New Student Profiles
A native of Morocco, Amal Boumaaza holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and law from Cadi Ayyad University (Marrakech). She is a part-time Arabic instructor at Duke and private Arabic tutor. In this capacity, Amal “considers herself to be a bridge between two cultures: the Arab and Muslim world and the West.” She comes to the GLS program to purse studies “on issues related to Arab American women and their relationship to their homeland as well as their integration into American society” while developing skills to become a stronger teacher.
Zhenyu Dong has a bachelor’s degree in business from University of Nottingham in Ningbo, China. With an entrepreneurial spirit she was able to pursue in her undergraduate studies, Zhenya comes to GLS to explore “global political and economic environments” in pursuit of a career as a social commentator when she returns to China.
With a bachelor’s degree in education from Baylor University, Katie Eller has pursued her commitment to children and education as an elementary school teacher, having taught in various types of schools (public and private). She comes to GLS to become a better educator, to find the “heart and art of the content” she teaches, and “to develop a habit of mind that naturally looks across disciplines, thinks critically, and connects at the intersections of various content.”
Michael Holesh holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from NC State University. With interests far beyond his finance degree, Michael seeks to explore the global effects of the interplay among politics, cultures, technologies, and economies. He comes to GLS in pursuit of study that will lead to a “more fulfilled, significant life.”
With a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jessica Levitt is a staff specialist with Trinity College Academic Deans’ Office at Duke, where she works with undergraduates whose intellectual enthusiasm has whetted her appetite for graduate study. She comes to GLS to “not only continue her academic exploration, but also to deepen her understanding of higher education, students, and how best to guide them.”
Sarah Maxwell holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Randolph-Macon Women’s College. Having earned certification in middle school social studies teaching from the NC Teach program at NC Central University, Sarah was a 6th grade humanities and social studies teach at Kestrel Heights Charter School. She comes to GLS to satisfy her personal quest for intellectual challenge as well as to sharpen her classroom skills.
Associate director of undergraduate admissions at Duke, Kathy Phillips has a bachelor’s degree in education from Shippensburg University. She tells us that her “primary reason for [entering the GLS program] is… to be enriched personally… to be able to explore subjects that interest her… to have thoughtful, intellectual discussions about topics that are important to her.” The GLS program, specifically, is attractive for its “interdisciplinary study and the intersection of areas of knowledge.”
Ryan Risner has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UNC Chapel Hill and is a rhythm and blues musician. His interest in graduate education emerges from an interest in history and its intersection with human perception. His arrival at GLS is the result of his “thirst for historical knowledge [in combination with] an academic viewpoint firmly rooted in the scientific method.” The GLS interdisciplinary approach, he tells us, creates the “perfect setting in which his interests can thrive.”
A native of Argentina, Victoria Santamarina has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Catholic University of Argentina in Buenos Aires. Acutely aware of the political situation in her country, Victoria hopes for a career in the Argentine National Congress, where she will work to promote democracy. To that end, she’s come to GLS for the “sophisticated set of philosophical, social, and political pathways to develop her understanding and skills in public policy,” and plans to earn a certificate in international development along with her master’s degree.
Barry Varela has a bachelor’s degree in English from Grinnell College. A published writer and editor, he is now a researcher and writer with the Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. Barry comes to GLS “to study the history of philanthropy and develop an original, in-depth work examining social and ethical issues relevant to contemporary philanthropy.”
Alicia Whitlock is a practicing attorney with Smith Debnam Narron Drake Saintsing & Myers, LLP. She earned her JD from Campbell University and her bachelor’s degree in political science from Wake Forest University. Alicia comes to GLS to “flex her intellectual muscles in ways she doesn’t in her professional life… to step out of her comfort zone and be challenged by subjects” that are new to her. Professionally, she hopes to develop a multidisciplinary understanding of social issues and gain a better understanding of medical ethics, health systems, and conflict resolution.
Erica Woods has a bachelor’s degree in historical studies from SUNY-Empire State College. She is a senior production editor with Oxford University Press. Having published others’ narratives, she tells us, she is now ready to tell her own stories and those of all women of color. Committed to higher education for women who do not have this opportunity, Erica hopes to create a nonprofit supporting this goal.
Tyler Bonin holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Campbell University. Having lived in Japan and the Middle East while serving in the Marine Corps, Tyler brings an international perspective and curiosity to his graduate studies. He comes to GLS to “continue his lifelong explorations of the world … by following a fascination into uncharted territory.”
A recent graduate of Duke, Lee Butler has a bachelor’s degree in sociology. With a career goal of working with underprivileged children, Lee expects that the challenges and diversity he encounters in his GLS courses will help him develop the skills and leadership for his next step – a doctorate degree. During his undergraduate years, Lee participated in the football program, which he will continue while in the GLS program.
Alexandra Carlevaro has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in film and video from The City College of New York. Having approached her undergraduate education from an interdisciplinary perspective, Alexandra is committed to “exploring how art connects…humanity in the past, present, and future” and is fascinated by “how culture has influenced art, film, and history.” She comes to the GLS program for the intellectual growth she hopes to achieve through its flexible and interdisciplinary structure.
With a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and Latin American and Caribbean studies from the University of Georgia, Maria Carla Cella brings to GLS a culturally diverse background, an international education, a passion for the environment, and personal and academic knowledge of Latin America. Carla hopes GLS will prepare her for a career in “sustainable development of the Americas... with a focus on grassroots organization and conflict resolution.”
Founding editor of the Raleigh Public Record, a nonprofit news organization, Charles Duncan holds a bachelor’s degree in English language, writing, and rhetoric from NC State University. He is also Southeastern bureau chief for the Courthouse News Service and the North Carolina stringer for the Agence France Press. He comes to GLS to satisfy “a drive… to get back into the academic environment,” to tap the resources and minds at Duke to become a better reporter.
Mohamed El Ouirdi holds a bachelor’s degree in information systems from Charter Oak State College and is an IT project manager with Duke University Libraries. A native of Morocco, Mohamed speaks many languages and brings to the GLS program his “Islamic, Moroccan and African heritage and culture.” He comes to the program in preparation for his ultimate goal of a PhD in an area that will “combine technology, human development, and knowledge management.”
With a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Hacettepe University (Ankara, Turkey), Berkay "Max" Erdemandi has been an English tutor and translator/interperter while completing his degree. He describes himself as “born in Turkey to a multicultural family (Italian, Egyptian, Greek, Turkish), who has lived in South Carolina with a multicultural Southern Baptist family, and educated in American studies.” He comes to GLS for its interdisciplinary perspective, to “focus on the history of women and gender, as the first step towards an academic career.”
Having earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts at Flagler University, Ellen Gambrell found that her broad, interdisciplinary course of study enabled her to view the world and its problems in a holistic way. She’s come to GLS to build upon that foundation as she works toward developing her skills in dealing with the world in all of its diverse aspects.
Taylor Grothe has an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree from Duke University, with a self-designed major entitled “Fairytales and Folklore: Medieval to Present.” She sees the GLS program as “a perfect fit. From its intensive writing workshops to its broad course offerings, it pushes me outside of my comfort zone while safely offering a course of study leading to my ultimate goal of professorship.”
Clarissa Harris has a bachelor’s degree in English from Hollins University. A native of Durham, she comes to the GLS program to immerse herself in its interdisciplinary study, “making connections from different fields” to create a bigger picture and earn a certificate in African and African American studies in addition to her AM degree. And through this process she “hopes to acquire a new lens” from which to ultimately find her life work in the community she loves.
Yuan He holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese literature from Zhanjiang Normal University (Guangdong, China) and has, most recently, been a translator and researcher with Golden Bridges Foundation in Beijing. Having immersed herself in English-language press and culture from her home in Beijing has offered Yuan a “frame of reference by which to observe her own country" from a distance, making her more conscious of its uniqueness. She comes to GLS for its broad course offerings and the opportunity it presents to hone her writing skills. She hopes to bring to the GLS classroom another dimension to the global dialog.
Candice Jansen holds a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism, history, and politics from Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa). She’s been media liaison officer/writer/principal photographer with Impumelelo Social Innovations Center, a nonprofit organization promoting innovative projects benefiting the poor in South Africa. Candice comes to the GLS program to improve her academic research and oral history abilities and further hone her photography as she pursues research on indigenous media production.
Having earned a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and literature from Fudan University (Shanghai, China), Chun Jiang has come to the realization that “the more I learn, the less I know… education, to me, is an ongoing process in which my thoughts and actions are continuously being shaped by every new experience.” She’s come to the GLS program for its “multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional approaches to the humanities and social sciences,” to prepare for a diplomatic career.
Batya Knebel holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has a background in small business, governmental systems, teaching, and neurobehavioral science. She comes to GLS to focus on cinematography, through which she hopes to “better understand Jewish literature and history as portrayed in the media and be able to write and produce films about Jewish issues such as the Holocaust.”
With a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester, Ray Liang has what he characterizes as a logical passion for theater, as “actors and politicians were masters of the same craft – storytelling.” He comes to the GLS program for its interdisciplinary approach, which will enable him to pursue his interest in China, its political atmosphere and its role in the world, and to heighten his cultural understanding of Chinese society.
A staff assistant with the Office of Durham & Regional Affairs at Duke, Arlene Melchiorre holds a bachelor’s degree in information management and technology from Syracuse University. She is attracted to the GLS program for “interdisciplinary courses that are diverse, creative, and stimulating.” Arlene is looking forward to “classes that will encourage me to think critically... to be part of a community of adult learners not afraid to explore and share opinions.”
Zainab Moulvi has a bachelor’s degree in the social sciences from Lahore University of Management Sciences (Pakistan). Having worked with indigenous communities during her undergraduate years, Zainab plans to use social science research as a catalyst for social change in these and other communities in Pakistan. She was awarded a Fulbright/USAID Pakistan Program grant to study at Duke.
Jim Rothschild has a master’s degree in business administration from Fontbonne College and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Colorado-Boulder. With a long career in television, he is now station manager with WRAL Television. In the GLS program, Jim “looks forward to stretching into new and radically different conversations…, to become exposed to and gain a deeper understanding of as many different subjects as possible.”
With a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), Luis Ruiz is currently cultural affairs assistant at the United States Embassy in Quito. Luis comes to GLS to “better understand how politics, the environment, culture, and economics interact,” as he strives to “focus on social development, policy making and implementation of programs that will benefit vulnerable populations.”
Jeremy Salemson holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from UNC-Greensboro and is CEO of Corporate Investors Mortgage Group, Inc. A triathlete, Jeremy is active in the community in an assortment of activities and is a public voice in the business community with a daily blog and weekly web interview show on Triangle Business Today (WRAL.com). Jeremy is attracted to GLS “to grow and be challenged” and sharpen his writing, communication, and thinking skills..
Shanawa Scott has a bachelor of arts degree in English and bachelor of science degree in biology from Davidson College. With an interest in both the sciences and the humanities, Shawana has worked in research labs, science journalism, and middle school teaching, always looking for “the story” behind the subject. With that interdisciplinary perspective, she comes to GLS in her “lifelong pursuit of knowledge” and to “find a unique voice” for a writing career.
A native of Quito, Ecuador, Marisol Silva has a bachelor’s degree in international studies from UNC Charlotte. She is currently a volunteer with the North Carolina Governor’s Office of Latino/Hispanic Affairs. Planning to earn a certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies or Global Health, Marisol joins the GLS program in preparation for a career in human rights.
Kim Smith has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in theatre from New York University. With a varied background that includes retail, law, business, and fine arts, Kim has, most recently, been sharing her theatre and musical talents with students at the Carolina Friends School. She comes to GLS for “the academic framework to gather my varied interests and diverse education… integrating them for personal, philanthropic, political, ecological, and civic applications.”
Brooke Stroufe holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from UNC Chapel Hill, with a particular interest in “media’s power to reinforce and perpetuate cultural assumptions and expectations about identity.” In her GLS studies, Brooke hopes to build on this interest using ethnographic research to find “insight on how identity is formed.” Her ultimate goal is a PhD in this area.
Brandi Thomas has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Scranton. Seeing literature as a means to understand reality, Brandi comes to GLS on her way to a PhD in English literature and, ultimately, a career in university teaching.
Yinuo Wu has a bachelor’s degree in German from Renmin University of China (Beijing, China). Committed to language as a means to exchange ideas and cultural understanding, she believes overseas experience is critical to her education. Hence, Yinou comes to Duke to immerse herself in US culture and language and benefit from a rich research experience.