Duke Sanford is a vibrant community of change makers - and no one's story is the same! Weekly during the school year, we share a short profile - in their own words - of a student, faculty member or staff on the Humans of Duke Sanford Instagram page.


Andres Hernandez Jr. MPP'23

"I grew up thinking if I had tattoos, I would have no political career, so I didn’t get my first #tattoo until about age 23. A big reason why I started getting them was because they helped me heal from mental health issues. And ever since, I’ve not held back in size or location because my tattoos are part of my identity. They’re a reminder of how far my mental health has come. They relate to my values, family, community back home in Dallas, and my #Mexican, #Aztec, and #indigenous roots, so they ground me, and they give me confidence. Ultimately, I want a full body suit – except for my face and head – and I want more brown pride ( #Chicano, #Latino) ink.

I want to be not only one of the first Latinos in a political space, but also the first with large exposed tattoos. To overcome any barriers, I will achieve as much accolades as possible, to where I’m undeniable. I’ll get a PhD or JD and people will see my bio and think ‘this guy is really qualified’; when they see me in person, they may be shocked, but at that point what are they going to say? That motivates me."

Read Andres' story

Kyipyar Phyoe Paing MIDP ’23

"My name is Kyipyar. I am from Myanmar (formerly called Burma) which is situated between India and Thailand. I got a scholarship from Open Society Foundations to study in the MIDP program at Duke.

I grew up in Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar. Before coming to Duke, I worked in different international government agencies and non-profit organizations. Currently my main work is on the border with Thailand and Myanmar with refugee camps and marginalized populations.

In the field, I saw the reality and the despair, and I learned that more people need to see these lived stories, lived experience and it needs to be heard or shared. But, despite the difficult nature of the work, I have found inspiration from the people I’ve worked with. They remained hopeful despite the circumstances; they might not have a basic access to any rudimentary education, but they have dreams for brighter futures. This is one of the hopes that keeps me in the field."

Read Kyipyar's story

Tell us your story!

Want to tell us your story, or do you want to suggest someone for us to feature? Email us: ssppduke@gmail.com