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Doha Ali and Gerardo Párraga chosen as Young Trustee nominees

Board of Trustees to take up nominations in May

<p>Senior Doha Ali (left) was chosen by a nominating committee and President Vincent Price as the next undergraduate Young Trustee, and third-year law student Gerardo Párraga (right) was chosen as graduate Young Trustee.</p>

Senior Doha Ali (left) was chosen by a nominating committee and President Vincent Price as the next undergraduate Young Trustee, and third-year law student Gerardo Párraga (right) was chosen as graduate Young Trustee.

Senior Doha Ali and third-year law student Gerardo Párraga were chosen by nominating committees and President Vincent Price as Duke’s next undergraduate and graduate Young Trustees, respectively, wrote Margaret Epps, secretary to the Board of Trustees and Price’s chief of staff, in a Wednesday email to The Chronicle.

The Board of Trustees will consider their nominations May 7, Epps wrote. The two Young Trustees will not officially take their positions until they are confirmed by the Board. 

Ali is a member of the Center for Race Relations, a disciplinary advisor for the Office of Student Conduct and a resident assistant, according to her Board of Trustees biography. She is a volunteer with Student U and the Durham Community Land Trustees, and she is studying economics and sociology.

“I am honored to be appointed as Young Trustee and to have the unparalleled opportunity to do the actual job of pushing the University forward," she wrote in an email. "My desire, truly, is rooted in realism and dreams, and the notion that dreams and sacrifices can change material realities, I am certain that I can work within the space of the boardroom to ascertain the progress this university has already made, but also push it to do more.”

Ali said at a town hall last month that her identities as a Black, Muslim woman, along with her experience helping residents and other students, inform her leadership style as a “shadow leader.”

“Being able to deal with my own trials and tribulations and help other students overcome theirs has provided me with a unique perspective that I hope to bring onto the board in terms of how do we take all the problems that we have on this campus, and think about what we need to create solutions that are dynamic,” she said.

Párraga is an executive member of the Latin American Law Student Association and an original member of the Low-Income/First Generation Engagement Committee. He also represents victims of domestic violence and eviction diversion with Durham’s Civil Justice Clinic. He is a member of the Duke Student Alumni Board and the Next Generation Living and Learning Committee, as well as membership editor of the Duke Law journal. 

He graduated from Duke as an undergraduate in 2018 with a major in political science and a minor in economics.

"After seven years of being a Duke student, I am honored and humbled to serve the University in the Board setting. Durham is my home and I cannot wait to continue to push the University to improve and grow," Párraga wrote in a message.

Young Trustees spend two- or three-year terms on the Board of Trustees. They spend a year as nonvoting observers and then are voting members for the rest of their terms. 

Editor's note: This article was updated at 6:49 p.m. Wednesday with quotes from Ali and Párraga.

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