About the University Scholars Program
Designed to stimulate an interdisciplinary, inter-generational community of scholars, the University Scholars Program was created in 1998 by the Office of the Vice-Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies with a gift from Duke University Trustee Emerita Melinda French Gates.
The University Scholars Program (USP) welcomed its first matriculating class in 1999. This innovative program was the first of its kind in the United States and around the world, bringing together undergraduates, graduate students, and students from Duke’s professional schools to meet regularly through seminars, informal mentoring, programmatic retreats, and student-led symposia. Other universities and colleges have sought to emulate certain aspects of the USP, but the interdisciplinary-minded community of students at various stages of tertiary and post tertiary education remains unique.
Spotlight on Kulsoom Risavi
Kulsoom Risavi, a rising junior from Lucknow, India, has a flair for creating documentaries, and she sees them as a form of activism: "I think documentaries are a great tool for activism, for getting your voice out there for talking about things that you feel passionately about," she says. Kulsoom and colleague, Jacob Whatley, created a film entitled, "A Funeral for Ice" to capture the emotional grief of climate change. They went to Iceland, where they spent ten days interviewing people about the death of what was once known as Okjökull Glacier near Húsafell, the first Icelandic glacier to lose its glacial status. Their work, which was featured in an article published in Duke Today (link below) was funded by a grant by the Benenson Award in the Arts.