Cara Lane-Toomey

Director of College Programming

Cara received her M.A. from the American University in Cairo in the Department of Middle East Studies and also holds a B.A. in Peace Studies and Political Science, minor in Middle Eastern Studies, from University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

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, and Europe. While much of the world intrigued her, it is the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region where Cara focused her work and study for many years. Cara’s first exposure to MENA culture and language occurred while studying abroad during college for a semester 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.

In addition, Cara has worked for a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Congresswoman, the Democratic Secretary of the Senate, and also as a Dragons Morocco Instructor for several summers. From 2009-2011 Cara pursued her Masters degree at the American University in Cairo. 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. Cara went on to work for a non-profit study abroad organization in Washington D.C. For six years, Cara designed and implemented private and government-funded study abroad programs for American college and high school students in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, and the UAE.

Cara returned to Dragons in 2017 where she oversees college study abroad programs and partnerships. Cara is actively involved in the Forum on Education Abroad, and is a Certified Professional through the Forum. Cara lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. In her free time, she loves playing with her golden retriever, exploring new Arabic dialects, and trying to be an active citizen in the local political scene.