2023-2024 English Department Ambassadors

Literature exists without boundaries. Recognizing the limitlessness of language, the English Department Ambassadors are dedicated to showing Duke students the powerful manner in which studying English grants us access to a heightened understanding of our own selves and timeless truths of the human psyche. The English Department Ambassadors serve as liaisons for the greater Duke student body and the English Department, hosting campus outreach events to facilitate dialogue between current students, welcome new majors, and encourage prospective Duke students to explore the humanities.

Sophia Berg Photo

Sophia Berg


Sophia Berg is a freshman from Gilbert, AZ majoring in English with an interest in Political Science and Classics. Her favorite English course so far is The Legend of King Arthur taught by Dr. April Henry. Sophia believes that the English major serves to instruct on every facet of any potential career, from the development of essential writing techniques to the adoption of strong voice and choice rhetoric. After graduation, Sophia intends to attend law school with the hopes of pursuing a career in civil litigation. She hopes that the skills that she will acquire over her English major education will ensure a strong understanding of writing and research that will prepare her for a successful legal education. 

On a given Friday night, Sophia can be found relaxing with a good book or some friends, and loves a good coffee chat or autumn stroll. Sophia is happy to answer any questions concerning English, Duke, or anything else that comes to mind!

Photo of English Ambassador Natalie Farris

Natalie Farris


Natalie Farris is a junior from Afton, Virginia, studying English, Spanish, and the medical sciences. Reading and writing has long been her greatest passion, as it provides an intimate window into the endless subtleties of human nature. American “Southern Gothic” and Russian literature from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are her favorites, but she is currently trying to branch out by reading more contemporary books (recommendations welcome). Studying English alongside other seemingly disparate topics has taught her that every discipline can trace back to literature, which tackles the big questions: “Who are we? Why do we do what we do?” Natalie has loved all of her English classes and professors so far, one of her most memorable classes (and professors) being “Drink the Koolaid,” taught by Professor Black. Feel free to reach out with questions about English, combining a prehealth track with a humanities degree, or absolutely anything else!

Photo of ambassador Natalia Harnisch

Natalia Harnisch


Natalia Harnisch is a freshman from a suburb of Chicago called River Forest and is planning on double majoring in English and Spanish. Her favorite short story is Edgar Allen Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher”, and she enjoys writing poetry, as she sees it as a beautiful way to express oneself. She is loving her Spanish Global Humanities course taught by Professor Mulligan, in which she has been able to explore the complex philosophical, metaphorical, and symbolistic writing of such authors as Silvina Ocampo, Julio Cortázar, and Jorge Luis Borges.

Natalia sees English, in terms of writing and literature, as one of the most valuable art forms, and is excited for the English courses that await her at Duke. She has a love of all art forms, as she also does photography, music, dance, and painting. She is of Hispanic heritage and hopes to combine her love of literature and writing in both Spanish and English to become an immigration lawyer and help minorities fight for their rights.

Photo of English Ambassador Stephen Kim

Stephen Kim


Stephen Kim is a senior from New York, New York majoring in English and minoring in VMS Cinematic Arts.  He is on the Duke Division I Men’s Fencing Team and was an internationally ranked fencer in high school.  Stephen chose the English major because he finds linguistics, literature, and writing fascinating.  Stephen particularly likes the works of John Milton, but he enjoys a wide variety of literature spanning multiple centuries, including works from David Henry Thoreau, Gabriel Garcia Marquez,  Edgar Allen Poe, George Orwell, and Haruki Murakami.  Stephen is currently writing his distinction thesis that will explore the origins and evolution of romance in Western literature, especially as they relate to modern perceptions of marriage.

After graduation, Stephen plans to pursue a career in the film & television industry, a field of great interest to him since childhood.  He believes an English degree will strongly prepare him for the crucial communicational and writing skills required in the workforce.  Stephen also loves learning languages and currently speaks three fluently: English, Korean, and Spanish.  He enjoys traveling and living abroad, having spent extensive time in South Korea since the age of eleven, where he attended school.  Recently, he began studying Levantine Arabic and hopes to visit Jordan sometime over the next few years.

Photo of English Ambassador Maddie Rubin

Maddie Rubin


Maddie Rubin is a senior from New York, majoring in English and Risk, Data & Financial Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. Her first couple of years at Duke were spent coding away in electrical engineering labs, but, after enrolling in an English course on a whim, she has rediscovered her love for writing. Her favorite course so far has been Bob Dylan, and her favorite course right now is creative non-fiction. She also can’t have a conversation without mentioning she spent this past summer at the University of Oxford learning about Victorian Literature under the tutelage of a knight. On rare evenings, Maddie can be found in the back corner of comedy shows around Durham, and, for the past four years, she has been trying to teach herself a singular song on the guitar.  She see’s a lot of potential in the intersection between literature and technology, and she would love the opportunity to convince fellow Pratt stars to come and join her over in the humanities. 

Photo of Trisha Santanam

Trisha Santanam


Trisha Santanam is a sophomore from Greensboro, NC, majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing. Being an English major has allowed Trisha to explore literature written by and about people who have been historically underrepresented and marginalized. She believes that studying English teaches us to be more articulate in our judgments of what it means to be human-- imperfect, messy, kind-- and to be more attentive to our ethical responsibilities in the journey of self-knowledge. Trisha’s favorite English course so far has been Southern Accents taught by Dr. Taylor Black and Dr. Sophia Enríquez.

On any given evening, you can find her practicing flute duets in Biddle, lounging in the gardens with a book, or on the hunt for Durham’s best sweet treat. Trisha is happy to answer questions about English, Creative Writing, or life at Duke, in general. 

Photo of English Ambassador Claire Wang

Claire Wang


Claire Wang is a senior from San Diego, CA majoring in English and Psychology with a minor in Biology. Claire’s favorite English class so far is Grimm’s Fairy Tales taught by Dr. April Henry. The English major has helped her explore her passion for storytelling and its potential to empower and empathize; it provides broader historical knowledge and explores various cultural and ethical perspectives through the discussion of a wide range of literature showcasing different forms of communication, expression, and representation.

In her free time, she loves baking, traveling, going on food crawls in big cities, taking long walks, or just curling up with a good book in bed. Claire would love to answer any questions, either related to the major or about anything else at Duke!




See Past English Department Ambassadors