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.
Bailey Bogle is a senior from Greensboro, North Carolina, majoring in English and minoring in philosophy. Bailey has a love for languages, and she is the founder and president of the Duke American Sign Language club, through which she also advocates for the creation of an ASL department. When she’s not working for Duke ASL, Bailey also enjoys writing poetry and waiting in line for basketball games. This past summer, she conducted research on Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe with a small research team supported by the Franklin Humanities Institute, where she helped create an educational website and curate two museum exhibits commemorating the 300th anniversary of its publication. Bailey also studied Victorian literature in Oxford, United Kingdom this summer. She has loved her time as an English major at Duke, and feels that it has helped her to grow as a writer and critical thinker. Bailey is happy to talk with any prospective majors about her experiences with the English department.
Margaret Gaw is a junior from Nashville, TN majoring in English and minoring in chemistry. When she is not absorbed in a book or journal, she is in a deep conversation with a friend, rapping Hamilton, or hiking in the great outdoors. A Baldwin Scholar, she is also involved in the Kenan Refugee Project and the Episcopal Center at Duke. Along with being a physician in women’s health, she sees herself being a writer after Duke, and the English major has strongly influenced these aspirations. She loves the way the English major has taught her the practice of observation — and understanding humans as beings of interaction not only scientifically but also culturally, emotionally, and spiritually. She seeks to observe humanity in new ways through the English major and to learn about people’s stories, behavior, and social determinants of health. This summer, she participated in a program called Reimagine Medicine to gain a deep understanding of herself and study the intersections of medicine, art, ethics, storytelling, and the humanities. This semester, she is delving into European modern short fiction, William Carlos Williams, and environmental literature. Please reach out to her – she is excited to talk with you!
Catherine Johnson is a junior majoring in English and minoring in French. Her favorite thing about the English Major is how it encourages appreciation for the beauty of language. She has especially enjoyed studying Tolstoy at Duke. Outside of class, she is involved in Dukes & Duchesses, The Archive Literary Magazine, and The Coop. She enjoys volunteering through Dance Expressions and Adopt-a-Grandparent. Catherine had the privilege of studying English at the University of Oxford for a summer, which enhanced her experience with timeless works of literature. She is happy to answer any questions about the English Department, extracurriculars, or studying abroad!
Anna Kasradze is a senior from Houston, Texas, majoring in English. She’s currently working on her senior thesis on how contemporary novels work to cultivate eco-sensibilities that can help address the global climate crisis. She is also interested in psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory, and wants to eventually go to graduate school. Anna would love to talk to any student about English and/or intellectual life at Duke.
Sarah Larkin is a junior from Reading, Pennsylvania majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing and Theater Studies. She loves creative writing and has gotten to explore a lot of the curriculum at Duke so far. She also enjoys comedy writing and is the co-founder and co-president of Duke University Stand-up Troupe (or DUST). In her spare time, Sarah typically finds herself reading, writing, or watching far too many shows and films. The English major has helped her look critically at all these forms of written content, and she is now able to enjoy them on a deeper level. She is eager to get to talk to prospective majors about all the opportunities the English major presents!
Julie Peng is a senior from Cambridge, Massachusetts double majoring in English and History. At Duke, Julie is the Secretary of the Debate Team where she argues excessively with friends. Julie spent the past summer as an intern at the Boston office of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass). In her free time, she loves to read, paint, and trounce people in Bananagrams. Some of Julie’s favorite books are The World According To Garp by John Irving, China In Ten Words by Yu Hua, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and authors she particularly admires include James Joyce and Sylvia Plath.
While many English classes have brought her great joy, Julie cites James Joyce with Aarthi Vadde and mid-1800s classics of American literature class with Michael D’Alessandro as her favorites. Julie believes that there is immeasurable value in studying English and encourages anyone considering the major to challenge themselves and look beyond reading as a hobby. The rigorous classroom environment is conducive to reading canonic works, and guidance and experiences of a professor and classmates is necessary. Julie can’t wait to see the Duke English department flourish!
Samantha Su is a junior from Houston, Texas majoring in English and minoring in Chemistry. She is currently serving as Editor-in-Chief for The Muse magazine, a feminist publication at Duke, while also dancing alongside her Duke Chinese Dance family and working on her clinical research project for the Mikati Lab. In her free time, she enjoys watching stand-up comedy specials, reading, and cooking. Her favorite pieces of writing include Welcome to The Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut, Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Dracula by Bram Stoker, and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
Samantha has enjoyed all of her English classes at Duke, but her favorites have been Victorian Literature, Asian American Gender and Sexuality, and her gateway course on Calculation and Recklessness. She also reserves a special place in her heart for her creative writing courses: Introductory and Intermediate Creative Non-Fiction. Samantha is very grateful for her time as an English major thus far, as it has given her the space to grow and become a better communicator/thinker. She is excited to get to know prospective English students and talk about her love for the English major.