Karsh Scholar Ammara AqueelAmmara Aqeel

From: Faisalabad, Pakistan
Academics: Trinity ’19. English, Biology (specifically genetics)
Bio: “Hi, I’m Ammara! I come from Faisalabad, Pakistan and completed my high school from Roots Ivy. I have always found an immense fascination in fields as various and wide apart as Astronomy, Archaeology, Art and Literature, Chemistry and Biology. However, as I moved forward in my school life it was Biology that inspired an ever increasing passion and curiosity in me, particularly the field of genetics, becoming the path I see most clearly laid out ahead of me. Coming to Duke University has been a life changing experience, in the absolute sense of the expression. Aside from the explosive proportions by which not just my perspective but also my world has expanded, I have seen opportunities that were just beyond me before. I hope that I can make the most of the wonderful time I have left here and keep up all the hard work that brought me here in the first place.”


Karsh Scholar Joshua AzzaJoshua Azza

From: Pwani, Tanzania
Academics: Trinity ’19. Music and Biological Science.
Bio: “Hi there! I’m Joshua from Pwani, Tanzania. I studied at Feza Boys’ high school in Dar es Salaam. I have a great passion for biology and I’m looking forward to get involved in research programs here at Duke. I’ve been interested in music, playing the bass guitar from third grade. I got involved with middle eastern cultural music and worked for two years in a Turkish orchestra playing Turkish traditional instruments in Istanbul, Bucharest and Dusseldorf. I’m very excited to explore and develop new skills during my academic years here at Duke.”

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Matheus Ozorio Brum

From: Porto Alegre, Brazil
Academics: Trinity ’17. Economics and Political Science
Bio: “Oi! I come from Porto Alegre, Brazil, where I attended Colegio Militar de Porto Alegre. Before coming to Duke, I was the president of the Commission on Economics and Labor of the Youth Parliament of Brazil and of the International Relations Club. Besides Economics and Political Science, I intend to explore other areas such as Philosophy, Public Policy and Psychology. After graduation, I hope to use my Duke education to promote economic development in my country.”


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Trung Tran Thanh Can

From: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Academics: Trinity ’18. Mathematics
Bio:“My name is Trung and I am from Viet Nam. I have long found my passion in mathematics. During high school, I participated in many math competitions and eventually won a gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad. Thanks to pursuing math, I have met many good friends and talented, inspiring people. They really inspire me to move on. Now I am here! Having spent all my years in Viet Nam before, when I got accepted to Duke, I was more than happy and excited to explore a new world ahead. Through the knowledge and experiences I gain at Duke, I hope I can come up with something really great and different, contributing to the growth of science as well as helping my country to develop.”


Irina Cristali

From: Bucharest, Romania
Academics: Trinity ’19. Mathematics & Applied Mathematics
Bio:“A dedicated teacher from a small school in a typical neighborhood of Bucharest helped raising my curiosity and passion for mathematics, since the beginning of junior high. I have pursued this interest ever since, participated in numerous competitions, met outstanding professors and peers, shared it with others, travelled and made friends. Eventually I have grown to believe that I can relate my future profession with mathematics, which I intend to major in, and this is what proudly brought me to Duke. At a certain point of my journey, I became interested in applying mathematics to solve real world scientific, social, or business inquiries, in realms such as biology, health, economics, or finance. In order to explore such opportunities, I have joined the Focus “What If?” program, and I am considering a second major in statistics, economics, or biology. Wherever my Duke experience would lead me, I have made a promise to always encourage and support other girls to study math.”


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Michael Daou

From: Beirut, Lebanon
Academics: Pratt ’17. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Bio: “Hi all! I grew up around the suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon and graduated with a general sciences focus, which is the math and physics-based variant of the curriculum offered in our schools. I’m majoring in electrical engineering and computer science and will be pursuing a career in software engineering after graduating. I enjoy being involved in project-based initiatives, especially engineering ones, and have tailored my classes and activities at Duke to fit this. Among my interests are cooking politics, health, and design, the latter of which I intend to use in my career to eventually pursue a more product-centered role in the tech industry. Among so many other things, I think Duke has taught me how to engage intellectually with people of different backgrounds, whether it be for the purpose of working together or having a stimulating conversation, and I’m excited to take all that I’ve learned here out into the world!”


Suhiba Firuz

From: Chittagong, Bangladesh
Academics: Trinity ’19. Computer Science, Markets and Management Studies certificate, Innovation and Entrepreneurship certificate
Bio: “Hello there! My name is Suhiba (pronounced- “Su” like Sue, “hi” like the greeting, and “ba”) from the wonderfully welcoming city of Chittagong, Bangladesh. I did my O’ and A’ levels at Cider International School, and took a gap year afterward to work extensively in the education sector in my hometown. My interest in technology, business, and social entrepreneurship has led me to pursue a major in Computer Science as well as double certificates in ‘Markets and Management Studies’, and ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’, with occasional dabbling at ‘Medieval Renaissance History’ along with quite a few accounting classes. At Duke, I am involved as an Associate in the Community Consulting Club, an Officer in the International Association, and a Student Administrative Assistant at the Fuqua School of Business. Currently, I am also working on two potential social enterprises and am the treasurer of a social group on campus.

Duke has given me the opportunity to learn and grow in so many incredible ways! I might be slightly biased (I assure you, I have enough reason to) when I say that there is nowhere else I would rather be. Just imagine being inspired to contribute to the improvement of your country as you sit in a class taught by the very person who initiated a field, and feeling empowered enough to believe that you can indeed be the change. Imagine learning about Venetian history as you walk across Piazza San Marco with the beautiful gondolas wobbling gently on the Adriatic Sea. Imagine learning about genetics through Harry Potter! Amazing, isn’t it? Believe it or not, this is the Duke experience. In the future, I hope to take all these wonderful experiences and try to contribute to the economic and social development of my country, as well as the to make potential improvements education sector of Bangladesh.”


Kevin Fraser

From: Montreal, Canada
Academics: Pratt ’17. Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Finance minor
Bio: I was born and raised in beautiful Montreal, Canada. In terms of academics, my interest in science and business has led me to pursue a major in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Finance. I’ve loved swimming since the age of seven and have been a member of Duke’s varsity swim team throughout my undergraduate career. Duke has been been a challenging, yet incredibly fun and rewarding experience, and the opportunities afforded to students here are unparalleled. After graduation, I plan to spend the summer seeing the world before moving to New York City. Go Duke!


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Bochen Han

From: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Academics: Trinity ’17. International Relations, Economics
Bio: “Hello! I hail from a small city outside Toronto, and graduated from the IB Diploma program there. Though technically Canadian, I have deep roots in a small island province in China. I’m very interested in China’s global role in the 21st century, and hope to eventually develop this passion working in a think tank or government agency. I am passionate about philanthropy and environmental activism.  One of the most exciting experiences in my life was having lunch with Al Gore in Costa Rica. I can’t wait to immerse myself in all that Duke has to offer, and know that with Karsh, the opportunities are boundless.”


Malik Sikandar HanifMalik Muhammad Sikandar Hanif

From: Lahore, Pakistan
Academics: Trinity ’19. Physics and Mathematics
Bio: “Hello! My name is Sikandar (As in, my given name, despite what the complicated order of my names might make it seem like). I come from the historical wonderland of Lahore in the heart of Pakistan. I started out as an engineering major at Duke but decided on majoring in physics and math because of my love for ideas and the theoretical parts of the subjects. In high school, I was involved in many science competitions, both as a competitor and organizer, was engaged with The Planetary Society’s work and co-founded a widely distributed popular science magazine. While there’s no way to sum myself up in a nutshell, my hobbies outside of school include reading and writing fiction, teaching, listening to melodic death metal (no, that’s not an oxymoron) and working in the lab when I don’t have homework to do. I hope to continue on to graduate school and work in academia as a professor and perhaps inspire the same passion for physics in others that my own teachers sparked in me.”


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Louise Kendaru

From: Canterbury, England
Academics: Trinity ’18. Psychology
Bio: “I grew up in Canterbury where I graduated with the IB diploma. Before coming to Duke, I was Head Girl at my secondary school where I also led the debate team and founded the Gender Equality society. I love learning about the brain and human behaviour but also intend to explore public policy, theatre, and linguistics during the next four years. I chose Duke to challenge myself, not only through academics but by developing new skills, understanding different cultures and making an impact on the community, all of which the Karsh community fosters.”


Christine Kendi Kinyua

From: Nairobi, Kenya
Academics: Trinity ’19. Public Policy and Economics
Bio: “Jambo!! I come from Kenya’s capital Nairobi. I attended an all girls Catholic boarding high school in a school in Limuru, one of Kenya’s coldest towns. Before coming to Duke I took a gap year and worked with Equity Bank – the largest bank in East Africa, and with Equity Group Foundation on a youth mentorship program in a girl’s high school in the coastal region of Kenya. I also volunteered with a program focused on community education in marginalized primary schools and helped in teaching and mentoring the students.

While in high school I was head of several organizations, my favorite being St. John’s Ambulance which was geared towards first aid training and emergency health service support. I was also in the student government for three years.

I love cooking, especially anything with chicken and spices ☺. I can be called upon to listen to music, watch movies, dance and read a long convoluted novel in equal measure.

I hope to pursue public policy and Economics while at Duke in the hopes of pursuing law later on so that I can focus on socio-economic development in my country. Duke has thus far offered me a huge international exposure. Being here not only helps you think differently but forces you to raise your standards or at least look at things differently. I can’t wait to see how the next four years unfold.”


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Rubens Martins Bezerra Farias

From: Fortaleza, Brazil
Academics: Trinity ’18. Computer Science
Bio: “I am Rubens, from Brazil, currently studying a lot of Computer Science. Though I’m very passionate (arguably addicted, arguably too silly) about CompSci, I love how Duke gives us (more like “push” us) to take classes out of your comfort zone. This semester, for instance, I am taking Vikings literature and Photography! I also love Duke’s very gorgeous campus, and the diversity of people I got to meet and befriends. Karsh by itself holds more than a dozen nationalities at the time – it’s surprising how much you can learn from people from different places! I’m not completely sure what I am going to do after Duke, but I like to think of myself as a pragmatic person: I will apply to places and positions and then decide after.”


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Victoriia Vasilevna Nestrugina

From: Kamenka, Russia
Academics: ’18.




Matthew O’Boyle

From: Bangor, Northern Ireland
Academics: Trinity ’20. Computer Science
Bio: “Hi there! My name’s Matthew O’Boyle and I’m a Freshman from Northern Ireland. I have a huge passion for sports and music. I represented Northern Ireland for tennis throughout high school and I play clarinet, piano and saxophone. I’m hoping to major in Computer Science, but I’m unsure where I will end up after college. My time here has been incredible so far and I can’t wait to see what see what the next four years has in store!”


Maria Suhail

From: New Delhi, India
Academics: Trinity ’19. Economics & Mathematics
Bio: “I am from New Delhi, India where I attended Bluebells School International. I also lived in London for few years. I have always loved mathematics and hope that I can use my studies in economics and finance to bring about economic development back home in India and help give back to society. Before Duke, I was involved in public speaking including debating and Model United Nations. I also am very passionate about music and sports and would love to travel the world and discover new cultures! I am incredibly excited about what the next four years hold and know that my experience at Duke will help me grow exponentially!”


Henry Yuen

From: New Zealand
Academics: Pratt ’17. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Education minor
Bio: “Kia ora! I’m Henry Yuen from Auckland, New Zealand. I went to a fantastic all-boys high school called Auckland Grammar School, and now am finishing up with my time here at Duke. I’m a double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science, and my passion revolves around the intersection of education with technology. More recently I’ve been exploring how educators can reimagine virtual reality as a means of delivering experiential education experiences in the classroom to improve K-12 learning outcomes. I’m super excited to be working with Google this summer on exactly this! Over my time here, a fellow Karsh scholar, Laxmi Rajak, and I founded and expanded Karsh Mentorship Initiative, a program for Nepali high school students that runs leadership development camps as well as college access mentorship programs, which has been intensely rewarding! Around Duke, I’ve led the Tau Beta Pi chapter at Duke, the oldest American engineering honours’ society, as well as pursued various research opportunities working with rats and mice. Outside of that, I’ve been involved in leading a team to advocate for LGBTQ students back in New Zealand called Voicing Pride to highlight the struggles of LGBTQ high school students through storytelling, as well as volunteering on a crisis hotline. Karsh has opened up all kinds of doors for me, and I wouldn’t be where I am without it!”



Nguyen, Thu 001Thu Nguyen

From: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Academics: Trinity ’16. Chemistry, Pre-med
Bio: “All the way from Vietnam to America is indeed a long journey. Coming from Ho Chi Minh City – a lively, bustling and fast-growing gem of Vietnam, I spent my high school years in Singapore, where I devised a novel procedure to diagnose canine genetic diseases, organized numerous musical events in and out of school, and sang my heart out in the school choir. After four years, I decided to choose Duke University as my next destination due to its interdisciplinary liberal arts focus and the diverse student body. I am now serving as the Vice President of Duke’s International Association and the Sports Graphic Editor in The Chronicle, in addition to my work in VietAbroader – an organization striving to empower Vietnamese youth through education and professional programs.  With previous experience in education and the sciences, I hope to eventually pursue an MD/PhD degree and leave my legacy in academia as a professor. It is a long way down the road, but I will be there.”


Hoang, Lien 002Kim Lien Hoang

From: Hanoi, Vietnam
Academics: Class of ’16, Interested in Computer Science, Biology, Cultural Anthropology, Linguistics

Bio: “My unabashed love for grandmotherly hobbies have led me to working brief stints as an apprentice baker, food writer and crocheter for charity (among other positions). In high school I attained several national and international awards in Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry. A math student for pretty much all of my life, I came to Duke hoping to explore the terra incognita called humanities and social sciences. Duke has offered me just that and much, much more. Here I have unearthed a hitherto latent love for languages and cultures. Thanks to the exciting range of research going on at Duke, I’ve had hands-on experience in many areas of biomedical research, which I ultimately hope to go into. Academics aside, I am especially grateful for the wonderful people I have met and the eye-opening experiences I have had here at Duke. This summer, I was generously funded by the Karsh Scholarship to volunteer with Unite for Sight (UFS), in Ghana. UFS partners with local clinics to provide free eye screening and treatment to the poor in remote regions, based on a very effective model which I hope can be brought back to Vietnam. All of the above are wonderful experiences which I believe would be difficult to match elsewhere.”


Alex Milu

From: Bucharest, Romania
Bio: “My name is Alex Milu and I’m from Bucharest, Romania. I am currently studying Mathematics and Computer Science. I have been interested in Mathematics from an early age and this passion made me participate in math competitions, my most important result being a silver medal at the International Math Olympiad. I will probably go to graduate school in Math or Computer Science or go to work in the computer science industry.”


Kwai, Isabella 004Isabella Kwai

From: Australia
Academics: Class of ’16. Public Policy, English
Bio: “Success is when you’re doing what you love.” Following that mantra led me from Sydney, Australia to my sophomore year at Duke University. My name is Isabella (usually Bella) and I came to Duke to find exactly where my passions lie. Find them I did! I’ve recently decided to major in Public Policy and English, and love involving myself in Duke campus life. I’m the sophomore class president for Class 2016, compete in the Model United Nations, work with a mental illness prevention organization called Peer For You and am on the editorial staff for the Archive. Traveling, reading, writing and meeting new people are my favourite things to do in the world. In the future I want to intersect my passions for humanitarian work and writing in some way. I don’t know what or how yet, but each day’s an adventure and I can’t wait for what’s to come!”


Deza, Patricia 004Patricia Deza

From: Lima, Peru
Academics: Class of ’16

Bio: “I was born in Lima, Peru, where I went to a Peruvian British school called San Silvestre. I am really interested in international development issues and the different faces of economic inequality. Coming from Peru, a developing country, it is hard to be oblivious to these pressing problems. Back when I was in my Peruvian school, I got involved in the Model United Nations club, where I learned more about the different policies that were adopted to deal with some of the world’s biggest challenges. Even though at the moment I am undecided about my major, I know I will do something along the lines of Public Policy, Global Health or Economics.”


Karsh Scholar Junaid ArefeenJunaid Arefeen

From: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Academics: Trinity ’16. Economics, Computer Science.
Bio: “Hey there! My name is Junaid Arefeen, and I hail from the city of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. I have spent the majority of my life in Bangladesh, and completed my high school education at Greenherald International School. I have been interested in economics and finance from early on, and this was one of the primary reasons that I chose to come to Duke, given its world-class reputation in these disciplines. And from my experiences this past year, I can heartily claim that Duke’s reputation is more than justified. I would also like to explore the realm of computer science at Duke, and perhaps obtain a minor/major in the field as well. As for my ambitions in life, I am currently trying to decide between going into finance, or trying my hand at entrepreneurship and working with start-ups.”


Winnie Biwott

From: Luibabii, Kenya
Academics: Trinity ’15. Neuroscience, Environmental Science

Bio: “I was born in Luibabii village in Rift Valley Province in Kenya. I attended Msekekwa Primary School and later Sing’ore Girls Secondary School. I was the class representative in my junior year, secretary and chairperson of the Science and Mathematics club during my junior and senior year respectively. I led my class in high school during the final National examinations. Getting into Duke is one of my biggest achievements. I love stuff that deals with environmental issues and neuroscience. My dream is to gain enough knowledge at Duke that will enable me go back to my country and give back to my society.”


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Talal Javed Qadri

From: Hyderabad, Pakistan
Academics: Pratt ’15. Electrical and Computer Engineering; Economics
Bio: “I was born in Hyderabad, Pakistan, and lived in the city of Rawalpindi for most of my life. I studied in Beaconhouse School System for eight years and did my last two years of high school at the Roots School. My goal is to somehow increase educational opportunities for millions of Pakistani children who do not have acess to even primary level of education.”


Laxmi Rajak

From: Sanothimi, Nepal
Academics: Trinity ’15. International Comparative Studies, Mathematics
Bio: I attended high school at the Pestalozzi International Village, in the United Kingdom, where I conducted research on human trafficking of girls from Nepal to India. In 2010, I was recognized with the Best Dance and Best Student awards from my high school. I am a member of the first year library advisory board at Duke. My hobbies are dancing, singing, listening to music, reading novels, making new friends, making cards, and running. I will probably go to graduate school or law school, eventually seeking a career with the United Nations. Growing up in Nepal, I faced a lot of discrimination because I was from a lower caste. Hence, through the UN, I want to help eliminate the caste-based discrimination at least in the schools in my country.”


Maria Arias de Saavedra Benitez

From: Granada, Spain
Academics: Trinity ’14. Cultural Anthropology, Mathematics
Bio: “I was born and raised in Granada, Spain. When I was 16 I received a scholarship to study in the Mahindra United World College of India for my last two years of high school. From there, I applied to Duke, where I am currently a sophomore. Last summer I did the DukeEngage program in Argentina, and for the summer of 2012 I am excited to be able to use my Karsh scholarship do to research, hopefully in Brazil!” Maria graduated from Duke in the Spring of 2014.


Volodymyr Zavidovych

From: Kerch, Ukraine
Academics: Pratt ’14. Computer Science, Mathematics
Bio: “Volodymyr is here. I originate from the small town of Kerch located between two seas in Ukraine. After attending a public school for ten years, I moved to Kyiv for one year of university life. In 2009, a non-profit named USA/USA Program explained to me how to apply to American colleges. I was fortunate to get accepted to Duke, where I’m studying Computer Science and Mathematics. After graduation I hope to work in the high-tech industry and hopefully eventually move on to entrepreneurship and venture capital.” Volodymyr graduated from Duke in the Spring of 2014.



Joshua Foromera

From: Chivi Rural District, Zimbabwe
Academics: Trinity ’13. Biology
Bio: Joshua was born and raised in the Chivi rural district in Zimbabwe. He attended Chikofa Primary School and Arch Munaka Secondary School in his village before moving to Chiredzi where he did his advanced level studies at Hippo Valley High School. He was allowed to take science curriculum though his rural secondary school offered almost no sciences at all. Despite the challenge of starting science at a very late stage, he developed a keen interest in Biology and Chemistry. After finishing high school, he had a brief stint at the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences before he moved to South Africa. While in South Africa, he applied to Duke with the help of the United States Public Affairs office in Johannesburg. He spends a lot of time in the lab at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute doing HIV research.” Joshua graduated from Duke in the Spring of 2013.


Milkie Vu

Milkie Vu

From: Hanoi, Vietnam
Academics: Trinity ’13. History, Anthropology, French.
Bio: “Hello! My name is Milkie. I come from Hanoi, Vietnam, but I’ve also spent some parts of my life in Australia and various countries in Europe. My main hobbies include piano, photography, traveling, and writing. At Duke, I am a member of the Selective Living Group Language Dorm, as well as an officer of the Vietnamese Student Association. Academic-wise, after much exploring and sweating, I have decided to settle on a major in History, with two concentrations in Anthropology and French. My extracurricular activities, the classes I have taken, the study abroad programs I undertook, and the Duke experience in general has really advanced in me an intellectual passion for studying different cultures and history. I find in History and Anthropology a perfect complement – I inquire into history, into the past, in order to understand the present anthropology, and to predict to some extent future issues and trends. I also am very interested in taking some courses next year in the Education department, since I want to conduct an education project in Vietnam in Summer 2012. Upon graduation, I hope to be able to pursue a doctorate in History and Anthropology, with a concentration on Vietnam, France, and China. Eventually, my ideal career is to teach History and do research at a university.” Milkie graduated from Duke in the Spring of 2013.