Meet the WIN Scholars: Duke’s Next Generation of Women Leaders

Congratulations to our Duke WIN Scholars! These young women are selected by Duke’s Financial Aid Office with an eye toward selecting young women who demonstrate leadership qualities that can be further encouraged and cultivated through contact with the WIN community.

Join us in growing the WIN Scholarship Endowment to support Duke’s next generation of women leaders by making a secure gift.

Sofia Bottinelli ’23 is from Denver and is a Program II student studying Immigration and Child Development. This summer she is working as an intern with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), providing resources to immigrants in the Aurora Contract Detention Center and helping them obtain free legal representation. Last summer, Sofia worked for the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration. As a staffer on the Detention and Legal Orientation Program Information Line, she worked with immigrants detained throughout the US by helping to provide legal support/resources and elevate complaints about conditions in detention. She plans to attend law school and dedicate her career to the ongoing fights for human rights and social justice.

At Duke, Sofia is President of The Girls’ Club, a mentorship program between middle school girls in Durham and Duke undergraduate womxn. She is also a Co-President of the Duke Global Education Student Committee, which promotes study away opportunities and helps students understand how they can fit studying away into their college experiences. She enjoys skating with the Duke Club Figure Skating Team and is also a teaching assistant in the Department of Mathematics. In Spring 2021, Sofia joined the inaugural cohort of Duke Social Impact Fellows. This summer she is working as an intern with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), providing resources to immigrants in the Aurora Contract Detention Center and helping them obtain free legal representation.

Jenna White is a senior from Suwanee, Georgia. She plans to graduate with a double major in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Computer Engineering in 2023. She currently serves as the Student Director of the SPIRE Fellows, an academic support group and Living Learning Community offering tutoring and mentorship opportunities for minority STEM students. Her other extracurricular activities during the school year include mentoring and teaching girls in elementary and middle school as a member of FEMMES, connecting with other women interested in technology as a member of DTech, and connecting socially with other wonderful women and non-binary people as a member of Illyria. During the first half of this past summer, she participated in Duke’s Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Fellowship, in which she learned strategies on how to become a better scientist and became involved in engineering medical devices through working with the Tadross lab, which she will continue to be a member of this fall. During this upcoming summer, she will work as a verification engineering intern at Schneider Electric as a member of the DTech Scholars. She is passionate about learning to use engineering techniques to save lives and inspiring other young women to also pursue their passions in STEM. In her free time, she enjoys going to the gym, trying new foods, watching movies with friends, and going on hikes. She is honored and excited to be a member of the WIN community.

Rebecca Melaku

Rebecca Melaku ’22 from Indian Trail, NC is double majoring in Biology and Global Health with a Chemistry minor. At Duke, Rebecca works at the TWP Writing Studio where she has consulted with more than 150 writers from various academic disciplines and language backgrounds at the undergraduate and graduate level. Rebecca has a passion for cross-cultural engagement at the intersection of science education and youth empowerment. As a Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology (BOOST) Science Coach, Rebecca mentors Durham youth interested in STEM through virtual science experiments, field trips, and workshops with professionals in the fields. In Summer 2021, Rebecca completed a virtual DukeEngage internship with WISER School for Girls in Kenya where she co-developed sexual & reproductive health content and facilitated English Club meetings to prepare students for national exams.

Rebecca is currently interning with Nivi, Inc., a health tech startup where she develops accessible digital health content to empower users in India, Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria with actionable information and connect them with local health systems. Her experiences as a Bass Connections Researcher, Global Engagement Fellow, and Reimagine Medicine Fellow have also shaped her path towards a career in medicine and global health research. Rebecca looks forward to advancing women and children’s health at home and abroad, particularly in East Africa where her parents are originally from. Following graduation, Rebecca will spend the summer in Muhuru Bay, Kenya working as a site-coordinator for DukeEngage Kenya-WISER.

Cheyenne Quijano

Cheyenne Quijano is from Paramus, New Jersey, and is majoring in Economics and minoring in mathematics. She will be working as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington D.C. after graduation. Cheyenne is planning to pursue a Ph.D. in economics after her post-bacc. She is currently working as a research assistant in two labs within the Duke Economics Department: the Environmental Justice Lab under Dr. Christopher Timmins and the McElroy Labor Lab under Dr. Marjorie McElroy. In the Environmental Justice Lab, she contributed to a study of discrimination in the online real estate industry in the United Kingdom by building a web-scraping bot. In the McElroy Labor Lab, she is co-authoring a paper identifying the limitations of the income pooling hypothesis. Last semester, she worked under Dr. Erica Field and Dr. Erik Wibbels in the DevLab to explore the relationship between illicit financial flows and personal protective equipment procurement.

Jamiee Elizabeth Williams ’21 is a rising first-generation senior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering. She will serve as the Vice-President of Duke’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in this coming year, in hopes of increasing the academic and professional readiness of the Black engineers on campus. While doing that, she also hopes to create more initiatives for building networks with company partners and establishing cultural awareness of the experiences of Black STEM students and professionals on campus. Jamiee is also a NAE Grand Challenge Scholar and plans to begin her own personal research exploring the intersectionality of urban planning and social justice. In the future, Jamiee plans to pursue graduate school with the goal of becoming a professional engineer and/or a college professor.

Sweta Kafle ’21 is a David M. Rubenstein Scholar pursuing a degree in Global Health and Biology. This summer, she is home in Michigan and working with the Duke Global Health Institute to virtually conduct research on physical and mental health outcomes for orphaned and separated children in New Delhi, India. She is also spending her time remotely conducting research on sickle cell pathology at Duke’s Hematology Department in the Rahima Zennadi lab. During the school year, Sweta serves as the Events Chair for the Duke Red Cross and delivers disaster relief education to the greater Durham community. She volunteers at the Emergency Department at the Duke Regional Hospital, and hopes to attend medical school in the future. Sweta eventually wants to work with communities around the Himalayan mountains to provide health care to remote populations.

Treniyyah Anderson ’20 is spending a post-graduation gap year in Washington, D.C., before applying to graduate programs in nursing. A first-generation college student from Philadelphia, Treniyyah earned her bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and global health while completing prerequisites for an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing degree. Outside of the classroom, was an assistant researcher at the Lenox Baker Children’s Hospital, served as a podcast host for Unapologetic Black Radio and was co-president for the Global Education Student Committee.

Lilliana Bianca Reyes Gaspar ’20 is a first-generation college student from Austin, Texas, who earned her bachelor’s degree in public policy. While at Duke, she was a photographer for The Chronicle and tutored 5th graders through Partners for Success. As a member of Define American, an organization that seeks to shift the conversation about immigrants, identity and citizens in the Duke/Durham community, Lilliana helped co-produce a video for their “Undocumented Awareness Week” on campus. In addition, she helped co-found Duke Jewels Inc. with the purpose of partnering with a local Durham middle school, Rogers-Herr, to empower middle school girls of color through mentorship. She will begin working with Accenture in Charlotte this November, and plans to work a few years before returning to graduate school to earn her master’s and Ph.D. degrees.

Idalis French ’19 is pursuing a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was awarded a graduate fellowship and teaching assistantship. At Duke, Idalis volunteered with mentorship program between Duke undergraduate women and middle-school girls in the Durham community. She also worked at the Office of Access and Outreach and the Kenan Institute for Ethics. In her senior year, Idalis was awarded the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, which recognizes a graduating senior for qualities of selflessness, service, nobility of character, integrity, and depth of spirituality.

Katie Taylor ’19 is pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics with an education research focus at the University of Alabama as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, where she has also been awarded the Graduate Council Fellowship and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarship. At Duke, Katie worked with the Academic Resource Center and served as a Peer Advisor through the Academic Advising Center. Katie was also a first-generation mentor through the office of Access and Outreach and a Women in Math Mentor through the Duke mathematics department. She has been inducted into Duke’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.