The DukeEngage staff, listed below (alphabetically by last name), is a team deeply committed to service and student engagement. We work diligently throughout the year to connect Duke undergraduates to civic engagement opportunities available to them throughout the world. We also prepare students for their service experience and offer developmental opportunities to them upon their return to campus.
Irina Adams, Assistant Director for Programs
Irina grew up in Romania and received her B.A. in Chinese and Romanian language and literature from the University of Bucharest. She also spent two years studying at ZhongShan University in Gunagzhou, China as an exchange scholar. Irina has worked in marketing, communications, international education, and publishing. Prior to joining DukeEngage, she worked at the Hubert-Yeargan Center for Global Health, coordinating international rotations for Duke residents. Outside of work, she enjoys the outdoors, reading, gardening, and spending time with her amazing family and friends, especially her young son. She lives in Chapel Hill with her family.
Maria Ayscue, Staff Specialist
Maria joined Duke Engage in fall 2010. She lived in Puerto Rico as child, before moving to New Jersey at the age of nine. A North Carolina resident for the past 23 years, she now considers Durham home. Prior to joining DukeEngage, Maria was employed by Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) as a staff assistant for seven physicians. Prior to that, she worked at UNC for over nine years. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her family, including her husband, Tony; their three boys Michael, Jordan and Darryl; and her dog, Babe Girl.
Meredith Casper, Assistant Director for Training & Student Development
Meredith most recently returned from her 27-month assignment with the Peace Corps serving a rural Q’eqchi Maya community in Southern Belize. There, her work included creating an educational resource center, and facilitating teacher-training on literacy, technology, and behavior management topics. As an Ohio native, Meredith received her B.A. in Psychology from Ohio University but moved to North Carolina to attend Appalachian State University for her graduate work. Meredith has a M.A. in Professional School Counseling, with a post-graduate certificate in Expressive Arts Therapy. Before her life with the Peace Corps, she worked at ASU coordinating international outreach, educational partnerships, and college-access for first-generation college students. She spends most of her time riding her bike and creating - from quilts to artist books!
Emily Durham, Assistant Director for Programs
Emily, a native of North Carolina, graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California, with a B.A. in English. As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grantee, Emily spent a year in South Korea teaching English to 500 fifth- and sixth- grade students while living with a Korean hostfamily. Upon her return to the US, Emily worked as a Residence Hall Director at Greensboro College. Most recently, Emily completed her master’s degree in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania where she also worked in the Penn Abroad office. She’s happy to be back in North Carolina and enjoys trips to the North Carolina beach and mountains, cooking Korean food, swimming, and exploring new places.
Annie Kao, Director of Finance and Administration for Global and Civic Education
Annie is a first generation Chinese-American who came to DukeEngage from the scholarly publishing and finance worlds. She worked for many years at Duke University Press before moving into private sector business management. She has an AB in cultural anthropology from Duke (T’92) and an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. Annie loves that her job at DukeEngage gives her the opportunity to work with so many interesting constituencies—undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, administrators, other Duke departments, and people from all over the world. She has lived in four states and five countries and now proudly calls Durham her home. She and her husband Dave Wofford (www.horseandbuggypress.com) share a cozy home with their son Miles, a sweet dog, and two unflappable yet deeply emotional cats.
Elaine Madison, Associate Director for Programs, Strategy and Assessment, and Director, Durham Programs
Elaine has served as a senior advisor to DukeEngage since its origin and also oversees all Durham Programs within DukeEngage. Prior to her community engagement work for Duke, she was associate director at Duke Continuing Education. She received her J.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she was a Chancellor's Scholar, her B.A. from Colorado Women's College, and she has completed graduate work at Brandeis University and the University of Caifornia, Santa Cruz.
Eric Mlyn, Assistant Vice Provost for Civic Engagement & Executive Director, DukeEngage
Eric is the inaugural director of DukeEngage. Prior to this position, he directed the Robertson Scholars Program, a joint merit scholarship program at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill. A firm believer in the transformative power of experiential education, he has been building programs in this area for over a decade. A political scientist with a B.A. from Tufts University and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, Eric's academic and administrative work over the past 25 years has concerned itself with the role that society plays in fostering and strengthening democracy. His spouse, Judy, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Durham. His son, Noah, attends the Durham School of the Arts, and daughter, Leah, attends NYU.
Jackie Purtell, Assistant Director for Assessment and Evaluation
Jacki grew up in New York and received her B.A. in history and Latin American studies from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, where she was a Presidential Scholar and a delegate on the Model OAS debate team. After graduation, and before earning a Master of Public Policy degree from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke, Jacki spent two years as a service member with the NC Literacy Corps, an AmeriCorps program, serving in Chapel Hill and Durham. In her free time, she enjoys playing board games, reading historical fiction, attempting a variety of crafts, and, in the fall, rooting for the New York Giants. Jacki lives in Raleigh with her husband, Shawn, and their two cats, Osi and Tuck.
Kathy Sikes, Senior Assistant Director for Student Programs and Outreach
Kathy comes to DukeEngage having worked as a service-learning faculty member, national project director and nonprofit manager. Most recently, Kathy worked for Duke’s Service-Learning Program as an instructor, faculty consultant, and as the director of the International Center for Service-Learning in Teacher Education (ICSLTE). Prior to Duke, Kathy spent more than 10 years as the executive director of the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE) in the School of Education at UNC-CH, where she funded, developed, implemented and assessed youth-led, social justice focused literacy and service-learning programs on campuses across the country. A proud Durhamite, Kathy credits her nearly 10 years of work at the Durham Literacy Center (a local adult literacy nonprofit) with shaping her interests in community-based outreach and pedagogies. She received her BA from UNC-Chapel Hill and her M.Ed. from NCCU. Kathy also has a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke and training in popular education and adult learning from Global Learning Partners.
Carrie Slaughter, Assistant Director for Finance and Administration
Carrie, a native of North Carolina, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a bachelor's degree in sociology. Prior to joining DukeEngage, Carrie was employed by Duke Medical Center in the Department of Anesthesiology and by Duke University's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. Carrie was a 2001 recipient of the Meritorious Presidential Award. In her spare time, she enjoys scrapbooking, shopping, and spending time with her family, including her husband, Chris, and their two dogs, Nellie and Cadie.
Eric Van Danen, Director of Communications
Eric oversees all creative services, communications and marketing efforts for DukeEngage, including publication design, photography, documentary video, media relations, web site development, writing and outreach. Previously, he was director of communications for Duke's Division of Student Affairs. Prior to Duke, he was senior director of communications at Southwestern University (TX) and managed communications efforts for the University of Iowa Colleges of Education and Liberal Arts. He received his M.A. in journalism and mass communications from the University of Iowa and a B.A. in English at Cornell College. He currently is pursuing a certificate program at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies. Outside of work, he most enjoys spending time with his two collie rescues, Kaia and Kody. A long-time volunteer with the SPCA in Austin, TX, through which he developed a comprehensive behavioral therapy program for dogs suffering from social maladjustments, he currently dedicates time away from Duke volunteering in home settings with at-risk dogs in need of social development.