Nicole Daniels '14

Coming into Duke, I knew I was interested in service, community organizing, and education systems. I decided to pursue a minor in Education because it seemed like as a great way to get to know Durham and think critically about social issues locally, nationally, and globally.  All of my Education courses have had service components where I have done things from working with students in afterschool programs to leading activities promoting financial literacy in a community center, high school, and Girl Scout troop.

This past semester I took a fantastic course with Professor Amy Anderson, “Critical Studies in Education,” themed around the school-to-prison pipeline.  We explored how racial stereotypes, high-stakes testing, and zero-tolerance policies push students out of schools and often into crime.  Some of our class’s texts included Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punnish, and Season Four of HBO’s The Wire.  We worked on an interview project with a community partner, Hidden Voices, where we helped collect and transcribe stories from various stakeholders in the education system.

Service-learning allows students to come together with other members of the community and combine everyone’s knowledge and experiences to work towards social change.  It offers both intellectual stimulation and personal connections.  I see service-learning courses as one of the best ways Duke students can embody our school’s motto, “Knowledge in the service of society.”

My experiences in service-learning lead to me co-teaching a house course sponsored by the Service-Learning Program called “Developing Leadership Through Community Service.”  I also got involved with LEAPS as a peer facilitator in Dr. David Malone’s “Educational Psychology” class.  LEAPS is a student organization which serves as a consultant to the Service-Learning Program and promotes community engagement on campus.  I am proud to serve as a co-president this year.

Outside of the department, I have also participated in the Duke Partnership for Service Executive Board, DukeEngage in Northern Ireland, Project Change, Alternative Fall and Spring Break programs, and DukeImmerse Uprooted/Rerouted.