Oscar Nolen

Duke University
Class of 2024

Using science to improve society, allowing future generations to approach education, mental health, and community with both personal and empathetic inspiration.

As an indigenous Guatemalan boy growing up in a white American family, Oscar struggled with his identity throughout his youth. Watching his parents struggle financially, he picked up part-time jobs to help support his family. After experiencing the traumatic loss of a loved one to suicide, he made a concerted effort to deepen his relationships with family and friends. In order to push himself, he joined the cross country and track teams where he enjoyed supporting his teammates.

Oscar looks at every situation through a lens of opportunity; he approaches life with a sense of hope in the face of failure, and committing his best efforts in challenging times. Though he may not have the same skin color as his family, Oscar has built his identity around diversity of thought, experiences, science, theater, and ethnicities. With this notion of his own identity, Oscar recognizes the divisions across various cultures and socioeconomic statuses. He aims to work towards identifying the similarities that humans share to provide a safer, more stable world for future generations while utilizing science as a basis to improve our societies.

Leadership:

  • Volunteer Service Coordinator, National Honor Society
  • Officer, Tri-M Music Honor Society
  • Second Chair Cellist, Orchestra