Interested in exploring interdisciplinary humanities research topics and methodologies? Student applications are now open for this summer’s Story+ research program. The application deadline is February 19, but applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis, so students should apply as soon as possible.
Story+ is a six-week summer research experience for undergraduate and graduate students who work in small teams to bring academic research to life through dynamic storytelling. In 2021, the program will be offered remotely during Summer Session 1, from May 12 through June 25. Undergraduate students will receive a competitive stipend for participation. Graduate students can receive a stipend or travel support up to $2,500. Please see details and application information.
Eight Duke University faculty groups shared updates on the work supported by their 2019 Intellectual Community Planning Grants (ICPG). Although many groups’ plans were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, they logged a number of accomplishments and intend to further their collaborations.
The group held a kick-off event featuring Amir Goldberg of Stanford University. Goldberg’s 90-minute lecture, “Timing Differences: Discursive Diversity and Team Performance,” was attended by about 40 faculty and graduate students from Fuqua and the broader Duke community. This interaction led the group to a new research project in collaboration with a startup firm that uses AI to generate productivity scores for employees in real time. The group began coordinating with the startup to run a randomized control trial where managers are given tips on how to enhance team productivity based on the AI-generated predictions.
Building Duke’s Community of Theoretical Chemists via a Summer Undergraduate Research Program
This group launched a seven-week summer undergraduate research program for rising seniors studying in the U.S., Canada or Mexico who are interested in theoretical and computational chemistry. Research themes include electronic structure theory, quantum dynamics, polymer theory, theoretical biophysics, statistical mechanics, drug discovery, energy science and biochemistry. The program received support from the Department of Chemistry, the Duke University Energy Initiative and the National Science Foundation.
Exploring STEAM (Science, Arts, and Humanities) at Duke
The STEAM working group brought together members of the Duke community from a broad array of disciplines to explore the current status of STEAM interdisciplinary work around campus. The group met multiple times to define its goals, which included developing and distributing a campus-wide survey, creating a method for compiling STEAM resources and activities, and planning and implementing the first STEAM forum. The survey resulted in over 90 responses from faculty, staff and students of all levels. In completing the STEAM survey, the forum, and the postforum survey, the group laid a foundation for furthering STEAM at Duke.
Health as an Ecosystem: Expanding Our Imaginations of Health
Members of this group laid a foundation by making new connections across Duke. During a Science & Society dinner, for example, they met with graduate students from the School of Medicine, Science & Society, Environmental Toxicology who expressed interest in continued engagement. The group also benefited from monthly calls with the AAP Chapter Climate Advocates network and reviewed opportunities for future activities. In addition, the group organized a three-part lecture series, Climate Change, Health, and Social Justice, hosted by the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine. The first event, From Planet to Patient, will take place on January 13, 2021 (register here).
Launching a Triangle-Wide Seminar in the Economics of Education
Held at the Sanford School of Public Policy, the inaugural Triangle Economics of Education Workshop featured four presenters from local universities and one presenter from out of state. Sarah Turner of the University of Virginia gave the keynote address on college affordability, tailored to higher education costs in North Carolina. The group received 17 research paper submissions from researchers at 29 institutions, including local universities, government agencies, think tanks and national or international universities. The workshop’s 60 attendees spanned multiple schools, departments and programs at Duke and came from surrounding universities as well.
Marine Medicine: Multidisciplinary Research at the Nexus of the Environment and Human Health
The group met multiple times to discuss potential grant mechanisms that would fit members’ interest in exploring how the potential intersection of social, epidemiological and evolutionary approaches might add to the ways in which we understand the spread of parasite and parasite-like diseases. While they did not submit a proposal based on this focus, the members got to know each other better and were poised to pursue opportunities related to COVID-19. They received two new grants (NSF-RAPID with Moody, Keister, Pasquale; CDC including Pasquale, Moody, Woods among many others) and used data on parasite-human interaction networks as a foundation for COVID-19 simulation work (Nunn, Moody, Pasquale).
This group made substantial headway on its aim of collating syllabi for members’ teaching efforts that relate to science and technology studies (STS). This emphasis on teaching proved especially useful to bridge the different levels of seniority in the group. Members now actively share their projected teaching schedules and think together about two other aims of the group: informing students more clearly about related courses in members’ cluster of teaching; and working within the limitations of individual unit constraints and needs to avoid scheduling those courses at the same time, which will better enable access for students.
Last year, a dozen Duke University doctoral students used Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) to acquire new skills, knowledge or experiences that will enhance their original research. In these excerpts from their reports, students reflect on what they learned.
Jacqueline Allain, Ph.D. in History
Birthing Imperial Citizens
I used my GSTEG grant to attend the Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA) Summer School. During this week-long program, I attended seminars led by important scholars of critical theory who work on issues related to the Caribbean. The CPA is an organization dedicated to promoting Caribbean thought – that is, critical theory produced by and for people from the Caribbean. Participating in the summer school allowed me to meet important professors and graduate students with similar interests to my own. It was an amazing experience.
Jonnathan Singh Alvarado, Ph.D. in Neurobiology
Imaging and Untangling Population Dynamics in the Songbird Basil Ganglia
This GSTEG grant allowed me to attend a two-week course on advanced neural data analyses held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. As computational and mathematical frameworks for describing behavior and neuronal activity continue to develop, it is critical for all neuroscientists to stay at the forefront of these advances. In my case, the underlying motivation was to gain tools that would allow me to understand how complicated skilled behaviors such as birdsong are orchestrated by large groups of neuronal networks in living, moving songbirds.
Beyond the extremely high-quality lectures and short projects, the networking was invaluable. As a cohort, we spent every evening socializing amongst ourselves and with many professors, discussing each other’s goals and interests. I keep many of these relationships active to this day, a benefit that has been just as important as the technical skills I gained from the experience.
Joanna Chang, Ph.D. in Musicology
Intensive Language Training in Germany and Austria
I took 12 weeks of German language courses with the Goethe Institut and Deutsch-Institut. My dissertation focuses on regional influences of the Hamburg-born composer Johannes Brahms. The Brahmsnebel – used in German music criticism during the last quarter of the nineteenth century – depicts the nebulous haze of composers throughout Europe and the Americas who consciously or unconsciously emulated Brahms’s compositional aesthetic in the years before and after his death.
Primary source materials (e.g., music journals, concert reviews, newspaper articles, as well as personal memoirs, letters and diary entries) shed light on how Brahms’s music actively weighed upon composers’ creative consciousness. The training yielded greater fluency in reading comprehension of these primary sources, but also widened my access to research methodologies and analytical tools of the latest German musical scholarship.
Jessica Coleman, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Training for Research to Promote Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity
I spent a week attending the Global Reproductive and Sexual Health Summer Institute at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. I was fortunate to receive specialized education and training regarding my areas of research and clinical focus. Specifically, I learned about methods to examine the impacts of gender-based violence on health and considerations for conducting sexual and reproductive intervention research with historically marginalized populations.
I also visited Dr. Dekel’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital to learn about novel methodology in studies of traumatic childbirth, including hormonal and neuroimaging measurement.
This targeted, supplementary training has informed the development of my dissertation, in which I will develop and pilot a program to support patients through distressing, genitally invasive gynecologic medical procedures.
Jonathan Henderson, Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology
Producing Mande Music in the Black Atlantic
The Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grant made it possible for me to spend the spring semester in London attending Lucy Durán’s Mande Music seminar course at SOAS University. Durán is central to my research on the work of record producers in mediating Mande music practices for international audiences. She has been a key figure in educating international publics about Mande music through her numerous recording collaborations with musicians from Mali and Gambia.
Attending her seminar allowed me to connect with her informally after class as well, and to set up a series of formal interviews with her. These interviews have provided crucial material for the research I have been writing up since my return from London. I presented a version of this work in progress at the Society for Ethnomusicology. My paper, entitled, “World Music Record Production and the Politics of Invisibility in Toumani Diabaté’s Kaira,” examines Durán’s 1987 production featuring the great Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté.
Siddharth Kawadiya, Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Lab Scale Assessment and Analysis of Malodors in Reinvented Toilets
My research focuses on odor control in reinvented toilets, and I’ve completed extensive research on using odor control “pouches” to remove malodorous compounds generated in toilets. The primary objective of the internship at Firmenich was to learn quantitative methods to determine the concentration of various compounds in the gas phase, using a technique called Solid Phase Extraction, coupled with Gas Chromatography (SPE-GC).
Together with the scientists at Firmenich, I researched the optimum absorbents to capture the malodorous gases, and the solvents to elute out the absorbed gases into a solution that could be injected into a GC for analysis. This led to the development of a protocol that enabled me to determine the efficiency of my pouches in removing malodors, by analyzing the gas phase concentration of various compounds in a bag filled with malodorous air before and after placing the odor pouch in it.
By manipulating the composition of the odor pouches and repeating the analysis detailed above, I was able to determine which compositions were suitable to remove each of the major gases that comprise the malodors found in toilets.
Koffi Nomedji, Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology
The Everyday and the Anthropocene
Coastal erosion is affecting 500,000 people in West Africa every year; however, its effects on coastal communities are not well documented. My research is concerned with the sociocultural impact of this ongoing environmental crisis. The GSTEG allowed me to get an on-site training in landscape and documentary photography. I also organized photography shootings with photographers from Togo and Ghana.
My future project is to create online venues that will help publicize the erosion issue. I am also planning to create a short documentary explaining coastal erosion to the public. The erosion issue has been explained by geographers but it is still hard for a regular person to picture the processes. The idea to use animation technology to show how regional geophysical and manmade processes are producing the erosion in Ghana, Togo and Benin.
Amanda Rossillo, Ph.D. in Evolutionary Anthropology
Assessing Extinct and Modern Human Adaptations to Climatic Variability Using Geometric Morphometric Methods
My dissertation research on human evolution focuses on how the human skeleton has changed over time. The goal of my current project is to investigate the extent and pattern of variation in an extinct human species known as Homo naledi from South Africa.
Before beginning my project, I was familiar with traditional observational and metric methods of osteological analysis. However, an approach known as geometric morphometrics is becoming increasingly common in the field because it facilitates analysis of much more data very rapidly through the use of digital points called landmarks.
I attended a week-long introductory workshop on geometric morphometrics offered through Transmitting Science in Barcelona. This workshop was invaluable because I learned the fundamentals of a new approach and how to modify it to suit my own project when I returned to Duke. I also was able to practice my science communication skills by working with and presenting my results to the other participants, many of whom came from different countries and engaged in different fields of study.
Clay Sanders, Ph.D. in Civil Engineering
Novel Structural and Material Design Methods
I utilized my GSTEG for a research trip to ENSTA-Paris Tech to investigate a new computational optimization technique to design structures. I worked with Professor Marc Bonnet.
Our new approach, known as the “adaptive eigenspace basis method”, borrowed from computational techniques used to solve medium imaging problems for ultrasound or geological imaging applications. We showed that our new method could equivalently represent designs usually parameterized by thousands or millions of design variables with only a few dozen variables, enabling significant computational efficiency improvements.
Following the GSTEG trip, we refined the method and submitted a manuscript to the International Journal of Numerical Methods in Engineering.
Weiyi Tang, Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences
Characterizing Diazotrophs in the North Atlantic Ocean
Previous GSTEG recipient Weiyi Tang graduated in 2019 is currently a postdoctoral research associate in Princeton University’s Department of Geosciences.
Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) are intended to expand the opportunities for graduate students to augment their core research and training by acquiring additional skills, knowledge or experiences that are not available at Duke and that will enhance their capacity to carry out original research. This internal funding mechanism aims to help students deepen their preparation for academic positions and other career trajectories.
Interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges? Student applications are now open for this summer’s Data+ research program. The application deadline is February 26, but applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis, so students should apply as soon as possible.
Data+ is a full-time ten-week summer research experience for undergraduates and master’s students. Students join small teams and learn how to marshal, analyze and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the field of data science. In 2021, the program will run from June 1 through August 6.
The Rhodes iiD Doctoral Fellowship in the Computational Humanities is an opportunity for English doctoral students at Duke University to receive training in the methodology and theory of computational and digital literary studies. The fellowship program will introduce students to both research and pedagogical practices using computational methods. Fellows will also gain an understanding of the quickly-developing critical questions and methodologies that drive scholarship in the digital humanities.
Through workshops and mentoring, the fellowship creates a collaborative environment where English PhD students can acquire the necessary skills to translate their teaching and research interests into a digital or computational project. The projects undertaken as part of the fellowship aim to advance and complement the students’ dissertation research and their teaching within the English department. Because of this, the students will be required to design and create projects that reflect their core areas of research. Fellows are encouraged, though not required, to work towards a conference presentation or a publication for their project. At the end of each year of the program, they will share their completed projects on a public-facing website as well as present their work in a public panel.
Structure of Fellowship Program
Applications are due at the end of the third year of doctoral studies (see the application information page for details)
Fellowship starts at the beginning of the fall semester of the student’s fourth year and ends at the end of the summer following the student’s fifth year:
Students are expected to continue work on their digital project during the summers. If the fellow graduates at the end of year 5 of their program, they will be asked to use that summer’s award to complete the project’s website and move towards publication or conference presentation of the project where possible.
The first year will focus on designing a project and, if the option is selected, carrying out the project within the student’s English 90S course (see projects page for details).
Students in their second year of the fellowship will focus on completing their project, working towards the website, panel, and, if possible, conference presentation and/or publication.
If they participate in Data+ in the first summer of the fellowship, the fellows will be expected to mentor new fellows participating in Data+ during the second summer.
Students in their second year of the fellowship will be required to provide feedback and mentoring to the students in their first year.
What the Fellowship Gives to Students
$5,000 annual stipend for two years distributed as follows: $1,500 fall term; $1,500 spring term; and $2,000 summer term. Award for the second year of the fellowship is depended on satisfactory progress (both in computational/digital project and in degree requirements as determined by dissertation director).
Opportunity to seek feedback on work from faculty and other fellows, and the opportunity to mentor new fellows during your second year in the fellowship.
Workshops and learning opportunities around digital research, pedagogy, and presentation. During the school year, fellows will participate in a regular workshop (every three weeks) that will guide them through the process of designing a digital project, learning the relevant critical and methodological scholarship, and receive help and feedback on the implementation of their work.
Networking opportunities with invited scholars.
Where applicable, the Faculty Coordinator, Astrid Giugni, will visit the classroom for each fellow’s pedagogical project to provide support and to generate material for a teaching letter.
Feedback and instruction on how to develop their projects towards a conference presentation or a publication.
To be eligible for the fellowships, students need to:
Be a doctoral student in the English department at Duke University
Have completed preliminary exams by the start date of the fellowship
Receive a letter from dissertation director testifying to satisfactory progress in the requirements for the degree at the time of application and at review time after the first year of the fellowship
Please note: no background in digital or computational methods is necessary. Students of all levels of digital experience (including no experience) are encouraged to apply! The workshops during the first year of the fellowship will guide you in developing a project and learning what skills you will need to develop in order to finish the project.
To apply, please email the Faculty Coordinator, Astrid Giugni, to schedule a preapplication meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to help students navigate the application process.
Last year, five Duke University faculty members set out to build skills and add new dimensions to their work. In these excerpts from their Faculty Teaching/Research Enhancement Grants (FTREG) reports, they share what they undertook and how these experiences will help them and their students.
Jody McAuliffe, Theater Studies and Slavic & Eurasian Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
I took the Summer Intensive in improvisation offered at the iO Theater in Chicago. Widely considered the premier venue for long-form improvisational performances and classes, iO was founded in 1981. The Summer Intensive condensed the entire iO Theater school of thought. Each week, a different iO teacher instructed the class in a particular level of curriculum. This intensive course prepared me thoroughly to teach improvisation at Duke to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Kathy Amato, my colleague in Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E), asked me to teach improvisation to Master of Engineering students enrolled in her class, Design Thinking. This intensive course at iO equipped me to guest teach in that course regularly and to offer regularly a new freshman seminar in Collaboration & Improvisation and a new course the Art of Improvising to undergraduates in Theater Studies and I&E.
Improvisation is a subject of great interest to our undergraduates. This intensive at iO decidedly broadened my teaching. It fit with my overall academic, research and professional plans, as I work as a director in professional and educational theater.
I received the FTREG grant to attend Alexander Technique workshops at Ohio State University and Holy Names College.
The Alexander Technique (AT) is method of self-inquiry that has been used to improve performance within a wide range of activities, primarily within the performing arts, for over 100 years. It is now included in the curriculum at nearly all major conservatories and schools of music, theater and dance, and I am committed to bringing this work to Duke.
I had been offering an AT course for performing musicians, MUS 116, every semester since Fall 2017. The course has been very well received within the Department of Music but I felt that the time had come for me to open the class up to Duke undergraduates studying dance and theater. Cross-listing was approved with both of these departments.
Both workshops gave me the opportunity to study master teachers and collaborate with fellow teacher-trainees. The workshops were challenging at times but ultimately very affirming and profoundly useful as I moved into my first semester of teaching the technique to a wider variety of students.
Book Design and Typography
Christopher Sims, Center for Documentary Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
The cognate training work I undertook through my FTREG project was fortuitously-timed. Soon after receiving this support, I finalized my contract with Kehrer Verlag, a leading art publisher, for my first photography monograph, The Pretend Villages.
At the San Francisco Center for the Book workshop, I experimented with seeing the book as a sculptural object, and one that did not need to be “precious.” It seemed sacrilegious at times to cut open and dissect flea market-sourced books with tools, but it was helpful to understand in a material and physical way how the texture, weight and feel of a book impact the experience of interacting with its content.
In the dienacht Publishing workshop, I created a full book dummy with six other participants. Whereas I had previously seen the challenge of making the books as being primarily about sequencing the images, creating the book dummy was instructive in terms of understanding more fully how the materials are important variables in the process.
The insights I learned in these workshops have proven extremely helpful as I work with the Kehrer Verlag book designers on moving my research project forward into this new space.
Geospatial Biodiversity Mapping
Jennifer Swenson, Environmental Sciences and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment
The FTREG support allowed a rich and fruitful exchange of knowledge, skills and learning with rural indigenous communities of Oaxaca, Mexico. The communities presented an on-the-ground land management and biodiversity mapping need, and we were able to contribute our knowledge of satellite remote sensing, geospatial analysis, species modeling, and field data collection to develop a new geospatial biodiversity database and collection protocols.
Our vehicle for this exchange was a master’s project completed by an excellent team of four students – Krista Erdman, Kim Myers, Virginia Patterson, Zifeng (Eric) Wang – with support from Elizabeth Shapiro and John Poulsen. The project was a resounding success and has laid the foundations for future work.
We developed our project in close collaboration with ICICO, Integrator of Indigenous and Campesino Communities of Oaxaca, with whom colleague Elizabeth Shapiro has built a long term collaboration. ICICO was interested in identifying the best location of a biological corridor between two of its adjacent communities in southern Oaxaca. Together we decided to create models of potential corridors and wildlife connectivity for different species.
Areas of ecological importance were identified and prioritized based on the overlap of species distributions and a potential corridor was mapped using the corridor analysis tools. Protocols for future data collection were designed for the communities and all data produced was transferred to them for their use.
Marine Science and Ethics
Rebecca Vidra, Environmental Sciences and Policy, Nicholas School of the Environment
I was supported by a Faculty Teaching/Research Enhancement Grant to spend a two-week residency at the Duke University Marine Lab. During this time, I met with eight of my faculty colleagues.
Some of these meetings involved fieldwork, as I hunted for flounder at night with Dan Rittschof and located a local pod of dolphins with Andy Read. Others involved sitting down with the syllabus for ENVIRON 102 to see how I could reorient some of the topics around marine issues. Tom Schultz was particularly generous with his time, meeting with me several times, taking me out to the oyster farm (where I proudly and meticulously cleaned bags of oysters!) and brainstorming ways to address environmental ethics in the soon-to-be-proposed Marine Science major for undergraduates.
I was able to introduce more marine science/conservation into my ENVIRON 102 course, primarily by using a suite of marine examples to teach about ecology, threats to biodiversity and climate change. I am using more marine-based examples in my undergraduate Environmental Ethics seminar and in my graduate Ecosystem Science and Management classes, drawing on the work of my colleagues. By integrating these examples, research, and conversations into my class, I feel like I am bringing a little bit of the Marine Lab back to campus.
About Faculty Teaching/Research Enhancement Grants
The Kenan Institute for Ethics strives to engage Durham with a reciprocity that respects the knowledge of both the university and the local community and aims to mobilize these ways of knowing to address real world problems. This kind of community-based research brings together diverse perspectives from residents, local leaders and the university and allows us to develop, share and apply knowledge to find innovative ways to tackle historically intractable problems. To further this work, the Kenan Institute for Ethics is seeking community-based research projects from Duke faculty.
Community-Based Research Program Guidelines
Available to faculty in partnership with a local community or neighborhood organizations in Durham. The representative from the community organization must be identified as a co-PI with a substantive role clearly described in the proposal.
Awards up to $20,000 for a one-year period with an option for renewal for a second year. Projects must begin before June 15, 2020. We expect to make 2 awards.
KIE is particularly interested in the projects that might address issues in education, policing, healthcare, or housing.
No more than 2-page proposals.
Proposals should include:
Project Description – A brief description of the area of research, rationale for approach and expected outcomes – Who will benefit from the research? How will they benefit?
Collaboration – Provide a description of the project leadership and partnership (list of partners and roles, infrastructure for participation, history of the partnership), an outline of how partners will work together to complete the project, and potential plans for future collaboration.
Effectively improving health and the value of health care requires multidisciplinary teams and capabilities. To meet this aim, Duke-Margolis uniquely brings together teams of health care and policy experts and organizations to assess key policy and practice challenges and identify and implement impactful solutions. As future policy-leaders and -aware professionals, students are integral team members. The Center offers students (undergraduate and graduate) opportunities to contribute to a variety of projects aimed at improving health and the value of health care through research and the development of innovative, practical, and evidence-based policy solutions through a collaborative and mentored 8-week summer internship experience.
Goals of the Internship Experience
Learn through challenging and meaningful activities
Link academic learning to policy and practice
Gain professional experience within the field of health policy
Build positive relationships with faculty and staff
Identify, clarify, and/or confirm direction as it relates to their academic studies and future career path
The intern will support the team’s efforts to conduct rigorous analyses and communicate their findings. Individual tasks will be project-specific, but will include assignments such as literature reviews, data analyses and visualizations, and writing/editing a broad variety of work products, including project reports, policy briefs, blog posts, and article submissions for peer review. Click here to learn more about our current work and areas of research.
Compensation & Hours
Paid, dependent on education level. Approximately 40 hours per week.
Approximate Program Length
10 weeks. Dates fall between May 20th and July 30th.
Meet more of our interns to learn about their experiences by visiting the Margolis Interns Directory! Margolis Intern Directory
Qualifications and Requirements
Applicants must demonstrate:
Interest in health policy and inquisitive drive for drilling into data sets, legislation, and the like, in order to discover insights that can be translated to a stakeholder audience and inform health policy decisions
Ability to work both independently and as a contributing team member
Ability to handle multiple competing project deadlines
Strong attention to detail and commitment to scientific integrity and high-quality research
Strong verbal and written communication skills
Proficiency with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and, especially Excel
Proficiency with SAS, STATA, R, ArcGIS, or similar statistical and/or geospatial mapping programs is a plus but not required
Both graduate and undergraduate levels
Duke University and non-Duke University students
Applicants from all US-based locations are encouraged to apply. However, Duke University has set hiring preferences to 10 states and Washington, D.C. for this upcoming summer due to the program being virtual. To be employed as a graduate intern through the Margolis Internship Program, preference will be given to applicants who physically reside in one of the approved 11 locations: NC, CA, GA, NY, TN, VA, FL, MD, SC, TX, & DC while participating. To be employed as an undergraduate intern, preference will be given to applicants who are able to physically reside in NC while participating.
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