University Center Activities & Events (ucae)

Leadership Development and Social Action


The UCAE Center for Leadership Development and Social Action provides developmental learning experiences and resources to enable Duke students to practice effective leadership and inspire positive change within the Duke, local and global communities. 

Meet the staff and stay up to date with Facebook and Twitter.

The work of the Center seeks to advance integrative learning through the Duke University Leadership Framework. The Duke University Leadership Framework serves as a developmental model for leadership, facilitating reflection and connection among various leadership opportunities throughout the Duke undergraduate experience.Through coaching, education, and personal development, the UCAE Center for Leadership Development and Social Action strives to create and elevate opportunities for students that encourage ownership of their leadership learning experience while at Duke and beyond. 

The Center'€™s signature programs and initiatives include a mix of conferences, retreats, workshops, and seminars that advance students understanding and practice of leadership as a contribution.

Physical Address:
420 Chapel Drive
FF 107 Few Quad
Durham, NC 27708 

Internal Address
Box 90849

UCAE - Student Leadership - Emilie Dye

Emilie Dye, Director of Student Engagement

Responsibilities: Penny Pilgram George Women's Leadership Initiative, Oversee Office assessment efforts and budgets, Duke-Durham relations, Restorative Practices for Student Engagement, External Office operations for the Center and for Fraternity & Sorority Life

Related topics of Interest: women's identity development, first generation college student experience, men & masculinity, person-environment theory and development

Super-Mega-Awesome-Need-To-Know Facts: I am a founding member of a competition BBQ team. Also have a number of sports allegiances - Maryland Terrapins, Boston Red Sox, Carolina Panthers, and the Memphis Grizzlies. I love to run, read, and explore the RDU with my partner (Mason) and awesome dog (Luke).

Favorite Duke memory: IFC Philanthropy Field 2018 - live music, football, families - all raising money for our two Duke IFC members who passed away in 2018.



Anna Lehnen, Associate Director of Student Engagement

Responsibilities: Manage many aspects of Penny Pilgrim George Women's Leadership Initiative, oversee leadership programming for Fraternity and Sorority Life, work with restorative practices programs in Student Engagement, and supervise Assistant Directors in Student Engagement

Related topics of Interest: Leadership development theory, ethical reasoning as it relates to leadership, cognitive, and moral development, and effective organizing for change and justice

Super-Mega-Awesome-Need-To-Know Facts: I have a fantastically cute dog (Frieda) and an awesome partner (Keith) who support my running habit, I love to cook and bake, but also really enjoy finding good restaurants. I'm super crafty and love to work on DIY projects. 

Favorite Duke memory: I don't think I have one yet! In progress.


Brian Lackman

Brian Lackman, Assistant Director, Center for Leadership Development and Social Action
Box 90849
Phone 919-668-4754

Leadership trainings, point person
Supervising student staff
Center Operations/Room reservations
Women's Leadership Spring Break trip

Student Affairs Leadership and Service Awards
Web updates

Related topics of Interest: LGBTQIA (specifically asexual identity development), healthy masculinities identity development and exploration, racial justice & racial identity development, supervision research (both graduate student and new professionals),

Super-Mega-Awesome-Need-To-Know Facts: I am an avid baker. I'm a major nerd and love all things TV, movies, fantasy, sci-fi, video games, etc. I will forever be a beach bum. Also, an avid reader and aspiring researcher for fun. And I am a true lover of all things Wawa & Philly in origin

Favorite Duke memory: Price Palooza & Inauguration - an awesome way to begin my experience at Duke with so much of the Duke community!

Josephine McKelvy

Josephine McKelvy, Graduate Assistant, Penny Pilgram George Women's Leadership Initiative

Archiving materials from CLDSA events, evaluating the PPGWLI cohort experience & PPGWLI-sponsored events, collecting & analyzing data, writing reports & memos

Graduate Program:
Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at NC State University

Super-Mega-Awesome-Need-To-Know Facts:  
I like to tinker with analytic software and collaborative apps for dealing with data.
I hope to be an award-winning scrapbooker at this year’s State Fair!

Favorite Duke Memory:  
Meeting the awesome CEOs of the PPGWLI cohort!

Darwin Perry LDSA

Darwin Perry

Graduate Program: Master of Divinity, Duke Divinity School

What is your Favorite Leadership Quote:
You don’t have to be GREAT to get STARTED, but you have to get STARTED to be GREAT.

What are your co-curricular interests?
In my free time you will probably find me on a golf course attempting to be the next Tiger Woods or on a basketball court trying to be like Mike (Michael Jordan). To be Honest, I will probably never swing a golf club like Tiger or shoot a basketball like Mike, but.. I could make an awesome lemon pie. 

Related Topics: Leadership, Social Action, Fall Break, Community formation.

Super-Mega-Awesome-Need-To-know-Facts: I am known as a candy love. I love sweets, and just about any type of sugary desert.


UCAE - Leadership Development - Stephanie

Stephanie Hilton

Related Topics of Interest: Meaningful goal setting, systemic goal alignment, discovering purposeful education pursuits & impactful work experiences, higher education & occupational stress. Health and human rights, disability inclusion, veteran & international student transitions, health & education convergence strategies.

Graduate Program: Master of Divinity, Duke Divinity School 

What are your co-curricular interests? I enjoy events ranging from musical performances to art galleries to museum exhibitions.  I am on a daily lookout to reverence the passion of others and learn something new.

What is your favorite leadership quote? "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." -U.S. Declaration of Independence

I referenced a founding document because I derive joy from interreligious dialogue and practice interfaith mutual respect.

Super-Mega-Awesome-Need-To-Know-Facts: I like to play basketball and softball club sports. I prefer biking over driving. I am fascinated by science, innovation, and technological advancements. I like to watch the autonomous robotic system competitions each year. Additionally, I always keep up on astrophysics achievements and space exploration.

Student Employee Profiles



Major/Academic Interests: I'm interested in a very wide variety of academic areas including political science, public policy, philosophy, economics, entrepreneurship, media studies and arts. Picking a major is going to be hard...

What is your favorite leadership quote? "You rarely win, but sometimes you do." -To kill a Mockingbird

I love this quote because it outlines how a leader knows that the failures will usually outnumber the successes, but success is inevitable if you keep persevering.

What are your co-curricular interests? I enjoy public speaking, writing and performing comedy, acting, roasting my friends, playing FIFA and listening to music.

How do you practice one of the three C's of leadership (Character, Collaboration, Citizenship) in your daily life? I am always looking to improve my character and build my personality everyday by reflecting on my flaws and shortcomings and trying my best to improve upon them.

A picture of a girl named Sena

Sena Kpodzro

Major/Interests: Although I am currently undecided about my major, I am extremely intrigued by the Natural Sciences and Health systems and I look forward to turning my curiosity and passion into a career someday. Also very much interested in drawing parallels between the educational system in Ghana and other countries.

What is your favorite leadership quote? “Every society must be intentional about educating its leaders” -Patrick Awuah. Founder, Ashesi University, Ghana.

What are your co-curricular interests? I am currently in the Djembe(African drum) ensemble here at Duke, and I love being able to stay connected to home by learning more about the different cultures in various African countries. I also enjoy making pencil sketches in my free time. Riding a racing bike will always make my day!

How do you practice one of the three C's of leadership (Character, Collaboration, Citizenship) in your daily life? I make it a point to be careful of what I do and say. I believe that the people we meet everyday learn from our actions. Character goes both ways. I learn from others too

UCAE - leadership development - Christine Seo

Christine Seo 


I am majoring in Political Science, minoring in History and pursuing a Philosophy, Politics and Economics certificate. I plan on going to law school after I graduate.

Favorite leadership quote:

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J.K. Rowling

Co-curricular interests:

I am currently involved in starting The Tab, an online publication highlighting the diversity of experiences of Asian American females at Duke.

The three c’s: Self-reflection is often not easy to do. The kind of deep self-analysis that results in a change in behavior or growth in character can be even more difficult. But I think it is this difficulty that reminds us that character building is never complete. Every experience is a chance for me to learn more about myself and others.

UCAE - Leadership Development - Matthew Kaplan

Matthew Kaplan


At Duke, I created my own major (through Program II) centered around positive psychology and the education system. I’m particularly passionate about education equity, social innovation, and improving student well-being.

Favorite Leadership Quote:

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” - JK Rowling

Co-Curricular Interests:

I’m a member of a Bass Connections research team exploring mindfulness and human development, a campus ambassador with Teach for America, and a responder with Peer for You. I also run an anti-bullying organization for middle schoolers. In my free time, I enjoy practicing yoga and binge-watching rom coms. 

Three C's of Leadership: I know I can’t change the world alone, but I can do my part. To me, Citizenship is all about finding meaningful ways to make a difference.  

UCAE - Leadership Development - Hellen Yang

Helen Yang

Major/Academic Interests: I am getting a double major in Linguistics and Political Science, with a minor in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies. All in all, I am a wholehearted supporter of interdisciplinary studies and would love to explore more in Education, Neuroscience, and Sociology. 

What is your favorite leadership quote? "The most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening." — Rosa Luxemburg

What are your co-curricular interests? I am the Director for the Asian American Studies Working Group, as well as a co-president of International Association. In other means, I enjoy drinking jasmine tea, embroidery, eating tiramisu, and attending cycling classes!

Three C's of Leadership: To me my character is molded by the idea that the personal is political, and the political is personal. As a result, I am pushed to be cognizant and empathetic of others, knowing that everyone is going through their own story, their own lived experiences. 

UCAE - Leadership Development - Claire Breen

Claire Breen

Majors/Interests: I am an incoming transfer student from Nebraska, studying Public Policy with a minor in Economics. I am extremely passionate about food insecurity in the United States and ending childhood hunger in our communities.

Favorite leadership quote: “Don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.” -Michelle Obama

Co-curricular interests: In my free time, you will find me petting a puppy, studying at a local coffee shop, or exploring the outdoors. In Nebraska, I competed on our Model United Nations team and hope to continue competing here at Duke.

Three C’s of leadership: I view my character as a continuous process of development and reflection. There are always opportunities to better align my actions with my own beliefs and values by utilizing new perspectives and experiences.

UCAE - Leadership Development - Student - Tatiana

Tatiana Tian

Major/Academic Interests: I am a senior majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Finance. I am very interested in the intersection of technology and finance. Additionally, I’m trying to expose myself to all kinds of subjects/topics such as arts, architecture, political science and healthcare.

What is your favorite leadership quote? "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." — Peter Drucker

What are your co-curricular interests? I am a big fan of TED talk, and actively take part in all kinds of TED/TEDx events. I am motivated by interacting with people who are devoted to spreading good ideas and striving for a better world.  

Three C's of Leadership: I value “citizenship” as a part of my identity - working for a philanthropic fund/organization is one of my life dreams. On campus, I am involved in a wide range of volunteering activities such as ArtsConnect, TEDxDuke, Zero Waste, Food Recycling, and Duke Forest Citizenship Promotion.



Elizabeth Lee

Majors/Interests: I am currently a Sociology major, a Global Health minor, and a working towards the Documentary Studies certificate. I’m interested in the intersection of documentary film and photography with public health.

Favorite Leadership Quote: “You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.” -Erin Morgenstern

What are your co-curricular interests?: I’m currently the publicity chair for the Asian Students Association and a member of Asian Intervarsity Christian Fellowship! In my free time I’m either taking photos, journaling, on a run (sometimes), drinking coffee (always), or watching The Great British Baking Show.

How do you practice one of the three C's of leadership (Character, Collaboration, Citizenship) in your daily life?: One way I practice collaboration in my daily life is always working towards creating community. It’s hard to have effective collaboration when community isn’t there. When we say be kind to your neighbor, we need to see who our neighbors really are and who we’ve left out of that space. I’ve been trying to challenge myself to be more intentional with my collaboration and community in order to create social change.