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Alumni Spotlight: Engagement during and after MEng

2ec24c8By: Rachel Fleming, MEng ’13

I am a “double Dukie” as some people would say. The 4+1 MEng Program was the perfect opportunity for me to spend one more year on a beautiful campus, earn my Master’s degree and share my alma mater with MEng peers from around the world. The Civil MEng program allowed me to take my structural engineering education to the next level while gaining an introduction to the business side of the industry. To this day when I speak to prospective Pratt students, I highlight the unique MEng program that Duke has to offer. Everything from graduate student campout to MEMP seminars enhanced my overall Duke experience.

After graduation – the second time – I began working full time for Gilbane Building Company in Durham. As a project engineer, my role was to assist with the management of a construction site where I coordinated the updating and distribution of construction drawings, tracked and resolved on-site issues, compiled subcontractor invoices and much more. I was very grateful for the MEng internship requirement that helped me gain real-world structural engineering experience that continues to help me as a construction manager. Now, I am about halfway through a two year Gilbane management rotational program where I am gaining experience with estimating, purchasing, marketing and business development in addition to many more facets of the company.


I am thankful that working at Gilbane has allowed me to continue to stay engaged with Duke and specifically with MEng and MEMP. I enjoy seeing the students at TechConnect and other industry events. The highlight so far has been working with a great group of MEMP practicum students mentored by John Nicholson. They fostered a wonderful collaboration with DiVE Director Regis Kopper and Research and Development Engineer David Zielinski. The team took on a challenging project that looked at how to bring a construction BIM model into the DiVE to allow clients and end users to virtually walk through their future space and inform early design decisions. The group took the project a step further and explored the ability to move objects in a room while standing in the DiVE. Culminating in a DiVE open house presentation, the students demonstrated their project to Duke faculty, staff and local Architects by leading live demonstrations of the virtual reality experience. Through practica, career fairs and events I look forward to engaging with future MEng and MEMP students as an alumna.


Duke MEMP Interview with Dr. Daniel Egger

Duke MEMP Interview with Prof Safak Yucel

Entrepreneur Profile: Phanindra Sama, Redbus

By Aditya Prathipati, MEMP, ’14

During Diwali 2006, a young electronics engineer working for Texas Instruments in Bangalore, India, wanted to take a bus and go home to be with his family. Destiny did not let him go home. Instead it provoked him to create a business that let millions of Indians book ‘bus tickets’ online. Phanindra Sama created Redbus which is now one of the most successful ventures in India. Redbus was nominated one of the 50 most innovative companies in the world and was recently acquired by Naspers.



I recently had the privilege of conversing with Phani and it was definitely an enlightening experience. The following is a summary of the Q & A we had.

Q. If you had to ‘start-up’ again with a similar idea (like Redbus), would you be doing anything differently? What was a special learning you had during the growth of Redbus?

Phani had a couple of interesting things to share here. He stressed the importance of front end hiring. Generally, when it is a new business, people get so caught up and busy that they tend to give hiring less priority. But a good keen eye for the right people always pays off. It would also get you the A-team senior management in place faster and effectively.

Another lesson during the process of entrepreneurship has been about leadership. You can find a number of videos with Phani giving some insightful tips on leadership. One of the key things to note about leadership is knowing when to put your foot down and knowing when to be open to ideas. Good leaders strike a balance between kind heartedness and decisiveness.

Q. Being an electronics engineer, were you able to apply any of your skills from electronics in your company?

While Phani might not have been able to put exact electronics engineering material to work in Redbus, he definitely could identify some key transferable skills. Certain attributes like problem solving, getting to the depths of subjects to clearly understand the world around you, realizing the importance of sophisticated technology and simple concepts help you greatly in a business. Moreover, an aptitude for such learning would give you more confidence in yourself.

Q. I hear that you are thinking of turning into an investor. If you were investing in a new venture, what would you be looking for?

People. The team that initiates and executes the venture is the crux and soul of the start-up. Though a certain amount of diversity in the team is good for everyone, a team without the right chemistry will not be able to pivot success. Phani also reflected that this was one of the main reasons why they were not only able to survive but also be in a competitive position.

Q. A personal question. You have a reputation of being very humble and simple. How do you stay so grounded? What is your approach towards people?

To this question Phani laughed and said “I actually don’t know. I was told that I am humble and I even asked my wife about it. I guess I just am the way I am.”

In one of his interviews, Phani had mentioned why he leads a simple life. He says that if you lead a simple and natural life, irrespective of the turns your life takes, you will sustain yourself and not find it traumatic. “You should let life be unfair to you sometimes”

What a novel, profound thought!

MEMP Faculty Interview: Professor Theodore G. Ryan

Yitao Zhang (MEMP ‘ 12), Design Engineer for Viridi E-Mobility, Shares His Experience in the Automobile Industry

By Zihe Meng
Copy edited by Margaret Kuleshova

Yitao Zhang, MEMP '12
Yitao Zhang, MEMP ’12

Yitao did his undergraduate study at the University of Toronto, Canada, where he majored in mechanical engineering. After his bachelor’s degree, he strongly felt in need of interdisciplinary study of business and technology. The Master of Engineering Management Program at Duke became his first choice. He now works as a design engineer at Viridi E-Mobility Technology, a newly formed joint venture of Volvo and Geely dedicated to designing power train systems for hybrid vehicles.

“Hi, Yitao, this is Zihe. Thank you for taking the interview. Is now a good time to talk?”

“Sure, whenever you’re ready.”

“Great! I appreciate it. I know you attended your company’s annual party last night. How was it?”

“I had a lot of fun, thanks for asking.”

“I’m glad you enjoy your time at Viridi. Could you describe a typical day at your job as a design engineer?”

“Of course. The major part of my daily work concentrates on thermal management design of battery packs utilized by hybrid vehicles. To build a new-energy car, one of the most challenging tasks is battery design. One battery pack consists of thousands of small modules and parts, and it is extremely temperature-sensitive so we have to precisely control temperature, especially during charge and discharge. I run a lot of simulations of thermal and fluid dynamics using Cartia and FluEFD, trying to achieve efficient design. Our pilot production line will be tested in three months, so I also work with the production department using AutoCAD for layout planning.”

“Sounds intense. What skills do you think are the most valuable for this type of job?”

“There is no single skill that really dominates. First you have to be capable in terms of technical knowledge. In my job, for example, proficiency in mechanical engineering and related software is very important. But I also have to collaborate with electrical engineers and talk to suppliers. Soft skills such as communication and multi-tasking truly matter. They help you see things in multiple dimensions.”

Viridi E-Mobility
Viridi E-Mobility

“I believe many MEM students could relate to that. Are there any courses or electives that you found helpful for your role now? Would you like to give some advice to current students?”

“During my experience at Duke, core courses of MEM such as Marketing and Finance definitely helped me develop more business insight. With electives like Project Management I got the chance to present my work and my communication skills improved a lot. I took one elective from Economics called Intermediate Finance. It opened a door to the outside of technology and I learned about the financial market. It helped me understand my job in a different perspective such as the economic consequences of my work. My suggestion would be to explore new fields and broaden your horizon. Students can sit in classes outside of the MEM program. It really helps you see the bigger picture, especially when it comes to management.”

“That’s a good point. What about those challenges? How did you actually deal with them?”

“One of my biggest challenges was lack of experience. I came straight out of school and it could be overwhelming sometimes with so many things to learn and so many experienced people with which to work. When designing a vehicle, every little part ties together and it gives a lot of pressure. I’m glad that my company holds weekly training for us. In the one-hour session, colleagues will give presentations of their previous work, update current tasks and more importantly share their experiences. It is a good way to know others more, and to gain a clearer idea of what and how other departments are working. A new technology in one realm could be the inspiration for another. That’s what I love about it.”

“It’s very thoughtful for a company to do that. Some current students are struggling with which industry to step into. What brought you to the automobile industry in the first place?”

“To be honest, I also struggled with it once. I have tried investment banking and passed CFA Level I. I think it’s not hard to get into an industry, but it is hard to find out whether it fits. I did a one-year internship with Automation Tooling Systems, Inc. in Canada where I learned about cycle times, GD&T, and JIT production and got exposed to supply chain management. I found the year extremely helpful in identifying my passion. So I would encourage you to try whatever you find interesting, even if it turns out not so satisfying. It could still serve as your next inspiration.”

“That’s very impressive. How do you think such an interest would guide your career path in the near future?”

“I do love what I am doing now, building a new-energy car for the next generation. I’m a hands-on person. In the future, I would like to get closer to the production line as a calibration engineer or process engineer. It’s not going to be easy as front engineers require years of experience and deep insight in the industry.”

“Wonderful, and I wish you all the best. It was great talking to you, thanks again for your valuable input. I’m sure it will help a lot of students.”

“No problem. Glad I could help. Don’t hesitate to contact me again if you have further questions.”

“I really appreciate it. Thank you and have a great day!”





Electical & Computer Engineering Student Showcase Event

By Ross Wade, Assistant Director of Career Services

On January 24, Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering held its first Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) Student Showcase event. The event, sponsored by the Master of Engineering Program and Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, provided ECE students (undergraduate and graduate) the opportunity to share an innovative class project to invited employers. Engineers and recruiters from Facebook, Qualcomm, NetApp, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle visited student tables to hear (and experience) some of the projects students are working on.

ECE Photo 1

Student projects included:

Robo-Arm – A 3D printed hand mimicking the motion of a human hand in real time. The system is Arduino based. A sensor-embedded glove it worn on the hand, its movements are then replicated by the 3d printed hand.

Personal Finance Companion – Software that manages daily transactions and financial account information, can be used to set up budgets, and remind you of upcoming financial events.

Greedy Mario Game – A game that can turn snake-like chain cubelets into a cube when manipulated by the player (the player needs to fit each segment of the chain into a cube by deciding the movement of each of those segments through the direction button). The game can provide a hint prior to each player’s move. The game ends when the entire chain fits into the cube.


Students found the event exciting and stated that having a project to discuss with employers helped them with connecting and networking.

Employers found the event interesting and thoroughly enjoyed connecting with ECE students; a member from the IBM team stated, “I was so impressed with one team of engineers that I contacted them them afterward.  This team embodied the spirit of engineering and it was refreshing to see this creativity, teamwork, and applied science used to positively shape the world around them.  In the professional world it’s too easy to loose this engineering spirit for other goals.”

A networking breakfast and lunch was held so students, employers, ECE faculty and staff could talk about industry trends, career paths, and Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.

The employers that participated in the showcase were surveyed after the event and provided five great tips students should consider when preparing for similar events.

1. When discussing your project, remember to discuss the challenges you faced and the solutions you found; this helps employers understand how you think through challenges and also reflects other important non-technical skills such as communication, team work, persuasive, and analytical.

2. Explain your projects from a high level (from a broader perspective and not too technical) so a variety of employers (including non-technical recruiters) can understand the purpose of the project, the steps you took during the project, and the result.

3. When engaging with employers, ask thoughtful questions. Do not ask, “What should I put on my resume?” Ask company representatives how their company works, how different offices interact, etc. Ask about current technology trends and how those trends are affecting their company.

4. Have a variety of display materials – the more interactive your project the better! In addition to a laptop, add flyers, models, games, etc.

5. Smile and have good eye contact. Employers want to know you are excited about your work and have confidence in your project.


Distance MEMP…the Quattro Crew

By Ross Wade, Assistant Director of Career Services


Duke Engineering’s Pratt Professional Masters Programs offers a Master of Engineering Management distance option for working professionals. This program takes two years, and has three on-campus, week long residencies where students participate in a variety of programs and have a chance to bond. One particular cohort, “Quattro”, has developed a very tight bond. I asked them to answer a few questions to learn more about their experience.

For more information on the distance Master of Engineering Management Program (D-MEMP) click here.

Robert Frederick, US Air Force – Project Manager

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: Best blend of flexibility, challenging classes, group project, and job/career enhancement.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A: I’ve learned a great deal about the technical aspects of leadership and managing a company while also giving me an outlet to practice the intangible qualities.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A: The closest, craziest and most reliable group of people despite only seeing each other once a year.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A: Truly great experience.


Ryland Clark, Technimark – Quality Engineer

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: I had been in my job for about 2 years at the time and I felt that I had a lot of knowledge from school and some experience in the workplace from the technical side but I felt like something was missing. What I felt was missing was the business side of our company. When I looked at different schools and saw the tag line “Making business savvy engineers” I knew this is what I wanted to do.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A:  The program has really opened my eyes to parts of my current business that I have not seen. The big picture discussions, business classes, and along with management principles have helped me with my personal goals.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A: I would say my cohort is one of the biggest positives of the programs. The staff did a great job pulling us together and helping us bond through the residencies. Throughout the semester we discuss everything from class to current situations we find ourselves in a work to help each other out. We have also flown/driven to see each other during the summer and breaks. The staff is also helpful and knowledgeable in every subject and if there is a need they can help find someone with experience who can help us.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A:  Learning, Memories, Quattro


Christene Mitchell, Capital Improvement Program – Engineering Manager

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: I wanted to get a masters degree and when I learned Duke, an accomplished university, offered a Master of Engineering Management degree that would allow me to continue to live at home and work full time, I was sold.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A: I expected to learn more about corporate finance to assist with financial decisions I have to make in my position, and I have.  What I did not expect that is valuable tool in my position is the D-MEMP “Quattro” mentorship.  It is great to have a close friends who you can trust and who have similar experiences to run ideas by and ask for assistance related to work.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A: I said to one faculty member this past residency, “We have a strange love for each other.”  It feels like an extended family – You can’t keep up with everything family who live away from you do, but you care about them, you want them to succeed, you trust they care for you, you try to keep in touch, and when you do see them, it takes no time to be back in sync, enjoying your time together.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A: Knowledge, Friends, Mentors


Adam Turner Lacock, NASA – Structural Dynamics Test Engineer and Robotic Lunar Lander Project Engineer

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: D-MEMP was the perfect opportunity to grow my capabilities as an engineering manager, while maintaining my full-time career and giving me the flexibility I required to spend time with my family.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A:  The program has not yet directly assisted in reaching my professional goals, but I fully expect that it will provide ample opportunity to do so upon completion.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A:  The D-MEMP community is one of the best aspects of the program. The ability to work closely and network with other working (distance) professional and the on-campus faculty and staff creates an atmosphere that is comfortable, friendly, and highly conducive to personal and professional growth.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A:  Best Decision Ever!


Jaimen Sanders, Southern California Edison – Engineer

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: I was accepted to the on-campus program, but soon thereafter received a job offer. I decided I wanted to continue working and going to school as I had done for the previous couple of years.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A:  After receiving acceptance into such a prestigious university many of my colleagues started to more readily accept my ideas and input. I have also established the “long-term” career path I would like to take within my company of eventually becoming a manager. The program has also connected me with some highly intelligent and capable individuals with whom I can discuss my struggles and triumphs.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A:  The D-MEMP community is surprisingly close knit. Despite not constantly interacting on a daily or even weekly basis, I feel we have developed a great rapport. Everyone seems to be extremely understanding and flexible due to much differing schedules, especially in regards to me being on the west coast with a three hour time difference. The QUATTRO cohort has been particularly close, which has made this school experience much more pleasurable. The bond we have developed as a total group and throughout the group is quite surprising at times.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A:  Difficult, Fun, Developmental


Adam Kohn, TE Connectivity – Materials Development Engineer

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: As a Materials Engineer working in R&D, I wanted a distance grad program that was technically rooted but designed for the professional engineer. I came across many programs that matched by needs, but Duke’s stood out due to the residential aspect, live interaction with the professors and students, and the flexible curriculum. The program boasts a diverse and advanced array of core and technical classes suited for any engineer seeking to one day become a CTO. The residential program, consisting of 3 week long residencies, offered me the opportunity to connect with Duke’s campus and develop my skills with a cohort of students. The program is designed for students that want to feel part of a class, connected with a campus, and driven to take advanced and challenging classes.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A: As a young engineer, and with only one year of work experience under my belt, the program exposed me to a “toolbox’ of learning and professional resources that I would have never encountered at my job. The classes are driven by elite members of industry that are normally only available to top executives. Learning from these top professionals at such a “moldable” stage in my engineering career has created a framework that will drive me closer to my goals.

The four core classes, all focused on the business/ law side of engineering, have empowered me to make educated choices at work that reflect the talents of those embodied by CTOs of a company. More importantly, the 4 technical electives offer the extra unique “Duke” touch in the sense that all distance students can mold the program to suite the needs of their career. As a Materials Engineer working in R&D, the ability to take classes focused on product development and innovation has enabled me to stay “true” to my roots as a Materials Engineer while growing my business acumen to that next level!

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A: The faculty, staff, and cohort have helped make the experience truly unique and distinctive from what one might experience at any other distance program. Duke’s MEM faculty go the extra mile to ensure that every distance student feels connected to campus. For example, the director of the program, Dr. Murray, hosts semester “group” check-ins to make sure that the program is exceeding our expectations, and helps address any concerns shared by the cohort. The teachers even offer virtual office hours for the distance students. One professor generously raffled off his seats to the Duke vs UNC basketball game for any distance student that could make it to campus.

Most importantly, the cohort and 3 residencies shape the program into a student driven academic experience. The students in the distance program are located all over the country (and globe), but each and every classmate has become a peer, professional comrade, and lifelong friend! Uniquely, d-MEMP students are also paired with on campus students for projects, enabling all distance students to feel truly connected to campus.

Needless to say, Duke goes the extra mile to create a second home for the distance students and create a platform for professional development that one cannot experience in their job.
Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A: Student Focused Program.

Creating A Guidebook for Chinese Students

By Bridget Fletcher, Assistant Director of Student Services

In my job I see lots of students adjust to life at Duke very quickly and also see large groups of students struggle with the adjustment and never quite get to the point of comfort.  In my experience, one of the groups that seems to have the toughest time acclimating is our Chinese population. This makes sense. The language and culture are different, but not different in the way that people from the UK say “lift” instead of elevator. Different in the sense that the concepts of things like success, happiness, and family mean fundamentally different things in China. I spent lots of time trying to figure out how to better help these students and decided that a little research was in order.

I did a lot of reading about China. I read about the history, the culture, the educational system, and pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I learned a lot. For example, I had no idea that math works differently in China. The way you talk about and explain numbers is completely unlike the way we do it in the US. (Some say this is why China is better at math than the US – go figure!) I also learned a lot about the educational system. The Gaokao (college entrance exam) is something so unparalleled in the level of importance it plays in a young Chinese students life, that it’s hard to find a comparable topic for discussion that would make sense to an American. Basically, China and the US operate in ways so vastly different that most people (and universities) have not really even attempted to talk about it. It’s hard to know where to begin, let alone what a reasonable outcome might be. I am generally fairly comfortable in the realm of uncomfortable and decided this issue was one I would like to tackle.

bridget book

I took what I knew through my experiences in working with Chinese students, what I had learned through my research, and decided to create a project that would allow me to better understand something that had not been thoroughly researched yet – the gap between Chinese student expectations about their experience in the US and the realities of their actual experiences.  After lots of interviews, a few trips to China, and several servings of xiao long bao, I had a decent idea of what might actually be helpful for our Chinese students – a book they could read before coming to the US. Something that would help them understand what to expect in terms of language barriers, new classroom expectations, and general cultural differences.

I created From Jiao Shi to Classroom to address these very issues and to give students some ideas for ways they might prepare for their trip to the US. Things like ways to practice critical thinking, which is something that would not be expected in a Chinese classroom. The book also includes tips for making it through the first few weeks of classes. For example, write down a few comments and questions ahead of time so you aren’t caught off guard if participation is expected. The book also covers a lot of general cultural differences to expect. Things like ordering in a restaurant, the American custom of hugging, and why “how’s it going?” isn’t really a question. (This was my favorite part to write because I experienced these cultural differences on the other side of the spectrum, while I was in China.) No book can ever really prepare you for cultural differences as vast as those between the US and China, but my hope is that From Jiao Shi to Classroom gives Chinese students preparing to come to the US a head start.

Visit iTunes to download From Jiao Shi to Classroom for free on your iPad

EducationUSA Fair in South America

By Erin Degerman, Admissions Officer

Dr. Brad Fox, Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Master of Engineering and Master of Engineering Management programs, and I travelled to South America September 2013 to promote the programs to South American students and universities.

We travelled with other university representatives to several stops along the EducationUSA Fair Circuit in South America.  EducationUSA is a part of the U.S. Department of State. Its mission is to advise “international students with accurate, comprehensive, and current information about how to apply to U.S. colleges and universities”. As part of fulfilling that mission, they host educational institutions to join in recruiting fairs.

Dr. Fox and I were able to join in 5 cities on the EducationUSA circuit.


To start off with, Dr. Fox and I went to São Paulo, in southeast Brazil. While there, we were able to meet with representatives from University of São Paulo (USP). We were warmly welcomed by Guilherme Santos Grise Serviço de Relações Internacionais Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo (USP) Prof. Dr. Marcio Lobo Netto Associate Professor Electronic Systems Engineering.

From Sao Paulo we travelled to Campinas to visit University of Campinas (UNICAMP)  visit recap where one of their alumni, Renato Mourao, attended for his undergraduate studies. We were hosted by Dr. Laura Ward and Peter Schulz from the School of Applied Sciences at UNICAMP Limeria nearby.

In meeting with representatives, we were able to better understand the education system in Brazil as well as explain our programs that we offer at Duke and how graduate engineering education in the United States is structured. We discussed how things specifically at Duke University are structured within Engineering. Both universities were gracious in hosting meetings with us and showed off Brazilian hospitality to us as their guests.

With EducationUSA we were able to speak to Brazilian students exploring their options for studying in the United States. Pictured is Dr. Fox explaining some of our material to an eager student. The Education Fairs were set up similar to Career Fairs and interested potential students went and visited booths of those institutions and programs.

Brad Fox


The second stop was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here we enjoyed meeting with the Fulbright commission in the city. The Fulbright Commission in Argentina explained to us about the opportunities that Argentine students have studying in the United States.

We met with interested students at the Education Fair. There was even a current Duke University undergraduate student studying abroad who volunteered at the Education Fair who introduced herself to us- Duke love everywhere you go!

Over the weekend we were fortunate to get to visit the Pink House and see the obelisk. It was great for us, since a tour is only offered on the weekend as the Pink House is still in use for governmental operations.


Then it was on to Lima, Peru. Unfortunately, it was a brief visit to such a beautiful and industrious country. We were hosted by Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) and enjoyed speaking with interested students both there and at the fair itself. We even ran out of our brochures at the fair!

Peru has an abundance of unique fruits and vegetables; one of the unique drinks we were able to try was Chirimoya Cremolada and it was quite refreshing.


Our next stop was beautiful Santiago, Chile. Again, some of our current students offered help and advice to set up a university visit with Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. We met with Dr. Mauricio Lopez, and Dr. Jorge Vera Andreo. In talking with them we were better able to understand the process for engineering education in Chile.

At the fair we were able to meet several interested students and tell them about engineering opportunities at Duke University. One student, Serjio Hinojosa, won a roundtrip flight in a drawing at the fair. He was convinced we were part of his good luck in winning- he is pictured with Dr. Fox.

The EducationUSA staff took the school representatives out to a Chilean restaurant that featured traditional folk songs and dancing. The Easter Island dance was quite a contrast to the mainland ones! The natural beauty of the city was wonderful snow capped mountains, gorgeous sunsets and was a sharp contrast to the modern, sleek city.


Our last stop was in Quito, Ecuador. We met with Dr. Cesar Zambrano and undergraduate students at Universidad de San Francisco as well as the scholarship granting organization, Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (SENESCYT). This scholarship organization provides funding for Ecuadorian students who want to study at universities in the United States and other countries.


In Ecuador we were able to meet up with Duke Law alumna, Johanna Roldan, who gave an informative tour around Quito. My favorite view was from the top of the mountain overlooking the city. We were less than 100 km from the Equator but didn’t get the chance to visit the monument.

We often stress to our students about the power of networking, and this trip to South America is no different. EducationUSA staff, current students, alumni from the MEM program, Duke alumni, and many others all made this recruiting trip possible. We hope that many more South American students will come and study at Duke University and enrich us with their perspectives.