International House (IHouse)

About Us

Our Mission is to provide educational programs, services and advocacy to Duke global community on campus as well as outreach to the greater Durham area.  We offer extensive cross-cultural information and training to enhance the mission of the university.

Our Motto: Connect, learn, and grow. 

Staff
Esra Uzun Mason, Student Development Coordinator
Lisa Giragosian, Director
Paige Vinson, Assistant Director
SangHee Jeong, Student Development Coordinator
Seun Bello Olamosu, Associate Director

Esra Uzun Mason
International House
300 Alexander Ave
Box 90417
Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: 919-681-6080
Fax:  919-684-8241
esra.mason@duke.edu

As the Student Development Coordinator, Esra’s responsibilities include planning and organizing the international undergraduate orientation and workshops; counseling international students, scholars, and their families; supervising undergraduate student workers; advising student culture organizations; collaborating with Student Affairs units, academic departments, and other university offices that share the mission of the International House; and assisting with hosting and coordinating other I-House events and programs.

Esra grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, and attended Istanbul University for her Bachelor's degree before moving to Greenville, North Carolina, to pursue a Master’s degree in English Studies at East Carolina University, focusing on Multicultural and Transnational Literature as well as Creative Writing. She completed her Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) in London, UK. Esra taught English for various purposes ranging from English as a Second Language to Academic Writing, and she enjoyed working with a plethora of students and instructors from different cultural and social backgrounds both in the US and overseas. Her cross-cultural experiences as a wanderlust traveler, a former foreign student, and an international educator inspired her to explore other venues to reach out and help diverse groups achieve their personal and academic goals by providing them with necessary resources in addition to language acquisition, responding to their questions or concerns effectively, and supporting them with their needs for a smooth transition and adaptation to their new environment.

Esra loves hiking, traveling, reading, writing short stories, watching movies, cooking and trying new cuisines with her husband, attending local wine and beer tasting, playing with her two cats, and spending quality time with family and friends. Apart from her travels within Turkey and North America, she has also visited Italy, Spain, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Cyprus, England, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Slovakia, Austria, and the Maldives. She is passionate about studying folklore, especially researching folk narrative (myths, legends, tales), beliefs, rituals, traditions, and practices and how these elements coincide with the complexity of individual and group identity based on how individuals identify themselves in juxtaposition to how others may define them in a multicultural and multiracial context.

Lisa Giragosian, Director
International House
300 Alexander Avenue
Box 90417
Durham NC 27708
Office Phone:   919-681-3922
Fax:  919-684-8241
lmg@duke.edu

As Director of International House, Lisa Giragosian provides leadership for the development, implementation and assessment of programs and policies that support international students, scholars, visitors and their families at Duke University and the Medical Center. While at Duke Lisa has chaired and served on the board of the North Carolina Association of International Educators. NCAIE is a professional organization of over 600 administrators, educators and community volunteers, committed to promoting the cause of international education in the state of North Carolina. In spring of 2008 Lisa received the Martha Fitch Trigonis Award for Excellence in International Education.

Lisa grew up in the Boston metropolitan area. She studied International Relations at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts and obtained her Master’s degree in International Education from the School for International Training in Brattleboro Vermont. Along the way Lisa was an exchange student at the University of Bristol, England and a visiting student at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca in Mexico. She spent one year as a Peace and Justice Intern working for the Palestine Human Rights Information Center in Jerusalem. A few places Lisa has traveled to include Bermuda, Cyprus, Bolivia, Romania, Armenia and of course Canada! In her spare time Lisa loves hiking in the area’s state parks or anywhere near water.

Paige Vinson, Assistant Director
International House
300 Alexander Avenue
Box 90417
Durham NC 27708
Office Phone:   919-684-3253
Fax:  919-684-8241
paige.vinson@duke.edu

Paige is responsible for planning the International Parent/Family Orientation and managing IHouse service as well as International Friends Program.  In addition, she leads the Lunch and Learn Series for postdocs and scholars, as well as workshops for administrators and local business members. She assists the Assistant Director for Training & Outreach with cross-cultural training sessions.  She also moderates the Intl-House listserv and advises the Passport magazine staff.  In addition she counsels international students, scholars, and spouses with the issues they present.

Paige moved to North Carolina from her hometown of Austin, Texas where most of her family still resides.  After pursuing a BA in archaeology, and living and working abroad in pursuit of fossils and cross-cultural experiences, she returned to school to get her Masters in Education.  After teaching English as a Second Language for a number of years, she determined that her real passion was for assisting internationals in more ways than just acquiring English fluency.  She began working as a Program Coordinator for International House in September 2008, and has enjoyed every minute.

Paige lives with her family in Durham County.  She enjoys cooking (she can make a decent Spanish tortilla with local sweet potatoes), walking (ask her about her pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela and Mont St. Michel), enjoying a glass of wine with friends (she’s a big fan of big, bold zinfandels), playing with her daughter (Mancala is one of their favorite games), and supporting local farmers by shopping at the Durham Farmer’s Market.  She would love to see you there some Saturday morning.

SangHee Jeong, Student Development Coordinator
International House
300 Alexander Avenue
Box 90417
Durham NC 27708
Office Phone:  919-613-0509
sanghee.jeong@duke.edu

SangHee came to Duke in 2007 from South Korea with Rotary World Peace Fellowship and studied in the Masters in International Development Policy program at Sanford School of Public Policy.  After graduation, she worked at the World Bank in Washington DC as a consultant for climate change knowledge dissemination.  She loves being in a multicultural environment because she really enjoyed her cross-cultural experience in the Middle East (Kibbutz volunteer program in Israel and travel in Egypt), Europe (extensive travel throughout the continent and UK, student exchange program at the University of Amsterdam, internship in Geneva), Asia (working for the Korean Red Cross in Sri Lanka and travel in India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Japan), and the US for North America.  

Inspired by her diverse international experience, she is passionate for intercultural education and programs that bring domestic and international students together. She is in charge of many cultural programs at IHouse including conversation clubs and the language partner program as well as organizing the International Graduate and Professional Student Orientation, and leads Global Engagement Program, a service learning program for domestic students to interact with international students and scholars for mutual learning, leadership and career development in the globalized job market.

Seun Bello Olamosu, Associate Director
International House
300 Alexander Avenue
Box 90417
Durham NC 27708
Office Phone:  919-684-3585
Fax:  919-684-8241
seun.olamosu@duke.edu

In her role, Seun oversees the planning, designing, coordination, and facilitation of trainings that promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding between the international community and the university at large. She acts as liaison among International House, various university administrative offices, academic departments as well as the Durham community and professional organizations to develop and apply latest knowledge and research in cross-cultural education and training. She oversees the office website, publications, and social media marketing. She supervises programs and orientations for international spouses and partners. Seun has said, “One of my biggest joys in my position is to serve and advocate for all the international spouses/partners that arrive on Duke campus”.

Seun’s experiences after moving to the US triggered her interest in intercultural encounters and adaptation.  As a result, she concentrated on Intercultural Communication/Counseling while receiving her Masters in International Studies and she is currently working on her doctorate in Leadership in Intercultural and International Education. Her research interests include cultural identities, immigration, globalization of education and how it influences internationalization of academic institutions.

Seun’s biggest inspiration for personal and professional development is her three young boys, whose curiosities motivate her to keep learning. She is also inspired by the legacy of her parents who dedicated their life to educate and mentor young people. She is further inspired by the marginalization of the voiceless in a globalized world and hopes to contribute to bringing their voices to the forefront. She enjoys road trips with her husband, international travel, reading, watching movies, and writing both songs and prose.