Sinja Küppers, 1G

My StorySinja Kuppers

Entering my undergraduate at a public university, I felt lost and discouraged given the lack of information on how to master the course system and how to find opportunities. Seeing other students navigate the university space with ease, I became aware of being a first-generation/low income student. Being able to finance my studies has been a key concern. Along my academic pathway I started embracing grit, courage and passion for my field as traits that propelled me forward. Feeling welcome and finding your voice in an academic context can be a challenge. My best advice is to discover what fascinates you, look for supportive peers who encourage you to aim high and give yourself credit for every step forward after a setback. Founding a community of first-generation graduate students, Duke F1RSTS, lightened my doctoral life. Knowing how crucial mentorship and guidance are, I introduced in collaboration with Duke LIFE a mentorship matching for first-generation undergraduates and graduates at Duke!