Cindy Xu


San Jose, CA

Academic Interests

Economics (Finance Concentration) & Public Policy

Fun Fact

I've seen all 42 seasons of Survivor!

In high school, I was a debater who enjoyed researching and arguing with others about economics, finance, and public policy, but what inspired me to study these topics was the book Freakonomics by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt. The book (and its amazing sequel, SuperFreakonomics) blends pop culture with economics and explores economic theory within real-life case studies ranging from sumo wrestler match-fixing to the link between legalized abortion and crime reduction. I think it's really amazing that we can identify the incentives that drive social behavior and interactions, and I believe that combining theory and quantitative data from a real-world lens is essential to optimizing and improving our world. Subsequently, I'm pursuing a career in finance and hoping to utilize what I learn at Duke on the job, combining financial analysis with policy issues.

On campus, I'm a part of Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, Investment Club, and Business-Oriented Women, but you can also find me in my other roles at the Housing and Residence Life Department and the Career Center. Other experiences I've appreciated at Duke include being a part of DukeEngage Brazil, tenting for Coach K's last home game, and contributing research for the Dictionary of Art Historians under the Duke Digital Art History & Visual Culture Research Lab. You can typically find me studying/enjoying a meal at WU, lifting at Wilson, or doodling in my sketchbook on the Main Quad.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

I love being a SPIRE Fellow for its community! The fellows, program directors and coordinators, and mentors have all been invaluable resources to my academic and professional journey, supporting me every step of the way. Our SPIRE upperclassmen are also incredibly helpful and I'm so thankful that I've been able to connect with our underclassmen to pass on their mentorship and guidance.

Cindy Xu
Cindy Xu