Announcing the 20|20 Scholars

“It is one thing to say you want to do something and another to act on it,” said Allison Falls, a first-year student who said the work of the Black Lives Movement and the COVID-19 pandemic exposed long-established racial injustices that solidified her desire to work in the healthcare field. Falls is one of 16 first and second-year students selected for the 2020 Scholars Fellowship, a new year-long program sponsored by The Purpose Project at Duke that explores and engages the challenges of racial justice work that the events of 2020 have cast in such sharp relief.

Throughout the course of the year, the 16 scholars will participate in an 8-week intensive preparatory seminar series to gain foundational insights into the landscape of racial justice and into students’ location within that space; immerse themselves in a community-based project for racial justice through Duke Engage; and will participate in a fall course that builds upon and expands the spring and summer experiences to critically reimagine the future of work for racial justice.

“We are thrilled to launch this new fellowship and to work with students who are eager to think critically about race and its impact on the world in which we live,” said A.J. Walton, associate director of The Purpose Project, who co-directs the program with Ada Gregory, the associate director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics. “In engaging with each other and with practitioners and organizations doing racial justice work, we believe students’ sense of purpose and possibilities will deepen and, in that, will lead them to work towards a different kind of future, while at Duke and long after.”


Funded by a grant from The Duke Endowment, The Purpose Project at Duke is a multi-year, campus-wide initiative focused on integrating a focus on character, purpose, and vocation into undergraduate, graduate, and professional education. The initiative is hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics in collaboration with the Divinity School and the Office of Undergraduate Education.