The morning of the 2017 Grand Recognition Ceremony, Duke TIP’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners sat down with two groups of current TIPsters for a roundtable chat. The result is pretty special — multiple generations of TIPsters talking about everything from combatting procrastination and nervousness to attending Duke TIP’s Summer Studies Program.
Dr. Ian Clark was recognized for his exceptional leadership in developing new landing technologies for future space exploration. Dr. Kiran Musunuru was recognized for his outstanding achievements in genetic research. Dr. Alison Stuebe was recognized for her significant contributions to the field of maternal-fetal medicine. A special thank you and big congratulations to our TIPsters: Aadi, Jonathan, Sarah, Shriya, Steven, Tushar, and Will.
Watch the full video above, and read some of our Distinguished Alumni’s most salient advice below:
It’s both exciting and terrifying that you may never know exactly what you want to be when you grow up. You’re going to be what you are right now, and then you’re going to figure out what you want to be next, and then see where it goes from there. … Stuff happens. You miss something if you’re going in a straight line without looking. … The things that aren’t necessarily right along the path can be really important and interesting. … Doing it faster doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better when you get there, so make sure you’re enjoying the journey. —Dr. Stuebe, on choosing one’s path in life
I had trouble with public speaking early on. What you find is that you get pushed into situations, and you just have to suck it up and just do it. The first time is really hard. The second time gets a little bit easier. And then the third time you start to feel more comfortable with it. … Once you’ve gotten to that comfort level, then you realize that you can actually have fun with it. —Dr. Musunuru, on combatting nerves
I was always a fan of astronomy. I remember my dad would take a small telescope and point it up at the moon, and we’d stare at craters — even with binoculars. For the longest time I thought I was just going to go into astronomy. … But it wasn’t until I read an article in Scientific American about propulsion – different propulsion techniques for how humans would travel to the nearest stars — that there are things outside of just staring at stars with telescopes, that there was an engineering aspect. … It was in high school — actually, my junior year — that a friend of mine, who was a senior, was applying for an aerospace engineering program. I had no such idea that the thing existed. So when I heard I could do engineering and still have it be focused in the space area, I immediately knew: Yep, that’s where I’m going. —Dr. Clark, on choosing a career
When I first met Dr. Sawyer, who was the first executive director of TIP, I was totally into math, and totally into science. He said, You should take writing. You should take something you aren’t already sure you’re really good at, because you want to stretch yourself and learn something different, not skip another year of math. —Dr. Stuebe, on trying new things
This was really my first opportunity where I was surrounded by peers who were very much like me — very smart, and not ashamed of being smart. And I think having those interactions with people like that made us all feel better about being talented and having very lofty goals. —Dr. Musunuru, on attending Duke TIP’s Summer Studies Program
It was really important to know what it was to have something not come easy. I really wanted to play volleyball. I was tall, but I was not terribly coordinated. So I would go to the gym at recess and before school, and practice serving and practice playing. I went to a volleyball camp, where I got my butt kicked. But it felt good to me to feel like I had earned something, because there was a part of me that felt like it wasn’t fair that school was so easy for me. … It was important to me to know what it was to struggle with something. —Dr. Stuebe, on playing volleyball in high school