Carolyn Covalt

Student Services Coordinator / GEO Advisor


I love being transformed by entering spaces I’ve never been in before. This is where my sense of how the world works expands (these moments of discovery are some of my favorites as a human!). It is also how I learn to interpret what I experience -and to imagine future actions and systems -in brand new ways. When this also includes the joy of learning new languages and completely different ways of operating and communicating, I become giddy with the delight of soaking it all in, and growing as a person.

Between graduating high school and starting college, I spent a year as an AFS high school exchange student in Quito, Ecuador. Ecuador remains one of my homes to this day, my Spanish is 100% of the Ecuadorian mountains, and you might regret asking me what I love about this small and diverse country, because I will not stop if you do...

In college, knowing that I wanted to learn more languages, I turned to Japanese, a bit by chance. I went on study abroad to northern, rural Japan, and fell in love with the people and the nature of Iwate prefecture. After graduation I lived and taught in the town of Shizukuishi for two years, and also consider that area another home.

Now you know why I work in this field, and what I hope Duke students might get out of their study away experiences. 😊 Everyone has their own reasons for engaging in a study away experience, and that is exactly as it should be. I love talking with students about their personal, as well as academic, goals when they are exploring Duke’s many study away options.

Who am I outside of GEO? (in non-pandemic times) I spend a lot of time and energy involved in local theater, as well as the folk music scene. I hang out at Geer Street Garden more than one human ever should. I love the creative energy in Durham. I am also a nerd who loves a good spreadsheet and who rejoices when data and systemic changes make our world a bit more clear and coherent. I love exploring identity,definitions of problematic words like “family” and “home,” and understanding the intersectionality of absolutely everything. I don’t ever want to stop learning new things, ever. If I could be paid to be a professional “learner of many things,” I would sign up tomorrow.

My formal education includes: a B.A. in Japanese Studies from Earlham College, an M.A. in Performance Studies from UNC-CH and an M.F.A. in Asian Performance from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.(My non-formal, life-mandated education is far more interesting...something I find true for most humans.)

My primary responsibilities: General study away advising, and Duke-In program management for a handful of our summer programs: Duke in Silicon Valley, Duke in Chicago –Finance, Duke in Oxford, Duke in London–Drama, and Duke in London–Finance. On campus, I plan and participate in a variety of campus outreach and re-entry events, with GEO and campus colleagues. I am also ALLY Trained and a First Generation/Low SES Student Advocate.

I joined the Global Education Office for Undergraduates in the fall of 2014.