Global Education Student Committee


The Global Education Student Committee (GESC) works with students on campus to make global education better. We are a group of students who have studied abroad and now want to help the Global Education Office by providing them with a student voice.


The student committee’s goals are to promote study away with our fellow Duke students and to keep study away alumni involved and engaged with their global experiences.

  • Photo of 16-17 Global Ed Student Committee
2016-2017 Global Ed Student Committee


The Global Education Student Committee is made up of two Co-Presidents, the Executive Board, and Ambassadors.

Co-Presidents serve as voting student representatives to the Global Education Committee, a faculty standing committee of the Arts and Sciences Council that approves and reviews student petitions and new Study Abroad programs and sets Global Education policy. The co-presidents also plan and run group meetings and work closely with the Ambassadors, the Global Education Office, and students interested in study abroad/away to put on presentations for prospective students and facilitate global education on campus.

The Executive Board and Ambassadors are the student face of GEO.

  • The Executive Board participates in at least two Global Education related events per semester and supervises a group of Ambassadors in planning their own event or activity to promote study away.
  • Ambassadors answer prospective student questions and work with an executive board member to plan and participate in one event per year that promotes study away. 


Wendy Lu

Hi everyone!

My name is Wendy Lu and I am one of the co-presidents this year. I’m an international student at Duke from Beijing, China, and I studied abroad in King’s College London my sophomore year. I absolutely loved my experience in London and I hope I can help more students facilitate their dreams to go abroad through my roles as the co-president of GESC and a voting member of the Global Education Committee. If you ever want to talk to someone about your study abroad plans or have problems transferring your credits (trust me, I had the same problems) or just want to chat about anything London/the UK/Benedict Cumberbatch related, feel free to let me know!

GEO Program: King's College in London through IFSA-Butler

Major: Statistics

Minor: Computer Science

Blake Becerra


My name is Blake Becerra, and I am currently a junior from Oklahoma. I have spent one summer session and the spring semester of my sophomore year studying in Berlin, Germany. I have had two wonderful experiences in Berlin and am more than willing to share stories or talk about the benefits of studying abroad. Studying abroad has been the highlight of my Duke career so far and I hope to be able to help anyone considering going abroad. If you have questions about living in a foreign country, how to get transfer credits, living with a host family, or just about studying abroad in general, feel free to contact me.

GEO Programs: Duke in Berlin (Spring and Summer)

Majors: Computer Science and German

Maddy Bolger


My name is Maddy Bolger and I am a current senior from Alexandria, VA, studying Public Policy and Global Health. During the fall semester of my junior year, I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, and had an absolutely fantastic experience. I want to encourage every student to take advantage of their time at Duke to study abroad as a chance to step outside our bubble here in Durham. Studying abroad gives us the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and experience academia through a different viewpoint. I want to help any student from every major figure out how and where they can study abroad! Feel welcome to reach out to me if you have any questions about how to fit studying abroad into your schedule, where you want to go, and what studying is like outside of Duke!

GEO Program: University of Sydney - Acadia University

Majors: Public Policy and Global Health

Minor: Economics

Steven Burcat


My name is Steven Burcat, and I am a current junior. I have had fantastic experiences all over the world, and I am excited to share my stories and help others create their own. During the summer of 2015 I worked in Honduras helping to build a greywater system, then travelled to New Zealand for the fall semester to study abroad at the University of Canterbury. I also spent this past summer in Israel interning for a thermosolar energy company. The world offers so many opportunities for exploration, and I hope to help anyone who wants to take advantage. If anyone wants to discuss all of the different ways to travel, from study abroad to a spring break trip, or if you just want to hear some stories, let me know!

GEO Program: University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Majors: Mechanical Engineering, Economics

Morgan Daly


My name is Morgan Daly, and I am a current senior from Charlotte, NC, studying Global Health and German. This past semester I studied abroad in Berlin, Germany, for six months and had an amazing time immersing myself in a foreign language and culture. I think everyone should take advantage of the opportunities at Duke and study abroad, during their time in college, whether for a semester or only a summer. During your time outside of the United States you have the ability to meet new people, learn a different language, immerse yourself in a new culture, and travel all around the world. Most importantly to me though, you are able to learn things that you will never learn at Duke. My semester abroad has influenced me in so many ways, and I want to be a resource for anyone considering studying abroad. If you have any questions about Duke programs offered, or any questions about studying outside of the US, please feel free to contact me!

GEO Program: Duke in Berlin

Majors: Global Health and German

Blaine Elias


My name is Blaine Elias, and I am a current junior. I am so excited for this year and for being given the chance to help connect current Duke students with the opportunities provided in study abroad programs. In Summer 2015, I studied away at the University of Oxford under the “Duke in Oxford” program. During my time in England, I got to take a class by a current faculty member at Oxford and experience the famous tutorial style of Oxford education. As an advocate for global education, I strongly encourage everyone to apply to this program, along with the other Duke-sponsored programs because they have given several individuals an outlet to explore the workings of different international societies. My goal for the upcoming year is to augment our different social media mediums, such as Instagram, and link students’ interests with different programs through blogging and revamping digital content. Also, I want to endlessly inspire people to take advantage of all the options of Duke GEO. 

GEO Program: Duke in Oxford

Majors: Public Policy and Global Health

Certificate: Information Science & Studies

Akilan Gopal

Akilan Gopal is a Duke senior from the steaming 100°-humid city of Houston. He is majoring in biology and is on a pre-medicine track. His interests include tennis, basketball, photography, and cooking. Akilan enjoys the outdoors and loves landscape photography and film editing. He studied abroad during both semesters of his junior year, Germany and South Africa respectively. He loves getting a taste for the different cultures around the world and is excited to have the opportunity to help others plan their study abroad adventure.

GEO Programs: Duke in Berlin, OTS South Africa

Major: Biology

Minor: Chemistry

Allison Kam

My name is Allison Kam and I was born in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Auburn, Alabama. I chose to attend Duke because it’s a dynamic, ambitious, and thought-provoking institution filled with people who seek to take an active part in changing the world. I am a senior pursuing a BS in Neuroscience, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate, and Education minor. During my Duke career I have been abroad on three programs including Biogeography in Australia, Neuroeconomics in China, and Duke in Istanbul in Turkey. The latter was a semester program during the Fall of 2015, and the other two were summer programs. While on those programs I had the opportunity to see many new places and cross off a lot of my bucket list items including riding a hot air balloon, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and visiting the house of the Virgin Mary. The experiences that I had during my travels as a Duke student have shaped the way that I view the world due to the many relationships I was able to form with people from all around the globe. I would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone; and, although a few of the programs I have been on are no longer opened, I would be happy to talk to you about how to make the most of your experiences abroad. 

GEO Programs: Duke in Australia, Duke Neuroeconomics in China, Duke in Istanbul

Major: Neuroscience

Certificate: Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Minor: Education

Anna Kropf


My name is Anna Kropf, and I am a junior from Kansas City. I participated in the first installment of the "Duke in Bologna” program this most recent summer, taking both a spoken language course and an Italian literature course. After studying in Italy (which happened to be my first time stepping foot outside of the US) and because of its life-changing effects, I now want to consciously channel my Duke career towards broadening my own global involvement. Study abroad is a great catalyst for recognizing new personal interests, the prominence of the global world, and the experience of language as a window into a new culture. Despite my monolingual status, I am a huge advocate for the importance of language studies (I even try to learn new ones in my free time…nerd!). Further, as a student-athlete I was in the same place as many of you, originally thinking study abroad to be difficult, impossible, or unnecessary; so I have a unique perspective on the necessity of adding it to your repertoire of Duke experiences! All in all, I want to provide as much inspiration and knowledge about these programs as possible, especially if you are new to the idea of traveling abroad and need encouragement. I would love to talk!

GEO Program: Duke in Bologna

Major: Economics

Minor: Visual and Media Studies, Italian Studies

Tierney Marey


My name is Tierney Marey, and I’m an international student from Sydney, Australia. I major in Cultural Anthropology and love nothing more than traversing the world to meet new people, experience unique cultures and try different and wonderful things! I grew up in Sydney with a French father and a tour-guiding mother, so a love of travel was guaranteed. I’ve loved my time “abroad” in the US but was also incredibly lucky to spend two semesters abroad my junior year in Madrid and then Chile with non-Duke programs. I’m looking forward to learning another new language soon; hoping to maybe add Italian or Thai to my French and Spanish! Feel free to contact me with any questions about study abroad, petitioning for a new program, culture shock, or travel tips! 

GEO Programs: Syracuse in Madrid (Petition) and SIT Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development

Major: Cultural Anthropology

Minor: Theater Studies

Chidinma Nnoromele


My name is Chidinma Nnoromele, and I am a senior from Kentucky. As a first-generation American, I have always seen the importance of being a global citizen. But it wasn’t until I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the DIS-Study Abroad in Scandinavia program that I realized the value of having a Global Education. Studying abroad has added complexity to my thoughts, broadened my perspectives on different topics, and given me a new layer of depth to pull from for my academic and professional endeavors. I am so excited to have the opportunity to help other students benefit from studying abroad. I am also looking forward to increasing awareness of the Global Education Student Committee and all of the resources that we and Duke GEO provide. So if you ever want to talk to someone about your study abroad ideas, feel free to reach out! Or just reach out if you want to talk about anything Danish (I am a big fan of Lukas Graham, Phlake, and elderflower juice)!

GEO Program: DIS Copenhangen

Major: Economics

Minor: Psychology

Sydney Smith


My name is Sydney Smith, and I'm currently a junior. This past summer I studied abroad in both Berlin (Duke in Berlin) and Shanghai (NYU Shanghai). My goal for this year is to expand the scope of information that global education reaches and utilize social media in order to better connect students with what their fellow peers are doing. If you have any questions about Berlin or Shanghai feel free to contact me!

GEO Programs: Duke in Berlin (summer), NYU Shanghai (summer)

Major: Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Certificate: Markets and Management Studies

Minor: Evolutionary Anthropology

Nicole Whinery


My name is Nicole, and I am a senior this year. I spent the fall of my junior year studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, and had the best experience of my life. Living abroad taught me not only how to live as a part of a different culture, but also about the value of personal relationships and how the ability to speak a foreign language allows you to truly embrace another culture and to learn and grow from a group of individuals perhaps very different from yourself.  My goal as a part of the Global Education Student Committee is to help spread awareness and excitement about the study abroad program at Duke. I aim to help provide students with the resources necessary to help them to choose the study abroad program that best suits their goals and expectations so that they can have as meaningful and life-changing an abroad experience as I did. Please reach out to me at any time with any and all questions you might have concerning life abroad!

GEO Program: Duke in Madrid

Majors: Biology and Spanish

Emmeline Yoo


My name is Emmeline Yoo, and I am a senior from Wyckoff, New Jersey, double-majoring in International Comparative Studies and Spanish. As a junior I spent the fall of 2015 studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with IES Abroad. My time spent in Argentina was an incredibly rewarding cultural experience that has spurred me to pursue my passions in exploring cultures all over the world. Duke provides its students countless incredible opportunities through a myriad of study abroad programs. My time spent in Argentina has compelled me to share my own illuminating experience with the Duke community. From culture shock to complete immersion, I have not only learned to appreciate a new culture entirely different from my own, but to also value and treasure my Korean-American identity. I hope to inspire my fellow peers to spend a semester abroad and take advantage of the many opportunities Duke GEO provides for our community.

GEO Program: IES Buenos Aires

Majors: ICS and Spanish

Join the GESC

The GESC application opens in early April for the following school year. If you're interested in joining, click the button below to send an email to the GESC advisor Abigail Grubbs and she will make sure you receive an application.