The Duke in Silicon Valley 2021 students represent a variety of majors and have unique talents and entrepreneurial interests – an outstanding group of Duke undergraduates! Read below to learn more about this year’s cohort!
Ada is a rising junior at Duke University pursuing a Computer Science major and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. Growing up in Salisbury, North Carolina, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading books, and working out. At Duke, Ada is a student developer for Duke OIT, a member of the 2021 DTech Scholar cohort, and is involved in the technology team for HackDuke. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship, education, and building products with global impact. Ada is very excited to spend part of her summer with the Duke in Silicon Valley program, learn what it takes to launch a new product or service, and understand what it takes to thrive in tech-entrepreneurship.
Alex is a rising sophomore at Duke University – pursuing a major in Economics and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.Growing up in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, Alex was an elite athlete across several sports including Basketball and Track and Field. He now competes for the Duke University Track and Field team. All of his life, Alex challenged himself in both sports and in the classroom. By exposing himself to these distinct forms of competition, he learned how best to adapt to new environments with differing goals, team members, and personalities. After being introduced to Duke in Silicon Valley by a teammate, Alex knew joining them would help him advance in the entrepreneurship business field. Alex hopes the Duke in Silicon Valley program will assist him in discovering the ways start-ups and established companies operate and what it takes to make them successful.
Annie is a rising junior at Duke University majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Psychology. She is from Dallas, Texas, and won’t let you forget it (i.e. “Texas queso is supreme”). At Duke, she is involved in Duke Technology Scholars, Business-Oriented Women, the Polarization Lab, and club lacrosse. However, in her free time, Annie likes to draw cartoons and explore local restaurants. Regarding Duke in Silicon Valley, Annie is looking forward to learning about the intersection between technology and business, as it combines two of her academic passions: designing software and understanding human behavior.
Baran is a senior from Ankara, Turkey pursuing a major in electrical and computer engineering. He is interested in emerging technologies in machine learning infrastructure. He chose to participate in the program to explore different parts of the innovation culture in Silicon Valley. Having worked previously with a large tech company in Silicon Valley, Baran is excited for the program to provide him with entrepreneurial exposure to startups and early-stage ventures. In his spare time, Baran enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Caroline is a rising junior at Duke majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Econ and Art History. She is excited to learn more about the career options available in the tech industry, especially where is intersects with her other interests. During the school year, Caroline is involved in Bull City Scholars, a tutoring program for Durham middle schoolers. She is also the creative director at The Spacebar, a tech newsletter at Duke. Caroline has always been interested in issues of educational inequality, so outside of Duke she works part time as a teacher at The Coding School and manages the High School Ambassador program at Bridging Tech, a nonprofit working to bridge the digital divide.
Cole James FitzGerald
Cole FitzGerald is a rising sophomore at Duke University from Atlanta, Georgia. He is majoring in Computer Science with a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Cole enjoys skiing, spending time with family, and live streaming. He has participated in multiple hackathons and cybersecurity events. Cole’s main passion is in game design and he hopes one day to publish games from his own entrepreneurial startup.
Dennis is a rising sophomore studying Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science. He went to High School in South London, England, but is originally from Russia. He is interested in a variety of different fields in tech, with much of his experience coming from building drones and various other electronics. In DSV, he is looking forward to exploring other tech fields as well as the start-up space, and supplementing his existing business and engineering knowledge with advice from his peers. Outside of the classroom, Dennis enjoys running, skiing, the gym, and the art of creation (mainly electronics).
Dilys is a rising sophomore at Duke University pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Economics. At Duke, she is an investment analyst of the Duke Impact Investing Group, Community Service Director and Vice-President Elect of Duke Rotaract, member and upcoming Membership Chair of Business Oriented Women, highly competitive member of the debate team, and member of Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity. In her free time, Dilys enjoys traveling, volunteering, and playing the piano and saxophone. Working closely with many founders through her role as an analyst has introduced her to the world of entrepreneurship and innovation, an understanding she seeks to develop through her engagement in the Duke in Silicon Valley program. Dilys has always found problem-solving and collaboration to be an amazing basis for Innovation and is excited to gain further insight into how to ideate, launch, and expand a successful venture in Silicon Valley.
Grace is a rising sophomore pursuing a major in Public Policy, a minor in Finance, and a certificate in I&E or Markets and Management. She grew up in the Silicon Valley where she developed a passion for its unique entrepreneurial culture, completing an economic research paper on the SV scandal of Theranos. In her free time, she enjoys both competing in and watching sports, working on social justice issues, and being a member of Duke’s Business Oriented Women. Through DSV, Grace looks forward to learning what it takes to turn a start-up business into a successful enterprise.
Grisha is a rising sophomore pursuing a double major in Physics and Computer Science. He seeks to gain an understanding of the vital components of a startup, as well as of the features and skills required to become a swift leader and entrepreneur. Likewise, he is incredibly excited to immerse himself in the innovative culture of Silicon Valley and learn about the impacts that COVID-19 has had on the world’s most famous tech hub. As an avid ocean lover, Grisha seeks to merge his love for marine creatures and technology in a large-scale manner that will better the world and resolve environmental issues.
Harry Landis is a rising sophomore from New York City, majoring in Economics and pursuing both the I&E and PPE certificates at Duke. Though in high school Harry devoted most of his extra-curricular free time to sports anayltics, Harry has since shifted his focus to pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors in college; in his freshman year, he co-founded a moving and storage company as well as founded a company that looks to enhance and reinvent the fan marketplace for tickets and apparel. Harry is looking forward to learning as much as possible from the Duke in Silicon Valley program, as he is eager to apply new insights to his current and future ventures. Outside of entrepreneurship, Harry is passionate about football, snowboarding, and the beach.
Jaden is a rising Sophomore from Las Vegas, Nevada. She has plans to pursue an Economics or Public Policy major with a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is currently involved with Duke Best Buddies and Big Brother Big Sister of the Triangle. She also is a member of Campus Enterprises and a tutor for First Generation Investors. She is very excited to learn more about entrepreneurship as she considers potential internships and careers. Furthermore, with a love for California, she is excited to learn more of the enterprises and opportunities which exist there as well as collaborate with her fellow students to establish a greater passion for and understanding of entrepreneurship.
Jake is a rising sophomore at Duke University pursuing a major in Computer Science and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He was born in New York City but grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he currently resides. Jake is excited to explore the world of Silicon Valley throughout the program. He also hopes that he will gain many of the skills necessary to hopefully start a business of his own in the future. At Duke, Jake is a shareholder for Campus Enterprises, a member of Catalyst, a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, and a youth basketball coach for Coach2Inspire. He also enjoys playing video games, reading books, watching Netflix, and hanging out with his friends and family.
Kai is a rising sophomore at Duke University pursuing a major in Economics and a minor in French. He was born in Fujian, China, but attended high school in Carson City, Nevada. Kai looks forward to being friends with other students in this program, but most of all, he is looking forward to experiencing the culture that Silicon Valley fosters. During Kai’s freshman year, he joined Duke Students Government, Duke Impact Investing Group, and became a DukeStudents social media intern. His interests include reading, hanging out with friends and languages and cultures.
Kaylin Woodward is a rising senior majoring in Political Science (concentrating in Security, Peace, and Conflict), with a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (focusing on Social Innovation). Kaylin is also active in the Duke Theater Studies and Visual Media Studies departments, where she has served as President of Hoof ‘n’ Horn student-run musical theater group, VP of Marketing and member of Exec+ for duARTS, Director of National Expansion for Me Too Monologues, and guest editor for the Creative Arts Student Teams program. She continues to take courses in Spanish for language fluency, and has studied in Spain, Switzerland, and Peru. Kaylin has been appointed as a research assistant to Duke professors Dr. Elizabeth Losos, researching sustainable infrastructure in developing countries, and Dr. Ashley Jardina, researching on racial attitudes and prejudice in politics. Kaylin’s goal is to work for an international aid organization that funds and supports local entrepreneurs to address real world problems, especially around gender justice activism and environmental awareness-building. She spent part of last year working with CARE USA’s Innovation Team as the Domestic CARE Package Volunteer Lead to develop, operate, and launch the volunteer program cost-effectively. In her free time, she enjoys hanging with friends, hiking, collecting postcards, avidly defending Coke > Pepsi (an ATLien must), listening to/ performing/ writing music, and doing film acting.
Manmit Singh is a rising senior at Duke University pursuing a double major in electrical engineering and computer science, along with a certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship. He was born and raised in New Delhi, India where he grew to recognize the needs and problems of people in developing countries. Manmit is particularly passionate about the uses of technology in the financial sector to push for greater financial exclusion and transparency. He is also an avid sportsperson and musician, engaging in the Duke Krav Maga Club and playing for “Sangeet” – an Indian classical music group on campus. Moreover, Manmit considers spirituality and mindfulness to be a big part of his identity – and has been involved in starting the Sikh students’ organisation on campus. Manmit is looking forward to learning about launching a start-up in the entrepreneurial Silicon Valley area.p in the entrepreneurial Silicon Valley area.
Marcos is a rising junior from Los Angeles, California and studying for a B.S. in Economics with a Finance Concentration and a minor in Mathematics. Now involved in DSV, Marcos is extremely eager to understand the founding and development of start-ups, from development to investors to ethnographic improvements, in order to maximize his success in several personal tech ventures.
Merrill O’Shaughnessy is a rising junior majoring in Human-centered Design and Informatics through Duke’s Program II. She is an experienced Writing Consultant for the Pratt School of Engineering and is looking forward to joining Duke’s student-run creative agency, Pitch Story Lab, in the upcoming year. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, and helping out as a graphic designer for student organizations and campus events. Through Duke in Silicon Valley, she is interested in exploring the role of branding design in entrepreneurship and immersing herself in Silicon Valley’s design community. After this program, she will be interning as a UX Designer for Mastercard.
Naman Parikh is a rising sophomore from New Jersey intending to double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science along with a minor in Economics. He also plans on pursuing the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. Naman is extremely passionate about interlacing commerce and community using technology entrepreneurship. This fascination has enabled him to lead 3 tech-enabled social and commercial start-ups. At Duke, Naman is a member of Duke’s premier pre-professional business organization DSP (Delta Sigma Pi), works with mentors on his entrepreneurial ventures under the Student Founders Program, undertakes engineering projects for companies as part of the Duke Applied Machine Learning Group, is a part of the tech team that organizes HackDuke (the largest hackathon for social good), is a business development specialist for DIIG (Duke Impact Investing Group), and is a developer for BlueTech, a division of Duke’s largest run student Business Campus Enterprises. Other than that, Naman enjoys contributing as a member to the Duke Cyber Club, Duke Rotaract, Duke International Relations Association, and Duke Jumpstart (Teach for America). He is a golfer and soccer player and enjoys doing theatre, playing drums, and releasing music on streaming platforms in his free time. Having visited and worked with a Silicon Valley start-up, Naman is keen on using this program to further his dream of building bridges that better our community.
Sam is a rising sophomore at Duke University pursuing a major in Computer Science. He grew up on Cape Cod, MA, from where he’ll be doing DSV virtually! He loves to write, read, play piano, and create cool things. Sam is a part of Catalyst and [the space bar], where he works on cool projects. He’s super excited about the startup space and can’t wait for DSV!
Sami Meyers is a rising sophomore at Duke University from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. She is pursuing a degree in Public Policy, a minor in Computer Science, and a certificate in Markets and Management. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to the beach, and listening to podcasts. At Duke, Sami is involved with Scale and Coin, Business Oriented Women, and Coach2Inpsire where she is a basketball coach for Durham children. Sami is excited to learn more about the different possible roles at the technology and entrepreneurial based companies in Silicon Valley and how to incorporate an innovative approach to her future career and make a positive impact on society.
Zack Schroeder is a rising sophomore at Duke University pursuing a major in Computer Science with a minor in Italian and a certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. He was born in Manhattan, NY, but moved out to California when he was young and grew up in Orinda, a suburb of the Bay Area. Zack enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing the guitar, and exploring the outdoors. He is interested in the intersection of STEM and entrepreneurship, and he is excited to learn more about the companies that make up Silicon Valley through the unique immersion opportunities offered by DSV