Ten Ph.D. Students Find Novel Ways to Enhance Their Education This Summer

Portraits of students with text, Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants, Summer 2022.
Top row: Melissa Baroff, Jason Goldfarb, Dana Grieco, Jacob Harrison, Rachael Lau; bottom row: Xinyan Lin, Maria Nagawa, Ryan O’Connell, Jessica Orzulak, John Winn

Ten Duke University Ph.D. students have received Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) for Summer 2022 from the Office of the Provost.

Ph.D. students were invited to propose off-campus internships that would amplify their intellectual agendas beyond the offerings within their programs or elsewhere at Duke.

The recipients will be provided with a stipend as well as coverage of fringe and the summer health fee. They will also take part in an experiential learning workshop taught by Maria Wisdom or Rachel Coleman. Together the students will reflect on their time with their hosts and discuss implications for their intellectual trajectory and career aspirations.

Summer 2022 GSTEG Recipients


Melissa Baroff, Ph.D. in Classical Studies

Summer Intern, Women’s Classical Caucus

Jason Goldfarb, Ph.D. in Literature

Research Assistant in Economic Underdevelopment Lab, University of Massachusetts–Amherst

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

The Evidence Synthesis in Marine Conservation Internship, American Museum of Natural History

Jacob Harrison, Ph.D. in Biology

Science Communication and Outreach Through Visually-Guided Narratives, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Rachael Lau, Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering

Landslide Monitoring and Mitigation Using Synthetic Aperture Radar, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Xinyan Lin, Ph.D. in Marine Science & Conservation

Philanthropy in Global Governance of Marine Biodiversity Conservation, Oceans Five

Maria Nagawa, Ph.D. in Public Policy

Burkina Faso Rural Land Governance Project, The Cloudburst Group

Ryan O’Connell, Ph.D. in Ecology

Evaluating the Impact of Multiple Management Strategies on Mountain Heartleaf (Hexastylis contracta), a Species of Conservation Concern, United States Forest Service

Jessica Orzulak, Ph.D. in Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Curatorial Intern, North Carolina Museum of Art

John Winn, Ph.D. in Literature

Curatorial Intern, Cosmic Rays Film Festival


Learn More

Ph.D. Students Can Apply for GSTEG Summer Internship Funding

Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) for Summer 2022.

Extended Deadline: February 14, 2022

Overview

The Office of the Provost seeks applications from Ph.D. students who, with endorsement from their programs, wish to pursue a summer internship with an off-campus host that is related to their intellectual trajectory. This Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) opportunity is limited to current Ph.D. students without any funding for Summer 2022. Applications will be accepted via Formstack (https://dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/gsteg_2022).

RFP released 12/01/2021
RFP deadline for submission 02/14/2022 at 5:00 p.m.
Anticipated recipient notification 02/28/2022
Funds made available 06/01/2022
Funds to be expended by 08/31/2022

Rationale

The goal of this grant competition is 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. We believe such experiences will lead to better preparation/training, whether for academic positions or other career trajectories. We will consider proposals from current Ph.D. students without any summer funding for internships with a non-Duke community organization, government agency, NGO or cultural institution, related to the student’s area of study. Successful applications will demonstrate how the activities associated with the proposed research experience aligns with the student’s fields of study and research interests.

The GSTEG resource page includes information and advice about how to explore research experiences eligible for GSTEG support.

Restrictions and Parameters

  • All internships must have a non-Duke host (i.e., may not involve research, training, or other engagement with a Duke unit).
  • Internships should involve up to three months of engagement. Internships must take place between May 16 – August 19, 2022 with no more than 19.9 hours/week of engagement.
  • Any proposal for an internship must comply with Duke University coronavirus response policies and the residency requirement detailed below.
  • International Ph.D. students who reside in North Carolina or an approved US jurisdiction detailed below and who wish to apply for a summer internship should consult as soon as possible with Duke Visa Services for assistance with filing applications for Curricular Practical Training and any other visa-related requirements.
  • GSTEG recipients may receive other Duke summer funding; however, total Duke summer funding may not exceed $8,750.
  • Internship hosts must either be based in North Carolina or an approved U.S. jurisdiction available for Duke employment: California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
  • All recipients will be required to take the experiential workshop, GS950, during Duke Summer Session I or II.

Eligibility

  • All current Ph.D. students who do not have summer funding may propose internships. Students who will matriculate in the summer/fall of 2022 are not eligible.
  • Ph.D. student applicants must be resident this summer in North Carolina or an approved U.S. jurisdiction available for Duke employment: California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
  • Previous GSTEG awardees may not apply.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Proposals should specify the type of internship being sought, describe the nature of activities, and explain how the experience will contribute to the student’s intellectual trajectory and dissertation research. Successful past applications have made a compelling case for how the proposed experience would amplify the student’s intellectual agenda beyond the standard offerings within their program and opportunities otherwise available at Duke. The review process will be overseen by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Executive Vice Provost.

Scope and Duration

In person, remote and/or hybrid internships will be considered. The proposed internship experience should last for up to three months in the summer and proposals may be configured in one of the following formats:

  1. Three-month (19.9 hours/week) internship; awardee will receive a stipend of $8,250 as well as coverage of summer tuition and health fee
  2. Two-month (19.9 hours/week) internship; awardee will receive a stipend of $5,500 as well as coverage of summer tuition and health fee
  3. One and a half month/6-week internship (19.9 hours/week); awardee will receive a stipend of $4,125 as well as coverage of summer tuition and health fee

Proposal Requirements

You will be asked to provide the following information:

  • An updated CV (maximum two pages)
  • A brief narrative (maximum three pages) that articulates the proposed activities for the internship, how the experience will contribute to amplifying research training, and how it fits with overall academic, research, and professional plans, and that also explains why the internship lends itself to a remote/virtual arrangement (if relevant)
  • A letter from the prospective host that offers details about the anticipated project or projects, identifies the person within the organization to whom the Ph.D. student would report, describes the nature of engagement with organizational staff members, specifies how the organization envisages a remote/virtual work experience (if relevant), and confirms whether the host can provide a 50% cost-share of the proposed stipend amount
  • A brief plan (maximum one page) for any complementary training/research activities that a Ph.D. student will undertake during engagement with the host (such as other specific research activities or dissertation writing)
  • For those applying for less than a three-month internship, a brief plan (maximum one page) for how the internship will intersect with other activities (i.e. research or teaching)
  • A letter or e-mail of support from your primary faculty advisor, sent separately to Amy Feistel, amy.feistel@duke.edu, indicating how the proposed activities will enhance your intellectual trajectory
  • For international students applying for a summer internship, a description (maximum one page) of how the proposed activities align with visa requirements
  • A listing of all already awarded summer funding, along with concurrent proposals for other summer funding. If applicants receive news about other funding proposals after the submission deadline, they should provide updated information to Amy Feistel, amy.feistel@duke.edu.

To apply, visit https://dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/gsteg_2022

Resources

The GSTEG resource page provides:

  • Advice for Ph.D. students who wish to explore an individualized/custom summer internship
  • A link to further advice from the Duke Career Center about arranging a remote internship
  • Information about tax implications of internships occurring outside of North Carolina
  • Information about visa implications of internships undertaken by international Ph.D. students
  • Links to information about past GSTEG awardees.

Contact

For any questions related to the online application and/or other logistical questions, please contact Amy Feistel, amy.feistel@duke.edu.

For questions about whether to pursue a GSTEG application, or to talk through specific ideas for a proposal, such as identifying a potential summer internship host and developing a proposed plan of summer internship activities, the following individuals can provide guidance:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, melissa.bostrom@duke.edu (any discipline)
  • Rachel Coleman, Director of Career Development & Education, Duke Career Center, rachel.coleman@duke.edu (all areas of knowledge)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Interdisciplinary Advising and Engagement, maria.wisdom@duke.edu (humanities and interpretive social sciences)

FAQ

What are the key elements of a strong GSTEG application?

The key is to articulate how the proposed experience will enhance your training in a substantial way and why the timing makes sense for where you are in your program.

Who is available to discuss whether a GSTEG proposal makes sense for me this year, given the range of options for seeking summer funding?

As with so many questions that confront graduate students, it’s a good idea to get input from multiple sources, though the mentors and sounding boards who make sense for individuals will vary. Your professors, your program’s DGS, key staff members with expertise about professional development, and peers can all be helpful; and you will need to discuss any proposal with your faculty advisor, since that individual will need to write a letter of endorsement on your behalf.

I’m a master’s student and would like to apply for a grant to fund a research internship.

We’re sorry – grants to support internships are only available for Ph.D. students.

I’m a Ph.D. student who is intrigued by the possibility of developing a proposal for a summer internship, but don’t have a good sense of how to get started. Who might be able to help me think about possible internships linked to my course of study and research interests, and guide me in reaching out to potential hosts and conceptualizing a proposal?

Several Duke Ph.D. students have had internships. The GSTEG resource page includes links to reflections from these students, as well as some more general tips. In addition, there are several individuals who can help you think through this process, including:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, melissa.bostrom@duke.edu (any discipline)
  • Rachel Coleman, Director of Career Development & Education, Duke Career Center, rachel.coleman@duke.edu (all areas of knowledge)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Interdisciplinary Advising and Engagement, maria.wisdom@duke.edu (humanities and interpretive social sciences)
I’ve heard that there are now some preconfigured internship opportunities with organizations that have previously partnered with Duke. Where can I find out about those opportunities?

We will soon be posting a set of summer experiential learning opportunities – preconfigured fellowships, RAships and internships, mostly with units around Duke, but also with some external organizations. That webpage will provide details about application processes. These opportunities do not fall under GSTEG, and will have a different application mechanism.

How long should internships be?

The appropriate amount of time for an internship can vary, depending on the nature of the research project(s) that you would be undertaking with your host organization and constraints related to your course of study and obligations within your program. This year, we are focusing on internships that will have a duration of three months, allowing interns to get to know collaborators, gain exposure to organizational culture, and complete a more substantial piece of work.

How should I think about the organization where I might pursue an internship?

As you consider different hosts for a potential internship, the most important consideration in putting together a GSTEG application is how that experience will enhance your intellectual development. Ideally, you want to find a host that will offer you the opportunity to engage with research projects that both provide value to the organization and will be relevant for your course of study. It’s also crucial that the host provides you with a clear supervisor and a plan for engagement with staff, so that you have a window on organizational culture and decision-making.

Any proposed internship must be virtual/remote and in compliance with Duke University’s coronavirus response policies.

What are the tax implications of doing a remote internship?

Applicants for a GSTEG-supported remote internship should give careful thought to tax implications and other logistical challenges. Employment taxation follows the location of the individual taxed. Thus if you receive GSTEG funding for a remote internship and remain in North Carolina this summer, you will be subject to North Carolina taxation regardless of the location of your employer. By contrast, if you are currently residing outside North Carolina but still in the United States, you will be subject to taxation in that jurisdiction.

One issue to keep in mind: we can only fund remote internships for Ph.D. students who during the term of the internship reside in North Carolina or in a U.S. jurisdiction available for Duke employment outside of North Carolina. These jurisdictions are: the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Applicants who currently reside outside of North Carolina but within the US should note that even within these jurisdictions, there may be tax implications for income earned out-of-state, including separate withholding forms. Applicants should also consult their tax advisor with any questions.

Why do international students who want to pursue an internship need to reach out to Duke Visa Services?

International students need to remain in compliance with the terms of their student visas. Duke Visa Services can assist those students with fulfilling any additional requirements related to Curricular Practical Training provisions or other aspects of adhering to visa-related obligations and limitations.

From Dolphins to Dementia, Summer Internships Enhance Doctoral Education

Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants.

Eight Duke University Ph.D. students have received Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) for Summer 2021 from the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies.

The goal of this grant competition is to expand the opportunities for Ph.D. students to augment their core research and training by acquiring skills, knowledge or experiences through an off-campus remote summer internship.

The internships will last for three months, and grant recipients will receive a stipend as well as coverage of summer tuition and the summer health fee. Students will also take part in an experiential learning workshop taught by Maria Wisdom, where they’ll reflect on their time with their hosts, troubleshoot issues and discuss implications for their intellectual trajectory and career aspirations.

Explore the Summer 2021 GSTEG Projects


Jordan Bryan, Ph.D. in Statistical Science

Jordan Bryan.

Assessing the Value of Government Statistics

Host: American Statistical Association, Office of Science Policy
Faculty Advisor: Sayan Mukherjee

Jordan Bryan will work with the director of science policy and the science policy fellow who have produced white papers dealing with pressing issues at the intersection of statistics and government, such as the 2020 Census deadlines in the face of the pandemic. Bryan’s primary role will be to assist with literature review, data analysis and writing of white papers and academic articles. Working with the ASA will give him an opportunity to expand the body of his applied work outside the field of genomics.

Ann-Marie Jacoby, Ph.D. in Marine Science and Conservation

Ann-Marie Jacoby.Engaging the Public to Understand the Historical Occurrence of Bottlenose Dolphins in the Potomac River, U.S.

Host: Potomac Conservancy
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Read

Ann-Marie Jacoby will focus on developing and launching a strategic communications plan to raise awareness within river communities about her research on bottlenose dolphins in the Potomac. The goal of this communications plan will be to engage with and acquire data from river community members on their dolphin sightings throughout time, to better understand the historical occurrence of dolphins in the Potomac — the crux of her first dissertation chapter.

Ekta Patel, Ph.D. in Environmental Policy

Ekta Patel.International and Domestic Water Laws and Policies

Host: Environmental Law Institute
Faculty Advisor: Erika Weinthal

Through opportunities to collaborate with four leading environmental scholars and to produce public scholarship, this internship will support early progress on Ekta Patel’s dissertation and strengthen her professional skills on project development in international and domestic water laws and policies. Her dissertation, “Explaining Desalination Governance and the Roles of Public and Private Stakeholders Across Scales,” investigates who shapes decisions about adopting seawater desalination, in what ways and for what purposes.

Crystal Peoples, Ph.D. in Sociology

Crystal Peoples.Understanding a University’s Role in Increasing Racial Minority Student Retention

Host: Academic Affairs Division, Longwood University
Faculty Advisor: Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Crystal Peoples will work on a project to understand and recommend improvements to the retention rates for students of color at Longwood University. Her supervisor will be David Shoenthal, Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, who is coordinating the institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation over the next few years. Together they have developed a plan of action that blends Peoples’ research interests in race in higher education with the institution’s commitment to advancing the quality of student learning for all students, but particularly for racial minorities.

Hannah Read, Ph.D. in Philosophy

Hannah Read.Social-Emotional Skill Training in Schools

Host: The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
Faculty Advisor: David Wong

Hannah Read will acquire hands-on experience assessing current social and emotional learning strategies, articulating their value to educators and policymakers, and facilitating implementation of these strategies in schools across multiple states. This internship will inform her dissertation on the value of empathy and the need for empathy training in schools and other public institutions. Read’s work concerns the moral importance of social-emotional skills — such as empathy — as well as effective strategies for developing such skills, particularly in educational contexts.

Hannah Salomons, Ph.D. in Evolutionary Anthropology

Hannah Salomons.Career Training as a Research Scientist Within a Zoological Facility

Host: Dolphin Research Center (DRC)
Faculty Advisor: Brian Hare

Working with the director of research, Hannah Salomons will receive training on protocols for behavioral observations and interactive cognitive research sessions. She will assist in data collection for current studies and participate in the planning and design of new studies, learning about everything that must be considered when planning research with dolphins in a facility setting. Salomons proposes to work with dolphins at DRC for her dissertation research, and she aims to study marine mammal cognition in her future career.

Ben Sarbey, Ph.D. in Philosophy

Ben Sarbey.The Ethics of Dementia Care

Host: The Hastings Center
Faculty Advisor: Wayne Norman

Ben Sarbey will work with Research Scholar Nancy Berlinger on The Hastings Center’s Dementia and the Ethics of Choosing When to Die grant project. He will assist with research and writing for the academic literature that will be published on the findings, and will collaborate with a team of bioethics scholars across the country who specialize in end-of-life ethics and health policy. Sarbey’s dissertation is on understanding how we can die well, and he plans to pursue an academic career in bioethics.

Joshua Strayhorn, Ph.D. in History

Joshua Strayhorn.Anti-Racism: Beyond the Classroom

Host: National Humanities Center
Faculty Advisor: Adriane Lentz-Smith

Joshua Strayhorn will develop two online courses and supplementary materials for high school educators that can be accessed through the National Humanities Center’s open education platform. He will create modules on race, teaching race and how to utilize the lessons from the past to speak to our current moment. The courses will teach critical moments in the history of race and offer teachers strategies and tools to integrate this content into their curricula. This internship will deepen Strayhorn’s pedagogical training and build skills for a career in education.


Summer 2021: PhD Students Can Create Internships and Apply for GSTEG Funds

Graduate student training enhancement grants.

Deadline: March 22, 2021

Overview

The Office of the Provost seeks applications from PhD students who, with endorsement from their programs, wish to pursue a remote summer internship with an off-campus host that is related to their intellectual trajectory. This Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) opportunity is limited to PhD students without any funding for Summer 2021. Applications will be accepted via Formstack (https://dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/gsteg_2021).

RFP released 2/5/2021
RFP deadline for submission 3/22/2021 at 5:00 p.m.
Anticipated recipient notification 4/21/2021
Funds made available 6/1/2021
Funds to be expended by 9/30/2021

Rationale

The goal of this grant competition is to expand opportunities for PhD students to augment their core research and training by acquiring additional skills, knowledge, or experiences through an off-campus remote summer internship. We believe such experiences will lead to better preparation/training, whether for academic positions or other career trajectories.

PhD students who do not have any summer funding may submit proposals for virtual/remote internships with a community organization, government agency, NGO, or cultural institution, related to the student’s area of study. Successful applications will demonstrate how the activities associated with the proposed research experience aligns with the student’s fields of study and research interests.

The GSTEG resource page includes information and advice about how to explore research experiences eligible for GSTEG support.

Restrictions and Parameters

  • Grant funds may not be used for travel.
  • All internships must be performed virtually/remotely outside of Duke (i.e., may not involve research, training, or other engagement with a Duke unit).
  • Internships should involve three months of engagement (June – August).
  • Any proposal for a virtual/remote internship must comply with Duke University coronavirus response policies and the residency requirement detailed below.
  • International students who reside in North Carolina or an approved US jurisdiction detailed below and who wish to apply for a summer internship should consult as soon as possible with Duke Visa Services for assistance with filing applications for Curricular Practical Training and any other visa-related requirements.
  • Recipients of GSTEG funding cannot receive other Duke summer funding.
  • Internship hosts must either be based in North Carolina or one of the other US jurisdictions available for Duke employment: the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
  • All recipients of GSTEG funding will be required to take the experiential workshop, GS 950, during the Duke Summer Sessions.

Eligibility

  • All current PhD students who do not have summer funding may propose internships.
  • PhD student applicants must be resident this summer in North Carolina, the District of Columbia, or one of nine other states available for Duke employment: California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
  • Previous GSTEG awardees may not apply.

Selection Criteria and Review Process

Proposals should specify the type of internship being sought, describe the nature of activities, and explain how the experience will contribute to the student’s intellectual trajectory and dissertation research. Successful past applications have made a compelling case for how the proposed experience would amplify the student’s intellectual agenda beyond the standard offerings within their program and opportunities otherwise available at Duke. The review process will be overseen by the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Executive Vice Provost.

Scope and Duration

The proposed internship experience will last for three months in the summer and awardees will receive a stipend of $6,500 as well as coverage of summer tuition and the summer health fee.

Proposal Requirements

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

  • An updated CV (maximum two pages);
  • A brief narrative (maximum three pages) that articulates the proposed activities for the internship, how the experience will contribute to amplifying research training, and how it fits with overall academic, research, and professional plans, and that also explains why the internship lends itself to a remote/virtual arrangement;
  • A letter from the prospective host that offers details about the anticipated project or projects, identifies the person within the organization to whom the PhD student would report, describes the nature of engagement with organizational staff members, and specifies how the organization envisages a remote/virtual work experience;
  • A brief plan (maximum one page) for any complementary training/research activities that a PhD student will undertake during engagement with the host (such as other specific research activities or dissertation writing);
  • A proposed budget (maximum one page) for up to $6500 (fringe and required summer health fee will be funded as well), and timeline for use of the funds;
  • A letter or e-mail of support from your primary faculty advisor, sent separately to Amy Feistel, amy.feistel@duke.edu, indicating how the proposed activities will enhance your intellectual trajectory;
  • For international students applying for a summer internship, a description (maximum one page) of how the proposed activities align with visa requirements;
  • A listing of all already awarded summer funding, along with concurrent proposals for summer funding. If applicants receive news about other funding proposals after the submission deadline, they should provide updated information to Amy Feistel, amy.feistel@duke.edu.

To apply, visit https://dukeinterdisc.formstack.com/forms/gsteg_2021.

Resources

The GSTEG resource page provides:

  • Advice for PhD students who wish to explore an individualized/custom summer internship;
  • A link to further advice from the Duke Career Center about arranging a remote internship;
  • Information about tax implications of internships occurring outside of North Carolina;
  • Information about visa implications of internships undertaken by international PhD students; and
  • Links to information about past GSTEG awardees.

Contact

For questions related to the online application and/or other logistical questions, please contact Amy Feistel, amy.feistel@duke.edu.

For questions about whether to pursue a GSTEG application, or to talk through specific ideas for a proposal, such as identifying a potential summer internship host and developing a proposed plan of summer internship activities, the following individuals can provide guidance:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, bostrom@duke.edu (any discipline)
  • Rachel Coleman, Associate Director, Duke Career Center, coleman@duke.edu (all areas of knowledge)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement for the Humanities, wisdom@duke.edu (humanities and interpretive social sciences)

FAQ

What are the key elements of a strong GSTEG application?

The key is to articulate how the proposed experience will enhance your training in a substantial way and why the timing makes sense for where you are in your program.

Who is available to discuss whether a GSTEG proposal makes sense for me this year, given the range of options for seeking summer funding?

As with so many questions that confront graduate students, it’s a good idea to get input from multiple sources, though the mentors and sounding boards who make sense for individuals will vary. Your professors, your program’s DGS, key staff members with expertise about professional development, and peers can all be helpful; and you will need to discuss any proposal with your faculty advisor, since that individual will need to write a letter of endorsement on your behalf.

I’m a master’s student and would like to apply for a grant to fund a research internship.

We’re sorry – grants to support internships are only available for PhD students.

I’m a PhD student who is intrigued by the possibility of developing a proposal for a summer internship, but don’t have a good sense of how to get started. Who might be able to help me think about possible internships linked to my course of study and research interests, and guide me in reaching out to potential hosts and conceptualizing a proposal?

Several Duke PhD students have had internships. The GSTEG resource page includes links to reflections from these students, as well as some more general tips. In addition, there are several individuals who can help you think through this process, including:

  • Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean, Graduate Student Professional Development, Duke Graduate School, bostrom@duke.edu (PhD and research master’s students in any area of knowledge)
  • Rachel Coleman, Associate Director, Duke Career Center, coleman@duke.edu (all areas of knowledge)
  • Maria Wisdom, Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement for the Humanities, wisdom@duke.edu (humanities and interpretive social sciences)
I’ve heard that there are now some preconfigured internship opportunities with organizations that have previously partnered with Duke. Where can I find out about those opportunities?

We will soon be posting a set of summer experiential learning opportunities – preconfigured fellowships, RAships and internships, mostly with units around Duke, but also with some external organizations. That webpage will provide details about application processes. These opportunities do not fall under GSTEG, and will have a different application mechanism.

How long should internships be?

The appropriate amount of time for an internship can vary, depending on the nature of the research project(s) that you would be undertaking with your host organization and constraints related to your course of study and obligations within your program. This year, we are focusing on internships that will have a duration of three months, allowing interns to get to know collaborators, gain exposure to organizational culture, and complete a more substantial piece of work.

How should I think about the organization where I might pursue an internship?

As you consider different hosts for a potential internship, the most important consideration in putting together a GSTEG application is how that experience will enhance your intellectual development. Ideally, you want to find a host that will offer you the opportunity to engage with research projects that both provide value to the organization and will be relevant for your course of study. It’s also crucial that the host provides you with a clear supervisor and a plan for engagement with staff, so that you have a window on organizational culture and decision-making.

Any proposed internship must be virtual/remote and in compliance with Duke University’s coronavirus response policies.

What are the tax implications of doing a remote internship?

Applicants for a GSTEG-supported remote internship should give careful thought to tax implications and other logistical challenges. Employment taxation follows the location of the individual taxed. Thus if you receive GSTEG funding for a remote internship and remain in North Carolina this summer, you will be subject to North Carolina taxation regardless of the location of your employer. By contrast, if you are currently residing outside North Carolina but still in the United States, you will be subject to taxation in that jurisdiction.

One issue to keep in mind: we can only fund remote internships for PhD students who during the term of the internship reside in North Carolina or in a US jurisdiction available for Duke employment outside of North Carolina. These jurisdictions are: the District of Columbia, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Applicants who currently reside outside of North Carolina but within the US should note that even within these jurisdictions, there may be tax implications for income earned out-of-state, including separate withholding forms. Applicants should also consult their tax advisor with any questions.

Why do international students who want to pursue an internship need to reach out to Duke Visa Services?

International students need to remain in compliance with the terms of their student visas. Duke Visa Services can assist those students with fulfilling any additional requirements related to Curricular Practical Training provisions or other aspects of adhering to visa-related obligations and limitations.

Doctoral Students Gain New Perspectives on Their Research

Last year, a dozen Duke University doctoral students used Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) to acquire new skills, knowledge or experiences that will enhance their original research. In these excerpts from their reports, students reflect on what they learned.

Jacqueline Allain, Ph.D. in History

Birthing Imperial Citizens
Summer school participants.
Jacqueline Allain and other members of the Caribbean Philosophical Association Summer School (Photo: Neil Roberts)

I used my GSTEG grant to attend the Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA) Summer School. During this week-long program, I attended seminars led by important scholars of critical theory who work on issues related to the Caribbean. The CPA is an organization dedicated to promoting Caribbean thought – that is, critical theory produced by and for people from the Caribbean. Participating in the summer school allowed me to meet important professors and graduate students with similar interests to my own. It was an amazing experience.

Jonnathan Singh Alvarado, Ph.D. in Neurobiology

Imaging and Untangling Population Dynamics in the Songbird Basil Ganglia
Group by a lake.
Jonnathan Singh Alvarado and fellow participants in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories course on advanced neural data analyses

This GSTEG grant allowed me to attend a two-week course on advanced neural data analyses held at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. As computational and mathematical frameworks for describing behavior and neuronal activity continue to develop, it is critical for all neuroscientists to stay at the forefront of these advances. In my case, the underlying motivation was to gain tools that would allow me to understand how complicated skilled behaviors such as birdsong are orchestrated by large groups of neuronal networks in living, moving songbirds.

Beyond the extremely high-quality lectures and short projects, the networking was invaluable. As a cohort, we spent every evening socializing amongst ourselves and with many professors, discussing each other’s goals and interests. I keep many of these relationships active to this day, a benefit that has been just as important as the technical skills I gained from the experience.

Joanna Chang, Ph.D. in Musicology

Intensive Language Training in Germany and Austria
Statue of Brahms.
Statue of Johannes Brahms

I took 12 weeks of German language courses with the Goethe Institut and Deutsch-Institut. My dissertation focuses on regional influences of the Hamburg-born composer Johannes Brahms. The Brahmsnebel – used in German music criticism during the last quarter of the nineteenth century – depicts the nebulous haze of composers throughout Europe and the Americas who consciously or unconsciously emulated Brahms’s compositional aesthetic in the years before and after his death.

Primary source materials (e.g., music journals, concert reviews, newspaper articles, as well as personal memoirs, letters and diary entries) shed light on how Brahms’s music actively weighed upon composers’ creative consciousness. The training yielded greater fluency in reading comprehension of these primary sources, but also widened my access to research methodologies and analytical tools of the latest German musical scholarship.

Jessica Coleman, Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Training for Research to Promote Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity
Coleman at the conference.
Jesssica Coleman at the Global Reproductive and Sexual Health Summer Institute

I spent a week attending the Global Reproductive and Sexual Health Summer Institute at the University of Michigan School of Nursing. I was fortunate to receive specialized education and training regarding my areas of research and clinical focus. Specifically, I learned about methods to examine the impacts of gender-based violence on health and considerations for conducting sexual and reproductive intervention research with historically marginalized populations.

I also visited Dr. Dekel’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital to learn about novel methodology in studies of traumatic childbirth, including hormonal and neuroimaging measurement.

This targeted, supplementary training has informed the development of my dissertation, in which I will develop and pilot a program to support patients through distressing, genitally invasive gynecologic medical procedures.

Jonathan Henderson, Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology

Producing Mande Music in the Black Atlantic
Musicians and J. Henderson.
Mande musicians; Jonathan Henderson

The Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grant made it possible for me to spend the spring semester in London attending Lucy Durán’s Mande Music seminar course at SOAS University. Durán is central to my research on the work of record producers in mediating Mande music practices for international audiences. She has been a key figure in educating international publics about Mande music through her numerous recording collaborations with musicians from Mali and Gambia.

Attending her seminar allowed me to connect with her informally after class as well, and to set up a series of formal interviews with her. These interviews have provided crucial material for the research I have been writing up since my return from London. I presented a version of this work in progress at the Society for Ethnomusicology. My paper, entitled, “World Music Record Production and the Politics of Invisibility in Toumani Diabaté’s Kaira,” examines Durán’s 1987 production featuring the great Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté.

Siddharth Kawadiya, Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Lab Scale Assessment and Analysis of Malodors in Reinvented Toilets
In the lab.
Siddharth Kawadiya in the lab at Firemenich

My research focuses on odor control in reinvented toilets, and I’ve completed extensive research on using odor control “pouches” to remove malodorous compounds generated in toilets. The primary objective of the internship at Firmenich was to learn quantitative methods to determine the concentration of various compounds in the gas phase, using a technique called Solid Phase Extraction, coupled with Gas Chromatography (SPE-GC).

Together with the scientists at Firmenich, I researched the optimum absorbents to capture the malodorous gases, and the solvents to elute out the absorbed gases into a solution that could be injected into a GC for analysis. This led to the development of a protocol that enabled me to determine the efficiency of my pouches in removing malodors, by analyzing the gas phase concentration of various compounds in a bag filled with malodorous air before and after placing the odor pouch in it.

By manipulating the composition of the odor pouches and repeating the analysis detailed above, I was able to determine which compositions were suitable to remove each of the major gases that comprise the malodors found in toilets.

Koffi Nomedji, Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology

The Everyday and the Anthropocene
Scenes of coastal erosion.
Scenes of coastal erosion in West Africa

Coastal erosion is affecting 500,000 people in West Africa every year; however, its effects on coastal communities are not well documented. My research is concerned with the sociocultural impact of this ongoing environmental crisis. The GSTEG allowed me to get an on-site training in landscape and documentary photography. I also organized photography shootings with photographers from Togo and Ghana.

My future project is to create online venues that will help publicize the erosion issue. I am also planning to create a short documentary explaining coastal erosion to the public. The erosion issue has been explained by geographers but it is still hard for a regular person to picture the processes. The idea to use animation technology to show how regional geophysical and manmade processes are producing the erosion in Ghana, Togo and Benin.

Amanda Rossillo, Ph.D. in Evolutionary Anthropology

Assessing Extinct and Modern Human Adaptations to Climatic Variability Using Geometric Morphometric Methods
Scan.
Amanda Rossillo was able to modify a new approach to suit her own project when she returned to Duke.

My dissertation research on human evolution focuses on how the human skeleton has changed over time. The goal of my current project is to investigate the extent and pattern of variation in an extinct human species known as Homo naledi from South Africa.

Before beginning my project, I was familiar with traditional observational and metric methods of osteological analysis. However, an approach known as geometric morphometrics is becoming increasingly common in the field because it facilitates analysis of much more data very rapidly through the use of digital points called landmarks.

I attended a week-long introductory workshop on geometric morphometrics offered through Transmitting Science in Barcelona. This workshop was invaluable because I learned the fundamentals of a new approach and how to modify it to suit my own project when I returned to Duke. I also was able to practice my science communication skills by working with and presenting my results to the other participants, many of whom came from different countries and engaged in different fields of study.

Clay Sanders, Ph.D. in Civil Engineering

Novel Structural and Material Design Methods
Clay Sanders.
Clay Sanders at the Louvre

I utilized my GSTEG for a research trip to ENSTA-Paris Tech to investigate a new computational optimization technique to design structures. I worked with Professor Marc Bonnet.

Our new approach, known as the “adaptive eigenspace basis method”, borrowed from computational techniques used to solve medium imaging problems for ultrasound or geological imaging applications. We showed that our new method could equivalently represent designs usually parameterized by thousands or millions of design variables with only a few dozen variables, enabling significant computational efficiency improvements.

Following the GSTEG trip, we refined the method and submitted a manuscript to the International Journal of Numerical Methods in Engineering.

Weiyi Tang, Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences

Characterizing Diazotrophs in the North Atlantic Ocean
Tang.
Weiyi Tang used his GSTEG to pursue research and training projects at the National Oceanography Centre.

Previous GSTEG recipient Weiyi Tang graduated in 2019 is currently a postdoctoral research associate in Princeton University’s Department of Geosciences.

While at Duke, Tang used a Dissertation Research Travel Award from The Graduate School and a GSTEG to support his research travel and training at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, U.K. The research results partly supported by the two awards were published in The ISME Journal (“New insights into the distributions of nitrogen fixation and diazotrophs revealed by high-resolution sensing and sampling methods”), with Tang as first author.

About Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants

Together Duke, the university’s academic strategic plan, includes a goal to provide a transformative educational experience for all students and sets forth increased opportunities for graduate and professional students to prepare for a wide array of career options.

Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) are intended to expand the opportunities for graduate students to augment their core research and training by acquiring additional skills, knowledge or experiences that are not available at Duke and that will enhance their capacity to carry out original research. This internal funding mechanism aims to help students deepen their preparation for academic positions and other career trajectories.

See all current Together Duke initiatives.

What’s Harming Our Wetlands?

Wetlands.
Dead trees are an indicator of wetland degradation

Wetlands play an important role in keeping water clean, absorbing pollutants, and reducing floods. Keqi He, a Ph.D. student in Earth and Ocean Sciences, set out to learn what factors are contributing to their degradation in the southeast United States.

As a remote intern for the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, part of the USDA Forest Service, He studied remote sensing data on North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Keqi He was among nine Duke University doctoral students that received Summer 2020 Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. Wenhong Li served as faculty mentor.

Read on to learn more about He’s experience.

Keqi He.
Keqi He

Under the guidance of Ge Sun and Steve McNulty at USDA and my advisor Wenhong Li at Duke, I analyzed the Landsat NDVI data during the period of January 1995 to December 2014. I identified the locations and times of the wetland degradation over the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina.

To further validate my findings, I requested the Forest Inventory and Analysis spatial data, [which is] “ground truth” data only available at the USFS in summer. My research further investigated possible causes of the wetland degradation.

We found that most wetland degradation occurred along the coastline around 2015-2016, and saltwater intrusion likely plays an important role in the wetland degradation that happened in the Alligator River.

Currently, I am working on summarizing all the results we got and writing a paper for publication, which will hopefully be able to provide useful information for climate mitigation research on wetlands over the Southeast US, a key goal of the USFS.

Besides the research guidance from Drs. Sun and McNulty, I also got the chance to attend seminars held by USFS and virtually meet with brilliant scientists in a similar field. This not only broadened my horizons, it enabled me to interact with people and no longer feel lonely and bored when I spent the whole day at home alone.

Overall, this grant greatly expands my research abilities on processing satellite data and facilitated my dissertation work. It served as an invaluable experience in my graduate study and research career.

Learn more about Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) and see other Summer 2020 recipients.

Research Collaboration Strengthens Ph.D. Student’s Work on New Structural Design Technique

Clay Sanders.
Clay Sanders at the Louvre

Remember the pre-pandemic days when travel was possible? As he pursued dissertation research for a Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Clay Sanders went to Paris last year to study a new method of solving “topology optimization” problems in structural designs.

Working with the POEMS (Wave Propagation Mathematical Analysis, and Simulation) team at ENSTA Paris Tech, Sanders researched design optimizations that would determine the best structural design option prior to construction.

This opportunity provided Sanders with a significant component of his dissertation work and allowed him to explore other interests in art, architecture, and structural design. He was among 11 Duke students who received 2019-2020 Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies. His faculty mentor was Wilkins Aquino.

A summary of his GSTEG experience is excerpted below.


ENSTA-Paris.
On campus at ENSTA-Paris

I utilized my GSTEG for a research trip in June 2019 to ENSTA Paris Tech to investigate a new computational optimization technique to design structures. I worked with Professor Marc Bonnet, a researcher at ENSTA-Paris Tech, a small engineering university in Palaiseau, France, outside Paris. Professor Bonnet is a leader of the POEMS research group, which specializes in numerical methods to simulate wave propagation and solve physics-based optimization problems.

Topology optimization describes a class of structural design problems that seek to determine the optimal shape or form a structure so that they exhibit superior performance with respect to a performance metric. A common example would seek the optimal shape of a bridge, under a maximum weight constraint, to have maximum stiffness.

Our new approach, known as the “adaptive eigenspace basis method”, borrowed from computational techniques used to solve medium imaging problems for ultrasound or geological imaging applications. We showed that our new method could equivalently represent designs usually parameterized by thousands or millions of design variables with only a few dozen variables, enabling significant computational efficiency improvements.

Following the GSTEG trip, we refined the method and recently submitted a manuscript on the work to the International Journal of Numerical Methods in Engineering.

Beyond the research work conducted, I was able to explore Paris’s sites, and tastes, throughout my trip. ENSTA-Paris was only a short train ride outside of Paris, so I was able travel into the city each evening to explore the city. Other highlights of my trip included viewing Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie, roaming the sculpture gardens at the Musée Rodin, sketching in the Luxembourg Palace gardens, visits to the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre, and stops in as many Parisian pâtisseries as I could find.

Sketching.
Sketching in the Luxembourg Palace Gardens

Learn more about Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG), see other 2019-2020 grantees and learn who received grants for Summer 2020.

Duke Ph.D. Students Receive Grants to Enhance Their Training through Remote Internships

GSTEG grantees.
Top row: Axel Berky, Brianna Elliott, Rachel Coyte, Brooks Frederickson, Jaime Gonzalez; bottom row: Keqi He, Hannah Ontiveros, Julianna Renzi, Dana Wright

Nine Duke University doctoral students have received Graduate Student Training Enhancement Grants (GSTEG) for Summer 2020 from the Office of the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies.

The goal of this grant competition is to expand the opportunities for graduate students to augment their core research and training by acquiring skills, knowledge, or experiences that are not available at Duke and that will enhance their capacity to carry out original research. In light of constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Summer 2020 request for proposals was revised to focus on doctoral students with only partial or no summer funding; applicants could propose remote internships with a community organization, government agency, NGO, or cultural institution.

Axel Berky, Ph.D. in Environment

Host: Environmental Protection Agency
Faculty Advisor: William Pan

Berky will remotely intern with the EPA’s Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment. In the first of two main projects, he will join a multidisciplinary team that is developing a platform for the public to interact with information related to the risk of wildfires and smoke exposure. This will consist of helping create interactive maps of human health risk from wildfire smoke that can be easily interpreted and updated to reflect real-time monitoring. In the second project, Berky will contribute to a manuscript on the effect of ambient temperature on end-stage chronic kidney disease patients from the U.S. Renal Data System.

Brianna Elliott, Ph.D. in Marine Science and Conservation

Host: U.S. Department of State, Office of Marine Conservation
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Read

Considered the largest global threat to marine mammals, bycatch is the incidental capture of non-target species in fisheries. For the past year, Elliott has been leading an initiative in partnership with the International Whaling Commission to research the policy response of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) to reduce marine mammal bycatch in their fisheries. After presenting her research to the IWC’s Scientific Committee this month, Elliott will continue developing this research and a report with recommendations to the IWC to work with RFMOs to address marine mammal bycatch, particularly in the Indian Ocean region. Since the U.S. is an IWC member, Elliott will collaborate with the Department of State through a remote internship focused on the bycatch report and other fisheries-focused policy tasks.

Rachel Coyte, Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences

Host: Earthjustice
Faculty Advisor: Avner Vengosh

Coal combustion residues (CCRs), including fly ash, are some of the largest industrial solid wastes in the United States. Coyte will work to connect the science behind CCR environmental contamination with the impact that such contamination could have on real communities. She will write a report with findings and produce two literature reviews for Earthjustice. The first literature review will look at the chemistry of ash pond pore water; the second will focus on research that works toward answering the question, how long will coal ash continue to leach contaminants into the water?

Brooks Frederickson, Ph.D. in Music Composition

Host: So Percussion
Faculty Advisor: John Supko

The So Percussion Summer Institute (SoSI) is an international gathering of college-aged percussionists and composers. Normally held over two weeks at Princeton University, SoSI exposes young musicians to the thinking and practices of some of the contemporary-classical music scene’s most lauded composers, percussionists, actors, choreographers, and artists. An alumnus of SoSI, Frederickson will develop an online curriculum. He will create materials for synchronous and asynchronous learning that cover a wide variety of topics connected to the creation and performance of new music. He will also create an online environment that encourages collaboration among participating SoSI students.

Jaime Acosta Gonzalez, Ph.D in Literature

Host: nonsite.org
Faculty Advisor: Michael Hardt

nonsite.org is an academic journal that features writing on aesthetics, politics, and art. Contributors often explore such issues as the relationship of the work of art to the spectator, matters of intention and interpretation, and the social ontology of the work of art. Acosta Gonzalez will serve as an editorial assistant during his remote internship. For the book review section, he will identify new and noteworthy books in the fields of art history, philosophy, literary criticism, and critical theory, then assign reviewers and collate the responses into a readable form for a scholarly audience.

Keqi He, Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences

Host: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Faculty Advisor: Wenhong Li

Wetlands protect our shores, reduce the impact of floods, absorb pollutants, improve water quality, and provide habitat for animals and plants. However, wetlands are threatened by climate change. In order to understand the processes and driving factors of wetland degradation in the southeast United States, He will remotely intern at the Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center, part of the Forest Service under the USDA. He will examine locations and time of the degradation at a regional scale, using Forest Inventory and Analysis data, vegetation indices from satellite data, and vegetation characteristics from LiDAR data.

Hannah Ontiveros, Ph.D. in History

Host: CWS Durham
Faculty Advisor: Nancy MacLean

Humanitarian organization Church World Service (CWS) is one of nine refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. The Durham office focuses on supporting immigrant and refugee new arrivals in the Triangle area. As a remote intern, Ontiveros will undertake two interconnected research projects. First, she will compile data on CWS Durham activities, funding streams, and spending, as well as on the state of immigrant and refugee populations in the region. Second, she will carry out qualitative research aimed at aligning CWS Durham’s requests for funds with the desires of individual and institutional donors.

Julianna Renzi, Ph.D. in Marine Science and Conservation

Host: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Faculty Advisor: Brian Silliman

To increase understanding of reef ecosystems, the Smithsonian launched the Global ARMS (Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures) program. ARMS are stacks of PVC plates that have been deployed around the world to describe invertebrate diversity. This summer, Renzi will use data from ARMS in Mo’orea to determine the impacts of large-scale coral loss on invertebrate communities in French Polynesia. She will synthesize DNA metabarcoding data (sequences of a small section of organisms’ genomes that is taxonomically distinct), invertebrate survey data, and environmental data that may be influencing invertebrate recruitment.

Dana Wright, Ph.D. in Marine Science and Conservation

Host: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Read

The eastern population of North Pacific right whale (NPRW) is the most endangered population of large baleen whale. The few remaining whales are thought to feed predominantly on zooplankton on the southeastern Bering Sea (SEBS) shelf. The Bering Arctic Subarctic Integrated Survey (BASIS) contains a rich time-series (1992-2016) of zooplankton and forage fish count data on the Bering shelf during the seasonal period of presumed NPRW foraging. Wright will use the BASIS dataset to investigate which environmental-species interactions (ESI) govern zooplankton community structure on the SEBS shelf, with the ultimate goal to assess whether the ESI conclusions support the current Oscillating Control Hypothesis that describes lower trophic level dynamics in the region.