June 2, 2012
I am once again happy to report that my time at Duke University has continued to be challenging, exciting, and full of personal growth. I used this semester to continue to explore possible areas of interest, including Chinese and Asian studies as well as Public Policy, both of which are potential majors. (I intend to complete a major in Chinese and am considering a second major in Public Policy, among others.) This semester I made the decision to over-enroll, adding a fifth class (beyond the full-time course load of four courses).
My three classes outside of Intermediate Chinese and Introductory Public Policy were a writing class that focused on issues surrounding unauthorized migration, an upper division French class called From Haiti to New Orleans, and an independent study. For my independent study, I researched judicial reform and IDP policy in post-earthquake Haiti in a collaborative project between Duke’s Law School and a humanities laboratory on campus called the Haiti Lab. My independent research brought me many unexpected opportunities, such as the chance to meet with the former Haitian Minister of Justice, Maitre Josue Pierre-Louis, and to present my research at an undergraduate research conference.
As I mentioned in my last semester update, I have an internship this summer in the Orleans Public Defenders Office in New Orleans, Louisiana. In fact, I am writing this update from my triplex in New Orleans where I began work two weeks ago. My courses last semester, especially my independent research on legal issues and my French course on New Orleans, are tying in beautifully with my internship here. I feel like that background information is really rounding out my experience here so far.
I’ve continued to have excellent experiences with faculty. I had meals with multiple professors last semester, including a home-prepared Creole/Cajun meal at my French professor’s house. Outside of class, I have continued to volunteer as a tutor in ESL, and for most of the semester I was also working at the Medical Center. I also got trained to work as an HIV tester and peer counselor through a student organization called Know Your Status, and volunteered weekly providing free HIV tests to students.
I’m currently in the process of deciding which classes to enroll in for next semester. I have so many great choices, from Public Policy, to entrepreneurship and Spanish linguistics. I continue to be impressed and excited by all the opportunities that Duke holds in store, and I know that I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.
Thank you again for your continued support,
January 5, 2013
Update From Emelyn Erickson (Scholarship Recipient 2011) After Second Semester At Duke
At the close of my third semester, I wanted to touch base again to tell you about another phenomenal semester at Duke. I mentioned in last semester's letter that I had an internship this summer at the Orleans Public Defenders Office. I worked at the Public Defenders for ten weeks this summer in New Orleans. It ended up being a very eye opening experience in regards to the state of the criminal justice system. As New Orleans continues to struggle to get back on its feet, it faces plenty of challenges in many sectors, not the least of which is providing its indigent with a quality public defense. It was exhilarating to be working in an office with people working so tirelessly toward a more just system in the face of such great challenges.
There were a couple of big ticket moments this semester. I declared my major a few months ago, or my two majors rather. I have one major in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (with a dual concentration in Chinese and Arabic) and a second major in Romance Studies (with a dual concentration in French and Spanish). The addition of Arabic is a new development. I just began studying this semester, and I've completely fallen in love with the language (as I did with the others). I declared a few months early so that I could start preparing for next year, which brings me to a second big decision I made this semester. I've begun preparations to study abroad both semesters next year, Morocco in the fall, and Cuba in the spring. I'm currently in Israel with one of my courses for this coming spring semester (which begins on the 9 January). The course is called Archaeology in the Holy Land: Religious and Political Issues. If you are interested, you can find our blog here: https://sites.duke.edu/hla2013/ . I should probably send this email along before my internet cuts out again. We're staying at a kibbutz in the Galilee and our connection is a little bit spotty.
As ever enormously grateful for your support,