The pull factors of community and opportunities made Duke the perfect college for Mary Kim to call home, which is perfectly encapsulated in her role as Chair of Duke Student Broadcasting for Duke University Union. Mary holds a plethora of interests and has a goal of “dabbling a little bit in everything.” From majoring in International Comparative Studies and Korean with a Visual Arts minor to trying out Air Force ROTC and staffing Pre-Wild, Mary has done it all. This interest in gaining experience led Mary to try out DSB, noting that her “favorite thing is being able to engage with so many people in the student body.” Similarly, with the onslaught of COVID-19, rather than being deterred, Mary has seen this pandemic as a “window of opportunity to try new things other than video making.” She sees herself jumping back into more hobbies like painting and projects that have been put aside. This year, Mary plans on engaging her creative side through journaling and making videos for herself about her life and things that happen in order to look back on them. Mary also hopes to be able to do a pull-up by the end of 2021, which is entirely able to be accomplished since her favorite spot on campus is the Wilson weight room. As she looks forward to things going back to normal and seeing everyone she hasn’t been able to see, Mary feels content. Whether jamming out to SZA or Giveon or engaging with Duke’s community, Mary is certainly leaving her mark at Duke.

How did you end up at Duke, what led you here?

In the college application process, I was never set on a school. After I got in, the pull factors of community and opportunities made it the best decision for me.

What are you studying here at Duke?

I am majoring in International Comparative Studies and Korean, possibly squeezing in a Visual Arts minor.

What other clubs are you involved in outside of DUU?

I’ve dabbled in quite a few things, but spend my most time in Air Force ROTC and P-Wild, given I was both a participant and staffed it.

Could you briefly share what you do for DUU?

I have been serving as the Duke Student Broadcasting Chair. As chair, I get to lead the organization in whatever direction I want to, and I specifically wanted to focus on fundamentals to get more internal organization and fix issues that have arisen with that. DSB has been having a rough time with COVID, so I have spent time restructuring and working on logistical things. We typically have been a media committee but because of COVID, have gotten into programming, including hosting an Adobe Premiere Workshop and Chapel Photo Booth.

What is your favorite part of the work that you do?

I have earned a lot! My favorite thing is being able to engage with so many people in the student body. I have also gotten close with other exec members and have enjoyed working with the DSB team and similar organizations in collaboration efforts.

What inspired you to get involved?

I would consider myself to be a pretty creative person and I enjoy doing things outside of academic life at Duke. So, I wanted to be more involved with the community while engaging my creative side, which brought me to DUU and DSB.

How do you see DUU working with your interests outside of the Union?

It has helped me improve my abilities to think critically, problem solve, and engage with the Duke community in a non-academic way.

How has adjusting to the challenges the pandemic has brought forth been like for you?

There has been a lot of uncertainty, and I have been afraid that things wouldn’t work out well. So, I have relied on others a lot more heavily. I have noticed that everything being virtual discourages people from being involved and showing up to meetings, but it has provided me with a window of opportunity to try new things other than video making.

How do you define success for yourself?

I would say I have been successful if I don’t feel exhausted, but feel happy. I want to reach a point where what I am doing in my career does not feel like work and does not pull all of my energy out of me. I want to do something because I truly love it.

How do you stay inspired? Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, artists, etc. that you’d recommend?

I believe that being inspired is very passive, and I can see inspiration in everyday things if I take a moment to look for them. I stay inspired by enjoying visual arts and media as well as looking at art, film, and listening to music. I am a big SZA, Giveon, and R&B fan, have watched Euphoria, Korean dramas with Mom, and Anime like Naruto as well as Demon Slayer.

What’s a project you’ve always wanted to make happen?

I want to complete painting projects that I have put aside. I also want to start journaling but can never commit because it feels very vulnerable. I also have thought about making videos for myself about my life and things that happen in order to look back at them, but that makes me feel like I’m a vlogger.

What is one thing you’d like to do, learn, or try in 2021?

I really want to be able to do a pullup at some point this year.

What’s a piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Have less self-doubt, stop wondering about whether or not I’m doing the right thing instead of enjoying things that I should.

Rapid-Fire Fun Questions

Favorite spot on campus?

Wilson Weight Room

Favorite Duke tradition?


Favorite place to eat in Durham?

Thai on Main

Country or city you’ve always wanted to travel to?

Seattle, Washington or Alaska, there’s no people and it’s weirdly dark.

Favorite time of day?

Sunrise, not like I get up, but when I head back home, I like to watch the sunrise on the drive.

Do you have a secret talent?

Drawing and painting, people are surprised by how good it is.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

Senior year, my best friend got me a collage of us together.

Favorite color and least favorite color?

Favorite: Black; Least Favorite: Purple

Favorite scent?

Wood based smells, specifically cedar or pine

Something you’re looking forward to?

For things to go back to normal and to be able to see everyone that I haven’t been able to see.

What are your hobbies?

Weight lifting, any kind of art, painting, sketching, and backpacking.