Cara Lane-Toomey

Director of College and University Programming

M.A. Middle East Studies – The American University in Cairo

B.A. Peace Studies and Political Science, minor in Middle Eastern Studies – The University of St. Thomas

Before attending university, Cara embarked on an experiential education gap-semester through Southeast Asia which opened her eyes to the beauty of travel and cultural exchange. Since then, Cara’s travels have led her to Central and South America, the Middle East, North and sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Europe, and across the U.S.

While much of the world intrigued her, it is the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region where Cara has focused her work and study. Cara’s first exposure to MENA culture and language occurred while spending an undergraduate semester abroad in Egypt. This initial experience in the MENA was the catalyst for her service as a U.S. Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer in Morocco. For two years, Cara served in Qelaât M’Gouna, an indigenous town on the edge of the Sahara desert, where she worked on community projects ranging from youth photography to women’s rights education. Following Peace Corps, Cara shared her love for al-maghrib with students as a Morocco Instructor and Course Director for Dragons. In 2009, Cara set out to spend two years in um al-dunya while she completed her Masters in Middle East Studies. It was in Egypt, as well as Morocco and Jordan, where Cara conducted her thesis research on factors influencing the increase of U.S. study abroad students in the MENA region. Following graduate school, Cara spent six years implementing study abroad programs for American students in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, and the UAE. When she hasn’t been supporting education abroad programming, Cara has pursued her interest in political systems through work with a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Congresswoman, and the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms.

Cara is actively involved in the Forum on Education Abroad, and is a Certified Professional through the Forum. In her free time, Cara loves playing with her dog, following politics, and exploring new Arabic dialects.