Raphael Mukondiwa


Knightdale, North Carolina

Academic Interests

Computer Science & Economics

Fun Fact

I was selected to join the Zimbabwean National Karate Team when I was 7

Society has to progress, and I have a role in that forward motion. I intend to pursue a career in technology, policy, and economics.

I have always loved building and creating. I remember scavenging through trash with friends, searching for electronics to dismantle and rebuild into toy boats and fans. We would even salvage magnets from speakers to build mini hover devices! My passion solidified when I visited a family friend who crafted robotic toy cars for orphans. Seeing this, I realized that STEM wasn’t limited to middle-aged men in factories, it could address social issues.

Growing up in Zimbabwe, I witnessed the impact of corruption, resulting in stark social inequalities. The lack of clean tap water and basic infrastructure in my city signaled troubles. This motivated me to pursue computer science as a means to bring socio-economic improvements to my community.

To gain experience serving my community, I interned at the YMCA through the Bank of America Student Leaders program. During this internship, I got the opportunity to assist students in lower socioeconomic communities who were lagging behind in their reading skills due to Virtual Learning. With three other interns, I created a lesson plan that utilized read-alouds and the CASEL framework to bolster young students’ reading skills, social emotional learning, and multicultural awareness! As a Student Leader, I also got exposed to the work behind Bank of America and its investment subsidiary, Merrill Lynch. Being someone who also grew up in a failed economic system, I was immediately intrigued and fascinated by the realm of finance. In the distant future, I hope to teach what I have learned through minoring in economics and open doors for youth who grow up without access to this education.

As a freshman, I have started taking advantage of the numerous opportunities that Duke offers. For example, I am currently engaged in the Duke Engineers for International Development and the National Society of Black Engineers

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

Duke is literally the best of both worlds: academically and socially. With the vibrant community and culture, there is never a dull day. Another thing is the liberal arts structure and its many learning opportunities, giving me a chance to not only get the best of computer science but also pursue my other interests like economics, history, and policy.

Raphael Mukondiwa
Raphael Mukondiwa