From Commack Halls to White House Walls 

Melina Nicou, Assistant News Editor

Dr. Davina Durgana, a Commack graduate and statistician, currently working to end modern day slavery, visited Commack High School this past November. 

Durgana currently works for the Minderloo Foundation and has made a major impact on the human trafficking world. She created the first domestic model that could predict a minor’s risk of becoming involved in slavery. 

 She currently studies and reports on the events of modern slavery in a variety of countries and presents her data collections and comparisons to big organizations such as the United Nations. This past January, Durgana met with President Trump to discuss the data she had collected 

“[Japan] collects data on all sorts of crimes which is why we’re working with the Japanese government to help measure slavery. Some of the crimes they count, I’ve never encountered before. Parents will sell the used underwear of their children, said Durgana. 

This line of work has led her to win many awards. She was the American Statistical Association’s 2016 Statistical Advocate of the Year and was in Forbes Top 30 Under 30 in Science. 

Working for the Minderloo Foundation also requires Durgana to do a lot of traveling. Durgana believes in keeping a consistent schedule to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

“It’s a lot of travel. I’m in different time zones a lot. You can’t really keep a consistent schedule if you’re expected to fly off to Japan to go over this project. I do CrossFit everywhere. It helps me to set a schedule. I’ve collected shirts from CrossFits in over fifty countries by now, said Durgana. 

It was difficult for Durgana to find exactly what she wanted to work on within the vast slavery network because of the emotional nature of the topic. She often offers advice of perseverance to students.  

If you’re interested in an issue area, but you feel like you’re burning out, there’s a lot of other ways to stay involved. There’s a million ways to be involved in any issue you want. There’s a lot of ways you can have an impact in your field, said Durgana 

Having been a student enrolled in all high honors classes, Durgana understands the struggles in high school and can see how they continue into life after college.  

“I know we push ourselves to achieve the most that we can. But there’s a piece of this where your life should be fun and interesting. You should like your job, said Durgana. 

Besides being so involved in her work against slaveryDurgana loves to work with students.   

“I dedicate at least four hours a week to mentorship, Durgana said. 

She encourages every one of us to find something we are passionate about and balance it by taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally.   

“When I go into the field, I find it inspiring and humanizing,” said Durgana. 🔳