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Student Spotlight: Connor Wood

February 9, 2024 | By Mimi Jenness
Originally published by Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

This month’s student spotlight featured Connor Wood, a junior majoring in neuroscience with a pre-med track from Lexington, Tennessee. Connor is a versatile athlete, excelling in football while also participating in various sports from soccer to track and field during high school. His outstanding record—a four-time all-region, three-time all-West Tennessee, and two-time all-state champion—caught the attention of Duke football recruiters. Among numerous offers from different schools, ranging from the SEC to Ivy Leagues, Duke stood out to Connor both academically and athletically. "It’s the best of both worlds,” Connor said. “I knew from the first moment I stepped on campus that Duke would be a place that encouraged me to develop the necessary life skills, obtain the knowledge required to become the best version of myself, and prepare for a successful future after graduation." He now serves as a kicker on the Duke football team while working toward entering medical school post-graduation.

When asked about his choice of a neuroscience major, Connor shared that it stemmed from his younger sister's early childhood illness. One of the most challenging times for Connor’s family occurred when she was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis and encephalitis. Witnessing a team of neurologists quickly and effectively treat his sister’s condition sparked a curiosity about the brain and its complexity. This experience inspired him to explore the field of neuroscience with the aspiration of helping other families facing similar situations.

Besides excelling in sports and academics, Connor is actively engaging within the Duke community. He participates various community outreach program, Duke Children’s Ambassadors Program, Pancakes for Parkinson’s, and reading with the Blue Devils are among his favorites. Additionally, Connor is a brother of the Alpha Phi chapter of Kappa Alpha Order.  His community outreach extends beyond Duke University. He works with Durham Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing in Durham and is a fellow for Team IMPACT, a nonprofit organization that matches children facing serious illness and disability with college sports teams, fostering long-term relationships and life-changing experiences for both the athletes and families involved.

By focusing not only on academics and achieving good grades but also on nurturing a strong faith, relationships with friends and family at Duke, and beyond, Connor keeps himself motivated and avoids burnout. He always reminds himself that college is not only about becoming a great student but learning to become a great, well-rounded person.