Meet Steve Duke, International Studies

Steve DukeIf Steve Duke isn’t in his Reynolda Hall office, you might look for him in Russia, Finland or one of the other 16 countries he’s visited. Duke, who has been director of the Center for International Studies for two-and-a-half years, works with faculty, students and staff on study abroad programs and oversees services for international students. He also teaches in the history department, primarily Russian and world history.

How old were you when you first went abroad?

I first “studied abroad” in 1968, at the age of 2, when my father took a group of college students to France for a semester. Although I have no memory of the program or the “revolution of 1968,” I did pick up a speech issue in pronouncing the letter R. My first substantial time abroad was a two-year trip to Finland as a college student.

What countries have you visited?

Austria, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand.

What’s your favorite place to visit?

This is always a hard one to answer, because I have enjoyed so many places. I have great memories of Helsinki, Finland, especially the strawberries and fruits available at the market square.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I love working with so many wonderful people at Wake Forest, from staff in my office (the Center for International Studies) to faculty, staff, students and coordinators overseas. I also love learning about the world and thinking of new ways to help students engage with what is going on around them.

How did you end up at Wake Forest?

I spent three years at Virginia Tech coordinating the Education Abroad office and attended a student conference hosted by the ACC. While there, I happened to sit next to Kline Harrison (associate provosot for global affairs) during lunch, and asked him where he worked. As it turned out, my current position was vacant at the time, so we ended up talking about Wake Forest for the rest of the lunch and continued the conversation afterward. I was immediately fascinated by the many positive things going on at Wake Forest and was thrilled when offered the position.


My wife, Kristin, and I met in a beginning Russian language class. Our oldest son, Alan (14), just finished his Eagle Scout project. Jonathan (10) enjoys swimming and playing with his friends, and Evie (4) loves everything related to princesses and dancing.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I love spending time with my family, and find that most of my extra time disappears into playing games with my kids in the yard and house or attending their activities.

If you could fly anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

It would be a toss-up between St. Petersburg, Russia (where I spent a year), Helsinki, Finland, and Hong Kong.