Ray Liu

Three words that describe me:

  • Imaginative — I love “connecting the dots” and testing new ideas.
  • Observant — I often look and listen for subtle cues in conversations.
  • Committed — When I take on an assignment, I stay the course. No matter what obstacles arise, I give my all to see the task through to completion.

Favorite college:

Go Duke! Duke offers its students global reach in a local community. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke enabled me to tour the U.S. and Asia while helping me develop a reverence for history, justice, and the local economy. Now, whether I’m in a cultural mecca or small town suburb, I always look for both the global and local, and make the most of every opportunity.

Special moment in my career:

When the Head of Global Growth at Nova, a talent development company in Stockholm, called to tell me I had been accepted into a competitive internship program abroad, I was thrilled. When I told my mom, she said my choice of majors finally made sense to her. It’s very special when the people who devote so much to you begin to see your path unfold.

If you were 16 years old again, what would you do differently?

In high school, I enjoyed being the leader. Only years later did I realize how much I learned from others, so now, I’d collaborate and work in teams more often.

Describe your ideal student:
High school students can worry so much about college that they forget about the many possibilities that are open to them, both within and beyond the classroom. I love to see students who are willing to try something new, whether in their writing or in their extracurricular involvements. These explorations often lead to surprising discoveries and remarkable stories.

Ray Liu, Advisor

Ray is a creative communicator and learner who knows the transformative power of education. After serving as president of Speech and Debate at Leland High School, Ray attended Duke University, where he earned scholarships that enabled him to travel to India, China, and Sweden. There, he developed educational programs to highlight the most outstanding qualities of young students, for which he won the WuDunn Scholarship for US-China Relations, the Winter Forum Education Innovation Award, and the Edward Benenson Arts Award.

Since then, Ray has served as a speaker and panelist at conferences across the U.S., sharing new approaches to education, communication, and leadership with academics, executives, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At IvyClimbing, Ray is facilitating sessions and workshops that help students identify, pursue, and recount the experiences that unleash their greatest potential.


  • High School — Former President, Leland Speech and Debate, made up of 400 members, largest team in the country (ranked #1 in the nation)
  • University Level — Curriculum Speaker, Duke Collegium Dance Conference; Curriculum Development Award, Duke Office of Undergraduate Education; NYU Career Mentor (Wagner School of Public Service, Tisch School of the Arts)
  • International Education — IDEAS Foundation 1st Place Workshop Creator; DukeEngage China Education Fellow; Nova Sweden Talent Development Specialist
  • Corporate Training — Visual storytelling (design, public speaking, copywriting, process alignment, and multimedia) to improve sales and marketing for Intel and Samsung


  • BA in Cultural Anthropology & International Relations, Duke University
  • Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha
  • Graphic Interface Design Certificate, DESIGNATION Chicago
  • Global Leadership Certificate, The Institute for Innovation