Alumni Profiles

Serena Lim-Strutt

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Hamilton, New Zealand
High School: St. Paul’s Collegiate

I am intensely curious about how people interact to achieve positive social outcomes. Studying the human brain and how this, in turn, affects transactional relationships that influence social entrepreneurship will hopefully provide a foundation for me to help others as effectively as possible. In my last year of high school, I initiated a new service program that brought together well-off teenagers with less fortunate children to form bonds of friendship and mentoring. This opened all of our eyes to the similarities and dreams we share, despite being endowed with different opportunities. In recognition of the success of this initiative, I was presented a Youth of the Year Award from the New Zealand Government. Since leaving school, I have expanded my horizons internationally and become involved in outreach programs in Africa and Cambodia. In Africa the focus of my interest is on building affordable houses, equipped with solar power, in some of the poorest regions. While in Cambodia, I became involved in landmine removal initiatives, including supporting the development of a museum that focuses on supporting victims of landmines, along with future demining efforts.

I believe that challenges and taking risks can fuel life-changing experiences. I love anything that makes my adrenaline rush and the most profoundly rewarding moments in my life have come from pushing myself well out of my comfort zone. I have a passion for sport and have spent recent summers working as a surf lifeguard. I also love stimulating conversations, particularly learning from the diverse lives and experiences of others.

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

Every aspect of the program appeals to me! While reading biographies from past scholars, I was awestruck and I have no doubt that the class of 2021 will bring the same remarkable backgrounds and incredible experiences. I know that the opportunity to meet these people and others at Duke and UNC will change my outlook on the world in ways I can’t even imagine.

An aspect of the program that particularly fascinated me was the opportunity for summer experiences. To me, nothing sounds better that spending my summers in new places, doing things I love, that contribute to the lives of others.

Robertson Scholars, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at Duke University’s Smith Warehouse in Durham, N.C.  

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