Duke selects two Graduate/Professional Young Trustee finalists

A doctoral candidate and a recent graduate were selected as this year’s Young Trustee finalists. 

Young Trustees are current students or students who graduated in spring or summer 2023 selected to serve on the Board of Trustees for two or three years. The position was created to include “individuals closer to the experience of today’s Duke,” who can “think broadly” about the University.

Christopher Kilner, Graduate School ‘23, and Rickard Stureborg, a final-year doctoral candidate studying computer science, were selected as this year’s finalists. 

The Graduate/Professional Young Trustee finalists meeting, open to all graduate and professional students, will be held on March 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room in Rubenstein Library.

Kilner is currently a research scientist for Bird Conservancy of the Rockies and self-described “data visualization enthusiast.” During his doctoral studies, he worked in the lab of Assistant Professor of Biology Jean Philippe Gibert through the University Program in Ecology.

While at Duke, he served as the graduate/professional student representative to Academic Council, a Graduate and Professional Student Government vice president of student affairs. He was the chair of the Graduate/Professional Young Trustee Nominating Committee for the 2021-22 academic year and a member of the committee from 2020 to 2023. 

Kilner, who is from Rockville, Md., received his B.S. from the University of Scranton in 2016 as a triple major in biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology, environmental science and philosophy with a minor in political sciences, before earning his master of sciences in biodiversity and conservation from Trinity College Dublin as a Mitchell Scholar.

Stureborg, who grew up and has family in Stockholm, Jakarta and the U.S., has traveled around the world for his studies and work in high-subjectivity tasks in natural language processing and vaccine misinformation. 

At Duke, he serves as co-president of the Duke Advanced-degree Consulting Club and an active member of the Graduate and Professional Student Government who helped negotiate stipend raises for doctoral students as part of the 2022-23 Ph.D. Stipend Task Force. He was also a board member of the 2022-23 Graduate/Professional Young Trustee Nominating Committee.

Stureborg received his B.S. in computer engineering with a minor in mathematics from Northeastern University in 2020 and is also enrolled in a master of sciences in computer science at Duke. 

Young Trustee selection process

The nominating committee for the Young Trustee is selected by the secretary to the Board of Trustees and chief of staff to the Duke president, currently Margaret Epps. This practice started in 2021. 

Before their semi-finalist interviews, members of the Graduate/Professional Young Trustee Nominating Committee completed a conflict of interest disclosure survey, according to Epps. 

In prior Young Trustee election cycles, the YTNC membership was chosen by the University secretary and the DSG president. Any undergraduate student other than the DSG president was able to apply to be on the YTNC.

Both the undergraduate and graduate/professional Young Trustee selection process underwent very similar revisions in 2021 in order to “increase awareness and understanding of the Young Trustee position, enhance transparency to ensure fairness and inclusion, and align with best practices in board governance for private universities,” Epps told The Chronicle in 2021. 

The Chronicle previously broke down these changes and the details of the new selection process.


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Audrey Wang | Editor-in-Chief

Audrey Wang is a Trinity junior and editor-in-chief of The Chronicle's 119th volume.

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