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The DukeEngage Communications team sat down with Marlee Krieger, Research Project Manager of Biomedical Engineering and Executive Director for the Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies, to discuss her extensive involvement with DukeEngage-Orange County.  This profile is part of an interview series that aims to share how DukeEngage programs impact community members, partners, and students. Follow us on Instagram for more content like this!

What sparked your interest in a DukeEngage program?

Two of my life-long passions are education and science. The DukeEngage-Orange County program allows me to pursue those two passions while having a positive community impact in California. Since the start of the program, we have partnered with Girls Inc., a non-profit organization which aims to empower young women by giving them the tools to navigate social, economic, and gender barriers. More recently, we have added another partner, Global Girls, a non-profit creating innovative programs to mentor young women through art and story-telling. As members of the DukeEngage-Orange County program, we provide additional mentors to each of these partner organizations as well as develop, test, and implement relevant curricula related to STEM, health, art, and storytelling.


Students working on a computer
Students working together on a computer


What do you believe students have taken away from the experience over the years?

DukeEngage students each have their own unique set of benefits and experiences as a result of participating in the program. Through the years, some of the most significant impacts the program has had on Duke students are 1) increased ability to work in new environments, 2) increased knowledge of the challenges faced by various socioeconomic classes, and 3) increased self-confidence in learned skills through teaching.

What benefit does your DukeEngage program offer the community/partners?

The DukeEngage-Orange County program offers a number of direct benefits to partners but the most significant benefit is providing our partners with a talented and motivated team of Duke undergraduates who can seamlessly assist them with achieving their summer goals through rigorous service-based immersion. The program also directly benefits young women in the Orange County area by exposing them to accessible and positive college role models.

What will you miss most about not running a program this summer?

I will sincerely miss working with the Duke students every day and getting to know each student in a different capacity than offered in a traditional classroom setting. I will regret being unable to form new relationships with community partner team members and community members themselves. Additionally, the Duke alumni in Orange County play a significant role in the success of the program each year. I will miss engaging with them and giving the Duke students the opportunity to work directly with them in California.


Students joined together at Project Hope Alliance
Students posing for a picture at Project Hope Alliance


What’s your advice on how to stay engaged while socially apart?

While social distancing, it is important to remember to connect with not only your partners, but also your friends and loved ones. Remember to take a break from work and connect with important people in your life. Keeping communication consistent is beneficial both professionally and personally.