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September 2010

DukeEngage expands to fund 425 undergraduates in Summer 2011; announces nine new programs in the U.S., abroad

  • 09.30.10
  • Posted By: Eric Van Danen


A comparative watershed management project in Beaufort and Durham, NC, a wetlands conservation/restoration project in the Louisiana Bayou in response to this year’s BP Gulf oil spill, and an environmental justice effort in the Ecuadorian Amazon are among nine new DukeEngage group programs that will take place in Summer 2011.

Additional programs are being launched in Charlotte, NC; Spring Creek, NC; New York City, NY; Grenada, Nicaragua; La Plata, Argentina; and Jodphur, India.  Nearly two-dozen domestic and international DukeEngage programs are being sustained from Summer 2010, and many of these will be going into their 4th summer of service.

Adding to the excitement for 2011 is a program expansion from 375 to 425 participants.  

“This is an exciting time for us at DukeEngage,” said Executive Director Eric Mlyn. “We are simultaneously building new programs while working with our returning DukeEngage students who share with us their stories of challenges, successes and transformations.”  

Deborah Hicks, a research scholar in Duke’s Education Program, who will lead a new volunteer program in Spring Creek that tackles literacy issues among Appalachian young women and girls, added, “The chance to lead a new domestic program through DukeEngage is exciting for all of us in the Program in Education who are involved with the program in Spring Creek.  Whether volunteering to address literacy in North Carolina, or working with refugees as far away as Cairo or Dublin, Duke students have a unique chance to make a difference for others and to have an unforgettable learning and leadership experience themselves.” 

DukeEngage group programs led by faculty, staff or partner volunteer-sending organizations (VSOs) will accommodate roughly 355 undergraduates in 2011.  An additional 70 students will take part in DukeEngage by customizing independent projects spanning a broad range of social issues under the guidance of faculty and staff mentors.  Both group programs and independent projects immerse students in partner communities for a minimum of eight weeks.  To date, more than 1,000 Duke students have participated in programs and projects in more than 45 nations on nearly every continent.  

DukeEngage was launched in 2007 through the establishment of a $30 million endowment from The Duke Endowment and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program has benefited from the additional support of a growing number of generous and devoted alumni and friends. 

Students can learn more about next summer’s group program opportunities by visiting as well as attending “DukeEngage Week-And-A-Half” October 18-28, when site-specific information sessions will be held along with sessions dedicated to potential independent projects.

The deadline for those applying to group programs in an international location is 12 noon EST on Monday, Nov. 8, 2010.  The deadline for applying to group programs in a domestic location, independent projects and to the DukeEngage in Russia study abroad hybrid program is 12 noon EST on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011.  Students may apply to up to two group programs, but one of them must be located in the United States.  Applicants must also select either a group program or independent project track.

Eric Mlyn reappointed executive director of DukeEngage

  • 09.15.10
  • Posted By: Eric Van Danen

Eric Mlyn has been reappointed as executive director of DukeEngage through June 30, 2016, following a review chaired by Suzanne Shanahan, associate director, Kenan Institute for Ethics and associate research professor of sociology.

DukeEngage was founded in 2007 with support from The Duke Endowment and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Its mission is to empower students to address critical human needs through immersive service, in the process transforming students, advancing the university's educational mission, and assisting communities in the United States and abroad.

"DukeEngage is at the forefront of Duke's signature theme of learning in the service to society," said Provost Peter Lange.  "Its success is due in large part to Eric's outstanding leadership and his commitment to experiential learning." 

For the full news story, please go here.

Eric Mlyn (below, right) visits with family members in Santa Catalina, Guatemala, after completing the construction of the family's new home under the auspices of the service organization From Houses to Homes.  Visit Mlyn's ongoing blog here

    • Guatemala - Mlyn Service

DukeEngage/Global Health projects featured in new video

  • 09.15.10
  • Posted By: Eric Van Danen

Three health-related service projects undertaken by DukeEngage students this past summer -- in Ethiopia, Haiti and Uganda -- are profiled in a new video captured by the Duke Global Health Institute.  Students Julie Rivo '13, Josh Greenberg '11 and Braveen Ragunanthan '12 unfold details connected to their unique service experiences.  Check it out!

Read all of this summer's student-written blogs. 

    • DukeEngage Cairo