Introducing CASE Scholar Nikki Gusz

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business offers scholarships each year to individuals with social sector backgrounds who are looking to acquire business skills for use in their pursuit of social impact. The CASE Social Sector Scholarship brings in amazing students who add a richness to the Fuqua student body and bring their unique perspectives to the classroom.  We are proud to announce the 2017 CASE Scholars with this week featuring Nikki Gusz. You can read about our other scholars here.


Nikki GuszNikki is passionate about maximizing the unique impact of individuals and teams upon the world. Most recently, she was the Strategic Initiatives Director in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. In this role, she advanced partnerships, projects and grants for one of the largest teacher preparation programs in the country on behalf of the Office of the Dean. This included raising $450,000+ for a rural STEM project from a corporate social investment fund, launching and co-teaching a course with Teach For America for undergraduates on social entrepreneurship in education and designing and running an annual college-wide strategic planning summit.

Also at ASU, she worked in the Office of University Initiatives, supporting entrepreneurship and education initiatives, including as a University Innovation Fellow. Previously, Nikki taught secondary social studies in the Mesa Public Schools, the largest school district in Arizona, through Teach For America. She is currently a Franklin Project Ambassador with the Aspen Institute, evolving national service to be a cultural expectation, a common opportunity and a civic rite of passage for every young American.

Why Fuqua?
When I was thinking about graduate school, I wanted an experience that would push me beyond my perceived bounds—not prudently, but exponentially, wildly and provocatively. While on this epic adventure, I knew I would encounter many challenges—so I also wanted a secret weapon of sorts (insert your favorite Star Wars/LOTR/superhero reference here). I found my answer in “Team Fuqua.” At Fuqua, we support one another through every challenge, push one another to go the extra mile and celebrate the successes of our peers as much as if they were our own. And, we’re a lot of fun!

What impact do you hope your Fuqua education will allow you to have on the world?
Based on my background in education, I am completely fascinated by how people and organizations develop. How do we empower people to reach their full potential? How do we create dynamic organizations that maximize their impact, particularly for the greater good? The ability to ask the big questions and design new solutions for them by harnessing tools from across the disciplines excites me. The resources and expertise of the CASE, Duke and Durham communities are hard to match, and I look forward to learning from them all about entrepreneurial leadership. In the future, I aim for a career where I work across sectors, functions and issue areas to improve the world around us.

Share one of the 25 facts from your application essay
I have a slight obsession with National Parks. I have visited nearly 100 National Parks and Historic Sites in the past few years, and I collect special cancellation stamps at all of them. My friends call the notebook where I keep them the “nerd binder.” Strangely, many of them have one now, too . . .