Guest post by Alexa Artis
Before coming to NC State, Duncan Anderson lived in Huntersville, NC. As a member of his high school’s international baccalaureate program, he was able to take globally focused classes as well as participate in service learning. Duncan also helped tutor students at the local elementary school and assisted one of his teachers who had fibromyalgia.
Since his first semester at NC State, Duncan has been involved with the Engaging Leaders Program and the GLBT Center. The Engaging Leaders Program allowed Duncan to learn the skills it takes to lead, and through the GLBT Center, Duncan has been able to find community as well as apply his skills. “This year I continued a workshop for LGBT+ high-school students on how to prepare for college with their identities in mind,” Duncan said.
Alongside volunteerism, Duncan is an advocate for marginalized groups. “This semester I’m working to apply my skills in geographic information systems to map transgender homicides in the US. Applying my skills outside of my major is important to me because oftentimes community advocacy groups don’t have the resources to produce those types of analyses,” he said.
This summer, Duncan will be an intern at Brookhaven National Laboratory studying remote sensing for environmental management. “I’ll be working with spectral data to characterize plant health and growth,” Duncan said. He’ll bring the learnings of the Engaging Leaders Program with him, as well as his identity.
A member of the LGBT+ community, Duncan promotes diversity through his existence. As a gay person, he tries to bring his openly out identity with him wherever he may find himself. “Through being out, I hope to be someone that [others] can ask me about anything when it comes to the LGBT+ community, and do my best to answer those questions,” he said.
Even though these topics may or can be awkward or uncomfortable, Duncan says, “I am happy to answer it because the best way to grow is by asking questions.”
Being at a PWI (Predominately White Institute), Duncan tries to understand and be aware of his privilege and how it intersects with his other identities. “For students that are represented by the dominant culture or demographic, it’s easy for your perspective to blur and not see the problematic parts of that institution’s makeup or culture. As such, it’s important to me to keep an eye and an ear to my peers of color and other non-dominant groups on campus to hear their perspective,” he said.
Even though there are some difficulties, he’s excited to change the narrative with other members of this generation, saying, “I’m looking forward to when more students on our campus can make an effort to understand why NC State can be a much different experience for someone of a different group.”