All her life, Katie Taylor ’19 was told to lower her expectations. After all, kids from Monticello, Arkansas, didn’t have a shot at places like Duke.
“Some people at my school told me I shouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t get into Duke. Once I was accepted, doubters told me I shouldn’t expect to do well. And once I got here, students told me I wouldn’t be able to be a math major. I’ve had a lot of people from start to finish tell me what I can’t do.”
But there was also a powerful Duke community cheering Katie on every step of the way, including financial aid donors who made it possible for her to matriculate. In her sophomore year, Katie — along with Idalis French ’19 — was named one of the inaugural Duke WIN Scholars . At the annual Scholarship & Fellowship Dinner this past fall, where she was the Karsh Undergraduate Student Speaker, Katie expressed her gratitude to the WIN community and to the many other donors who help young people like her pursue their dreams. “I worked hard, and did my very best given the circumstances I was given,” she said. “But remember that what you can and can’t do has an entirely new meaning when there’s money involved.”
Watch an excerpt from Katie’s heartfelt talk:
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