Ph.D. Students Design Internships to Enhance Their Education, From Muskrats to the Music Business

Headshots of eight students in two rows against a background of treetops.
Top row, from left: Hunter Augeri, Thea Ballard, Cade Bourne, Britt Edelen; bottom row: Leo Gaskins, Alex Karsten, Gabi Venable, Zhenxuan Wang

Duke’s Office of the Provost has awarded Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) to eight Ph.D. students for summer internships aligned with their core research and training.

Earlier this year, Ph.D. students were invited to propose internships with an NGO, community organization, cultural institution or government agency. These experiences will amplify their intellectual trajectory and contribute to dissertation research, beyond the standard offerings within their program and opportunities otherwise available at Duke.

Summer 2023 GSTEG Recipients

Hunter Augeri, Ph.D. in English

Bibliographic Intern, Printed Matter Inc.

Thea Ballard, Ph.D. in Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Research Intern, Unseen Worlds

Cade Bourne, Ph.D. in Music

Music Business Intern, InStereo Recordings

Britt Edelen, Ph.D. in English

Archival and Public Engagement Intern, Center for Jewish History

Leo Gaskins, Ph.D. in Marine Science & Conservation

Research Intern (How Marsh Bird Use of Muskrat Dens Varies Seasonally in Calumet Wetlands), Audubon Great Lakes

Alex Karsten, Ph.D. in Classical Studies

Publications Intern, American School of Classical Studies at Athens Publications

Gabi Venable, Ph.D. in Evolutionary Anthropology

Canine Cognition Research Intern, Circumference Group

Zhenxuan Wang, Ph.D. in Environmental Economics & Policy

Research Intern (Evaluating the Advances and Challenges of Decarbonizing the Residential Building Sector), Resources for the Future

About These Grants

The Office of the Provost has created a range of research and professional development opportunities to complement the key features of disciplinary training. The options reflect input from Duke Ph.D. alumni and faculty about the full set of skills and experiences that prepare Ph.D. graduates for success, whether within or outside academia. They also align with the recommendations of national reports on Ph.D. education, such as Reshaping Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as well as the report of the Duke Provost’s Committee on Reimagining Doctoral Education.

Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants are intended to expand opportunities for Ph.D. students to augment their core research and training by acquiring additional skills, knowledge or experiences through an off-campus summer internship. See last summer’s GSTEG internships and learn more about supplemental summer funding for Ph.D. students.

Provost Internships Support Local Research Experiences for Duke Graduate Students

Polaroid-style headshots of 19 students against a blue and green background.
Top row, from left: Shiraz Ahmed, Arona Bender, Samuel Hunnicutt, Victor Jeong, Derek Witten, Gabrielle Carmine; middle row: Nicole Caviness-Ashe, James Draney, Dana Grieco, Anne Harshbarger, Emily Melvin, Elisabetta Menini, Greg Merrill; bottom row: Reshma Nargund, Alexandria Niebergall, Effie Harrington, Hannah Jorgensen, Nikki Locklear, Luoshu Zhang

Eighteen Duke Ph.D. students and one master’s student have received Provost Internships for Summer 2023. These graduate students will partner with Durham Tech, Duke’s Center for Computational Thinking and other campus units on research projects connected to their intellectual trajectories.

Summer 2023 Provost Internships

Durham Technical Community College

Shiraz Ahmed, M.F.A. in Experimental and Documentary Arts

Social Science/Humanities Curriculum and Open Educational Resource (OER) Development: Help develop resources and structures to accommodate a shift to 8-week courses, including development of a web-based OER textbook

Arona Bender, Ph.D. in Marine Science & Conservation

English/Communications Curriculum & OER Development: Help develop resources and structures to accommodate a shift to 8-week courses, including development of a web-based OER textbook

Samuel Hunnicutt, Ph.D. in Romance Studies

Foreign Language Curriculum & OER Development: Help develop resources and structures to accommodate a shift to 8-week courses, including development of a web-based open educational resource OER textbook

Victor Jeong, Ph.D. in English

Investigating Equity Gaps in Composition Courses: Conduct literature review to identify interventions that reduce equity gaps in student success rates; work with instructors to adapt and implement

Derek Witten, Ph.D. in English

Educational Programming for First-Generation Students: Assist in developing targeted programming for first-generation college students by researching data methods, best practices and funding support

Duke Center for Computational Thinking

These students will serve as Ph.D. Computational Fellows:

Gabrielle Carmine, Ph.D. in Marine Science & Conservation

Nicole Caviness-Ashe, Ph.D. in Nursing

James Draney, Ph.D. in English

Dana Grieco, Ph.D. in Marine Science & Conservation

Anne Harshbarger, Ph.D. in Marine Science & Conservation

Emily Melvin, Ph.D. in Marine Science & Conservation

Elisabetta Menini, Ph.D. in Marine Science & Conservation

Greg Merrill, Ph.D. in Ecology

Reshma Nargund, Ph.D. in Environment

Alexandria Niebergall, Ph.D. in Earth & Climate Science

They will also participate in a summer bootcamp, Introduction to Data Science.

Other Duke Units

Effie Harrington, Ph.D. in English

Office for Faculty Advancement, Evaluating Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring: Conduct landscape analysis of new approaches to teaching and mentoring effectiveness, to inform faculty tenure and promotion reviews

Hannah Jorgensen, Ph.D. in English

Forum for Scholars & Publics, Public Scholarship Community Programming: Conduct internal and external research to inform strategies for collaborations; develop, promote and manage international online public events

Nikki Locklear, Ph.D. in History

Story+, Research Program Evaluation: Develop structures and best practices for team project management and mentoring for cultivating community across teams; support professional development for program participants; help facilitate symposium

Luoshu Zhang, Ph.D. in English

Graduate Liberal Studies Program, Master’s Student Capstone Project Experience Models: Develop differentiated set of capstone options for Liberal Studies master’s students

About These Internships

The Office of the Provost has created a range of research and professional development opportunities to complement the key features of disciplinary training. The options reflect input from Duke Ph.D. alumni and faculty about the full set of skills and experiences that prepare Ph.D. graduates for success, whether within or outside academia. They also align with the recommendations of national reports on Ph.D. education, such as Reshaping Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, as well as the report of the Duke Provost’s Committee on Reimagining Doctoral Education.

Provost Internships are supported by the Office of the Provost in collaboration with the Office of Durham & Community Affairs. Ph.D. students who do not have full summer funding are invited to apply for experiential internships with external organizations such as Durham Tech, along with other internship and research assistant opportunities with Duke units across campus. All interns take an experiential learning workshop, GS950, during Duke Summer Session.

See last summer’s internships and learn more about supplemental summer funding for Ph.D. students.

Class of 2023: Ada Wong on Three Learning Experiences in Computer Science

Young woman standing in arcade with gothic arches wearing white dress and holding graduation cap.

Originally from Salisbury, North Carolina, Ada Wong is graduating with a degree in computer science and heading to California for a job at Apple. She took a moment to speak with sophomore Lily Neusaenger about experiential learning, applied research and the power of community for fueling her career.

Mobile Development for a Client

During my sophomore year, I took a graduate class focused on mobile development. The professor tailored the course toward experiences that you could take on in your career by simulating real-world software engineering experiences. As part of the class project, we had the choice to develop our own app idea or collaborate with a client seeking app development services.

I chose to work with a client which was the Nunn Lab at Duke University, a research group involved in studies conducted in Madagascar. One challenge they faced was accurately identifying individuals based on their nicknames. During interviews, different nicknames were mentioned, potentially referring to the same person. Additionally, they were capturing images to track relationships within the communities.

They needed an app to manage their image collection and match individuals with different nicknames but the same image, to avoid duplicates.

I collaborated with three other students in a group, and we had one semester to create a basic app, known as a minimum viable product (MVP). It was a simplified version, but it was successfully used in their research. I was also able to discuss this project during interviews for internships when asked about my experiences.

Research Project on Usable Security

In another graduate-level class, the main objective was to conduct a research project focused on enhancing our understanding of usable security. I collaborated with two other individuals in a small group, and our research revolved around studying deceptive patterns and user perceptions in streaming services. We also conducted literature reviews of relevant research papers and obtained approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

I found this class engaging and thought it was interesting to apply my learnings through research. During the initial phase of the semester, we gained extensive knowledge and familiarity with various issues within the field of usable security. The second half of the semester, we applied our knowledge to conduct a study which included surveys, interviews, and developing a codebook.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Microsoft, specifically in the security domain. This experience allowed me to witness firsthand how the concepts and principles learned in this course could be effectively applied in real-life scenarios.

Community of Women in Tech

Group of young women sitting in a circle outdoors and eating food and drink with paper plates and cups.

When I first arrived at Duke, I was looking for a tech community specifically for women since most of my family isn’t in tech. DTech became that group for me and was led by two amazing advisors, Amy Arnold and Kelly Perri. They both provided support through one-on-one meetings and organized campus events.

I joined DTech as a freshman and became a DTech Scholar in my sophomore year through a remote internship at Nintendo. Amy encouraged me to lead a circle of seven members in North Carolina and Atlanta. We had weekly virtual meetings to share our internship experiences and build a support system during the summer.

Last summer, I led a DTech circle in Seattle, enjoying in-person activities like ice cream outings and dinners. We also connected with helpful alumni mentors in Seattle. DTech hosts valuable events like resume workshops and alumni talks, even providing practice for technical and behavioral interviews. Participating in DTech has made a significant impact on my interviews and overall experience at Duke.

Choosing to engage with clubs like DTech alongside my coursework was rewarding. I highly recommend DTech to computer science students for its supportive community and real-life opportunities.

Group of young women standing on roof holding a sign, Duke University class of 2023, with arms up in the air.

Social Science Research Funding Available for Duke Faculty

Graphic of a tree and its roots on green background with text: SSRI Grant Program 2023.

Deadline: September 11, 2023

The Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) invites grant applications from Duke University faculty to study social science research topics of their choice. The size of the grants will range from $5,000 to $25,000, and SSRI anticipates providing at least $100,000 through this program. The number and size of grants awarded will depend upon the applications received.

This is an open call for research in the social sciences—tell us what research you want to dohow this funding will help you to do that work, and what research product this grant will enable or enhance (paper, chapter, grant proposal, book proposal, etc.). If faculty intend to use this grant to fund preliminary work for a larger grant application, SSRI will help to develop your grant writing plans, including identifying grant opportunities if that is useful to you. It is not a requirement to view this funding as preliminary work for a grant application.

Who is eligible to apply

Faculty in the social science departments in the college of Arts and Sciences, and social scientists in the Schools of Divinity, Fuqua, Law, Nicholas and Sanford are eligible to apply. Faculty in the Schools of Nursing and Medicine can apply only in conjunction with a faculty member in one of the above departments or schools. Faculty from other Arts and Sciences departments may apply with permission if they are addressing a social science topic; interested faculty should write a short email to to get approval to apply.
  • Proposal deadline: September 11, 2023
  • Funding notification: late September 2023
  • Acceptable start dates: as early as October 2, 2023 and as late as June 1, 2024 (grants will run for one year)

Submission requirements

  • Single PDF that contains the following information: (100 word abstract that states research question(s) to be answered
  • 1-page single space proposal that says how the money will help provide an answer(s)
  • Budget requested, with a 1 paragraph justification *note whether this grant is a seed project

Money can be used for any approved Duke Research expenditure, including course buy out and staff funding. SSRI may be able to help link faculty with graduate students at a subsidized rate in addition to this grant program.

Submit proposals to:

If this is of interest or you have questions/concerns, please reach out to SSRI Director Don Taylor at

SSRI is dedicated to facilitating research and helping social scientists thrive in their intellectual endeavors. Our motto is, “Projects Grow Here. Connecting researchers in the social sciences.”

Grants awarded in 2022

African & African American Studies and Cultural Anthropology
Anne-Maria B. Makhulu
“The Olive Morris Project”

African & African American Studies
Michaeline A. Crichlow
“Vistas, Violence, and The Politics of Place”

Cultural Anthropology and Global Health
Harris Solomon
Department of Medicine
Neelima Navuluri
Peter Kussin
Charles William Hargett
“Frontline Labor and Critical Care: An Ethnography of ICU Work During COVID-19”

Cultural Anthropology
Orin Starn
“Amazon in Durham: Race, Class, and Consumerism”

Norbert Wilson
Public Policy
Lisa Gennetian
Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota
Alicia Kunin-Batson
School of Medicine and Public Policy
Laura Stilwell
“Investigating the evolution and influences of spending patterns among low-income mothers receiving an unconditional cash transfer”

Divinity School
Wylin Wilson
“A Womanist Framework for Fair Trade”

Modibo Sidibe
“Mobile voting technology that uses mobile devices to cast ballots in Mali”

Ines Black and Sharique Hasan
“Hunting for talent: firm-driven labor market search in the United States”

Law School
Jeff Ward
“What are the salient barriers to effective justice technology innovation within the legal industry?”

Liberal Studies
Anne Mitchell Whisnant
“Black Communities and Blue Ridge Parkway Land Acquisition, 1933-1945”

Psychology and Neuroscience
Eve Puffer
“Coping Together”

Psychology and Neuroscience
Sarah Gaither
“Understanding the development of Latino self-identification and its’ psychological consequences”

Public Policy
Sarah Komisarow
“Supporting Children’s Mental Health in K-12 Public Schools: Adding to the Evidence-Base in North Carolina”

Public Policy
Robyn C. Meeks
“Testing whether transparency, information, and financial interventions can shift norms and reduce CO2 emissions in Pakistan”

Public Policy
Christopher Sims
“Measuring German Cultural Connections in Santa Catarina, Brazil”
*funded in partnership with the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI)

Public Policy
Simon Miles
Triangle Institute for Security Studies
Susan Colbourn
“Nuclear Alliances”
*funded in partnership with the America in the World Consortium

Public Policy and Psychology and Neuroscience
Anna Gassman-Pines
Public Policy
Elizabeth Gifford
Public Policy and Economics
Marcos Rangel
Public Policy
Sarah Dickerson
Public Policy and Sociology
Warren Lowell
“Rental Housing Sales, Racial-Ethnic Inequality in Housing Insecurity, and Educational Disadvantage”

Social Science Research Institute and Psychology and Neuroscience
Patty Van Cappellen
“Studying the effects of reminding religious people of the benevolence of God on their positive emotions (i.e., awe, hope) and well-being”

Ashley Harrell
“Resource inequality and homophily in networked collective action groups”

Lynn Smith-Lovin
“Gender Norm Violations and Race”

Duke Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT)
Yingwei Yang
Charmaine Royal
“Using photovoice to explore the perceptions of “race” and “racial equity” among Duke students and Durham residents”

Learn more on the Social Science Research Institute website.

A Summer of Course Design for Five Departments

Text: Duke Summer Course Development Grants. German Studies, Marine Science & Conservation, Psychology & Neuroscience, Religious Studies, Sociology. Headshots of scholars in each department.

Five departments have been awarded 2023 Summer Course Development Grants from Duke’s offices of Undergraduate Education and Interdisciplinary Studies in partnership with Duke Learning Innovation.

Faculty members and Ph.D. students will collaborate on the development or redesign of five summer session courses that will be offered regularly to undergraduates beginning next year. Two courses will be revised, while three will be new.

2023 Summer Course Development Grants

German Studies

The History of Fantasy (New)

Marine Science & Conservation

Experimental Design & Research Methods (New)

Psychology & Neuroscience

Biological Bases of Behavior (NEUROSCI 102/PSY 107 Revised)

Religious Studies

Religion & Popular Culture (New)


Methods of Social Research (SOCIOL 332 Revised)

What Comes Next

Each department will receive a funding package for one Ph.D. student in Summer 2023 to work as a research assistant developing course materials in partnership with one or more faculty members, and for the faculty to receive research funding.

Duke Learning Innovation will provide formal guidance in course design through intensive kick-off workshops May 16-18 with faculty and student grant recipients. Ongoing consultation will be available throughout the summer.

The resulting courses will be offered regularly through Duke Summer Session beginning in 2024. In some cases, the Ph.D. students who helped create the courses will serve as the instructors.

Purpose of These Grants

Now in its second year, the Summer Course Development Grants internal funding program was designed to strengthen undergraduate education while furthering Duke’s commitment to excellence in Ph.D. training.

Departments gain new or redesigned courses that align with their curricular priorities, faculty members receive research funding, and undergraduates benefit from a greater number and range of summer courses that incorporate innovative approaches.

Participating Ph.D. students receive summer funding and build skills in course design and pedagogy. Those who go on to teach the resulting courses also gain experience as effective instructors.

Future Ph.D. students will benefit from these grants by tapping into an archive of course materials to support their own summer teaching.

Learn More

See which departments received 2022 Summer Course Development Grants and read about four of the courses in these stories:

Wilhelmina M. Reuben-Cooke Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Practices Project: Call for 2023-24 Proposals/Fellows

Black and white photo of a young Black woman (Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke) leaning against a wall in front of a sign reading Sarah P. Duke Gardens, with view of Duke University chapel spire in background. Logos of Duke and Johnson C. Smith University. Text: The Wilhelmina M. Reuben-Cooke Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Practices Project.

Deadline: May 31, 2023

Thanks to funding from The Duke Endowment, Duke University and Johnson C. Smith University are accepting proposals from faculty at both institutions as part of the Wilhelmina M. Reuben-Cooke Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Practices Project. Faculty recipients will serve as Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke Fellows.


Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke was one of the first African American students admitted to Duke University in 1963. She went on to have a distinguished legal career as a lawyer and a law professor. In her personal and professional life, Ms. Reuben-Cook exemplified resilience, leadership and the empowerment of historically excluded communities. The goal of the initiative is to generate collaboration between students and faculty at both Duke University and Johnson C. Smith University that honors Ms. Reuben-Cooke’s legacy.


We invite proposals from faculty members that engage topics related to issues of social justice, voting rights and/or the public histories of Duke’s and Johnson C. Smith’s campuses and their urban partners. Oral histories, digital storytelling and archival research will be encouraged, with a focus on digital preservation of the projects and stories collected. Digital projects can take the form of digital interactive maps, community storytelling walks and the collection of oral histories in various formats.

The following are encouraged but not required:

  • Oral history studies of key figures specific to each university and the communities they inhabit
  • An exploration of the life of Wilhelmina Ruben-Cooke and her impact on the higher education landscape
  • Historical analysis/archival research on the respective roles of each university in both fomenting and inhibiting social justice
  • Digital creation of interactive maps of campus and their communities to be included in orientation classes to allow students to explore the histories of the unheard voices that are key to each campus
  • Projects that focus on the histories of social justice and civic engagement in Durham and Charlotte, including the importance of youth voting rights and equitable access to public goods in each community
  • Exploration of environmental racism and health disparities. A combined effort with the digital maps to show the impact of these issues is greatly encouraged.

Grant Details

Faculty with relevant curricular and research interests are strongly encouraged to apply, especially those who have had experience with community-based projects and engagement. Each grantee will be required to produce and submit a podcast as well as a 500-word description of their project accomplishments. Both are due at the end of the funding period.

Faculty proposals are encouraged to focus on the dissemination of their findings via scholarly communities, which include but are not limited to conference presentations, performances, gallery-based showings if common in the discipline, and peer-reviewed publications. Faculty will also be required to conduct one podcast interview associated with this project. Information on podcast requirements will be forthcoming as each institution will start their own podcast series surrounding these projects and the collaboration between the institutions. All deliverables are due by the end of the grant period. All final materials and podcasts will be housed on each institution’s individual websites.


All current Duke faculty members and Johnson C. Smith faculty members are eligible to apply. Faculty from these two universities are not expected to work together during this inaugural grant cycle.

Funding and Eligible Types of Expenditures

Grants of up to $10,000 will be awarded. Proposals requests cannot exceed $10,000, and 25% of your proposed budget must be utilized for student funding (e.g., for purchase of books, digital requirements such as software, conference presentations). Faculty will also be allowed to request a research assistant within their proposal (student will be provided a specified stipend amount).

Proposal Requirements

The Provost’s Office uses Formstack to receive applications. You will be asked to provide the following:

  1. Your project narrative, outlining how your project focuses on anti-racism/social justice; please articulate your plan, provide a statement of objectives, and note work already completed related to the proposed project, if relevant (maximum word count: 1,000 words)
  2. The number of students you intend to include in the project
  3. A working title for a future class (to be taught in Fall 2022 or Spring 2023) with a course description, a short summary as to how the project fits into a current class being taught, or how you intend to use this research in a class (current or future) (maximum word count: 500 words)
  4. A budget (maximum 1 page) and budget narrative (maximum word count: 500 words)
  5. Current CV (maximum 2 pages)

Review Process and Selection Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by a faculty committee of three and will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Fit with the particular themes and project-based foci that are articulated above
  • The potential for generating pedagogical and scholarly collaborations between students and faculty of Johnson C. Smith and Duke universities (cross-university collaboration is not expected during this inaugural grant cycle)
  • The public benefit to the communities of Durham and/or Charlotte.


RFP released 5/1/2023
RFP deadline for submission 5/31/2023, 5:00 p.m.
Recipients notified 6/9/2023
Funds made available 7/1/2023
Funds to be expended by 6/30/2024

Submission Instructions

Please submit proposal information by May 31, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. via this Formstack application form.

Contact for Questions

For questions about this funding opportunity, please contact Gunther Peck, professor of history and public policy, Sanford School of Public Policy, at For technical questions about the Formstack application, please contact Sheriece T. Smith, administrative assistant, at

Visualizing Hidden Risks

How a Ph.D. student leveraged the Code+ summer program for her dissertation and beyond

Celine Robinson headshot with view of a building archway behind her.
Celine Robinson

By Lily Neusaenger

Deep in the heart of Gross Hall, a group of determined undergraduate students huddled around glowing computer screens, their fingers dancing across keyboards as they raced against the clock to uncover crucial information hidden within vast sets of data. This Code+ team was on a mission.

Through Duke’s Code+ summer program, students work in small teams with industry professionals and project stakeholders, involving themselves in the immersive end-to-end development of projects. For undergraduates, it’s an opportunity to hone their skills in a setting beyond the classroom.

The program’s value also extends to graduate students. Celine Robinson, a Ph.D. student in civil and environmental engineering, utilized Code+ to enhance her doctoral dissertation while also mentoring the undergraduates.

“My entire dissertation is based on a Bass Connections project,” said Robinson. She’s examining the intersection of critical infrastructure failure and natural hazards, such as hurricane-induced ground storage tank failures. With an EPA STAR grant, she is building on that research by exploring the environmental and human health impacts of such failures on nearby communities.

A large part of her research involved looking at data on industrial livestock facilities in the U.S. that produce vast amounts of animal waste. For the past two years, Robinson said that she has “been working with some really amazing undergraduates to build out a dataset” to analyze. While this data is regulated and easily accessible, Robinson emphasized that “it can be very difficult to conceptualize what the data looks like” in order to conduct analyses into the impacts on the communities around these large farms and tanks.

Duke Code+ logo.

That’s where Code+ came in handy. Katie Kilroy, director of research computing in the Office of Information Technology, presented Code+ to Robinson as an opportunity to be a stakeholder in a data visualization project. “I jumped on it,” said Robinson, “because it really fed into my project in a way that I was looking for.” Additionally, she was excited by the opportunity to connect with undergraduates.

The Code+ team, Visualization in Python for Duke Data Scientists, focused on the communication of large-scale datasets — like Robinson’s 150,000-object infrastructure dataset — through visualizations.

“I really enjoyed working with them,” Robinson said of the undergraduates. “I think we both got something out of it. Their final project was going to be something that was useful for my dissertation and our work with the [EPA STAR] grant. And they acquired transferable skills that were going to be useful to them, and they got to deliver to a client — that in itself is a valuable skill.”

Data visualization in Python academic research poster.
Click for a larger view of the team’s poster.

Throughout the 10-week program, Robinson took great care to enhance the learning and involvement of the undergraduates at every step.

“We had a general idea of what we needed,” she said, meaning visualizations of the dataset. “But I wanted to ensure that all the students had some ownership of what they were doing and that allowed them to take it a bit further. They had different experiences and skill sets, but their ownership and interest in the project is the thing that makes it work.”

With an overarching goal in mind and the autonomy to explore, the team’s final product went above and beyond what Robinson had in mind.

The students developed a mapping application that can display and share crucial information with community partners. “We’re primarily interested in the tanks that contain petrochemicals or crude oil products,” Robinson explained. “The mapping application creates a risk index for each of the tanks, basically looking at the vulnerability of the tanks to different natural hazards. You could type in an address, see what tanks are nearby and see those tanks’ risks of failure.”

Robinson thinks that “this project will add onto the work we’re doing with our current grant. We’re 100 percent using the visualizations that were produced,” Robinson emphasized. “The Git repository [the students] developed was beautiful, truly one of the best documented things I’ve ever seen. And I’m hoping they’ll continue working on the mapping application.”

After finishing her doctorate, Robinson hopes to use the broad set of skills she’s developed, as opposed to focusing solely on the context of her research. “Some of the jobs I’m looking at are around climate risks more broadly,” she noted. “Some of them are research scientist positions that are centered on large-scale data problems.”

Regardless of where her postgraduate endeavors take her, Robinson’s Code+ experience has made a lasting impact. “My preference is to continue investing in people,” she explained. “Everyone should do Code+. It’s great!”

See other summer “plus programs” at Duke: Story+, Data+, Climate+, CS+, Applied Ethics+.

Lily Neusaenger ’25 is a content writer in the Office of the Provost. She is majoring in computer science with minors in statistical science and creative writing.

Seven New Projects Build Intellectual Communities Among Duke Faculty

Aerial view of Duke's campus with text: Intellectual Community Planning Grants 2023.

The Provost’s Office has awarded Intellectual Community Planning Grants to seven projects led by Duke faculty members. These collaborative projects include faculty from eight schools and two institutes, several staff members, and partners at NC Central University, NC State and UNC–Chapel Hill.

Duke supports its extraordinary faculty by providing them with resources to conduct cutting-edge research and innovative teaching. Fostering collaboration around new and emerging areas of interest, Intellectual Community Planning Grants can be used to cover the cost of meeting venues, external speakers, event materials, books or other meeting costs, and/or exploratory research (as by a student research assistant) into potential collaborators.

2023 Intellectual Community Planning Grants

Battle of the Blues: A Critical Study of Big-Time College Sport

Lead: Tracie Canada, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology

Bringing concerted intellectual resources and expertise to the challenges facing college athletics and athletes in the years to come

Core Duke Members: Jennifer C. Nash, Jean Fox O’Barr Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies; H. Timothy Lovelace, Jr., Professor of Law and History; Orin Starn, Professor of Cultural Anthropology and History; Charles T. Clotfelter, Z. Smith Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Studies

Core Partners: Jay M. Smith, Professor of History, UNC; Matthew Andrews, Teaching Associate Professor of History, UNC; Erianne A. Weight, Professor of Sport Administration, UNC; Jonathan Weiler, Teaching Professor of Global Studies, UNC

Building Community in Robotics and Automation in Medicine

Lead: Siobhan Oca, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Fostering research collaboration, curricula development and a sense of community in medical robotics and automation

Core Members: Leila Bridgeman, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science; Daniel Buckland, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine; Boyuan Chen, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science; Patrick Codd, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery; Xiaoyue Ni, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science; Brian Mann, Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science; Weston Ross, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery

Climate Change, Food Systems and Sustainability

Lead: Norbert Wilson, Professor of Food, Economics & Community

Creating and sustaining a community of scholarship at the intersection of climate, food systems and sustainability

Core Duke Members: Elizabeth Albright, Associate Professor of the Practice of Science and Policy Methods; Sarah Bermeo, Associate Professor of Public Policy; Saskia Cornes, Assistant Professor of the Practice, Franklin Humanities Institute; Gavan Fitzsimons, Edward & Rose Donnell Distinguished Professor; Lisa Gennetian, Pritzker Professor of Early Learning Policy Studies; Akhenaton-Andrew D. Jones, Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering; Ryke Longest, Clinical Professor of Law; Brian McAdoo, Associate Professor of Earth & Ocean Sciences; Jarvis C. McInnis, Cordelia & William Laverack Family Assistant Professor of English; Lee Miller, Lecturing Fellow of Law; Michelle Nowlin, Clinical Professor of Law; Martin D. Smith, George M. Woodwell Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics; Erika Weinthal, Professor of Environmental Policy & Public Policy; Norman Wirzba, Gilbert T. Rowe Distinguished Professor of Christian Theology

Forging Cross-Campus Connections to Reduce Plastic Pollution: Duke University’s Plastic Pollution Working Group

Co-Leads: Meagan Dunphy-Daly, Lecturing Fellow of Marine Science & Conservation; Michelle Nowlin, Clinical Professor of Law; Daniel Rittschof, Norman L. Christensen Distinguished Professor of Environmental Sciences; Jason Somarelli, Assistant Professor of Medicine; John Virdin, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Marine Science & Conservation

Creating a convening space for Duke students, staff and faculty to collaborate and share their work related to plastic pollution in order to develop and inform policy and management solutions

Also: Zoie Diana, Ph.D. Student and Lead, Plastic Pollution Working Group; Jenna Seagle, M.E.M. Student and Program Manager, Plastic Pollution Working Group

Islamic Studies Community

Lead: Omid Safi, Professor of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies

Convening students, faculty and staff interested in the academic study of Islam to help foster a stronger sense of intellectual community among our members across Duke and potentially beyond

Core Duke Members: Ellen McLarney, Associate Professor of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (AMES); Didem Havlioglu, Associate Professor of the Practice, AMES; Mohamed Ben Hammed, Postdoctoral Associate, AMES; Shai Ginsburg, Associate Professor of AMES; miriam cooke, Braxton Craven Distinguished Professor Emerita of Arab Cultures; Sean Swanick, Librarian for Middle East, North Africa & Islamic Studies; Mohsen Kadivar, Research Professor of Religious Studies; Bruce Lawrence, Nancy & Jeffrey Marcus Humanities Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religion; Mehdi “Mark” Emamian, Research & Development Engineer III, Physics; Hadeel Hamoud, Interim Student Development Coordinator, Center for Muslim Life

Multisectoral Collaboration to Support the Provision of Global Public Goods

Lead: Gavin Yamey, Hymowitz Family Professor of the Practice of Global Health

Developing a research and policy agenda on multisectoral collaboration to support global public goods, such as pandemic preparedness and climate mitigation

Core Duke Members: Osondu Ogbuoji, Assistant Research Professor of Global Health; David McAdams, Professor of Business Administration

Core Partners: Erin Sills, Conger Professor of Natural Resources, NC State; Olga Hawn, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC

Triangle Race, Ethnicity and Politics Incubator

Lead: Candis Watts Smith, Associate Professor of Political Science

Leveraging scholars’ collective strengths on four dimensions: professional relationships and community building; development of a data repository; teaching collaborations; collaboration in research and grants

Core Duke Member: Paula D. McClain, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Political Science

Core Partners: Frank Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science, UNC; Isaac Unah, Associate Professor of Political Science, UNC; Gladys Mitchell-Walthour, Dan Blue Endowed Chair of Political Science, NC Central University

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