This interview was conducted over email with Stephanie Mayle, a senior from Richmond, VA studying Political Science, with a minor in French and a certificate in Human Rights. , by Miranda Gershoni, a second-year undergraduate student working for the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Miranda Gershoni (MG): When did you join the SAB and why?

Stephanie Mayle (SM): I joined the SAB my first year because I was taking a class through my focus about human rights that I found interesting and wanted to learn more.

MG: What is the mission of the SAB?

SM:The mission of SAB is to educate both our members and the Duke community about various human rights issues. Generally, we hope to create dialogue about human rights through programming on campus and in Durham.

MG: How do y’all (excuse my inner Texan lol) execute that mission?

SM: We execute our mission by bringing in speakers, holding film screenings, panel discussions, etc. that shed light on human rights issues. These can be just within the SAB or externally focused as well.

MG: What are some of your past projects? (highlights maybe)

SM: Our biggest event annually is Global Ideas, Local Impact which we hold in the Spring semester. It includes a panel of alumni working in human rights careers, as well as a student research slam where current students share their own human rights research.

MG: What are you currently working on?

SM: Currently, we’re just focused on recruiting and choosing our new members for this year. We recently changed our process for new members, so this year we’re accepting way less members than we have in previous years. Once we have our full group (about 10 people total), we’ll hold our internal Fall Retreat that will include diversity training from the CMA.

MG: What potential do you see in the new group of students this year?

SM: I can already tell from glancing at the applications and talking to people at the Activities Fair that there are so many people on campus interested and passionate about human rights! A lot of applicants are really interested in specific issues that they’ve worked on in the past, so I think that will be a great addition to expand the things SAB will work on this year and in the future.

MG: Why do you think it’s essential to have the SAB on the Duke campus? (accountability, awareness?)

SM: I think it’s important to have SAB on campus because we’re really the only student human rights group, and we’re the student representation to the Faculty Advisory Board for Human Rights. Since human rights are such a general concept and encompasses so many different issues, I think SAB can be really flexible in what we decide to publicize. We can support on-campus issues, as well as bring awareness to human rights violations in other parts of the world that the Duke community might not know as much about.

MG: What would you like students or staff (or anyone) to know about the SAB?

SM: I’d like people to know that even though we only have a few actual members, we have tons of events and programming and are always open to new ideas and faces!

MG: What do you plan to do after you graduate? (if you don’t have a clear-cut plan yet, maybe just a vague vision for the future)

SM: After I graduate, which is somehow getting closer and closer, I’m hoping to work in international development or affairs. I plan on going to law school eventually, but for the immediate future, definitely want a break from school!

MG: How do you think your work on the SAB will prepare you for life after Duke?

SM: Working on SAB has given me some helpful hard skills–event planning, leadership, marketing–but also helped educate me on a variety of human rights issues here in Durham and around the world. I’ve gotten the opportunity to attend some really cool talks and meet alumni and local leaders who are doing amazing things in the human rights realm. This has all helped me figure out my own interests, and what I hope to do with them.

MG: Why should students join the SAB?

SM: Students should join the SAB because it’s a group of people who care about the same, extremely important thing – protecting and advocating for human rights. It’s a great opportunity to meet people socially and professionally, and there’s a lot of opportunities for events with free food.