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 17-18 Student Committee
2017-2018 Global Ed Student Committee

Member Roles

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.

Executive Board members participate in at least two Global Education related events per semester and supervise 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. 

Apply for a position

  • The Executive Board application opens in March for the following school year. If you're interested in joining, email GESC advisor Abby Grubbs.
  • We accept Ambassador applications on an ongoing basis. Join us!


Sydney Smith

Hi my name is Sydney Smith and I'm a senior. 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 the programs I did in 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

Cole Halbert

GEO Programs: DIS Copenhagen, Duke in Geneva, Duke in Greece


Blake Becerra

Hi! I'm a senior from Oklahoma. 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

Steven Burcat

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 traveled 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

Savannah Dixon

Hi! I attended high school in Paris, France and took a gap year before attending Duke, working for Musicians without Borders in the West Bank and then in Hong Kong. Experiencing new countries and cultures in addition to having an international outlook on the world has always been a priority for me and influenced me to continue my passion of studying abroad while at Duke. I spent the fall semester of my junior year at the University of Hong Kong and spent this past summer in Beirut, Lebanon teaching SAT prep courses to refugees. If you have any questions about studying abroad in Europe, the Middle East, or Asia please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. My experiences thus far have been truly incredible and I want to inspire and encourage everyone to take advantage of the amazing abroad programs Duke has to offer!

GEO Programs: University of Hong Kong

Major: International Comparative Studies

Minors: Political Science and AMES

Blaine Elias

Hello! I'm a senior and 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. During my time in England with the Duke in Oxford program, 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 give Duke students 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. I also want to inspire people to take advantage of all the options Duke GEO offers.

GEO Program: Duke in Oxford

Majors: Public Policy and Global Health

Certificate: Information Science & Studies

Ebony Hargro

Hi everyone! I am senior who loves to write and travel. I am a somewhat proud NC native (depends if we're talking about our regional politics or Cookout, for example) from Charlotte!  Human rights are my biggest passion -- specifically as they relate to the African diaspora, refugee resettlement rights, and corporate accountability for human rights abuses. My Duke experience has been phenomenal, enriched by amazing professors and FOUR life-changing opportunities to leave the US, including two programs through GEO. Coming into Duke as a first-generation college student, I was determined to integrate as many travel opportunities as possible into my university experience. Looking back as a senior, I can confidently say that such a decision truly changed my college career! I definitely encourage everyone to see what opportunities await them through GEO!

GEO Programs: Duke in Paris; SIT Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy

Major: International Comparative Studies

Minor: French

Melanie Hogue

Hi folks! I am a senior from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Growing up part Peruvian and French Canadian, cultural diversity was an important factor in my life. Therefore, I've always felt the need to incorporate this element into my Duke education. With a wide range of experience with GlobalEd programs, I am so thankful for each and every one of these life-changing opportunities. They have helped shape my Duke career for the better and I would be more than happy to help others do the same. So whether you’re wondering how to fit six or more programs into one schedule, or you have questions of your own, please feel free to reach out to me!

GEO Programs: Duke in Greece; Duke in Montreal; Duke in New York - Arts and Media; Duke in Los Angeles; Arcadia - University College London

Major: English

Minor: Economics

Certificate: Arts of the Moving Image

Briana Kleiner

Hey there! I am a junior from Groton, Connecticut. I am very excited to join the Global Education Student Executive Board! At a very young age, I fell in love with traveling. I began dreaming of traveling to far away places like Australia as early as the 5th grade. In the summer following my first year at Duke, my dream came true. It was absolutely life changing. It was my first truly immersive experience in a new country despite my travels prior. After participating in the program, I became more involved in advocating for global education and studying abroad, because the world, to me, is inspirational. It ignites your inner passions, and feeds your hunger to learn more about the environment that surrounds you. I look forward to assisting future GEO program students to be inspired by the world and sharing my stories! Please do not hesitate to connect with me via my email if you have any questions about Duke in Australia, the Global Education Office, or any other inquiries about what studying abroad is like. I would be happy to help in any way that I can!

GEO Programs: Duke in Australia

Majors: Environmental Science and Political Science

Minor: Biology

Anna Kropf

Hello! I am a senior from Kansas City. After studying in Italy during the summer of 2016 (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 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

Kendall Kruszewski

Hi! I am currently a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in chemistry on the pre-medicine track. During my time at Duke I have participated in three distinct programs, and each built a craving to see more of the world abroad and has instilled in me the desire and passion to do so. I am eager to share this passion with other students and to assist throughout the decision process. If you have any questions deciding which program may be best suited for you, feel free to contact me! I would be happy to discuss program content, living in a homestay, or candidly share my perspective about any other inquiries, concerns, or unknowns that are on your mind.

GEO Programs: OTS Global Health Issues in South Africa; Duke in Alicante (Spain); DIS — Copenhagen, Denmark

Major: Psychology

Minor: Chemistry

Brenna Milligan

Hi there! I’m a current senior from Chicago, IL. I’m in the Pratt school of Engineering, and I picked Duke because of how encouraging they are of engineers (and everyone) to study abroad. I did both a Duke program and had to petition for my own program, and I have to say they both offered me totally different experiences and I’m thankful to have gone through both. I highly encourage everyone to study abroad because what other time in your life will you be able to fully immerse yourself in learning about another culture for an extended period of time? Duke has so many amazing programs that will not only enrich your college years but help you learn about yourself. Feel free to contact me with any questions!

GEO Programs: Duke in Madrid; Yonsei University, Korea (Petition)

Majors: ECE and Computer Science

Raichel Perper

Hi! I'm a current senior from Corte Madera, California. I am a Program II student studying the interface between economics, health policy, cultural anthropology, and African studies, as it relates to health care outcomes. I was fortunate to spend the entirety of my junior year abroad in South Africa on two different programs. Please feel free to reach out about how you can fit one (or more) of the endless opportunities for global education into your Duke experience, and what the petition process if like, if you are interested in a semester study abroad program that isn't Duke-approved. If you are considering studying abroad in South Africa, I am more than happy to share what both Cape Town and Durban are like (honestly, you’ll probably have to stop me from talking all day)—I highly encourage you to learn as much as you can about the programs you are interested in before you go abroad in order to maximize your experience.

GEO Programs: CIEE, Cape Town: Arts and Sciences; SIT, South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy

Major: Program 2, Health Care Outcomes: Systems & Citizens

Micaela Unda

Hello! I'm a current senior from California studying Environmental Science, Biology, and English. I’ve been fortunate enough to live out of a suitcase for the past few years and travel the world, beginning with a semester abroad in Dunedin, New Zealand. The continent hopping adventures continued and I spent this last summer in Southern Chile and Patagonia. I’m a huge believer in the fact that abroad is not just the place, but a mindset– so make a habit out of getting lost. If you want to discuss anything from study abroad to summer expeditions to spontaneous travel to exploring Durham, let me know!

GEO Program: University of Otago, New Zealand

Major: Environmental Science and Policy


We are in the process of recruiting ambassadors! If you'd like to join, please apply here.






Costa Rica


Czech Republic











New Zealand


South Africa





United Kingdom



Find even more Duke students who have studied away. Using your NetID, you can access GEO’s Past Participant Contact Lists. These rosters from past cohorts of both Duke-In and Duke-Approved study away programs offer a long list of students who have agreed to provide their contact information to others seeking advice.

Access the Lists