Past projects


(In)Visible: Covid-19 at Duke

Students enrolled in the Duke Immerse “Pandemics, Health, Power” cluster designed and published a collaborative class book archiving the experience of COVID-19 at Duke. The book is dedicated to Duke’s essential workers, whose voices it also platforms. It also features photographs, illustrations, and creative work by the six student authors: Angie Anaeme, Zavera Basrai, Izzy Costanzo, Ella Dunham, Ashley Meyers, and Anika Pawlak.

See a PDF of the book here!

Listen to the audiobook with image descriptions here!


Disability Representation Projects

As a Program II student studying “Disability Representation through Media,” Simran Prakash put together a photo documentary highlighting the importance of disability visibility. Co-president of Duke Disability Alliance, she partnered with B3 Coffee to show how B3 has adapted to provide community and connection during the pandemic by focusing on the life of one of the B3 volunteers, Lucia Maria Romano. B3 Coffee is a non-profit coffee stand run by those with both abilities and disabilities, serving as a platform of positive visibility and community connection for people of all abilities. Through her documentary project, Disability Visibility: One Cup at a Time, Simran depicts both the necessity and benefits of having more inclusive and equitable world.


Masters in Public Policy Spring Consulting Projects

Sanford School of Public Policy Masters students Brian Dalluge, Ethan Rex, Kelly Reilly, and Priya Shankar partnered with the Alliance of Disability Advocates to write a report called A Safe Landing: Supporting Reentry Efforts for Prisoners with Disability and Mental Health Needs in the Triangle Area. The authors identified a lack of reporting standards across the state, which makes it difficult to gather adequate data about the rates of disability and mental health needs in prisons and jails. Nevertheless, they discuss methods of reducing recidivism that have proven successful in other parts of the country, including wraparound services, soft-skills education, peer-to-peer support, and partnerships with local industries, universities, and other large employers. Duke University has the potential to follow the lead of Johns Hopkins, which worked proactively with the community to hire rehabilitated former inmates.


Literature and Medicine

The Medical “Tourist”

A graphic medicine project by Zhixue (Mary) Wang exploring the cultural and ethical outcomes of policies that enable medical “tourism.”


Disability in the Disciplines Conference Student Exposition: Winners and Honorable Mentions

Scarf Injuries in Bangladesh: Exploring the Impact on Females who live with Spinal Cord Injuries

By Anna Tupetz, MS in Global Health: A growing number of female passengers of a newly-introduced battery powered taxi, referred to as the “Easy Bike,” sustained Spinal Cord Injuries and anterior neck lacerations. This severe injury occurs, as their traditional scarves entangle in the taxi’s engine drive shaft. This study aimed to conduct key informant interviews with Scarf Injury survivors and their caregivers to explore their perceived level of functioning, their challenges in receiving adequate care and reintegrating back into the community after the injury. Click here to see a video of Anna discussing her research! Winner of the Best Graduate Student Poster category.


Address the Stress

Suhal Manohar’s art series aims to highlight some of the most prevalent causes of stress at Duke and emphasize the importance of mental health. Academic stress can limit time for self-care and relaxation, and many enter Duke already concerned about the financial impact their education will have on their families. Due to stigma, students are still hesitant to get help for mental health. We need more self-care, tolerance, inclusion, and compassion to tackle mental health issues. Winner of the Best Undergraduate Creative Work category.


Breathe Easy: Designing an Inhaler Device

Students in Professor Kevin Caves’s Engineering 101 course — Megan Richards, Alexis Almeida, Manav Vakil, Tess Lipsky, and Doherty Guirand — designed an inhaler to decrease the amount of force and the range of motion necessary for the activation of an inhaler. This enables young, elderly, and disabled people to deal with asthma attacks without assistance. Click here to view an explanatory video of their project! Winner of the Best Undergraduate Research Project category.


Envisioning Indoor Accessibility in the Duke University Brodhead Center

Although Duke provides online resources to promote outdoor accessibility on campus, there is no ongoing work to expand this into indoor spaces. The Indoor Accessibility Team, including students from Duke Student Government and Duke Disability Alliance, developed a prototype tactile map for the Brodhead Center. The team — Manish Kumar, Siddarth Madala, Sarah Bland, Jay Pande, Ivan Robles, and Samuel Lester — continues to work on developing a computational fluid dynamic model of accessibility for the center. Honorable mention in the Best Undergraduate Research Project category.


Misogynist Micro-Aggression in the Female Patient to Male Provider Dynamic

By Jacqueline Vicksman: A study into misogyny and harmful language in women’s sexual and reproductive healthcare. Honorable mention in the Best Undergraduate Research Project category.



Masters in Public Policy Spring Consulting Projects

Sanford School of Public Policy Masters students Adam Fischer, Gabrielle Murphy, Marina Makligh, and Minahil Shahid partnered with a local nonprofit, the Alliance of Disability Advocates (a center for independent living), to produce a report on Improving Access to Affordable and Accessible Housing in the Triangle Region. The report researches the serious challenges people with disabilities face in affording housing that is adequate to their needs in their communities of choice. It supplies a variety of policy proposals disability advocates can support to address the issue.


Neurodiversity, Narrative, Activism

Writing 101 students created articles, artwork, blogs, children’s books, videos, websites, and more for Disability Pride Week 2018.



Cartooncology: Thoughtful Images of Cancer

A graphic medicine project by William A. L. Sperduto.


Modernism and Madness

For Disability Pride week 2017, writing 101 students partnered with Duke Disability Alliance to create original activism projects. The projects are assembled on the website NeuroDIVERSITY and Inclusion.