Name: Mathavi Jothimurugesan Strasburger
Hometowns: Hampton, VA and Ponca City, OK
Professional Interests: I have anchored my professional career in student success initiatives, particularly in the space of orientation, transition and retention efforts.
- Fellow in the Office of Undergraduate Education, Duke University
- Program Coordinator for New Student Programs, Duke University
- SUMMIT Advisor and Dual Degree Coordinator, Agnes Scott College
- Assistant Director of the Advising Programs Office, Harvard University
- Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy, Vanderbilt University
- Ed.M. in Higher Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
- B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering, Duke University
Intellectual Interests: My academic interests range from biomedical engineering to higher education policy.
- I tented 3 of my 4 years at Duke, but I remain absymally miserable in cold weather.
- My husband (T’10) and I were married in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, which remains one of my favorite spots on campus.
- I am a self-professed foodie. I enjoy both consuming and creating meals, with a particularly fond love for French and Japanese cuisine.
- I am a voracious reader – I’m always taking recommendations for new novels!
What was the most challenging part of college for you? What did you learn from the experience?
The most challenging part of college was transitioning from a small rural high school experience to a rigorous STEM-intensive academic immersion. While I was a strong math and science student entering Duke, I was not prepared for the challenges of adapting to new classroom experiences and expectations. I learned (perhaps later than I wanted to) how normal it was to ask for help and to leverage the advising infrastructure at Duke to navigate how to succeed.
Look back, what would you tell your college-aged self?
The best advice I would share with my college-aged self is that “it’s okay not to know all the answers now.” I felt immense pressure that I had to know everything about what I wanted to do (and how to do it) from the beginning. However, college held so many unanticipated formative moments, and experiencing those situations shaped my life now in ways I could not have imagined at that time.
What do you know now that you wish you had in college?
Life is a constant process of growing and learning. I was so focused in optimizing my learning during my four years at Duke, and I wished I had the perspective to know that I will forever learn (as evidenced by my other educational degrees) and be transformed through those engagements.