This interview was conducted over email with Trey Walk, a senior undergraduate student enrolled in the Human Rights Certificate Program, completing a major in History, 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?

Trey Walk (TW): I took the introductory course and realized that this certificate would be a great opportunity for me to use my coursework to learn more about social justice issues I cared about like poverty and inequality.

MG: What makes this certificate unique from other programs at Duke?

TW: The certificate program is flexible about which classes and experiences fit into a “human rights” framework, which fosters interdisciplinary and nuanced thinking about some of humanity’s toughest issues.

MG: How has the multidisciplinary, experiential nature of the program affected your learning while in the certificate?

TW: I went from taking classes on the political economy of inequality and the history of U.S. social movements, to spending summers exploring community organizing and policy-making. The certificate allowed me to fit these things together into one coherent educational experience. 

MG: How do you plan to use the information and experiences you’re gaining from the certificate?

TW: I suppose the information and experiences are meant to train students to help build a world with less suffering and more justice.

MG: What has been the most impactful moment (lecture, activity, reading, professor, etc) you’ve gained from the program?

TW: Professor Nancy MacLean’s history courses have been some of my favorite. She became an important mentor who encouraged me to take risks and explore my passions both inside and outside of the classroom.