Walking the Campus with Father Mike

This article originally appeared on the Duke Global blog.

A priest discusses how his service at Duke has deepened his faith.

-By Duke Global staff

Duke students call something forth in me, said Father Michael Martin, better known as Father Mike, at a Wednesdays at the Center event on Sept. 18.

Giovanni Zanalda, Fr. Mike Martin, and Julie Maxwell talk at a table

From left to right: Giovanni Zanalda, director of the Duke Center for International and Global Studies; Father Michael Martin, director of the Duke Catholic Center and Julie Maxwell, program coordinator at the Duke Islamic Studies Center.
Photo by Renate Kwon / Duke Center for International and Global Studies


“I thought I had grown into an adult faith, but I realized after being here that there’s still much more,” said Father Mike, director of the Duke Catholic Center. “These students make me want to be a holier man, a better priest and Franciscan.”

At Duke, Father Mike sees his role as “walking with others” to assist them in learning more about their spirituality and to empower students to walk with their peers.

Father Mike spoke at the John Hope Franklin Center as the first speaker in the series, “Conversations with Duke’s Religious Life Leaders.” Giovanni Zanalda, director of the Duke Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS) explained that the idea of the series was to get a sense of what religious leaders are doing on campus. This academic year, DUCIGS will host four different speakers, with representatives from Hindu Life, Jewish Life and Muslim Life.

About 20 percent of Duke students are Roman Catholic, according to the Duke Catholic Center, and the Catholic community is the largest single denomination on campus (the Jewish community is the next largest on campus at 11 percent). On average, 500 students attend weekend Mass at the Duke Chapel.

At the talk, Father Mike emphasized the growing need for a shift in Duke culture, away from an emphasis on “doing it all” to one focused on building student strength and resiliency. Coming to Duke after serving as president and headmaster of his former Catholic high school in Baltimore, Maryland, Father Mike has seen major shifts in education over the past 20 years. Asked about the difference to coming to Duke, he noted that “the stakes and the stress are higher.”

Dismissing the notion that an exposure to higher education replaces religious faith, Father Mike argued that the long tradition of Christianity has focused on creating spaces of mindfulness. He believes that prayer is rooted in the individual but connects to something outside of ourselves."I never thought that coming to Duke would deepen my faith the way that it has. I am humbled by the studetns here who engage their faith. I feel they call forth from me something greater." Fr. Michael Martin, Duke Catholic Center

“Students come to me and say they don’t know how to pray,” Father Mike said. “I tell them not to chase God, but to acknowledge his presence in your life at the moment.”

Wednesdays at the Center is a free, weekly public lecture series held every Wednesday at noon in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall at the John Hope Franklin Center (2204 Erwin Road, Room 240). The series is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center and the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies.

Here are the upcoming talks in the series:

Five Ways to Market Your Global Experience

This article was published on the Duke Global website on August 28, 2019 (LINK).

Duke experts offer advice on how international experience can enhance your career.

-By Alexis Owens

Global experience could be what sets you apart from others while applying for a job or post-graduate studies. Below, our campus experts outline five ways to gain international experience and apply it to your career goals.

Hands holding globe

1. Create global networks

Making global connections can start on social media, says Marion Pratt, director of global careers at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Students can use their social media platforms to create global connections with others, document their experiences and keep up-to-date with global topics.

“Take full advantage of social media platforms to connect with and follow like-minded people,” Pratt says. “Ask for informational interviews with people in jobs that interest you, or if you know them well and they are willing to let you, shadow them for a day at their job.”

Here are some additional tips Pratt offers to help build your global network:

  • Keep up with the international news, such as The Economist, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal.
  • Volunteer to assist local immigrant and refugee organizations.
  • Go to international food and craft fairs.


Academic building

2. Utilize local resources

Making global connections can start right in North Carolina. Amanda Frederick, assistant director for Duke University Center for International & Global Studies, encourages students to not only use campus resources, but to branch out locally, as well.

Here are some resources that Frederick recommends:

Visit the Global Education Office (GEO) to learn about the activities and programs they offer. Speak with GEO advisors, study away ambassadors and peer advisors about study away opportunities and the benefits of off-campus study.

  • Visit Duke’s International House to learn more about how to join campus international groups and connect with international students.
  • Connect with faculty from abroad or faculty who conduct programs abroad.
  • Join community organizations and groups, such as Raleigh Sister Cities and International Focus.


Woman writing down notes with pen and paper

3. Start with small steps

“Even seasoned travelers are sometimes nervous about traveling!” Marion Pratt says. “Try your first overseas experiences in small doses to build up your confidence.”

Do plenty of research before picking a study away or work abroad destination, says Pratt, because being prepared for your trip can help alleviate some of your worries.

Here is some more advice from Pratt for would-be global travelers:

  • Take short volunteer or language training trips to nearby countries, such as Latin America or Caribbean nations.
  • Reach out to the Duke Career Center for guidance on internships and work opportunities.


Hand holding pen

4. Highlight your experiences

There are several ways having international experience can make students more employable in the job market, according to Amanda Frederick. For example, students can provide examples from their study abroad experience and explain how those skills or qualities may relate or be beneficial in the position to which they are applying.

Here are some skills and qualities Frederick suggests:

  • Identifying and solving problems (crisis management)
  • Able to learn quickly in a new environment
  • Seeking opportunity for continuous learning
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity


Man with briefcase

5. Apply your learned skills

Employers anticipate finding certain skills and traits when global experience is mentioned, but it is the student’s responsibility to identify what they learned, says William Wright-Swadel, assistant vice president for student affairs. Having the experience creates opportunity, he adds, and with opportunity, you are able to gain valuable skills you can apply.

“Most employers anticipate international experience will create, in candidates, an awareness of and an appreciation for difference, an ability to engage and to learn in different environments and a willingness to take some risk in securing the answers necessary to make decisions,” Wright-Swadel says.

Here’s more from Wright-Swadel on what employers hope to find in candidates with international experience:

  • Individuals with different perspectives, communication styles and problem-solving processes
  • Candidates who will demonstrate the ability to become a leader
  • A manager who will effectively unite a diverse team in accomplishing organizational goals

The ‘Unseen Power’ of Silenced Black Women During the Civil War

Through her archival work, a Duke historian revives hidden stories of the Civil War era.

This article was published on Global Affairs on September 13, 2019 (LINK).

By Alexis Owens

For Thavolia Glymph, spending days in government archives – searching for one detail – can be worth it to help tell forgotten and dismissed narratives of the lives of Black women who labored during the Civil War.

“The documentation is here, and we’ve just ignored it,” said Glymph, a professor of history and law at Duke University.

On Sept. 4, Glymph gave the first lecture of the Wednesday at the Center series. Her talk titled “Civil War Refugee Camps: Camp ‘Commandants’ and Black Woman and Children,” chronicled a few of the numerous untold stories and experiences of Black women who lived, worked and raised families during the Civil War.

Throughout the lecture, Glymph allowed her research to speak volumes about those untold stories. Glymph shared accounts from an overwhelming history filled with the trauma that both Black women and Black children endured during the Civil War, as well as their triumphs.

Glymph is the author of “Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household,” “The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation” and other works.

I insist we put African American Union women back in the Civil War story. They didn't just fight for their freedom, they fought for our nation." -Thavolia Glymph

“I explore what it means to ‘listen’ to the sounds of violence that accompanied the project of making freedom and, simultaneously, what anthropologist Nancy Hunt calls the ‘hushing of sound’ and what Rob Nixon terms ‘unofficial hostilities’ and their lingering impact into the 21st century,” Glymph said.

The stories Glymph read emphasized key moments in Black women’s lives that showed how their contributions to the war were devalued and slowly erased from the dominant historical narrative. Because some of these women applied for pensions as soldiers’ widows through the federal government, “immense records” are available through the U.S. National Archives. Glymph’s work also uses wartime documents from the treasury, war and state departments, and the previous Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands.

Those stories reveal negative representations of Black women, unfair treatment, underpaid labor, as well as discriminatory state policies and practices. This is a history that Black women are far too familiar with, but the pattern of dominant history often excludes these details.

During the talk, Glymph told the story of U.S. Navy nurse, Ann Stokes (née Bradford), and the unceasing obstacles she faced while trying to receive a well-deserved pension from her work tending wounds and comforting soldiers during the war.

Stokes was an escaped slave, and she was one of the first women to enlisted as active-duty personnel in the Navy during the Civil War. She resigned from her position in October 1864 and later sought a widow’s pension. In 1890, she applied to alter an invalid pension in her own name based on her service as a Union army nurse. She was qualified for a pension after resigning, but the process was complicated due to her inability to be able to read and write. She was also put through an exhausting process that would first lead her to be denied her pension.

Though Stokes died from “disease of heart and rectum,” Glymph argues the strenuous work Stokes performed as a nurse contributed to her death in 1903.

Like many other Black women applying for duly earned pensions in the Civil War era, Stokes experienced excessive scrutiny of her personal records, body and details of her personal life. Examiners even questioned family members and neighbors, only to discredit their accounts that supported Black women as “unreliable.”

The violence Black women experienced during the war often occurred “out of sight,” to borrow from Nixon, and was normalized.

“Some would say Stokes died of old age,” Glymph said. “I like to think of Stokes’s death as a death of slow violence.”

Wednesdays at the Center is a free, weekly public lecture series held every Wednesday at noon in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall at the John Hope Franklin Center (2204 Erwin Road, Room 240). The series is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center and the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies.