Our eight bloggers are all very interesting people, if we do say so ourselves. Please take a minute to check out their backgrounds, interests, and brief study abroad schedules.



Yousef AbuGharbieh is rising junior at Duke majoring in Political Science and minoring in Arabic. When Yousef was a young boy, he used to spend Saturday mornings studying the atlas learning the names of unpronounceable Sub-Saharan capitols (Ougadougou, anyone?). And even though East Germany and Zaire no longer exist, Yousef still dreams of having adventures abroad. Now he has the chance. Yousef served as the City/State Editor for The Duke Chronicle and has written for Towerview. This Fall Yousef will be writing a biweekly column for The Chronicle about Egyptian politics.

  • June-July | Kolkata, India
  • August | Amman, Jordan
  • August-December | Cairo, Egypt



Catherine Butsch is in constant pursuit of the perfect sentence. A rising junior and public policy studies major at Duke University, Catherine has been a published writer since age ten, when she wrote about beanie babies and surviving the fourth grade. These days, Catherine is learning how to get by without a meal plan while living on her own in Washington DC. She hopes to one day work in the world of journalism. Or government. Or both. Thinking about going to Paris makes her giddy.

  • September-December| Paris



Zena Cardman is a biology major and poetry minor at the University of North Carolina. Hailing from Williamsburg, VA, she has worked in laboratories at VIMS, William & Mary, Cornell, and now UNC, where she is currently studying the genetic diversity of bacteria living in deep sea hydrothermal vents. Zena has worked for sustainable development in Tanzania, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and been a crew member at the Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated Martian habitat in the wilderness of Utah. An aspiring astrobiologist, she is interested in the possibilities and origins of life both here and in extraterrestrial environments. For now, she hopes to explore life in some of Earth’s most extreme environments.

  • June-July | Pavilion Lake Research Project (British Columbia) with NASA and UBC
  • July | Axel Heiberg Island in the high Arctic with NASA
  • September-November | Woods Hole and then sailing down the Pacific
  • January-February | Antarctica



Ashley Holmstrom is a rising Duke junior studying Biomedical Engineering. She is also pursuing a certificate in Health Policy. She is studying abroad this fall in Australia at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and is taking two BME courses and a couple of electives. Her plans include traveling and exploring the Australian culture as much as possible by eating, attending sporting and cultural events and getting to know the student population at UQ. She enjoys photography, horseback riding, running, biking and hiking, all of which she thinks she’ll be able to enjoy in Australia.

  • July-November | in Australia studying at the University of Queensland in Brisbane


Kane Boychuk

Claire grew up loitering in her mom’s office on Laurier Avenue in downtown Ottawa, Canada. After many years of skipping school for out-of-the-classroom learning through NGO internships, cross-cultural peace programs and travel, she has spent her first year at UNC trying to reorient herself towards a more academic life. She is excited about a semester of full-time Mandarin and is certain that her vegetarian diet won’t last long in China.

  • May-June | Nourish International, Honduras
  • July | Guatemala, Colorado, and Vancouver
  • August-December | Xiamen, China
  • January | probably Canada



Andrew Kindman is a rising junior Duke University. He is working towards a double major in Political Science and Economics. He hopes to focus on, and eventually work in the field of international political and economic development. His Summer will be spent writing a political economy report and proposal for the Inter-America Development Bank, hoping to secure funding for new education programs in Paraguay, in addition to several other projects involving microfinance with a local institution. His Fall will be spent soaking up the scenery and studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. Andrew hopes to return to Duke in January in a cloud of satisfied exhaustion. Andrew is from Durham, North Carolina, and he enjoys poetry, water, and rock and roll.

  • May-August | working as an intern at a microfinance institution in Asuncion, Paraguay
  • August-December | studying abroad in Madrid, Spain



Mark Kurzrok, Duke Class of 2010, is a history major from Bethesda, MD, who loves good people, good music, and the occasional cheap cigar. He is shunning the Duke premed life – for a semester anyway – during what promise to be seven of the most glorious months of his life. He possesses an irrational love for almost all things Español, and as such will be spending his entire time abroad in Latin America.The first two summer months will be spent in various parts of Guatemala working with the microconsignment organization Social Entrepreneur Corps in the company of 25 other college students. The last five will be spent studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador, living with a family, taking classes at the Universidad Pontifica Católica del Ecuador, and touring the country on off days. Fluency in the language of passion and merengue is his dying wish. He will attempt to chronicle the people, events, and locales that shape his jaunts and musings along the way.

  • June-July | working in Guatemala with Social Entrepreneur Ecuador
  • August-December | taking classes at Universidad Pontifica Católica del Ecuador



Luciano Romero, Argentine and Dukie. Son of Antonio and Liliana, and brother of Gonza, Emma and Sol. Part of a united and warm family. Student of Public Policy and Economics. Fan of politics. At the age of 17 he left his beloved country to study at Red Cross Nordic United World College in Norway, where he made amazing friends and had the most inspiring years of his life next to brilliant classmates, professors and tutors, in a valley, next to the Norwegian fjord of Flekke. Then, he spent a year in Argentina, coming back to basics. Later he moved to
North Carolina for undergraduate studies, where he has made another bunch of amazing friends. He has planned to live for the next four years, preparing for future plans that will involve Argentina.

  • May-June | working in a documentary that will involve South America, politics, and development
  • June-August | working in the UN in Santiago, doing research about agricultural employment conditions for women in South America



Rees Sweeny-Taylor: Of New England preparatory school extract, but deeply and sorrowfully a hopeless Romantic. Rees longs for adventure and experience a la Jack Kerouac, Lord Byron, A.S. Pushkin, but, in all practicality, seriously inadequate–generally just looks foolish when far from the life of the mind. At moments Rees achieves a quixotic aspect, but mostly a little goofy. Rees’s life goals include working on a dairy farm and living at sea. 5’9, 1/2 Irish, long hair.

  • May-June | Travel in Italy and France
  • July-August | Organic farm near Asheville, NC
  • September-December | Study abroad in Moscow, Russia

4 Responses to “Meet the Bloggers”

  1. Zena Cardman Says:

    Rees, your bio! So great! Come live at sea with me!

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