ve come to realize how the experiences of students can provide perspective on how the issues in higher education play out on college campuses and influence college applicants which impacts the decisions the Board makes,” she wrote.
Senior Spencer Kaplan is a public policy and political science major from New York. He has been involved in a variety of research projects, from policy and law to engineering, and is active in Duke Students for Housing Reform and the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy.
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These diverse experiences, he said, are what will help him “think strategically” should he become young trustee.
“I want to be the Young Trustee because, although I acknowledge there is always more to learn, I’ve gained a broad range of perspectives by listening to my peers through my experiences at Duke—which includes everything from working in an engineering lab to co-founding a movement for more equitable housing—that I can contribute to strategic, Board-level discussions,” Kaplan wrote.
Kaplan described one of his proudest accomplishments at Duke as leading diversity and inclusion initiatives in AGS.
“Having noticed that our program was contributing to, rather than mitigating, the lack of diversity in the national security workforce, I convened an intergenerational working group to try to understand and improve the situation on campus,” he wrote in an email. “As a result of the working group’s reforms and the tireless work of many AGS members, we just accepted our first majority-female first-year class with significant overall minority representation.”
Senior Nicholas Chrapliwy is a neuroscience major from Eden, N.C. He is an opinion managing editor for The Chronicle, has been a resident assistant and worked with various research groups across his Duke career, and currently works with the Centennial Strategic Task Force.
The latter involvement, he said, is one of his “most fulfilling engagements” at Duke.
“The specifics of the work I’ve done I’m not free to share before the Board chooses to publish them, but it is work I’m incredibly proud of because it challenges Duke to become the kind of institution I know it can be; one which doesn’t shy away from the hard work of addressing history, and one which uplifts the agents of justice and peace that have passed through its ranks,” Chrapliwy wrote in an email.
As young trustee, Chrapliwy hopes to communicate the diverse experiences of Duke students to the board and “leverage the privileges [he possesses] to advocate for the perspectives that often go underrepresented on the board.”
“As a lifelong North Carolinian, I am intimately familiar with the region Duke calls home and with the local context that defines Duke’s history and growth, and which will define its future,” he wrote. “As someone who works closely with board members on a task force, I am specially aware of how the young person’s perspective is essential to their work and must be articulated thoughtfully without alienating any members who might be wary of the ambitious changes young people want to see from Duke.”
Senior Doha Ali is an economics and sociology major from Denver. She has served as a resident assistant, an executive board member of the Center for Race Relations and a group member of the Duke Prison Education Program.
Ali wrote in an email that her Duke experience has made it clear “the opportunity, promise, and zeal for improvement that the Duke has to offer its community.”
“My desire to be Young Trustee comes from the hope that I can utilize my insights to contribute to the creation of a strategic plan that will seek to preserve, reshape when necessary, and achieve the institution's mission and values to best serve all of Duke’s stakeholders,” she wrote.
Ali noted the historic importance of this year’s young trustee appointee, as their term will be during the last three years of Duke’s first century with its current name.
“I see my role as tying together what we have achieved in the past 100 years and leaving the board with a strategic vision for the next 100 years that is rooted in the idea of Duke being more accessible and inclusive for all its stakeholders,” Ali wrote.
A chance for students to chime in
All finalists encouraged students to come to the town hall event to engage in the selection and appointment process.
“This town hall is for students to engage with the nominees, give feedback on whom they perceive to be the best candidate, and to let their perspective inform the decision of the nominating committee,” Chrapliwy wrote.
Kaplan echoed similar sentiments, adding that the purpose of the event is to shed light on the otherwise opaque workings of the Young Trustee and the Board of Trustees.
“If you’ve ever wondered what sorts of issues the Board of Trustees handles, or you’re even just interested in hearing about the future of higher education, the forum will be a great way to learn,” he wrote.
Matthew Griffin contributed reporting.