Making the Most of Duke on the Road to the Ph.D.

Three students share opportunities that strengthened their doctoral education
Doctoral students.
Hannah Ontiveros (far left) poses with Bass Connections colleagues Imani Mosley and Charles Thompson; Edgar Virgüez cheers on the football team with his daughter and wife; Jessica West celebrates her successful dissertation defense

Jessica West, Ph.D. in Sociology

Joining a Team of Global Experts on Hearing Loss

Jessica West Jessica West.studies the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities. She is particularly interested in the experiences of people with hearing loss, as she herself has worn hearing aids since the age of 17.

West’s dissertation, “Stress Proliferation and Disability over the Life Course,” is organized into two chapters that address questions regarding stress proliferation and disability using data from the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal, nationally representative sample of U.S. adults over the age of 50 and their spouses.

How she got involved with a working group on hearing loss stigma

“During the second year of my Ph.D. program, I reached out to Dr. Debara Tucci, an otolaryngologist at Duke. I was interested in meeting her because in addition to her fantastic basic science research, some of her clinical research focused on addressing barriers to hearing health care.

“In 2019, The Lancet Commission on Hearing Loss (LCHL) was formed to identify ways to reduce the global burden of hearing loss. Dr. Tucci invited me to participate in the inaugural meeting. Once the Commission realized they needed a stronger focus on stigma, Dr. Tucci asked me to become part of the stigma working group, which is co-led by Dr. Laura Nyblade (RTI) and Dr. Howard Francis (Chair of the Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences at Duke).

Researchers pose for a group photo.
Jessica West (fourth from right) at the inaugural meeting of the LCHL in October 2019

“The RTI team is part of this working group and has several tasks. First, we are conducting an extensive literature review of past evidence on the stigma related to hearing loss and hearing-related assistive devices. Second, we have been tasked with creating a framework for thinking about hearing loss stigma. Finally, we are creating a survey that will be fielded in two countries to generate a more current understanding of hearing loss stigma.

“Through the LCHL, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with world experts in hearing loss whose work I have read and cited throughout my doctoral training. Joining the RTI team has introduced me to Dr. Nyblade, who has extensive expertise in stigma and discrimination, especially surrounding HIV and AIDS. In some of her past work, Dr. Nyblade has developed, tested, and standardized a tool for measuring stigma. Working with Dr. Nyblade has shown me ways in which academic research can be translated into public health interventions.”

Edgar Virgüez, Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences & Policy

Making the University a Better Place

Edgar.Edgar Virgüez is an energy systems engineer promoting a rapid and cost-efficient energy transition toward a decarbonized electric power system. His research integrates methods from operations research, geospatial analysis and environmental economics. At Duke, he has received several of the most prestigious awards for graduate students, including the Graduate School Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Forever Duke Student Leadership Award.

Virgüez has served on numerous boards and committees across the university. He took part in The Graduate School’s Emerging Leaders Institute, where graduate students and postdocs work in teams to improve Duke’s campus environment, a Bass Connections project (read his reflection) and many other interdisciplinary endeavors. Expecting to graduate later this year, he has accepted a postdoctoral position at Stanford University.

What he gained from engaging in governance

“For the last few years I have served on the resources committee of the Board of Trustees. Through that experience, President Price invited me to be part of the search committee for the new executive vice president. I learned about the most pressing challenges for higher education, and how to engage in the decision-making process to prepare the university to confront these challenges.

“I have worked with eight of the eleven vice presidents that we have. Through our interactions I have learned so much from them. They have answered my questions and shared their wisdom and expertise. My dream is to become a university president, and they gave me so much insight, information and passion for continuing this path.

Edgar presenting at a meeting.
Edgar Virgüez speaks on a panel of Cross Scholars at the Association of American Colleges & Universities 2020 Annual Meeting.

“I’ve also made the most of my Duke experience by actively participating in the Graduate and Professional Student Government, where I have served since 2017. For example, last fall, I introduced a resolution to remove the GRE as a mandatory requirement. Engaging students, admissions officers and members of The Graduate School taught me how to tailor a proposal that reflects multiple perspectives. The final product received approval from the student government. I believe it provides a platform for student advocacy efforts to remove some of the barriers that prevent Duke from being a more inclusive and diverse place.

Edgar, Vincent Price, Temis
Edgar and his wife Temis with President Vincent E. Price

“I hope to return to Duke one day. This place has become a home for us. My wife [Temis Coral Castellanos, MEM ’19] finished her master’s degree here. We had our first baby at Duke Hospital. This place provided so many resources for us that it changed our lives forever.

“While our experience at Duke has been defining, this does not mean that everybody else’s experience has been as positive. There are things to improve. Rather than sitting down and being passive, we have been actively trying to change the university. We want Duke to be a place where everybody can thrive regardless of where they were born or how they self-identify. Even if you don’t have the resources to apply for the standardized exams, or you face multiple barriers to entry, you should have a chance to be part of the Duke family.”

Hannah Ontiveros, Ph.D. in History

Looking at Humanitarian Work from a New Angle

Hannah.Hannah Ontiveros studies the history of women in the 20th century. Last summer, while working on her dissertation about American humanitarian responses to the Korean War, she took on two research projects for CWS Durham. This branch of Church World Service supports immigrant and refugee new arrivals in the Triangle area.

Through a Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grant she designed herself, Ontiveros explored strategies for fundraising and community outreach, and conducted interviews with congregational partners and CWS staff. From her research, she crafted reports on her findings and recommended strategies for shaping future programs.

Ontiveros also served as a Story+ graduate mentor and a Bass Connections project coordinator (read her reflection).

Why she chose this internship

“I specifically wanted to work for a progressive faith-based organization, because those are the kinds of institutions I write about in my dissertation. I knew that understanding how these organizations operate on a practical, local, contemporary basis would strengthen my historical analysis of how they operated in the 1950s. Conversely, I wanted to bring my historical research on these organizations to bear on present-day operations.

CWS logo.“CWS was a great fit. The organization’s emergency relief efforts crop up a lot in my dissertation; CWS Durham operates locally and works in grievously under-served communities; and the organization’s focus on refugee resettlement and advocacy addresses a timely problem with roots in the historical period that I study.

“My work with CWS showed me how such organizations continue to operate 70 years later. As part of my research for CWS, I interrogated how donors and volunteers articulate their duty to serving refugee populations. I address the same kinds of questions about duty and motivation in my research. In both cases I found similar answers, demonstrating narratives of deservingness, civic duty and care that run across 70 years. It demonstrated to me the ongoing necessity of studying how and why humanitarianism operates, and how it functions in American society.

“My research for CWS required me to use methods outside and beyond the historical and archival ones I’m accustomed to. I had the opportunity to conduct interviews, to engage philanthropic studies literature, and to utilize some qualitative and quantitative research methods on congregations’ mission statements. Through my research I pushed myself to think in a more interdisciplinary way.”

Advice for Doctoral Students

“Make connections with people outside of your home discipline because they can often provide perspectives or other connections that you might not otherwise be able to access. The benefit of these connections may not be immediate – it may take a few months or years, but they are still worth fostering.” – Jessica West

“Push yourself to find an internship that’s as far outside of your direct area of inquiry as you can. This will help you develop an understanding of broad implications of your research and of your skillset. It will also expand your employment prospects, both in adding a diverse c.v. line and in pushing your research and writing skills into new environments. Also, don’t be afraid to send that introductory email to a potential internship host.” – Hannah Ontiveros

“Use the interdisciplinary initiatives that we have at Duke. There is a tool from The Graduate School called Duke OPTIONS to quickly identify all of the resources that we have here. Anything that you could dream of, there is a possibility that we have a resource related to that.” – Edgar Virgüez

Congratulations to all of the 2021 Ph.D. recipients! Current students, learn more about making the most of Duke this summer and beyond.

By Sarah Dwyer, Duke Interdisciplinary Studies

Delve into Archival Expeditions in Summer 2021

Archival Expeditions.

Deadline: April 30, 2021 (priority)

Archival Expeditions introduces Duke graduate students to teaching with digital primary sources. The student partners with a Duke faculty or librarian sponsor to design an undergraduate course assignment or module that incorporates primary source material in a specific class taught by their sponsor. Sponsors are not required; if a student does not have a sponsor one will be assigned based on subject area. Students have the option of drawing on the Rubenstein Library’s Digital Collections or primary source databases available at Duke.

Graduate students will be expected to spend 10 hours per week over 8 weeks consulting with their sponsor, library staff and other experts and researching, developing and testing the module. The students will work with their sponsor to establish the expectations and parameters for the module after being accepted to the program. A module can take a variety of shapes and be adjusted to fit different courses, disciplines, and goals of the sponsor. Each module should be designed to allow for roughly 1 week of time within an existing course or 10 student hours. These hours can be a combination of in-class and out-of-class activities.

Successful applicants will join a cohort of other Archival Expeditions graduate student instructors. They will participate in Teaching with Digital Archives, May 17-28 through the Duke Graduate Academy (see related article) In addition, they will participate in a brief orientation at the beginning of the program and will meet a few times during the summer to share experiences and lessons learned.

Students will be compensated $1,500 for their work. The course module will also be made available on the Archival Expeditions website under a CC-BY NC Creative Commons license, allowing other faculty and students to learn from and reuse it.


Any Duke graduate student who has completed 1 academic year at Duke may apply. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of faculty members and librarians. Please review the Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty and Librarian Sponsors to be clear about expectations. Applicants are encouraged to review their project proposal with a librarian before submission.

Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty and Librarian Sponsor

What is the faculty or librarian sponsor’s role?

The sponsor will establish the expectations and parameters for the module with the graduate student and act as a consultant during the design and testing of the module.

What is the time commitment?

The sponsor and student should plan to meet at least once a month, more frequent meetings can be determined by the faculty sponsor and the graduate student.

What is a module?

A module can take a variety of shapes and be adjusted to fit different courses, disciplines, and goals of the faculty sponsor. Each module should be designed to allow for roughly 1 week of time within an existing course or 10 student hours.

If my student needs support finding material or building the module who should they contact?

The primary liaison for the student is the faculty or librarian sponsor, who can communicate their vision for the module.

Apply Now

Priority deadline is April 30, 2021; additional applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis.

Download Application

Please send your completed application and faculty or librarian sponsor recommendation (if applicable) to:

Katie Henningsen
Head of Research Services
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Register for Short Courses in the 2021 Duke Graduate Academy Summer Session

Duke Graduate Academy logo.

Deadline: May 14, 2021

Together Duke is pleased to announce a new session of the Duke Graduate Academy, which offers online short courses that introduce Duke graduate and professional students and postdoctoral fellows to skills, tools and knowledge that augment their regular coursework and research. These short courses help emerging scholars prepare for high-level research, innovative teaching, leadership and/or public engagement.

Courses in the Duke Graduate Academy cover topics not typically included in a graduate curriculum, or provide an intensive introduction for graduate students and postdocs who might not have the time or inclination to pursue a full course in a subject. Instructors are Duke faculty as well as highly trained Duke staff and Ph.D. students.

The Graduate Academy welcomes all doctoral, master’s and professional students at any stage of their studies and all postdoctoral fellows. There are no prerequisites for any of the courses.

Program Details


2021 Graduate Academy Summer Session Course Descriptions

Students taking selected courses may qualify for Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) credit. See course descriptions.


The Duke Graduate Academy Summer Session courses will be offered May 17 – 28 and June 7 – 18, 2021. Each course meets regularly for 1 – 2 weeks.

Courses are not for credit, but will appear on Duke graduate student transcripts. All courses are graded pass/fail. None of the offerings require prerequisites or assume areas of knowledge. Classes are offered online with synchronous and asynchronous elements. Instructors will emphasize interactive discussion and group activities/projects to maintain a high level of student engagement.


There is no cost for Duke participants.


All Graduate Academy classes meet online/virtually. Individual class schedules are noted in the course descriptions and in DukeHub. Meeting details will be confirmed by instructor email or through course Sakai sites.


Duke Student Registration

Duke Postdoc Registration

Participants may only register for one (1) course. Waitlists will be used for all courses. Add/Drop for the Graduate Academy Summer Session ends May 14, 2021.

For help or for more information, contact Amy Feistel at

Participation, Eligibility and Enrollment

Participation in the Duke Graduate Academy is open to Duke graduate students, including Duke law and medical students, master’s and professional students. The Graduate Academy is also open to all Duke postdocs. Space is filled on a first-come, first-served basis during registration.

Most courses will enroll 30 students, although some courses may be smaller or larger. Courses with fewer than 8 enrolled students may be canceled. Course participation will appear on Duke graduate students’ transcripts.

Contact and Additional Information

For questions regarding the Duke Graduate Academy please contact Amy Feistel at

Learn More

Check out reflections from past participants: What I Got Out of the Duke Graduate Academy

Summer 2021: External and Internal Opportunities for Duke Ph.D. Students

PhD student opportunities.

Deadline: Rolling through April 21, 2021

The Duke University Office of the Provost is offering a broad set of opportunities to support Ph.D. students during Summer 2021. In the tables below you will find a list of experiential fellowships with external partner organizations; and a list of internship opportunities with Duke units.

Keep in mind that enrolled Ph.D. students can also propose a summer internship that they arrange themselves through the Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) program. (Update: The GSTEG deadline was March 22.)

Provost Experiential Fellowships

A limited number of experiential fellowships with external organizations are available by application. The partner organizations will offer three-month summer internship experiences for Ph.D. students. Interested students should search the opportunities to match both skills/background and research interests.

Host organizations will consider applications on a rolling basis through April 21. Ph.D. students may apply to only two (2) positions (this could be two experiential fellowships, or one fellowship and one of the Duke internships in the section below); please apply separately for each.

Questions for all external experiential fellowships should be directed to Maria Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement.

See the FAQ for the Summer 2021 Provost experiential fellowships for Duke Ph.D. students.

How to Apply

All applications must be submitted through a Duke portal: Apply for an experiential fellowship

You will be asked to submit the following:

  • a letter of application
  • a brief CV (2 page maximum)
  • a letter of support from the department DGS, indicating how the proposed virtual/remote internship will enhance your intellectual trajectory

Browse, search or sort alphabetically by any column. Click on the link in the Fellowship Focus column to access more information.

OrganizationFellowship FocusBrief Scope of Work
American Historical AssociationFILLED: Data Collection, Teaching Resources and Other ProjectsWork on projects such as collecting data on history PhDs and making teaching resources available for instructors. Update Where Historians Work website, assist in cleaning and creating data web-scraping sources, analyze survey results, vet and update Remote Teaching Resources
Durham Technical CC Creative & Liberal ArtsFILLED: Curriculum Diversification for British Lit I & IIDiversify curriculum for important gen ed courses (British Lit) to be inclusive of groups that are left out of the Western canon. Will connect with faculty and resources involved in similar projects, research work from underrepresented communities in British Lit, create course content to be accessed by future instructors.
Durham Technical CC Creative & Liberal ArtsEquity Gaps in Student Success RatesSupport selection and adaptation of an intervention to address equity gaps in student success rates. Will review the literature to find promising interventions, work with community college instructors to adapt the intervention so it can be piloted in a first-year composition class.
Durham Technical CC Creative & Liberal ArtsFILLED: Health HumanitiesInfuse health humanities content and pedagogical best practices into cluster of community college core courses; review literature and work with Durham Tech team
Modern Language AssociationFILLED: MLA ProgramsHelp organize, market and run a two-week professional development seminar, Why Humanities Now; help design, develop and market a toolkit of resources; help organize materials for Summer Teaching Institutes
Museum of Durham HistoryOral Histories from Durham Community MembersExpand online oral history program; conduct interviews with community members, archive story submissions, create materials for marketing oral history program
National Humanities AllianceFILLED: Campus Outreach and EngagementLead outreach efforts to minority-serving and access-oriented institutions for Humanities for All and Study the Humanities initiatives; conduct research and outreach concerning humanities recruitment efforts and publicly engaged teaching and scholarship at minority-serving and access-oriented institutions
National Humanities CenterPandemic Experiences of Healthcare and University SystemsAssist with development of curricular materials, student mentoring, metadata management, interview transcription, research into funding opportunities, creation of promotional and publicity materials, administrative outreach
NC Department of JusticeFILLED: Consumer Protection Division3 possible projects: Explore ways to improve disclosures consumers receive from companies and make consumer choices more informed; explore ways to use technological tools to obtain information that would help identify matters where consumers are being harmed and may need protection; determine optimal options for allocating money obtained in a multistate settlement
Society of Biblical LiteratureFILLED: Bible OdysseyConduct user research for; design and conduct focus groups and surveys to understand behavior and interests among discrete categories of users
RTI InternationalAlternative Energy OptionsShape new book series, including developing topics and content for three or more volumes, identifying state of the art research, and networking with related experts
RTI InternationalBehavioral and Physiological Markers of HealthCollect, extract and analyze data to support an ongoing systematic review; contribute to manuscripts synthesizing data extracted from the review efforts
RTI InternationalClimate Change Economic ImpactsQuantify economic impact of climate change; estimate increased incidence of inland flooding and its economic impact on infrastructure; develop data and modeling resources that can provide improved estimates of increased environmental damage to infrastructure in the US with climate change; develop spatially explicit economic characterizations of buildings and infrastructure
RTI InternationalClimate Solutions ImpactExamine role of natural climate solutions in 2020 and 2021 NDC submissions; identify magnitude of anticipated emission reductions from these activities; review and synthesize LULUCF components of country's NDC submissions, generate estimates of magnitude of emissions reductions from mitigation actions, collaborate with a project team to conduct economic analyses of mitigation commitments, assist with report writing and manuscript development
RTI InternationalFILLED: East Africa Energy Program ImpactDesign and conduct a most significant change study of the influence the program has had on the enabling environment around grid-based energy sector in Kenya
RTI InternationalEconomic Impact ModelingDevelop framework to estimate the economic impacts, at a sectoral level, from interventions in the on- and off-grid sectors; assist in development of a survey instrument, data curation and compilation, drafting literature review, visualization and summarization of modeling outputs, inputs to a draft manuscript
RTI InternationalEnergy ModelingDevelop computer programs to manage and visualize data and simulate electricity system behavior; contribute to original research article(s)
RTI InternationalFossil Fuel and Electricity CharacterizationCharacterize fossil fuel and electricity use in residential and commercial buildings and/or industrial processes; identify electrification technology options; develop data and modeling resources to characterize temporal and spatial distribution of economy-wide costs, environmental benefits and electricity system investments required to support large-scale electrification
RTI InternationalFILLED: Governance and Youth Economic OpportunitiesConduct social network analysis research on international development projects
RTI InternationalInnovation AdvisorsConduct tasks related to market research and commercialization of new technologies
RTI InternationalSubstance Use, Gender, and Applied Research ProgramAssist across national and international projects in South Africa that seek to reduce substance use, HIV, risk behaviors, gender violence and stigma; promote treatment effectiveness and compliance; and enhance family and community support in addressing substance use and related gender issues in underserved populations in community-based settings

Provost Internships at Duke

This is a list of Duke internship and research assistant opportunities offered by units across campus. Ph.D. students should search for opportunities that match both their skills/background and research interests. You may apply to only two (2) positions (this could be two internships, or one internship and one of the experiential fellowships in the section above); please apply separately for each. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis through April 21.

See the FAQ for the Summer 2021 Provost internships for Duke Ph.D. students.

How to Apply

All applications must be submitted through a Duke portal: Apply for an internship

You will be asked to provide the following:

  • a letter of application
  • a brief CV (2 page maximum)
  • a letter of support from the department DGS, indicating how the proposed virtual/remote internship will enhance your intellectual trajectory

Browse, search or sort alphabetically by any column. Click on the link in the Internship Focus column to access with more information.

Duke UnitInternship FocusBrief Scope of Work
Center for Cognitive NeuroscienceImpact Neuroscience Program PilotParticipate in pilot program focused on supporting career development of grad students in neuroscience and improving the broader culture of science. Will submit poster/recorded talk at the end of the summer based on the methods training engaged in over the summer, produce commentary on and recommendations for the the initiative.
Duke Clinical and Translational Science InstituteCommunity Engagement Research InitiativeDevelop and implement plan to assess quality of community engagement with partners
Duke Clinical and Translational Science InstituteFILLED: Democratizing Health and Social/Environmental DataContribute to 2 projects focusing on democratizing health and social/environmental data: assist with phenotyping health conditions and curating social and environmental health data; explore health literacy and information accessibility; learn about social and environmental influences on health
Duke ForestField Evaluation of Road Underpasses for Wildlife Habitat ConnectivityDevelop rapid assessment protocol for wildlife passage in consultation with local experts and with consideration of existing protocols; implement rapid assessment protocol at priority locations; evaluate viability of passage within the network and recommendations for improving passage at each location
Duke ForestFILLED: Socioeconomic Analysis of Landscape Habitat ConnectivityConduct spatial and quantitative analysis of socioeconomic data as it relates to Eno-New Hope landscape; conduct spatial and qualitative analysis of most pressing local-government political drivers across region; investigate where landscape habitat connectivity may have related benefits for ecosystem services, public health, and climate resilience
Duke Global Health InstituteTextbook PreparationAssist Eric Green to prepare materials for his open access textbook on global health research methods
Duke University LibrariesExhibition on Latinx History at DukeSynthesize research conducted by students in Spring 2021 Latinx Social Movements course; conduct original archival research to supplement exhibition; work on exhibition services (copyright and bibliographic research, editing exhibit copy, assisting with graphic and exhibit design, utilizing digital humanities tools to expand online presence)
Duke University PressData Security Toolkit CreationCreate branded, easy-to-engage template for clients; collect existing security documentation and information from internal and external sources; synthesize data security documentation to be provided to prospective organizations as part of their services contracting process
Duke University PressJournal Platform CreationCreate scholarly journal content sites, including site review and QA, and digital content loading (XML) to the sites. Will learn business data flows and tools involved in creating full journal content sites
Franklin Humanities InstituteDigital PublicsActivate humanities content from the FHI’s extensive video and essay collections for growing online audiences of cultural, social and historical analysis
Global Health and Cultural AnthropologyHealth Humanities Workshop and CurriculumBuild health humanities content and pedagogical "best practices" seminars. Lead and execute all aspects of research and course development; create six modules on a different aspect of health humanities
Graduate Liberal Studies ProgramFILLED: Benchmarking Research ProjectAssist in completing a benchmarking research project to facilitate transformative educational experiences in graduate-level liberal arts study. Main duties include data cleaning, follow-up, contextual research, analysis
Graduate Program in LiteratureFILLED: Summer Graduate InternEnhance and develop resources to help grad students understand programmatic requirements and procedures, and discover opportunities for research and professional development; update Student Handbook, Sakai website with guides; develop guide to research
Marine LabFILLED: C-CoAST Community EngagementWork with C-CoAST network on engagement activities designed to integrate researcher, practitioner and stakeholder expertise across the spectrum of coastal interests, culminating in coproduction of a research agenda that supports coastal communities
Marine LabFILLED: Community Science Initiative (CSI)Support CSI’s civic engagement work and engage with the local coastal communities of NC; projects include STEM Pathways; Training for Resiliency and Race-Equity; K-12 curriculum program evaluation, modification and teacher support; citizen science data collection and analyses
Marine LabFisheries Consortium of Eastern NCHelp create Fisheries Consortium of Eastern NC to facilitate intersciplinary collaboration; produce consortium website; form interest/focus groups, host meetings and surveys; develop framework for consortium meetings
Nasher Museum of ArtVirtual Exhibition DevelopmentAssist with creating virtual exhibitions. Experience with HTML/CSS/JavaScript is essential. May participate in videography, graphicdesign, marketing, exhibition design and visual resource management
NC Leadership Forum, Provost’s Office and Sanford School of Public PolicyAcademic Research Agenda DevelopmentReview and synthesize academic literature related to underlying theories that ground NCLF program; develop scoping paper that discusses potential lines of research for future projects; participate in planning and execution of ongoing NCLF programs; possibly assist with next steps for NCLF core program
Office of Undergraduate EducationAcademic Resource CenterAssist and lead the design, implementation and evaluation of ARC research and assessment activities to determine efficacy of services and programs
Office of Undergraduate EducationDuke LIFEResearch best/peer practices for summer bridge programs for incoming 1GLIs
Office of Undergraduate EducationOUE ResearchSupport data management, documentation and analysis; literature search and review; report and manuscript preparation; and future research planning
Office of Undergraduate EducationOUE and Student Affairs Campus Climate CommitteeSupport literature-review subcommittee and interview (focus group, survey, and in-person interview) subcommittee of the CCC
Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript LibraryFILLED: Digital Archival ExpeditionsWork on development of active learning sessions and assignments for Duke undergrad courses with group of fellows. Will hold office hours to support development of each project, serve as a peer mentor for fellows, organize trial teaching for fellows to test their modules, coordinate project development workshops for fellows, review and provide regular feedback to fellows on work
SociologyFILLED: Refugee Integration Curriculum DevelopmentDevelop 5 projects for Health and Immigration class (Fall 2021), involving analyzing, grounding and application of World Relief Durham data/methods
Social Science Research InstituteInforming Social Change and Anti-Racism Initiatives through Applied Research and EvaluationProvide critical engagement in SSRI's university- and community-partnered efforts; contribute to a community-engaged evaluation research study in partnership with a social-change youth orchestral program that works with Triangle-area Title 1 schools, interview-based data collection and analysis; develop evaluation design for emerging Duke anti-racism initiatives
Social Science Research InstituteTheory, Concept, and Development of Programming to Dismantle Racial HierarchiesFacilitate design, development, piloting and refinement of intervention/program activities and materials; identify optimal delivery modes for highest impact, from perspective of historical and scientific accuracy as well as effectiveness of delivery
Triangle Center for Evolutionary MedicineFILLED: Evolution-based K-12 Lesson Plan DevelopmentDevelop evolution-based K-12 lesson plans for Darwin Day Roadshow. Responsibilities include conceptualizing lessons, aligning lesson plans with NC Standards, developing comprehensive teacher resources for lesson plans (presentations, worksheets, suggestions for further student exploration). Will develop at least one lesson plan and modify/update existing lesson plans

Find and Fund Your Summer Energy Internship

Zoom call.
“In 11 weeks, I got to source and connect with amazing teams of entrepreneurs solving the most pressing challenges in the energy world. These were PhDs, reinvented athletes, single mothers, emeritus professors, all driven by their unique stories to tackle climate change.” – Elena Cavallero, T’21 on her summer 2020 remote internship with Prime Impact Fund

Deadline: Rolling

The Energy Internship Program connects Duke students from all majors, backgrounds and degree programs to summer internship opportunities across the energy sector, including at start-ups, utilities, renewable energy developers, large firms, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

FIND YOUR INTERNSHIPView summer 2021 internship opportunities for Duke undergraduate and graduate students (NetID log-in required). Welll be adding new internships throughout the spring, so check back here regularly and keep an eye on our weekly newsletter.

FUND YOUR INTERNSHIP— Duke undergraduate and graduate students (excluding those who will be graduating in May 2021) may apply for supplementary funding through the Energy Internship Program once they have been offered an energy-related internship. This funding can be used to turn an unpaid internship into a paid internship or increase the stipend for a low-paying internship.

The internship does not have to be included on the Energy Initiative’s list of opportunities for you to be eligible for funding.

The amount of financial support will be negotiated with both student and employer, based on numerous factors, including the extent of compensation (if any) indicated in the internship offer letter. Funding decisions are made on a rolling basis, so apply ASAP after receiving your internship offer!

Thanks to a partnership with the Energy Access Project at Duke, some funding is reserved for internships related to energy access or energy transitions in low- and middle-income countries.

Note: Internships funded by the Energy Internship Program in summer 2021 may need to be conducted remotely if Duke University’s evolving pandemic policies require it.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES— Explore other Duke-affiliated programs on our summer experiences page. And of course, the career center affiliated with your Duke school has information about other potential opportunities and is an excellent source of advice on interviewing and other career development skills.

QUESTIONS? Contact Stacy Peterson (Assistant Director for Student and Alumni Engagement, Duke University Energy Initiative).

Learn more.

What I Got Out of the Duke Graduate Academy

Free short-courses help graduate students and postdocs expand their skill sets and prepare for a wide range of careers
Elizabeth Schrader.
Duke University Ph.D. candidate Elizabeth Schrader (Photo: Megan Mendenhall)

When Elizabeth Schrader signed up for a free short-course in the summer of 2019, the doctoral candidate in religion had no idea it would have an immediate impact on her scholarship.

Two years earlier, Schrader published an article arguing that early Christian copyists may have altered the Gospel of John to minimize the role of Mary Magdalene. This was an important finding, but it wasn’t getting the attention in scholarly circles that she’d hoped for.

“Although my work had appeared in a prestigious journal (the Harvard Theological Review), the article was hidden behind a paywall,” she explained. “This meant that few people could actually read it, so it was difficult to spread the news about my work.”

Schrader enrolled in a week-long course on digital publishing, led by librarians Liz Milewicz and Dave Hansen as part of the Duke Graduate Academy.

“Thanks to the course, I learned about the importance of open access,” Schrader said. “With Liz and Dave’s guidance, I looked at my publisher agreement and discovered there was a legal way to make my work available to the general public. Liz then introduced me to a writer at University Communications, Eric Ferreri, who wrote about my work in Duke Today and pitched the story to national news outlets. The story was picked up by Religion News Service; that’s when my research really started to gain traction.”

Schrader found subtle inconsistencies in the 12th-century manuscript in Duke’s Rubenstein Library. (Photo: Julie Schoonmaker)

Beyond the media attention and increased readership, Schrader was able to bring her work into the public conversation through discussion forums and speaking engagements. (See the open access article.) “I owe so much to Liz and Dave!” she enthused.

Duke Graduate Academy logo.Created as an element of the Together Duke academic strategic plan with the goal of enhancing students’ preparation for careers in academia or outside of it, the Duke Graduate Academy launched in 2018 as a free summer program. In the summer of 2020, all eight courses (virtual due to the pandemic) were filled within minutes. Responding to the demand, the university opened up a second session of ten courses. In total, 483 graduate students and postdocs were able to enroll, with 335 remaining on waitlists.

In December and January, the academy expanded to include a winter session for the first time. Taking advantage of nine courses, 182 graduate students and postdocs enrolled.

Read selected reflections from participants and instructors:

Entrepreneurial Strategy

Kelly Tang.Kelly Tang, Ph.D. in Art History

“The week has been really amazing. I think the best resource has been getting to know Howie [Rhee, Managing Director of Student Programs, Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship] and seeing how he thinks about problems. It’s very eye-opening to see the way that he approaches different student ideas and projects. I feel strongly that this class has really opened my mind to different career paths and actually given me more hopefulness […] about job hunting in the future. I feel like I’ve been invigorated during a challenging time.”

Sachal Dhillon.Sachal Dhillon, M.S.E. in Electrical and Computer Engineering

“This has been an incredibly profound experience, not only learning about entrepreneurship but more importantly being able to see how others think about it and how they approached the subject. It’s very easy to think about something in a bubble, but to really sell a product or an idea you need to understand how others are lensing it through their own experience.”

Teaching with Archives

Bill Sharman.Bill Sharman, Ph.D. in History

“This short course introduced us to ways of ‘teaching with archives’ in undergraduate courses that we may teach in the future, and specifically to some of the amazing resources right here on campus in Duke’s library and special collections.

“One of the big takeaways was that when students have an opportunity to encounter historical documents—rare manuscripts, letters that soldiers wrote home, old advertising posters and maps, anything really—history comes alive in new and exciting ways that differ from the history encountered in scholarly publications.

“In other words, there’s a world of difference between giving students a medieval manuscript to contemplate and asking them to read a scholarly book about medieval science, literature or history. Both are important, but letting students do the ‘real work’ of researching and interpreting historical documents allows them to do creative projects and ask questions that interest them.”

Joseph Mulligan.Joseph Mulligan, Ph.D. in Romance Studies

“The academy was an attractive option for me to build on the departmental pedagogy course required by Romance Studies, since I wanted to see how instruction was being envisioned by our colleagues in other disciplines. Teaching with Archives showed me that putting students in contact with archival materials can create conditions favorable to shared inquiry and the exploration of research methods.”

Following the academy, Mulligan received a grant from Duke Libraries in which he applied his growing knowledge. “My Archival Expeditions project was focused on a service learning program in 1930s Spain. I was able to acquire archival materials (regional transcriptions of frontier ballads) used in these “Pedagogical Missions,” which would invite students to engage those poems as aesthetic objects and at the same time to ask why such materials and not others were chosen for the education reform program.”

Leading Teams

Jean-François Paquet.Jean-François Paquet, Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Physics

“I have to lead teams a fair amount now, as a senior postdoc, when supervising student projects or leading a working group in a multi-institution collaboration. It is not something I was trained for in any way, and it can be very challenging! So I thought I’d take advantage of this course, because it became clear to me that limited leadership skills can have negative effects on the team. On the flip side, the benefits of better leadership skills can be far-reaching and everybody in the team gains from it.”

Katharine Thomas.Katharine Thomas, M.S. in Global Health

“The winter break is really long, and I was thinking that this is a great opportunity to use Duke’s resources to improve myself. This will come on my transcript when I graduate, so I’ll be able to say I did a leadership course and that will help me with my future career goals.”

Planning and Publishing Digital Projects

Grace Beggs.Grace Beggs, Ph.D. in Biochemistry

“I am currently working on another writing project based on my dissertation research and have developed a plan for publishing and communicating this work based on what I learned in the course. Specifically, I intend to strategically select keywords to make my work more discoverable via search engines, promote my work through virtual conference meetings and track how accessible my work is to my target audience via online analytics. These are just a few of the topics covered in the class, which I recommend to anyone who is interested in learning how to effectively and efficiently communicate their work online.”

Science Policy

Buz Waitzkin.Buz Waitzkin, Deputy Director, Duke Initiative for Science & Society; Duke Graduate Academy Course Instructor

“This year we experienced a dramatic increase in the number of Ph.D. students interested in exploring how science policy is developed and regulated. There has probably never been a time when we have watched science policy formulated on prime time television and it was clear that students want to better understand how the system does and should work.”

Front End Web Development

Sandra Bermond.Sandra Bermond, Program Manager, Innovation Co-Lab; Duke Graduate Academy Course Instructor

“Several students showed me their work as we went. They created a variety of pages, from portfolios to destination keepsakes, all very different in their styling and content, but all very well thought-out and pleasing to look at. I am very confident that most of the students who attended this course will continue to create websites for themselves, their friends and potentially their schools, and continue to learn web development as they do so. It was a pleasure to teach motivated individuals who had excellent questions throughout the week, and I look forward to doing it again!”

Summer 2021

We will announce the Duke Graduate Academy Summer Session 2021 in March. Here’s a preview of the short-courses that will be offered:

  • Interdisciplinary Project ManagementTogether Duke logo.
  • Online Teaching
  • Science Policy
  • Science/Research Communication
  • Intro to Qualitative Research Methods
  • Community-Engaged Research
  • Leading Teams
  • Best Practices in Mentoring
  • Teaching with Digital Archives
  • Public Speaking Skills for a Virtual World
  • Landscape of Higher Education
  • Business & Organization Fundamentals
  • Narrative Design
  • Digital Humanities Research

Duke Units, Send Us Your Ideas for Hosting PhD Summer Interns


Deadline: February 19, 2021


During Summer 2021, the Provost’s Office will support professional development opportunities for current Duke PhD students who do not have summer funding. Units that would like to host such an opportunity may submit a proposal by February 19, 2021. Proposals will be accepted in Formstack (

We are seeking PhD student internships opportunities that align with Together Duke and will provide PhD students with research experience connected to their intellectual trajectory. Examples from last year:

  • A Duke Forest student intern assessed emerging risks to the Forest.
  • Duke University Press hosted two student interns, who worked on an innovation team that explored digital strategies for authors to engage with readers during the pandemic.
  • The Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine had a student intern assist with development of curricular materials for K-12 schools (learn more and see other examples).
RFP released 2/9/2021
RFP deadline for submission 2/19/2021 at 5:00 p.m.
Anticipated unit/program notification 2/28/2021
Anticipated application/selection period 3/4 – 4/21/2021
Internship start/end 5/24 – 8/20/2021

Restrictions and Parameters

  • These opportunities will only be open to current PhD students without summer funding.
  • Interested students will apply for posted opportunities through a central Duke portal, though the selection process and decision will rest with internship hosts.
  • Internships should have an expectation of 19.9 work hours/week between May 24 – August 20, leaving time for students to engage with their own research.
  • The earliest date an internship may start is May 24, 2021; the latest an internship may end is August 20, 2021.
  • The Provost’s Office will provide the same funding as TGS Summer Research Fellowships – $6,500 plus summer health fee and fringe, paid across June – August payroll. The school of any selected student will be responsible for the provision of summer tuition scholarships.


  • Proposals may be submitted by the head of a unit (dean, director, chair, etc.).
  • Preference will be given to units that can provide a 50% cost share on the stipend and fringes.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Host units and supervisors are asked to plan and design a program of work in advance, with clear goals and deliverables, preferably detailed in the proposed job description. We encourage host units to plan on having regular interaction with interns and to include them in team meetings. The interns may wish to participate in an experiential learning reflection course (meeting once per month) offered through Duke Summer Session Terms I and II.

Scope and Duration

The proposed internship will take place between May 24 and August 20, 2021, and interns will receive a stipend of $6,500 as well as coverage of summer tuition and the summer health fee across June – August payroll cycles.

Proposal Requirements

The Provost’s Office uses Formstack to submit applications. To apply:

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • The number of PhD students you anticipate hosting as interns;
  • The start and end dates for the internship;
  • The name and contact information for your department/program business manager;
  • The name and contact information for the internship supervisor;
  • A brief plan (maximum one page) articulating the work plan – this will be used for the website listing;
  • A confirmation of cost share, if applicable.


For questions related to the online application and/or other logistical questions, please contact Amy Feistel,

For questions related to internship work plans or cost sharing, please contact Edward J. Balleisen,

New Faculty Collaborations Flourish in a Challenging Year

Images of Duke buildings in a collage.

Last January, ten groups of Duke faculty looked forward to beginning work on their 2020 Intellectual Community Planning Grants (ICPG). The COVID-19 pandemic interfered with their plans, but the groups succeeded in making strides and will continue to pursue their goals this year. Here are brief updates.

Transformative Learning: A Shared Intellectual Interest across the University

Cori Crane (lead), Deb Reisinger (lead), Joan Clifford (lead), Jennifer Ahern-Dodson, Alessandra Dinin, Jennifer Hill, David Malone, Liliana Paredes, Melissa Simmermeyer

Screenshot and collage.
Left: “Shifting Perspectives“ blog series; right: collage from art therapy workshop, “Who am I as a learner?“

This group’s aim was to explore transformative learning in undergraduate education in the members’ disciplines and across units. Members met monthly to discuss selected readings, including Patricia Cranton’s book “Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning: A Guide to Theory and Practice.” Three meetings were held in person before the pandemic caused the remainder to take place virtually. For two of the meetings, outside speakers were invited to share their scholarship. In February, Dr. Stacey Johnson (Vanderbilt) spoke on perspective transformation among language learners of minoritized communities and gave a keynote at the Duke Language Symposium. In October, Dr. Richard Kiely (Cornell) met with the group twice and gave a public talk.

Inspired by Cranton’s discussion of arts-based activities as stimulus for reflection, members participated in a summer workshop by the Art Therapy Institute of NC. The group also began a blog series, “Shifting Perspectives,” and posted an Introduction, When Teachers Are Learners and Reclaiming and Reframing the Disrupted Year of Learning.

Bridging Social Determinants of Health with Clinical Extensions of Care for Vulnerable Populations

Donald H. Taylor (lead), Ebony Boulware, Nadine Barrett, Carolyn Barnes, Rosa Guarda-Gonzalez

Advertisement for Misinformation and Mistrust symposium
The Misinformation and Mistrust symposium took place on October 2, 2020.

ICPG funds supported two virtual symposia to facilitate discourse around the social determinants of health and key issues to bridge with community partners.

A research symposium, A Call to Action: Identifying Next Steps to Address Biomedical, Health Care, and Social Drivers of COVID-19 Disparities, attracted 1,296 attendees and provided a venue for discussion among a mix of faculty from the School of Medicine, Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and the social sciences. The second symposium, Misinformation and Mistrust: COVID-19 Conversations on Race and Gender Equity, engaged 325 participants.

The group’s symposia planning led to a U54 supplement to an NIH grant that was submitted through a shared vision of a project on adequate COVID testing in key areas of underserved populations.

Human Rights Futures

James Chappel (lead), Kathi Weeks, Robin Kirk, Adam Rosenblatt, Liliana Paredes, Marion Quirici, Jen Ansley, Emily Stewart

Liat Ben-Moshe.
The Human Rights Futures group invited Liat Ben-Moshe to talk about her new book, “Decarcerating Disability: Deinstitutionalization and Prison Abolition.” The online event will take place on February 17.

To begin thinking about the future of the Duke Human Rights Center (DHRC), this group held numerous meetings with graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty members who are interested in this topic. They came up with ideas for house courses and other initiatives that ended up being stalled due to the pandemic, but the discussions helped inform their vision of how to proceed.

As the DHRC deepens its collaboration with the Health Humanities Lab and the Disability and Access Initiative, ICPG funds will support a speaker and two workshops for students about disability, human rights and the university in Spring 2021. The grant also gave members some intellectual space to imagine the parameters of a FOCUS cluster, Envisioning Human Rights, and allowed for Robin Kirk to bring in guest speakers and facilitators to her course on fiction, futurism and human rights.

Housing and Health: A Multisector Community-driven Approach to Achieving Health Equity

Donna J. Biederman (lead), Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza, Daniel Richter, Jennifer (Kate) Hoffman, Don Bradley, Donald H. Taylor, Lorraine C. Taylor, Ashanti Brown

Zoom screenshot
Screenshot from one of the group’s virtual meetings

The group was able to hold two planning meetings with administrators from the Durham Housing Authority (DHA) in July and November. Participants agreed that a more strategic approach to research involving DHA would be needed before engaging residents. The pandemic also caused scheduling difficulties with the group’s second community partner, El Centro Hispano. The group’s current plan is to give a presentation at an upcoming LATIN-19 (Latinx Advocacy Team & Interdisciplinary Network for COVID-19) meeting to ask for volunteers to participate and provide community expert feedback on housing and health issues among the Latinx community.

North Carolina Saltwater Intrusion and Sea Level Rise

Justin Wright (lead), Emily Bernhardt, Nathaniel Chaney, Jean-Christophe Domec, Jennifer Swenson, Ryan Emanuel, Marcelo Ardon

The working group following their meeting
Members of the working group following a meeting

The primary goal of this project was to bring together scientists from across the state whose research focuses on the implications of sea level rise and salt water intrusion on natural ecosystems. The group hosted a workshop in February 2020, which was attended by faculty, postdocs, and graduate students from Duke, North Carolina State University, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service. Members presented their findings and approaches, identified key knowledge gaps and explored how bringing together different disciplines could lead to productive new approaches.

For many people, the workshop marked the first time meeting new colleagues and hearing about existing datasets and novel applications. This interaction kick-started several collaborative efforts. To date, the group has submitted one grant proposal and is completing a second proposal. Members continue to use a Google Group for sharing ideas for future proposals and collaborations.

Light-based Methods in Neuroscience and Biology

Eva Naumann (lead), Roarke Horstmeyer, Jenna McHenry, John Pearson, Junjie Yao, Stefano Di Talia, Mike Tadross

Using all optical neural activity monitoring and manipulating in the translucent zebrafish
Using all optical neural activity monitoring and manipulating in the translucent zebrafish

This group aimed to cross-pollinate ideas among neuroscientists, engineers and data scientists. Members took part in an in-person kickoff meeting but had to postpone their plans to host seminars and discussions. Virtual meetings helped forge stronger contacts between the group members, and faculty have already initiated three new collaborations.

Entity Resolution with Applications to Public Policy and Business

Victor Bennett (lead), Rebecca Steorts (lead), David Banks, Ines Black, Sharique Hasan, Jerry Reiter

Diagram from Rebecca Steorts’ webpage on selected research and software

Based on implementation of the novel Entity Resolution algorithm developed by Rebecca Steorts, the group spent time getting the code required to run the process up and running on Duke infrastructure. Master’s student Davis Berlind was able to run the process on some real-world data used to measure automation in the U.S. economy. With advising, he was also able to provide reports comparing the performance of the routine to other routines on these data. To further the collaboration, Victor Bennett took a training course to learn Spark, the multiprocessor parallel processing system on which Steorts’ code was implemented. The performance on the real-world data was less than expected, which was helpful to learn – the group concluded that their collaboration has a lot to contribute by improving the algorithm’s performance on commonly used data in business and public policy research.

Developing a Neuroethics and Theological Studies Network

Patrick Smith (lead), Brett McCarty (lead), Farr Curlin, Warren Kinghorn

Zoom meeting screenshot.
“Linking Social Justice and Brain Injury Through Theology” panelists at the 2020 International Neuroethics Society conference

In lieu of an on-campus gathering, this group began by spending a day on Zoom workshopping a coauthored manifesto and ideas for articles and grants. Patrick Smith has been in dialogue with the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences about a series of public conversations they are developing to catalyze work toward a science of social harmony and everyday morality. Brett McCarty engaged with Deborah Jenson to explore ideas. An unexpected fruit of the group’s efforts has been a growing network of national and international collaboration. The grant allowed the group to bring together international scholars working on questions regarding the intersection of theology and neuroethics, which led to Smith’s participation on a panel, “Linking Social Justice and Brain Injury Through Theology,” at the 2020 International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting. “The grant allowed my research trajectory to take up important discussions at the intersection of theology, neuroethics, and social justice,” said Smith.

Duke SciReg Center: Science in Regulation, Law, and Public Policy

Pate Skene (lead), Michael B. Waitzkin, Jeff Ward, Jonathan Wiener, Mark Borsuk, Kate Konschnik, Lori Bennear, Sarah Rispin Sedlak

This group began with a planning meeting for the core group of faculty. With help from a summer research student, Sophie Mouros, the group conducted a survey of centers and courses at other universities that address the intersection of science and technology with regulation, law and policy. Members then conducted phone interviews with leaders of relevant centers and courses. Learning that most of those offerings are narrowly focused, they concluded that educating Duke faculty and students on the range and depth of the federal regulation of science – and on their ability to participate in that process – could position Duke to play a leadership role in this area.

Opioid Detection Technologies and Their Application to Addressing Various Aspects of the Opioid Crisis

Michael Gehm (lead), Jason Amsden, Nabarun Dasgupta, Jeffrey Glass, Joel Greenberg, Rachel Greenberg, Sonia Grego, Andrew Muzyk

The group was able to hold an in-person kickoff meeting and three information-sharing meetings where the members introduced their connections to the theme. Application-area experts from medicine and public health discussed the detection needs in their areas while the engineering experts discussed the capabilities of their detection modalities. Since a core aspect of this project was to transport scientific equipment to Texas in order to acquire baseline opioid signatures with the group’s detection equipment, and since many faculty were overwhelmed with COVID-related activities, all members agreed that activity should be suspended for the duration of the pandemic.

About Intellectual Community Planning Grants

A key goal of the Together Duke academic strategic plan is to invest in faculty as scholars and leaders of the university’s intellectual communities. To foster collaboration around new and emerging areas of interest, Intellectual Community Planning Grants are available to groups of faculty. Learn more, read about the 2019 recipients and see all Together Duke initiatives.