This interview was conducted over email with Rebecca Hall, a senior undergraduate student enrolled in the Human Rights Certificate Program, completing a major in Public Policy and a minor in Environmental Sciences & Policy, by Miranda Gershoni, a first-year undergraduate student working for the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.
 
Miranda Gershoni (MG): Why did you decide to pursue the human rights certificate?
 
Rebecca Hall (RH): I chose to pursue the Human Rights Certificate in the spring of my sophomore year. I took the introductory class in the spring of my freshman year, and I found it to be one of the most interesting courses I had taken at Duke. I entered college very undecided on a major or course of study, and I thoroughly enjoyed the introductory class because it encompassed several aspects of my favorite courses throughout my previous academic career: history, culture, and, most importantly, a sense of urgency and real-world value to studying the subject matter and thinking constructively about the human rights issues presented to us. I later decided to participate in the Duke Immerse: Rights and Identities in the Americas program in the fall of my junior year, which fulfilled all the elective requirements for the certificate, and the program reminded me of how intrigued I was by the introductory course, convinced me that the study of human rights was one about which I was passionate, and provided excellent grounding for my Public Policy Studies Major. Pursuing the certificate gave me context for and a more critical view of the realm of public policy, which I found to be a useful framework as I navigated the major and tried to narrow down what career path I hope to go into. 
 
MG: What makes this certificate unique from other programs at Duke?
 
RH: This certificate is unique in that it provides both a critical framework and interdisciplinary experiences in which to apply the knowledge that you have gained. During the Duke Immerse: Rights and Identities in the Americas program, my classmates and I explored the history, policies, and laws that shaped identity and border policy throughout American history, which provided us with a framework for these policies and for understanding the current status of these issues. Later in the semester, we took a trip to Mexico to explore the same issues from a different perspective, which was incredibly powerful and valuable. Having participated in several of Duke’s signature programs throughout my four years, I have not found another that so completely integrates academic knowledge with real-life context as the Human Rights Certificate. 
 
MG: How has the multidisciplinary, experiential nature of the program affected your learning while in the certificate?
 
RH: Although all of my elective credits for the certificate come from my Duke Immerse program, I have independently taken multiple other electives that would count for the certificate. Studying this certificate program has made me realize both how universal and how deeply embedded human rights issues are in our society. From immigration rights to segregation in schools to housing policy, I am now able to pick out human rights problems throughout my other coursework and the world around me, and I can apply the critical framework which I have gained during the certificate to more fully contextualize and understand the human rights issues that are interwoven throughout our daily lives.
 
MG: How do you plan to use the information and experiences you’re gaining from the certificate?
 
RH: After graduation, I am planning to enter graduate school to pursue a master’s degree. During my graduate program, I hope to concentrate my studies and work experiences more specifically on human rights issues in the hope of working ultimately with nonprofit organizations or governments to help alleviate some of the human rights issues which I have studied during the certificate. 
 
MG: What has been the most impactful moment (lecture, activity, reading, professor, etc) you’ve gained from the program?
 

RH: During the Duke Immerse trip to Mexico, we had the opportunity to hear the stories of several individuals who had crossed the border between Mexico and the United States and who now live in Mexico, some by choice, others who had been deported. Hearing their stories and sorrow when discussing loved ones from whom they were separated was incredibly moving, and it inspired me to want to create change for the better in immigration policy for these individuals and the thousands like them.