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Purpose Fellows Encourage Their Peers to Pursue their Summer Internships

On Thursday, October 18, the Kenan Purpose Program Summer Fellows hosted a symposium to share their experiences with other Duke students and to seed conversations about creating meaningful work post-Duke.  Sloan Talbot (Trinity ’19) shared her experience of working with Families Moving Forward, a transitional homeless shelter supporting families to break the cycle of generational poverty and find permanent homes.  As Sloan movingly reflected during the event “I feel like I’ve sort of come full circle, from experiencing homelessness as an adult to interning at a homeless shelter and working with that same age population.” David Frisch (Trinity ’20) shared his experiences working as a court advocate in Durham for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  Given the challenging caseloads the court had to deal with, David learned valuable lessons about the importance of mentally detaching from work once he returned home. For both Sloan and David, the intensive experience of direct service clarified that they were working on the correct issue, but perhaps not in the correct role. Both spoke to the frustration of only being able to triage the symptoms of systemic issues. Sloan now expects to apply to law school; David has a little more time to discern but is mulling a similar next step. Other Fellows pursued work as near as Durham (Cristian Santiago, Trinity Fall ‘18) or as far away as the eastern edge of Tibet ‘18 (Sangjie Zhaxi, Trinity ’20). Each Purpose Fellow emphasized how their internships connected their academic experiences to the careers in which they hope to make a difference once they graduate.  They emphatically recommended that other Duke students embrace similar challenges by applying for the Purpose Program.  For more detail about the summer experiences of Purpose Fellows, please explore their blog entries here.