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Larissa Duncan in Cucuta, Colombia

OSU student works with humanitarian relief organization to set up aid centers

Monday, October 25, 2021

Media Contact: Lyn Putnam | Communication Specialist | 405-744-5496 | lyn.putnam@okstate.edu

Students at Oklahoma State University continue to make their marks around the world.

Larissa Duncan, a School of Global Studies graduate student, spent the summer of 2021 with a humanitarian relief organization to set up aid centers for Venezuelans crossing the Colombian border. She was able to work with the refugees while interning with the International Missions Board for the Southern Baptist Church in Cúcuta, Colombia.

Venezuela is in crisis. The country’s economy has fallen, and the leadership is in question due to political opposition. According to World Vision, about 5.4 million refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants have left the country to seek food, work and a better life.

Duncan learned about the ongoing crisis in high school and discovered her interest in the regional community between Venezuela and Colombia.

“My time in Cúcuta taught me that people can come together in hard situations and that the human spirit is perseverant and determined,” Duncan said.

Prior to her internship, Duncan was skeptical of humanitarian missions; however, her time abroad solidified humanitarian work is impactful in crises.

“The hardest part was seeing the situations people endured through no fault of their own,” Duncan said. “I just always tried to encourage them to continue.”

OSU’s Master of Science degree in Global Studies allows students to study international crisis response in preparation for careers dealing with the world’s marginalized peoples.

Duncan will graduate from the program in May 2022 and as part of the Air Force ROTC will receive her orders and will begin her career with the Air Force.

Story By: Maddy Sheriff | maddy.sheriff@okstate.edu

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