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We here at DukeEngage Portland have already begun to form a community complete with group outings and group dinners. All of us are excited to be here helping local nonprofits and governments with sustainability, environmental justice, and more! All of us are passionate about these issues and our responsibility to help in any way we can. But who are we as individuals? Well, let us introduce ourselves…


Carol Xia
Hello! My name is Carol Xia and I am a rising sophomore studying Computer Science and Environmental Science. Home for me is a small city in Texas named Allen, so I’m very excited to be in Portland, where so much nature and greenery abounds! Some of my favorite things include: laughing, exploring nature, drinking good coffee, and practicing tae kwon do with the club at Duke. I cannot wait to work with the Nature Conservancy and learn more about its niche within Portland and the wildlife it serves.


Tracey Ding
My name is Tracey Ding, and I am a rising sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science. I am from Suzhou, China, which is the friendly city of Portland. I am a member of a Chinese Dance team and an Asian fraternity. I am also part of the Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) team of Duke Health, though I am not technically a pre-med track student. I play basketball and go cycling in my spare time.


Richard Van Vliet
My name is Richard Van Vliet. I’m a rising Junior here at Duke. I’m majoring in International Comparative Studies with a concentration in Europe. In my free time, I love to listen to and play music. I also love to bike, travel, and explore in general.


Jana Woerner
I’m a rising senior at Duke with a major in Environmental Science. I spent my junior year traveling the world with various study abroad programs focusing on biodiversity, conservation, and human-induced climate change. I’m passionate about the environment and love to bike, swim, and explore nature. In addition, I have three older brothers and a two-year old niece (arguably one of the cutest toddlers alive, but I may be a little biased).


Amanda Sear
I’m a rising junior from NY studying Public Policy and International Comparative Studies. When I’m not over-enthusiastically hanging out with people to ease my FOMO, I can be found eating or lounging on my bed. At home, I can be found binge-watching all of the Netflix shows I don’t have time to watch during school.


Abbie Mann-Wood
My name is Abbie Mann-Wood, and I’m a rising junior majoring in Public Policy with a certificate in Policy, Journalism, and Media Studies. I spend most of my time at the Climbing Wall in Wilson, either working or pretending like I know how to climb. When I’m not there, it’s almost guaranteed that I’m hiding in my room, avoiding social interactions and learning how to be a doctor through Grey’s Anatomy. My favorite food—and the only one I know how to cook—is pasta, and my favorite book is the entire Harry Potter series.


Elizabeth Allen

After a childhood wandering in the woods, sitting around campfires, and looking up at the stars, I have learned to love the peace that comes from nature. Now I seek out nature by biking, hiking, sailing, and, most recently, rock climbing. I plan to major in Environmental Policy with a certificate in Civic Engagement & Social Change. Other things I do include: reading (I read 196 books the one year I kept track), watching musicals (I’ve listened to more than twenty musical soundtracks), and explaining for the millionth time that, yes, I am a triplet and, no, my brothers do not go to my school.


Nick Simmons
I am a rising sophomore from Davie County, North Carolina. I am minoring in education but undecided on major (currently between English and money  paying off my student loans computer science). I enjoy running, late-night Cookout runs with friends, the Durham farmer’s market and reading various New Yorker, NYT and Scalawag (#plug) pieces.


Margaret Overton
My name is Margaret Overton, and I’m a rising sophomore from Nashville, TN. I’m planning on studying Environmental Science & Policy with a minor in Basketball Studies and a certificate in Cloud Photography. I’m in a fraternity despite being female, and I’m in HackDuke despite having no coding knowledge at all. I have a weakness for smoothies and TV shows about historical conspiracies. In my spare time, I make Twitter bots, find places to sit in a hammock, and drink hot chocolate year-round.


Sierra Cleveland
I’m a rising junior majoring in Biology, minoring in Environmental Science, and earning a Certificate in Documentary Studies. I grew up in Southern California, but my parents moved to a small town in Kentucky a few years ago. I’m passionate about environmental sustainability, but I hope to find a career in animal rights. As a STEM major, I know a lot about environmental science, so I chose to explore the other side of sustainability during my DukeEngage service. I am so excited to be working with OPAL Environmental Justice this summer.