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The guiDE program provides DukeEngage alumni a pathway to continue their commitment to service and civic engagement by providing leadership, mentorship and service opportunities that support wider DukeEngage efforts on campus and beyond.


Major: Political Science

Contact Stephanie:

Stephanie Mayle is a senior studying Political Science, French, and Human Rights. This past summer, she completed an Independent DukeEngage project in the Eastern Region of Cameroon, partnering with a local refugee organization. In Cameroon, Stephanie worked primarily with refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR), completing gender violence research and creating an international grant-writing system for her community partner. Stephanie became passionate about the global refugee crisis after working with resettled refugees in Durham through Duke Launch Lab. She is a current Co-Chair of the Duke Student Advisory for Human Rights and loves podcasts, reading, and exploring Durham (especially the restaurants). She hopes to work in International Development after graduating, and eventually go to law school.

Resource Guide

Following her summer in Cameroon, Stephanie developed the following list of resources for students who are interested in a similar program.

I’ve taken multiple courses related to my DukeEngage project. Currently I’m in Voix Francophone which is a French service-learning course working with resettled refugees in Durham. It provides an opportunity to practice French, which was crucial in Cameroon, as well as build relationships with resettled refugees from the region. Last semester, I took France and Africa, including the French preceptorial, which was extremely helpful in both keeping up my French and gaining an academic understanding of post-colonialism in former African-French colonies. I’ve also taken Human Rights and World Politics and Introduction to Human Rights, both of which provided me a foundational education about global human rights and atrocities. Since my project was human-rights based, these courses helped me learn about historical facts, current states of affairs, and global resources for promoting human rights.

Before going to Cameroon, I read the article “Splintered Warfare II: How Foreign Interference is Fueling Kleptocracy, Warlordism, and an Escalating Violent Crisis in the Central African Republic” to educate myself on the conflict in CAR. I also read the 2018 Freedom House report on Cameroon to understand the political state in the country. Since there’s conflict in multiple regions of Cameroon, I kept up to date with international reporting in the weeks leading to my departure. The most helpful in gaining an understanding of the culture in Cameroon, though, didn’t come from a book but came from talking to Peace Corps volunteers who were either in the country or had been there recently. We also read a short story in my France and Africa class called “The Money Order” that I found extremely useful in understanding how money is seen and used in Cameroon.

Duke Launch Lab – mentoring program with resettled refugee students.

Church World Services – organization that facilitates many of the refugee resettlements in Durham.