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Chiaka Duruaku

3265

Bold Points

4x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

I am Chiaka Duruaku, a nineteen year old book lover always on the move to learn. I am New York City born-and-raised, alongside 5 siblings by my Nigerian and Trinidadian parents! Education, determination, and knowledge are highly valued in my family, so college was never a question. However, the road to university has far more uncertainty. My parents work under the NY Department of Education, and they don’t have many savings. From young, they showed me that knowledge was powerful. Passionate about the human condition, as well as how society works, I am interested in Neuroscience, social sciences, policy, and history. I also continue to Mandarin Chinese and am currently intermediate! Using my parents lessons, I harness my curiosity and reflectiveness as two of the most important ingredients there are to pursuing my sociological passions. That curiosity and reflectiveness— in addition to kindness, and heart —is “one key to life” as my grandma Grace tells my siblings and I. For a long time, I imagined growing up to be an independent and undoubtedly strong woman. However, I had never contemplated the endless hustle that would go into making those dreams come true. My interest in how society works contributes to my interests the pro-social. Due to my passions, I’m currently attending Williams College in Massachusetts. Williams fosters my creativity and tests my limits every day. However, being an Eph comes at a five-figure cost; I am unsure how long my parents can support me. I am working hard with the mission of receiving scholarships in my pursuit of higher education.

Education

Williams College

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • East Asian Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General
    • Sociology
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences
  • GPA:
    3.8

Nyc Ischool

High School
2018 - 2022
  • GPA:
    4

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Social Sciences, General
    • Psychology, General
    • Political Science and Government
    • Medicine
    • Marketing
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Civic & Social Organization

    • Dream career goals:

      Social scientist

    • Sophomore Intern of Public Programming

      Williams College Museum of Art
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Sound Operator

      Williams College
      2022 – Present2 years
    • Babysitter

      Private employer
      2019 – 20201 year
    • Day Camp Counselor

      ABC Food Tours
      2021 – 2021
    • Youth Educator

      Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) USA
      2019 – 20212 years

    Sports

    Soccer

    Club
    2008 – 20179 years

    Awards

    • Completance Award
    • Defense Award

    Basketball

    Intramural
    2015 – 20183 years

    Research

    • Sociology

      Williams College — Student Researcher
      2022 – 2022
    • Chemistry, General

      Research within my school — Research Scientist
      2020 – 2020

    Arts

    • Pratt Instiution

      Ceramics
      none
      2015 – 2015
    • The Brooklyn Museum of Arts

      Printmaking
      none
      2016 – 2016
    • New York City iSchool

      Photography
      2018 – 2018
    • Public School 295

      Acting
      The Princess King, McQuaddle: A Dragon's Tale
      2012 – 2013

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Oliver Scholars — Assistant Counselor
      2021 – 2021
    • Volunteering

      CHiPS Soup Kitchen — Food assembly worker
      2018 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      Oliver Scholar's Program — Holiday Caroler
      2020 – 2020

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Bold Great Books Scholarship
    My favorite book is "A Different Mirror: For Young People: A History of Multicultural America" by the late Ronald Takaki. The book has multiple subjects, but the stories are very similar in that they showcase diverse people and their submission and (more pointedly) their resilience against a seemingly stronger force which is white supremacy. Towards the end of the book, Takaki has the chapter labeled “We Will All Be Minorities". Takaki attempts to close the book by promoting racial and ethnic diversity as an inevitable but positive phenomenon-- something the United States is still coming to terms with. There will always be a The Atlantic article or an angrily written opinion piece, but to have an actual historically accurate and rather objective source of information that reinforces my knowledge and feelings as a Black, first-generation individual was great. It is well written and luminary, opening my young eyes to what was previously hidden behind the backdrop of daily life. There were many feelings that I, a daughter of immigrants, have always had, but "A Different Mirror" revealed the road which had been beaten for me to walk on. This book makes sure to be candid about policies and actions taken by some Americans to oppress others. In doing that, they do a few things: they give the right people responsibility, and also make sure to illuminate the vast ecosystem of cultures and ethnicities in the United States, and how they function today. "A Different Mirror for Young People: A History of Multicultural America" is an exploratory tip of the iceberg for anyone who wants to understand the United States through an ethnic and racial lens. It's limited by its 30-year-old age, but its ideas ring true to the hearts and minds of every American, regardless of their journey here.
    Bold Nature Matters Scholarship
    Mulberry trees proliferate in my neighborhood and have become a symbol of my relationship with where I hail from. Their beauty reflects the I began attending resource-rich schools beyond the bounds of Canarsie at the age of 4. This physical separation created a detachment between myself and my community. I began to view my neighborhood as simply where I slept at night and spent my weekends. With resentment, I commented on the distasteful nature of the mulberry trees, which let their red oblong fruits fall flat onto the roads and stain streets purple. However, circumstances brought on by the pandemic pushed me to move and shake the walls I set up against where I lived. As the months passed, I began to notice just some of the beauties and features of Canarsie's community: its trees varied in every shape, texture, and color, similar to the African and Caribbean diaspora present in my neighborhood; flowers seemingly sprung up from even the tightest concrete gaps; mourning doves cried beautifully on rainfall mornings; sand mixes with the Atlantic on the park's makeshift beach. I realized that it was revolutionary to protect the nature around me-- even if some of my neighborhood didn't. It was revolutionary to wish to mesh my identity with the only life forms that surrounded my timeline. I tried out for the community board but was rejected due to over-admission. However, I won't let that stop me. I continue to clean the sidewalks, notify the community board, and take long walks along the waterfront. And when I encounter those Mulberry trees, I will mimic my mother and pop a few into my mouth. Despite the stains they lay on my fingertips, they are decidedly sweet.
    Next Young Leaders Program Scholarship
    Winner
    For a long time, I felt that I was as important to the environment as a broken feather fallen from a bird in flight; I didn't believe that my small, light motions would truly change anything I came into contact with. My parents are African and Caribbean immigrants who were taught that children were to “be seen but not heard”, and I suppose they imposed this onto my siblings and myself. I didn't believe in my legitimacy and dignity as a young brown girl with wild ideas in a seemingly white, automatized world. I didn't believe that I could be a leader. However, I began to realize that, just like a feather in the wind, I could be a contributor in something life-changing. My influence, as I found, didn't necessarily have to be earth-shattering; if I could make one person’s life brighter, I was surely doing enough as a leader. When I joined the ABC Food Tours organization last summer, I discovered the true meaning of social justice and community engagement. I was impassioned by the idea of empowerment through education. If children could begin to understand the 'why' and 'how' behind their relationships with food, I thought, they would no longer quietly take what they were given. They would wake up to the possibilities around them. I met with food insecure middle school students, teaching them about nutrition, mental health, and food equity for nearly 80 hours. These children, mostly Black or Brown, felt joy, envy, insecurity, and despair, but had yet to have the words to describe how they felt in the world. Noticing this free falling in front of me, I used my desire to change the education system as fuel. The final day of my service with ABC Food Tours, virtual counselors like myself journeyed to 181 to visit the children there. I met children like Brohema and Kylie for the very first time. Of course, I had taught them for several weeks that summer. However, with the authentic conversations that we were able to have showed me the impact that I had made on them. They were happy to see us virtual counselors, who, when in person, were finally real to them. Everything that we taught them in the past weeks solidified. One girl lamented, "you guys should've been in person the whole time." This girl had a very difficult time staying still. I could tell that she was disillusioned by the pandemic, and found little joy in watching teenagers stare at her through a computer screen. However, she commented, she felt herself learning when we were with her one one one or joined her in-person. In other words, she thrived when her guides were able to tap into who she was and what she wanted from them. She thanked us for making her summer more interesting, and for listening to her. I didn't know that I could influence people the ways in which I evidently had. In that summer, I changed one classroom full of students-- and myself. I was a part of a bird in flight-- even if just for a little while. Because of this, I believe that being a leader is as much an internal journeys one which impacts others. Leaders shouldn't be known for their stoicism or hard demeanors; leaders should notice what gaps there are, and adjust themselves to fill them. I wasn't the kind of leader that I saw portrayed on television; yet I lead. Yet I made people better. I realized what kind of leader that I was.
    Community Service is Key Scholarship
    For a long time, I felt that I was as important to the environment as a broken feather fallen from a bird in flight; I didn't believe that my small, light motions would truly change anything I came into contact with. My parents are African and Caribbean immigrants who were taught that children were to “be seen but not heard”, and I suppose they imposed this onto my siblings and myself. I was over-accommodating and quiet. I didn't believe in my legitimacy and dignity as a young brown girl with wild ideas in a seemingly white, automatized world. However, I began to realize that, just like a feather in the wind, I could be a contributor in something life-changing. My influence, as I found, didn't necessarily have to be earth-shattering; if I could make one person’s life brighter, I was surely doing enough. When I joined the ABC Food Tours organization last summer, I discovered the true meaning of social justice and community engagement. I met with middle school students, teaching them about nutrition, mental health, and food equity for nearly 80 hours in total. These children, mostly Black or Brown, felt joy, envy, insecurity, and despair, but had yet to have the words to describe how they felt in the world. Noticing this free falling in front of me (a feeling that I was familiar with), I used my desire to change the education system as fuel. I met with them four times a week over Zoom. They were seated in MS 181 The Island School, while I made steadfast attempts to engage them from home. The fifth day of the week, I virtually assisted my old Oliver Scholars Program counselors in helping kids who went through the program like I had. The final day of my service with ABC Food Tours, virtual counselors like myself journeyed to 181 to visit the children there. We were joined by Matt James, who created the not-for-profit organization with his best friend Tyler Cameron because he found himself witnessing food insecurity in New York each day he went out. Though I found their days of treating kids out to lunch endearing, I was impassioned by the idea of empowerment through education. If children could begin to understand the 'why' and 'how' behind their relationships with food, I thought, they would no longer quietly take what they were given. They would wake up to the possibilities around them. That final day, I met children like Brohema and Kylie for the very first time. Of course, I had taught them for several weeks that summer. However, with the authentic conversations that we were able to have (in between bites of savory pizza or around group games we played at their school), showed me the impact that I had made on them. They were happy to see us virtual counselors, who were finally real to them. Everything that we taught them in the past weeks solidified. One child lamented, "you guys should've been in person the whole time." We were able to tap into who she was and what she wanted from us. She thanked us for making her summer more interesting, and for listening to her. I didn't know that I could influence people the ways in which I evidently had. In that summer, I changed one classroom full of students-- and myself. I was a part of a bird in flight-- even if just for a little while.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    As pictured, I am FINALLY showing two of my high-school friends my neighborhood. I have gone to schools outside of working-class Canarsie for over 12 years, as one of the few African-American girls present. This feeds into shame, inferiority and alienation, feelings which have chased and heckled me for years. However, this pandemic pushed me to find beauty in Canarsie’s diverse people and places. Canarsie Park became a wonderland, one I wished to share with others. I wondered what my friends would think, but decided that I was going to love of where I hail from, even if others didn’t.