Certificate Purpose

Coming to Duke, I knew I wanted to pursue the I&E certificate alongside my Computer Science and Economics majors. I’ve long dreamed of launching my own software startup, and I chose Duke for its combination of programs to prepare me for such a goal.


From the certificate, I hope to develop and fine-tune my thinking as an entrepreneur. While I am sure that much of what I will learn can be furthered through experience, I am a firm believer that entrepreneurship can be taught. Though much of business creation is about assuming risk, I believe that through formal training such as that in my I&E courses, I will be able to make much more informed decisions in my life as an entrepreneur. Likewise, I recognize that Duke’s extraordinary faculty has much to offer in terms of advice and mentorship, further benefiting my entrepreneurial endeavors.


Given my aspirations for startup success, I see the I&E program to be a perfect fit for what I wish to achieve during my educational career. I believe that my skills acquired in certificate classes and experiences will be taken well-beyond my career at Duke. These are skills that are in many ways far more tangible than those acquired in other classes, and will certainly be some of the highlights of my educational career.


Through my experiences volunteering as tech support at a senior living center in high school, I realized that technologies intuitive to a seven-year-old are not necessarily intuitive to a seventy-year-old. While technology such as iPads and Macs are praised for their apparent simplicity, such products still have large barriers to entry for technologically inexperienced individuals. From this realization, I have grown a passion for making technology more accessible. Whether this is for the seniors I helped last year, my own parents who always seem to have a new technology hiccup, or some of my peers who might feel less comfortable with their technology, I aim to address this problem of technology being unintuitive to those attempting to use it.


As a result, the primary area of focus that I am looking to explore with the I&E certificate is this very passion. I hope that I can choose a course path to supplement my Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurs program experience and help me create products that help bridge the gaps between the technologically inexperienced and the technologies they wish to use. It is my hope that my coursework will build upon this passion, exposing me to new ideas, solutions, and expertise around my focus.