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My name is Elena and I will be spending the next two months in Neltume, Chile with 6 other undergrads, AJ, Ethan, Nate, Ansley, Kevin, and Stella, our program coordinator, Connie, and our program director José. As part of our program, we will all be posting about many of the experiences we have and projects we undertake. However, I thought that it might be useful to begin our posts with a brief introduction to who we are and a tour of where we spend our days.

The DukeEngage Chile 2018 group in Puerto Fuy

José (3rd from the right), our program director, was born in Chile and hopes to give back to his country through this program that he created. He is an economist and has taught at both UNC Chapel Hill and Duke.

Connie (blue jacket with adorable dog), our program coordinator, attended Duke’s Nicholas School for graduate school and specializes in coastal environmental management. She currently lives in California and hopes to eventually work either in nonprofits or government.

Stella (3rd from left) is a rising senior from New Jersey, majoring in Environmental Science. She miraculously runs almost every morning and studies biomarkers related to air pollution.

Ethan (4th from right) is a rising junior from Chapel Hill and is majoring in Environmental Science and History with a minor in French. He is on the track and cross country teams, and has been using many of the skills he has as a former boy scout in Neltume.

AJ (4th to left) is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, is possibly majoring in Economics and Spanish, with a possible Computer Science minor. He is on the rowing club and is also making use of his boy scouting experience.

Ansley (first on the left) is a rising sophomore from Austin and is possibly majoring in Public Policy with a possible Computer Science minor. She speaks English, French, Spanish, and Japanese, can read Hebrew, and is learning Italian. She has worked on a ranch for many years and continuously points out how fat and happy the Chilean horses are.

Nate (first on the right) is a rising junior from Emerald Isle, NC, and is majoring in Biology with a minor in Computer Science. He surfs and plays hockey, teaches kids on the weekends through Duke SPLASH, and studies tumor formation in roundworms.

Kevin (2nd from the right) is a rising sophomore from Greenville, SC, and is majoring in Computer Science. He hopes to one day work on UX/UI, is in Duke Chinese Dance, and has been taking some fantastic pictures of the Chilean sights with his Google Pixel 2, that I am sure he will include in his blog post.

As I said, I am Elena (2nd from the left). I am a rising junior from northern Virginia, majoring in Chemistry with a concentration in Pharmacology and a Biology minor. I am in the Duke Symphony Orchestra, a Capella, and I study organic synthesis of drugs to combat antibiotic resistance.

Now that we have been introduced, here is a brief tour of where we will be living and working for the next two months.

“Welcome to Neltume” sign, at the entrance to the town (photo credits: Stella)

Small train with “Neltume” sign at entrance to town (photo credits: Stella)

View of the street to the left of the Huilo Huilo Foundation

View of the street to the right of the Huilo Huilo Foundation

View from the entrance of the Huilo Huilo Foundation at sunrise, Mocho and Choshuenco Volcanoes (photo credits: Stella)

View from the entrance of the Huilo Huilo Foundation during the day, and the Mocho and Choshuenco Volcanoes

Entrance to the Huilo Huilo Foundation

Lodges, workshops, and offices

Girls’ lodge

Cat in front of the girls’ lodge

“Huilo Huilo Foundation, Wildlife” sign on the front door of the girls’ lodge

Main sitting area and fireplace

Dining area



Upstairs main area

Hall bathroom and bedroom for Stella, Elena, and Ansley

Connie’s bedroom

Elena’s side of the room

Ansley and Stella’s side of the room


Boys’ lodge and rental cars (José’s red truck and Connie’s SUV)

Main entrance of the boys’ lodge

Office in boys’ lodge

Piano (my favorite part of the lodge!)

Main sitting area (featuring AJ)

Main dining area (featuring Ethan)



Nate and Kevin’s room

Main area upstairs and bathroom

Main area upstairs and Ethan and AJ’s room

Welcome to the Huilo Huilo Foundation!!