New Student Profiles

Fall 2014

Muhammad Ali holds a bachelor's degree from National University of Science and Technology in Pakistan and a master's in business administration from San Jose State University.  Muhammad has spent 12 years in the U.S. in the software industry and his interest "is fueled by my search for answers on the politics of religion and the variability of democracy in Muslim countries."  He hopes his MALS degree will enable him "to explore how philosophy can be used as a tool to help find relevance for religion in an increasingly materialistic world, devoid of spiritual elements."

Dolores Arreguin-Carey comes into the GLS program with her bachelor's degree in Sociology from UNC-Pembroke.  Dee, as she prefers to be called, is currently employed as credentials manager at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, NC.  She believes that pursuing her MALS degree "can continue to meet my educational and intellectual needs by its flexibility to provide a curriculum to students who have demanding careers and families."   While Dee is not pursuing this degree for career advancement, she "would grab the ‘golden ring' if advancement was encouraged" within her job.

With a bachelor's degree in business from St. Mary's College, Jennifer Boroski is the International Program Manager for the Office of Duke Kunshan University and China Initiatives.  Jennifer finds herself challenged by the importance of effective communication and its impacts.  She wants to "further develop myself intellectually by conducting research, communicating with fellow students and faculty, and writing papers."  A more personal goal of Jennifer's is to "take courses that stimulate my mind by challenging me to learn about topics that are not in my daily realm."

Beverly Dowdy joins the GLS program with her bachelor's degree in library science from Appalachian State University and her master's degree in library science from University of Oklahoma.  Beverly is Associate Librarian in Electronic Resources and Serials Management at Perkins Library at Duke.  She was delighted to find a master's degree that "would not be connected with my career, at least in an official way ... [and] would like to delve into the intellectual feast offered at Duke, and to do so not to meet the requirements for a profession or career, but for my own enrichment."

Having recently completed her AB degree with a major in Media Creativity and a minor in TV Editing from Communication University of China (Beijing), Yangyang Geng spent this summer as an intern journalist with CCTV English News in China.  While Yangyang now has a solid foundation in the media, she is seeking a graduate degree where she can "learn beyond the boundary ... [can] trigger deeper thoughts on many different fields such as culture, economics, sociology, and politics."  Yangyang would like to use her MALS degree's interdisciplinary work to return to her career in the media industry with wider and deeper knowledge along with sharper writing skills.

Dillon Haviland earned his bachelor's degree in political science at Duke in May 2014.  As a three-year letter winner on Duke's varsity baseball team, Dillon realized he would be wise to consider alternative careers "if my life went in a different direction."  One option would be to pursue a career as a sports attorney representing players, coaches, and possibly even entire organizations.  Eventually he would like to apply to law schools and he believes completing a Duke MALS degree would be a great asset in helping him attain his potential goal of becoming a sports attorney.  

Kaitlin Henderson joins the GLS community after completing her AB degree in molecular biology from Princeton University.  Since finishing her undergraduate degree in 2012, Kaitlin has interned at in the Exhibitions Department at The Horticultural Society of New York.  She believes her MALS degree will "allow me to develop a unique academic foundation in all of these fields [fine art, scientific research, and public engagement] and integrate them with guidance into a cohesive and functional whole." 

As a very recent graduate of Duke University with an AB in Sociology and Markets and Management, Rachel Kahan looks forward to the exceptional opportunity of exploring courses in her MALS degree.  She was attracted to the interdisciplinary focus of GLS compared to other graduate degrees where there is one focus.  Rachel describes herself as a "curious person who would enjoy being able to participate in multiple fields of study and not be restricted to just one."

Eli Keimach holds a bachelor's degree in Sport Management from University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  While pursuing his undergraduate degree at UMass, Eli was an offensive intern coach and then moved to assistant wide receivers coach at Amherst College.  He relocated to Durham in July 2014 to join Duke's football coaching staff as graduate student assistant coach working primarily with the offensive unit.  Eli believes the Graduate Liberal Studies Program will be "the opportunity to explore different perspectives in diverse classroom settings spanning a diverse subject matter."

Completing his bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics from Pepperdine University in California, Huanliang Lou is looking forward to continuing his academic career at the graduate level where small classes are conducive to intimate relationships with professors and students and "interactions after class are frequent."  Huanliang's home country is China and he hopes to tailor his courses within GLS to study the cultural history of economic developments of modernity, especially as they pertain to China.

Tony Monaco has a bachelor's degree in Geography/Geographic Information Systems from UNC-Chapel Hill.  Putting his degree to work for him for a year after graduation, Tony discovered that "the work was simply too detached for me, too abstract."  He became active teaching ESL courses through the Orange County Literacy Council and found it fulfilling to help underprivileged students not only in English skills, but also with basic math and science and computer literacy.  It is his hope that his master's degree in liberal studies will allow him to pursue a career in the Foreign Service or the United Nations to promote international education development and help increase the accessibility of education to marginalized groups such as the students he once taught.

With a bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern studies from Brigham Young University and a master's degree from Dartmouth College, Rachael Patterson is an instructor of African Studies at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, NC. While she hopes to eventually pursue a Ph.D., Rachael is eager to explore intellectual nourishment, rigor, and excitement that she will find within the GLS community.  "I would like to partake of the wealth of knowledge the Duke faculty have and hopefully bring some of my own experiences to the table to enhance the learning of my fellow students."

Caroline Rudd graduated from The Citadel with a bachelor's degree in education.  She is currently advancement officer and history teacher at Oak Ridge Military Academy.  The fact that GLS enables full-time employed students to pursue their master's degree on a part-time track, Caroline knew this would be a good fit for her.  "I need the small program atmosphere and the individualized attention to acclimate back into the classroom as a student rather than a teacher."  She welcomes the challenge of balancing school and work and is eager to begin her coursework towards her MALS degree.

Quantre'Z Stevenson joins the GLS community after completing his bachelor's degree in visual arts and computer science at Duke University.  After a devastating knee injury that saw the end of his collegiate football career after only two years at Duke, Quan turned his focus to another passion that he had long nurtured - that of illustration and graphic art.  He believes pursuing his AM degree in liberal studies will enhance his ability think more critically and creatively to enhance his goal of working in video production and sports graphics with Duke Athletics.  "The GLS program offers a diverse selection of courses that will allow me to explore topics that I have never studied before, broadening my horizons."

Completing her bachelor's degree in international studies and political science at Ohio State University and her master's degree in higher education administration from George Washington University, Megan Tisdale currently works in Duke University's School of Law.  While having enjoyed a career as a higher education professional, she is intellectually curious and "the concept of casting a wide net to gather as much knowledge as possible is a relevant metaphor to the curriculum within the Liberal Studies program."  Megan would like to eventually pursue her doctorate in higher education, particularly focusing on women in leadership.

Nils Tracy earned his bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Miami University in Ohio and went on to complete a juris doctorate degree from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA.  With his professional career enabling him to relocate to North Carolina, Nils researched and found out about the MALS degree at Duke.  "While the law degree opened up many professional opportunities, it did surprising little to satiate my need for intellectual stimulation ... [I] believe the Liberal Studies program is exactly the right program, at exactly the right time, in exactly the right place."

After completing his bachelor's degree in political science from Alfred University this past May, Thomas Tsatsis seized the opportunity to further his education at the graduate level to give him the breadth and interdisciplinary approach to various disciplines. "It is my belief that the liberal studies program will be able to satisfy this appetite by offering many courses in different fields that will further my knowledge of the world."   He would like to eventually attend law school but first wishes to hone research, writing, and critical thinking skills while exploring different fields of study to help him choose which field of law he would pursue.

Taylor Virden holds a bachelor's degree in visual and media studies with dual certificates in film/digital/media and markets and management from Duke.  She played varsity women's lacrosse while enrolled as an undergraduate and was team captain in her junior and senior years.  She looks to the MALS degree as "an opportunity to gain priceless experiences that would serve to fuel my desire to grow, develop, and hone my skills while increasing my knowledge and research abilities."

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is where James Wahlberg conferred his bachelor's degree in biology.  He recently left his job as a scientist at a biotech company to travel to Beirut, Lebanon, to teach a review course this summer for students applying to medical school where most students will attend at the American University of Beirut.  In his spare time James enjoys sailing and is currently building a 14-foot wooden catamaran to sail on lakes around Durham.  In his application essay, he states that he has been seeking a "more formal and rigorous environment in which to engage great books and questions.  This desire has led me to the Duke Graduate Liberal Studies program."

Yumeng Zhang transferred from China University of Geosciences to complete her bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Pittsburg.  After reading the works of Duke professors Anne Allison and Kang Liu, she became intrigued by the role of women in Asian culture and in Chinese literature.  Yumeng states that she "aims to complete my [MA] from Duke with a focus on China with consideration of its Chinese literature, history (pre-modern), philosophy, or linguistics." 

Completing her bachelor's degree in English from Beijing International Studies University, Manjun Zhao has worked as a translator in Shenzhen Giltbridge Translation Co., Ltd., where she was responsible for translation of information technology, telecommunication, and financial banking services.   She discovered Duke's GLS program by visiting the national organization's (Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs) official website.  "As soon as I thoroughly consulted the program goals, structure and curriculum, I knew it was the education I have yearned for so many years."  Manjun eventually would like to become an independent scholar in China where she hopes to "be a rational guardian for the freedom to speak truth."