In 1992, Mattel Toys was forced to rethink their “Teen Talk Barbie Doll” which was randomly programmed to say, “Math class is tough,” perpetuating a sexist stereotype.
The creators of the offending Barbie quote obviously had never met Danielle Duva.
Through grade school and high school in Pennsylvania, Duva defied the stereotype by preferring math classes and excelling in them, especially calculus. So it was a natural choice for her to choose a mathematics major at Notre Dame. While she found the core courses interesting and challenging that first semester, Danielle felt something was missing – so she sought the help of an advisor.
“My academic advisor, Doug Hemphill in Mendoza, definitely helped me decide my academic path. He never put any pressure on me as to which major to declare, but gave me options and different career paths based on my interests and he patiently answered the many questions I had.”
Duva discovered she could major in something less abstract than math, something business-related, and still take math classes as electives to keep her math cravings satisfied.
Duva also discovered accounting is her favorite subject and declared an accounting major in the spring of her sophomore year.
“I also like all the career paths an accounting major can take, like audit and assurance, tax services, risk analysis, and internal auditing.”
As an accounting major in the Mendoza College of Business, Duva joined the Student International Business Council (SIBC) and worked on three accounting projects. Though the cases were fictitious, the questions and problems she encountered were very applicable to the business curriculum.
“The SIBC cases gave me a sense of what practicing accountants face in their jobs. Because of one of the projects, I realized I am more interested in risk analysis and internal auditing than the other areas so it helped me hone my career path.”
Not overlooking opportunities for personal development, Duva is active in several clubs and organizations on campus. Living in Welsh Family Hall, she participates in inter-hall sports including flag football and soccer. During her sophomore year, she joined the Women’s Boxing Club that raises money for Missions to East Africa by staging the Baraka Bouts Tournament, a women’s boxing competition. Duva is also a member of the Women’s Running Club and is currently training to run her second “Holy Half Marathon” in April.
During the fall of her junior year, Duva took the one-credit Appalachia Seminar through the Center for Social Concerns which begins with orientation classes where students become acquainted with the history, culture, and challenges facing the region. The seminar culminates in a week-long immersion experience.
“The service trip was a unique experience for me because it combined physical community service—building and repairing homes—with service in solidarity. Service in solidarity means understanding the culture and being supportive of people in their hard times. Appalachia helped me to respect and appreciate all people, no matter how different I may be from them. The experience really broadened my faith and friendships.”
In March, Duva will help lead the Notre Dame Encounter, a weekend retreat, as music coordinator; she has played piano since she was eight years-old. “I attended one of the retreats and it was an indescribable weekend. I have to thank my group leader for recommending me as a leader. I've never helped lead a retreat before, so I am both nervous and very excited.”
“I applied to Notre Dame after visiting and falling in love with the campus. My family does not have a history with Notre Dame, and I never felt any special connection to it until my visit. After driving up Notre Dame Avenue toward the golden dome I knew I didn't want to spend my next four years anywhere else.”