Lizzie Bernstein is a senior at Duke University pursuing a major in Political Science, a minor in Philosophy, and a certificate in Human Rights.
Why did you choose to pursue the human rights certificate?
I chose to pursue the human rights certificate because during my freshman year at Duke I quickly realized that one of my favorite aspects of my Political Science courses was their discussion of human rights. Additionally, while I was not sure whether I wanted to pursue law school, business, or writing, I knew that I wanted all my work to be ethically informed by the knowledge of human rights.
What was the most transformative experience you had while studying human rights at Duke?
Through my freshman year FOCUS program, I took a class called Refugees, Rights, and Resettlement. In this class, we participated in Launch Lab where we were able to tutor local elementary students who came to Durham as refugees.
How has the human rights certificate helped you grow both academically and personally?
Academically, the human rights certificate has taught me how to evaluate work through an interdisciplinary lens and understand how interconnected many of the world’s problems are. Personally, the human rights certificate has taught me how to be a more sensitive and empathetic friend, person, and academic as learning about the human rights abuses that all different groups have historically faced has made me more knowledgeable about the lived experiences of others.
How do you plan to integrate human rights into your work in the future?
I plan to go to law school once I graduate and am heavily leaning towards pursuing human rights law!
Do you have any advice for students considering the human rights certificate?
My advice is to experiment with your classes and experiences at Duke. There are so many interesting courses and opportunities here, and it is so easy to commit yourself to one subject early on and miss out on something you may really enjoy.