Narissa Jiminez-Petchumrus wrote this celebratory post on LinkedIn after receiving an offer for a terrific job.
I’ve had to sometimes pinch myself that I've come this far given my background. A few years ago I was financially struggling, working multiple jobs, sometimes while community organizing on the side. I worried about if I had "relevant" experience to make it into graduate school and never did I think I would actually get into Duke University. I remember opening my acceptance letter on the floor of the call center I was working at during that time and couldn't believe what I read.
I started at Duke Sanford School of Public Policy in 2019 just before the COVID-19 pandemic. I also applied to Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.
Personal experiences, like helping my family pack up the car after numerous wildfire seasons catalyzed for me the realization of the importance of decarbonizing. Also seeing farmworkers in the fields harvest food in ash-filled air without access to N-95 masks made me realize how important it is that any transition be equitable. (Equitable in the sense that not only do decision makers consider these communities, but also reduce barriers of entry for frontline communities to be decision makers.)
Pivoting from a purely qualitative background in political science to a dual-master's degree in public policy and environmental management tested my limits. However, I'm proud to say that this transgender, non-binary biracial person is about to graduate with one of two master's degrees in STEM!
I have so many people to be grateful for. I sincerely hope to not bring a folding chair, but to build a longer table and hopefully inspire people also from working class, diverse backgrounds that they too have what it takes to participate in the necessary energy transition and that their input is direly needed.
About Our Graduates
Students graduate Friday May 6 from the Sanford School with undergraduate, Master of Public Policy, Master of International Development Policy, international Master of Environmental Policy and PhD degrees.