Micalyn Struble


Walnut Creek, CA

Academic Interests

I plan to major in Computer Science and Philosophy and earn the Prison Studies certificate from the Divinity School.

Fun Fact

I am less than six degrees of separation away from Beyoncé—my best friend’s sister is taking an acting class from Beyoncé’s mom’s husband. It’s a small world!

Nothing is more important to me than pursuing criminal justice reform and ending mass incarceration. I worry that just as slavery turned into Jim Crow, which turned into what Michelle Alexander has deemed the “New Jim Crow,” our country now faces a technological threat of systematic racism and oppression. In my time at university, I’m seeking to build a skill set that will empower me to work against mass incarceration.

My ultimate goal is to go to law school. However, I want to spend my undergraduate career developing a strong background in Computer Science so that I can understand the way that technology is currently being applied to the justice system. I want to understand the technical side of tools like predictive policing, pre-trial risk assessment, and electronic ankle monitoring. I am also studying Philosophy to develop a background in logic so that I can convincingly argue for criminal justice reform. Finally, I hope to complete the Prison Studies certificate so that I can learn the truth about people’s experiences in prison.

I’ve cultivated this interest outside of class as well. I do research for The Center for Science and Justice at Duke Law School, and I am on a Bass Connections Team that will restructure Duke’s Engineering 101 curriculum to incorporate engineering ethics. This past summer, I worked on a team that used machine learning techniques for Professor Nita Farahany’s ongoing study about the use of neuroscience evidence in criminal cases. I am part of a Re-Entry Team for formerly incarcerated people in Durham, and I participate in monthly restorative justice circles with the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham. Soon, I hope to help facilitate restorative justice circles with Durham’s burgeoning Misdemeanor Diversion Program.

Duke has shown me that questions of computer science and neuroscience are crucial to criminal justice. I hope to continue working at the intersection of technology and criminal justice until these problems cease to exist.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

I am honored to join a supportive group of students and faculty who similarly care about the retention of underrepresented people in STEM fields. Together, we change society’s understanding of who belongs in STEM.

Micalyn Struble