Undergraduate Young Trustee finalist Kacia Anderson hopes to make use of her diverse academic interests and campus involvements in serving as a Young Trustee.
A sociology major and chemistry minor, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native is also a David M. Rubenstein Scholar and a QuestBridge Scholar. She spends much of her time with Duke University Union, where she serves as the executive vice president.
Anderson, a senior, started her involvement with DUU in 2018 on their Duke@Nite committee, which holds free weekly programs ranging from karaoke to trivia in The Devil’s Krafthouse. The committee accommodated hybrid events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All the programming we do is free and accessible. I'm a first-generation, low-income student, so having access to things that are fundamental to the Duke experience was really important to me,” Anderson said.
Anderson is also a mentor for Rubenstein Scholars and DukeLIFE students, a Duke Presidential Ambassador and was a resident assistant prior to the pandemic. Her experience as an RA helped push her to grow socially.
“I was definitely not as outgoing and sociable when I signed up to be an RA, but that was something where I felt like I could grow and learn more about people and have broader exposure to different perspectives,” Anderson said.
Anderson was also a student representative on the Board’s undergraduate education committee in the 2020-21 academic year and is currently a student representative on the Board’s strategic education committee. From these experiences, Anderson is familiar with the flow and pace of a board meeting and what materials she will be engaging with.
“[They’ve] primed me for my potential observer year as a trustee, to be able to really utilize that year to just observe and understand and figure out how to appropriately and more thoroughly incorporate the wishes of the different corners of campus and the University hospital system,” she said.
From being executive vice president of DUU to sitting on Board of Trustees committees, Anderson says all of her campus involvements center on building community around identities that are “close to home” for her.
“My parents and my family all immigrated from Jamaica. So I'm a first-generation American Black woman, presenting as a Black woman,” she said.
Anderson’s identities “mean a lot” in terms of holding student leadership positions at a predominantly white institution like Duke. She’s been able to navigate being an empathetic leader and has also learned to be firm and make tough decisions.
As a Young Trustee, Anderson plans to demonstrate her commitment to learning more about others in order to fulfill the role.
“How do we reach certain demographics in the student body that we aren't really reaching?” she said. “We have to learn more about that community. We have to reach out and foster those partnerships.”
Anderson also believes her academic breadth will help guide her decisions as a Young Trustee. She is on the pre-medical track and personally understands Duke’s pre-professional pathways. Her sociology major has also allowed her to have a “different critical eye” towards her classwork in the social sciences and humanities, she said.
“I think that's really shaped the types of questions that I ask and not being afraid to ask those grounding questions,” Anderson said.
Jenifer Hamil-Luker is assistant professor of the practice of sociology and faculty representative for Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honors society. She had Anderson as a student in her Research Methods class and selected Anderson to be a part of AKD.
“As a first-generation college student and daughter of Jamaican immigrants, [Anderson] listens to competing voices with compassion and poise,” Hamil-Luker wrote in an email to The Chronicle. “We need [Anderson’s] vision of civil society with an equitable distribution of resources and her skilled experience to move us in that direction.”
Senior Ana Rubi Trejo met Anderson in the summer of 2018 during the David M. Rubenstein Scholarship’s Bridge program. The two of them became fast friends and ended up taking many of the same classes because they were both Cardea Fellows on the pre-medical track.
Trejo described Anderson as “one of the most caring, analytical, and resourceful” people she knows.
“Whether I'm struggling with an organic chemistry problem or trying to figure out how to buy a car, [Anderson] is my go-to person,” Trejo wrote. “She will evaluate the entire situation and ultimately help me solve my problem.”
According to her, Anderson is very knowledgeable about the University and its institutions.
“I believe Kacia would be an amazing Young Trustee because she possesses the critical thinking and heart Duke needs to solve complex issues,” Trejo wrote.
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Katie Tan is a Trinity junior and managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.