Have you ever wondered how your professors got to where they are today? While it may come as a surprise when we look at their multiple degrees and impressive accomplishments, many struggled with the same challenges that you as an undergraduate do, like adjusting to college, feeling uncertain about what to do with their lives, dealing with imposter syndrome and feeling like they don’t belong in an elite institution like Duke.

The Academic Guides’ Duke Faculty Journeys project invites faculty across the university to share their stories about how they came upon their intellectual and professional paths and the challenges they’ve faced along the way. We hope that, after hearing their stories, it will be easier for you to start conversations and connect with faculty and that you’ll see that the challenges you’re facing now are commonly experienced and can help you find your way to a successful and meaningful life.

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Interview with Professor Jenny Wood Crowley, Academic Dean, Trinity College June 2021

In this interview, Professor Crowley discusses challenges she faced in college, advice to students struggling with imposter syndrome, and the myth of effortless perfection.

Interview with George Grody, Lecturing Fellow of Markets & Management May 2021

In this interview, Professor Grody discusses challenges he faced while a Duke undergraduate, advice to students searching for a sense of meaning and purpose, and what he enjoys most about his work.

Interview with Professor Ian MacMullen, Associate Professor of the Practice in Political Science January 2021

In this interview, Professor MacMullen discusses challenges he faced in college, advice to students struggling with imposter syndrome, what excites him about the field of Political Science, and the myth of effortless perfection.

Interview with Chris Kennedy, Senior Deputy Director of Athletics & Adjunct Assistant Professor of English  January 2021

In this interview, Chris Kennedy shares his experiences prior to joining Duke, advice for students struggling with imposter syndrome, the myth of effortless perfection, and questions in the field of English literature that captivate him.


Interview with Professor Paul Manos, Department of Biology                     January 2021

In this interview, Professor Manos shares his path to discovering his intellectual interests in Biology, questions in his field that captivate him, his experiences as a first-generation college student, and advice for students with imposter syndrome.

Interview with Professor Deondra Rose, Sanford School of Public Policy    February 2021

In this interview, Professor Rose discusses her path to finding her intellectual interests, challenges she faced as an undergraduate and graduate student, and advice to students struggling with imposter syndrome and the myth of effortless perfection.

Interview with Professor Priscilla Wald, English Department
February 2021

In this interview, Professor Wald reflects on her path to discovering her intellectual interests, challenges she’s faced along the way, advice to undergraduates considering graduate school and current directions of her research.