Hello, my name is Zachary Smothers (he / him / his), and I am a senior medical student pursuing the privilege of serving in the position of Young Trustee for Duke University. To tell a little about myself, I am a first-generation college student from a low-income, rural area of Ohio. I studied biology at The Ohio State University before coming to Duke for my Master of Biomedical Sciences. As many do, I fell in love with Duke and Durham, and was thrilled for the opportunity to continue my studies. During medical school, I found a passion for medical education; specifically studying holistic ways to evaluate learners, and ways to reduce bias in medical training. This manifested with working with the School of Medicine, The Graduate School, and the Board of Trustees on several issues related to curricular development, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.
While I have had success at Duke, I do not see myself as someone who is uniquely talented or “special.” Realistically I am a normal person from a lower-middle class, largely uneducated rural village that was given the amazing gift of a quality education. This is the power of Duke University, allowing individuals from all backgrounds to improve their lives and build a better world. As Young Trustee, I wish to use this grounded viewpoint to help navigate Duke in a positive direction, ensuring it is able to provide these opportunities in an equal fashion for years to come.