Program Director, Asian Studies
Center for Asian Studies


Ph.D., Higher Education, University of Denver, 2019
M.A., China Studies, University of Washington
B.A., International Affairs, University of Colorado

Research Interests

International Development; Globalization; Community Engagement; Labor; Study Abroad; Global and Comparative Education; Southeast Asia; ASEAN; China

Regional and Thematic Interests

Southeast Asia

East Asia
Global Education; Reciprocity; High Impact Practices


Lauren is a cultural anthropologist whose work explores the relationship between the United States’ global power status and the practice of global education, especially economic and socio-cultural impacts of global education programs on local communities. Her current research looks at the nature of the impact of U.S. student presence on host communities in the Global South, specifically Southeast and East Asia. She is particularly interested in how communities are building global education program provision infrastructure in response to the desires of U.S. study abroad programs to place students in “non-traditional” experiences. She researches how U.S. foreign relations history, consumer capitalism and globalization place students and host community members on the frontlines of international relations. At CU Boulder, she oversees the curricular aspects of the Asian Studies major and minor, teaching both lecture courses that introduce students to this incredibly diverse region and in-depth seminars that explore topics such as urbanization, the UN Millennium Sustainable Development goals, and the politics of memory in Asia. Lauren also enthusiastically advises students interested in conducting their own research on various aspects of culture, history, and politics in Asia and is happy to help Asian Studies majors/minors and others find relevant study abroad programs or overseas internships.

Selected Publications

2021    Collins, L. Offering space at the table: the work of hosting U.S. study abroad students in Northern Thailand. Third World Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2021.1937097

2020    Collins, L. and Niva, M. Infusing critically reflexive service learning into Honors. Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 21(2), 31-37.

2020    Collins, L. Becoming global knowledge workers: How U.S. study abroad programs act in service to a hidden curriculum of consumer capitalism and national security. Journal of Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education, 2(2), 1-20.

2019    Collins, L. Letting the village be the teacher: a look at community-based learning in Northern Thailand. Journal of Teaching in Higher Education, 24(5), 694-708.