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Armstrong Ambassadors

Armstrong Ambassadors

To provide Duke University students a supportive platform to critically shape their identities, explore activism and social justice initiatives on campus, and engage in coalition building across multicultural communities. 

The purpose of the Armstrong Ambassadors is to build a collective vision and passion for multicultural advancement at Duke University through intentional community building and identity formation.   

Throughout their cohort experience, Armstrong Ambassadors will participate in monthly leadership development sessions hosted by professional staff from the CMA, form smaller working groups within the cohort to explore various campus issues impacting their communities, and create social advocacy projects that resonate with them on a personal level.   


The curriculum and structure of this program will allow students to explore their role in social change, their unique process for advocacy, the resources available to them, and collective strategies for addressing their chosen passion projects.  


Undergraduate students can apply to be a part the Armstrong Ambassadors program for the Spring 2024 semester between Monday, October 23rd and closes Friday, November 10th.   

Application Link:

 There will be an Armstrong Ambassadors’ informational session on Wednesday, November 1st 

 If you have questions or would like to learn more, please feel free to reach out to us at 

In order to intentionally build out a diverse cohort that includes voices from a multitude cultural identities and experiences, the CMA will be reaching out to partnering departments.   


  • Undergraduate students must be enrolled as full-time students at Duke University. 
  • Students must be in good standing with the University and are committed to upholding sound principles of honesty regarding their academic and nonacademic endeavors.  

Program Expectations/Time Commitment  

  • Cohort participants will be expected to attend monthly educational sessions and optional working group meeting(s) to workshop, troubleshoot and collaborate on their projects. Below you can see a detailed calendar of participation with the monthly themes of our educational sessions. 
    • Fall 2023 Social Mixer for accepted Armstrong Ambassadors 
    • January 2024: Ambassador Orientation & Identity Formation  
    • February 2024: Coalition Building and optional working group meeting 
    • March 2024: Legacy (before spring break) and Unity Through Diversity (UTD) Presentations (Tuesday, March 19, 2024) 
    • April 2024: Armstrong Ambassador Graduation and Celebration 
  • Cohort participants are expected to build out a social justice/advocacy passion project that addresses a specific social issue at Duke. Examples of passion projects:   
    • Starting a student organization for underrepresented populations 
    • A disability justice zine to highlight access issues on campus 
    • An educational workshop series on how to better archive cultural histories at Duke 
    • A mental health conference that invites college students throughout the triangle area to present critical mental health issues relevant to marginalized communities 
    • A cohort of student leaders from different cultural backgrounds coming together to coalition build within their campus community 

*For clarification, students are not expected to implement passion projects during this program. Students will be creating the foundational language, vision, and structure for potential future implementation. 

  • Cohort participants will be responsible for presenting their projects and program experience at the CMA’s annual Unity Through Diversity event in March 2024 as a part of their commitment to the program.  

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please feel free to reach out to us at  

Program Pillars

These are the pillars that ground and guide our Armstrong Ambassadors

Dr. Armstrong understood the importance of serving and bettering communities. She believed in social justice as an agent of change, which was exampled throughout her undergraduate involvement at Duke University. Her work of advocacy and impact stretched beyond her student involvement, as she became the 2nd African-American woman in the U.S. to earn a board certification in Pediatric Cardiology. In 1979, she became a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics for Duke University School of Medicine. In 1996, she began her 20+ tenure as an Associate Dean of Admissions for the School of Medicine. Through this role, she helped diversify the student population of the School of Medicine and is credited with recruiting the most diverse classes in the school's history. She was inducted into the Student National Medical Association’s Hall of Heroes in 2017.  

Dr. Brenda Armstrong '70, HS'79 was a Duke University student from Rocky Mount, NC with a passion for medicine. Her class was only the third at Duke to include African Americans.

Throughout her experience at Duke, Dr. Armstrong gradually found herself becoming an activist, in hopes of pushing the university to reach the great potential she saw within the institution. Dr. Armstrong assisted with the establishment of Duke's Afro-American Society in 1967, in which she used her position as the Society's President to help organize the Allen Building Takeover in 1969.  

The purpose of the 1969 Allen Building Takeover was to call attention to the needs of African American students at Duke University. The needs included the establishing of an African American Studies Department, a Black Student Union, protection from police harassment, and an increase in enrollment and financial support for African American students. 

“I went in because there were two people that I had to save.

The first was me, and the second was Duke.

And that I thought that unless Duke understood who it could be for those of us who were the most disenfranchised, that it would never be a great institution. And so long as it could deliver to us, it could deliver to everybody. And I reminded them of the investiture that I had read about who Duke was supposed to be.”

- Dr. Brenda Armstrong, '70, HS'79 , one of the original student organizers who orchestrated the Allen Building Takeover of 1969