Summer Academy: A Student’s Reflection

We had a great time with year with Summer Academy. The last of our participants left on Saturday and since then participants have had a bit more space to reflect on their time in Summer Academy. Here is a reflection from a student who took the Global leader course:

“The Leadership and Diplomacy course was a highly encouraging and motivating course to build leadership skills and develop a broader sense and vision of diplomacy. The staff at the Duke Academy, the Teachers, the Teacher Assistants, the Residential stuff all played an important role in making this summer a memorable one. The diversity offered by Duke has given me the opportunity to explore so many different cultures all together in one place and to have friends from all over the world!

Words will not do justice to how grateful I am to you for giving me this opportunity. Thank you once again for this wonderful experience.”

-Rameen Shahram

Summer College: A Student’s Perspective

After spending four weeks with lovely friends and teachers of Duke Summer Session, I feel more and more closer and intimate to them and it’s becoming quite hard and unwilling to say goodbye and separate with these friends. Honestly, it’s my first time to come to USA and experience local cultures, academic lives and diverse people here. I am so glad that I could have this valuable opportunity to participate in Duke Summer College, which provides me with all kinds of excellent facilities and resources that I may be in need of. During this period of precollege life, I learned so much fun stuff and experienced numerous marvelous and intriguing things that I’ve never done before such dancing and having funs with people who come from every corner of the world and have divergent cultural backgrounds. Thanks to this exploration in Duke University, I got the know more about what is the authentic university’s life like in America and what kind of attitudes the American students deal with it. The students who come to Duke are mostly some of the most distinguished and preeminent individuals in their original schools, and they know exactly how to keep good balance between their recreation and study by managing themselves in an efficient and ordered way. There are so many places in campus which left me deep and great impression. One of the fantastic places I want to talk about is Perkins Library.

The high school where I come from is quite a remote place, and there is only one small library on campus with the size of a regular classroom. So when I first went inside the Perkins, I was totally shocked and amazed by such large and impressive number of books it contained and collected, which you are able to find all kinds of books here. Perkins is the place where I spent most of my available time reading and studying here. And it could be considered as one of my favorite places in Duke. Every time when I have some difficulties focusing on my reading assignment or coming up with unique thoughts on the paper, I would definitely choose to go to Perkins. It could always offer all the needed materials related to my course and help me to be fully immersed in the schoolwork due of the quiet and cozy environment. Another awesome thing about Perkins is that there are different kinds of seminar and discussion room inside the building, distributed in each floor. When we encounter some problems during the study of advertising, the spacious and well-equipped discussion room would always be our priority, which allows us to work on the problems in a collaborative way, exchange divergent opinions and solve the issues ultimately. Here are two the photos I took inside the Perkins.  – Changge Shi


Recap: Extra Curricular Events :)

In Duke Summer Session we provide a space for students to enhance their education over the summer, and also to better experience what it is like to be a student on Duke University’s campus. One of the ways that we do that is through providing many fun extra curricular program wide events. From dances every weekend to Duke Blue Devil Days (our field day), from talent shows to karaoke nights, from ice cream social with speed friending to casino night, we had many fun events for students to participate in.

“I’m in Duke Summer Session for 2018, and I love it here so much! It’s a fantastic university! Tonight, we had a talent show, and people here are crazy! They were screaming, but I loved it! I did a performance singing “We don’t Talk Anymore.” I love singing a lot. I love the dining hall at Duke! The food at Duke is so delicious! It might be a little expensive, but I love the food here. I found that people here are very friendly, whether teacher, student, staff or anyone, I mean everyone is very friendly! Even when you first meet someone unexpectedly on the street, that person is still friendly. I’ve never heard “have a nice day” so many times in my life! They love that phrase here, and I appreciate it. People talk with a very sweet smile.”

-Sally Zhen

Here are some pictures from these events:

Karaoke/Open Mic Night:

We had two Karaoke Nights were students had the opportunity to sing in groups, or on their own, in front of each other. Per usual with karaoke there were people who just sang for the fun of it, and others who we asked for their autographs afterwards because they might just be famous one day.

We also provided Mocktails, and various soda/sweetener mixtures.

The second Karaoke Night we also had a keyboard and guitar for students who wanted to play as well as sing.

In the end everyone had a great time with camera lights waving just like they were at a concert!

Casino Night:

We had many card games and other casino games going on Casino Night! The Black Jack tables were definitely a hit. For some students it was the first time they played.

For the very adventurous students we had a craps table.

We also had a roulette table and a few tables of Texas Hold’Em.

Students started off with 50 chips and would cash them in at the end of the night for candy and other various prizes. 

And, you can’t have a casino night without a fun photo booth!!

Blue Devil Day:

What good is a field day without a water bucket challenge?

The game that was the biggest hit was the Tank game.

We had a four-way tug of war match!

Things were very tense at the trivia station where students checked there memory for questions related to pop culture, sports and Duke University.

Ice Cream Social:

We started of the Ice Cream Social with… Ice Cream.

Then we jumped into a game of “Biggest Fan”, where students play against each other in rock-paper-scissors and then cheer for the person who beats them until one person is standing!

We also had speed-friending, where students sat across from a new friend and answered questions so they could get to know each other.

Summer College: A Student’s Perspective

My name is Caroline VanDuzer and I am from Maryland. At this year’s Summer College at Duke University, I took Life in the Deep Sea with Katie Thomas as my professor. My favorite part of this program was making a new group of friends that I intend on keeping in touch with throughout my senior year in high school.


When I took these photos, all I told my friends was that I wanted them to pose for me for my portfolio that I am working on for my photography class at school. We quickly walked to the church with an impending thunderstorm above our heads and once we got into the church, all of my friends went quiet with awe.

This was the first time that we had walked into Duke Chapel and the twinkling lights and stained glass windows were dazzling and mesmerizing. After walking around the chapel and waiting out the storm, we walked outside to see the sun peeking out of the rain clouds. I took these pictures as my friends walked around the chapel in a state of peace, staring at the setting sun and it’s trails of yellow and orange streaking across the sky.

Recap: RA Groups

Over the summer we make it a priority to help our participants and students engage in an academically stretching experience. We also want to make sure that they get a taste of college life by providing many extra curricular events for them to enjoy. These ranged from RA activities (with their hall mates) to Clubs (from Hiking to Arts and Crafts to Group Fitness), from dances to casino nights. Here is a look at some of the fun things we did in our RA groups this summer:

Each student lives in a residence hall and is place into a Resident Assistant (RA) group. These groups would spend a lot of time together and would meet every night for their nightly meeting. Each day we also encouraged the RA groups to meet in order to build their community, go to events and places in Duke University’s campus to get to know it better, and to go to places in Durham, North Carolina where Duke University is located.

These are our amazing residential staff, who lead these RA groups. Each RA connects with their students to find out their groups interests, they then plan activities from there. Take a look at some of the fun things they did with their residents:

Group bonding activities:

One group enjoyed dancing so put on an evening to play Just Dance together.

Our programs have students from all over the world. One way for them to bond is to teach other things about their home cultures. This RA group had dinner together where some students taught others how to use chopsticks for the first time!

During our program there are usually a few students who have their birthdays. Birthdays are important to us and we make sure that RA groups have a fun time bonding as they celebrate each other’s birthdays.

Activities on Duke University’s campus:

Duke University is well known for our basketball programs. Some RA groups decided they wanted to tour the Duke Basketball Museum.

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens were well utilized during our program. Some RA groups went there to play Ultimate Frisbee, walk through the gardens or have a picnic.

“I think the scenario of Duke University is good and beautiful. The food is quite OK. The ramen in the restaurant is very delicious. The subject I study is very interesting and comprehensive. There are group activities, outdoor activities, lectures, and programming. There are also a lot of activities which enrich my Duke Life, such as RA activities, Nightly News, Dance. I think the program is very comprehensive, which not only enrich my knowledge but also let my daily time become more amazing.” – Ziwei Huang

Activities in Durham, North Carolina:

Durham, North Carolina has a rich history and a lot of character. Many RA groups made a point to go off campus to explore Durham and the surrounding areas. One well known spot in Durham is called The Parlour, which sells hand made ice cream.

Some RA groups got creative with their activities and went to places like this farm where you can do yoga with goats!

We did find a common pattern amongst our students: the majority of them love to shop! There were many opportunities for students to do so in their RA groups. RA groups would go to Southpoint Mall, the Durham Farmer’s Market and 9th Street.

“Hi, I’m Luka Lavrnic. I’m from Serbia, and I came to Duke for four weeks of Summer Session. I had some experiences that I’ll remember forever! I met many new friends from different countries and from different parts of the world, but we were all united the whole time. I’m really going to miss them when I leave in four days. We went to play some sports every day, either basketball or soccer, and it was always intense during the games.  We would go back to our dorms together. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. Also, classes are very fun and interesting, especially the expeditions going around Duke University. Also, I like the time when we went to the mall, and we watched a movie there. It just made us bond together and come closer.

– Luka Lavrnic

End of program:

As the program drew to a close RAs made sure they had time to say their farewells to their students. Each student was given a certificate of completion of the program, and many RAs decided to celebrate this with their halls.

“The Duke Summer College program has been absolutely splendid. While offering challenging classes that demand creative thinking, the program offers several other opportunities such as team sports and hiking which help to level out the stress. My RA, Marquee Vines has been energetic and helpful, and has always tried to solve any problem that confronted him. The food has also been spectacular, with a wide variety of choices each and every day. I am looking forward to completing the rest of the Summer College program here at Duke.”

– Jack Quinn

We want to thank all Residential Staff and our students for the great community we built over the summer and learning and fun that was had by all!


Recap: Global Leader

In our Global Leader course, offered through Summer Academy, participants learned about their own leadership styles and how to develop them and apply them advance in leadership roles in the future. as well as visit local and state government buildings to learn about how leadership plays a part in the government.

Participants had the opportunity to work in groups in an international diplomacy simulation. This took place in the second half of the course where the focus was to apply what participants learned about their leadership styles from the first half of the course.

Participants also had the opportunity to get a tour of Durham’s City Hall from one of Durham’s City Council Members. This was an amazing experience as it allowed the participants to engage in local government like the never had before. It was the first time that many of them stepped foot in a government building, saw where City Council meetings were conducted or spoke with a City Council Member. They also had the opportunity to visit North Carolina’s State Capital building where they learned about the differences between State and local governments and how the two collaborate with each other.

“My name is Jiro Kurokawa, and I’m from Japan. I’m in the Global Leadership course at Duke Summer Academy. Today in my course, I went to the Durham city hall, and I got to see who was involved in the city makings and decisions, and I was taken on a tour through the whole building. We also got to see where all the decisions are made. We also got to learn that Durham was ranked among the top 7 cities in all of the United States of America, so we got to go to one of the best cities!” -Jiro Kurokawa’s reflection on their trip to Durham City hall.

We are very thankful for the participants, the things they learned about themselves, the way they developed into stronger leaders, and how they will apply what they learned in their home towns and in the future. Watch out world, we have some current big leaders on our hands!


Recap: Global Researcher

One of our courses offered in our Summer Academy program is our Global Researcher course. The focus of the Global Researcher course is to help students develop the soft skills that they will need as they move forward in an educational path that focuses in STEM. This is done through classroom learning with lectures and debates, and engaged learning by visiting research facilities on Duke University’s campus and having participants complete labs.

“I have been invited to take Honors BioChem II during my sophomore year, and I have no doubt that the skills I acquired at Duke are going to make a tremendous difference. The Global Researcher program provided not only fantastic academic exposure but also great cultural encounters. Building friendships with high school students from around the world added so to my three-week campus life and I will not soon forget the academic discussions and fun chats I had with them. Duke’s Summer Academy clearly enriched my 2018 summer and exceeded all my expectations. I now hope to attend the Duke Summer Academy for High School Students in the summer of 2019. ”

-Kai Snyder

Participants had the opportunity to learn about the scientific method and conducting research by taking samples from the pond at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and using a water testing kit to assess the water quality.

Duke University is well know for the research that is conducted by faculty and students a like. Our participants had the opportunity to visit on of the research symposiums that was happening on campus. This enabled them to practically understand what types of research are conducted on Duke University’s campus and to see what a completed research study and presentation looks like. At the end of the program participants presented their own research based off of topics that they chose during the course, and they had their own poster presentation.

Participants also got to gain valuable public speaking and scientific method application skills through different debates about topics related to research. This allowed them the opportunity to learn how to properly utilize secondary sources, develop a strong argument, and present information publicly.

Recap: Global Technology Entrepreneur

In the Global Technology Entrepreneur course participants had the opportunity to learn about developing a product and growing a company. During the course they divided into groups to develop their own product designs and companies in order to put into practice what they learned during the course. The groups participated in a pitch competition on the last day of the course where they presented their pitches to a panel of experts in the field.

“I think Duke Summer Session is very interesting and really helpful. The class that I attend in Global Entrepreneurship helped me to learn how to develop projects in the real world, and I met a lot of good friends from all over the world. I gained more friendships and real-life experiences on campus.” – Gloria Wang

Participants also had the opportunity to visit labs or facilities around Duke University’s campus associated with Technology Entrepreneurship. One of which was the Augmentality Labs, a Virtual Reality Arcade experience. Participants enjoyed hearing from the founder of the company about the technology behind what makes the Augmentality Labs work, as well as playing the games… of course! You can find out more about Augemtality Labs here:

Participants also got to visit The Foundry at Duke University. The Foundry is a space that Duke student’s use to collaborate on their entrepreneurial ideas, develop their products, and learn about grant writing for company development. Our Global Technology Entrepreneur participants got to speak with the some of the Duke student’s who have been creating and developing the space. You can find out more about The Foundry here:

We want to thank our participants for all the fun that was had, all the learning that was done, all the creativity that was cultivated and all the growing that happened during their time in The Global Technology Entrepreneur course!

Drama Club: A Student’s Perspective

“Hello, I’m Carol Li, and I’m a participant of Duke Summer Session. I joined drama club for three weeks. First, in general, everyone is welcome to drama club. You don’t have to have certain skills in the field of drama, like singing or acting, but you can go and do those activities with everyone, and everyone is welcome. You just go and join. We put on a performance at the talent show. It was about a restaurant with interesting events. I think that it was a wonderful experience on stage because I never did anything like that before, even in school. I was kind of afraid at first because I don’t think I’m good at acting, but actually, everyone did very well, and you feel like you really enjoy being on stage. Speaking of the directors of the club, they are very friendly, very helpful, and very supportive. They give you all kinds of direction, for example, helping you to get to know your character, and they help you with those acting skills. They are always so supportive! I thank them very much!”

-Carol Li

Blue Devils Day

“We did the four-way tug of war where four sets of teams face off against each other. To win, the last person on your line of rope had to pass through a line. We got second except there was a discussion on what would constitute winning. The winning team their legs in and we had our whole body.

It was really fun getting to hang out with some of the guys from my dorm and being on the team with them.”

– Adrian Armijo



Summer College: A Student’s Perspective

“Hello, this is Adam from Shanghai, China. I’m very glad to attend Duke Summer College, and I had a great experience here. My class is game theory of economics, and my professors are professor Miller and professor Wang. I think I had a very good time here. In class, I learned about a lot of things; they taught me about many circumstances in the market and about a lot of strategies, working out situations in order to get the best outcome. I think I’m very interested in this. It inspired me a lot, and I’ll maybe consider my future job doing these kinds of things. Concerning the campus itself, it’s really good. There are a lot of animals here, like squirrels, rabbits, and foxes. I think that Duke’s campus has a good incorporation of nature with its variety of animals too, and I’m glad to see them here because they are rare to see in China. Also, I think I had a great time playing sports here. I’m very crazy about basketball, and I went to the basketball court every evening, and I’ve made a lot of friends there. Players here are very strong and energetic, better than players in our school. I learned a lot and also practiced a lot. Although Summer College will be over in a week, I’m looking forward to coming back; maybe I’ll visit Duke some time later. I hope that I will go cherish the experience here because it’s really good! We have an opportunity to meet here in the summer!”

-Adam Xu

Soccer Tournament Reflections

“My name is Adriano Bracero, and I am from Costa Rica. I came to Duke and I’m currently in the Global Leader class. So far, it’s been a really good experience! These first two weeks have been really good. I learned a lot the first week about leadership, and now we switched to diplomacy, which is also really interesting. After class, I also have a lot of things to do with my friends. I made a lot of friends. Everyone is really friendly here, especially the RAs! They’re really cool too, along with the teachers. I usually go and play soccer with my friends and play basketball after class and then just hang in the common rooms playing ping pong. It gets really competitive! Today and yesterday, we had a soccer tournament, and unfortunately, we lost the final, but it was a pretty good game, a pretty good tournament, very well organized. I’m really enjoying my stay here at Duke!

Adriano Bracero

The team that won the student championship section of the Soccer tournament was the Edens Butterflies. The prize for winning the championship was playing against a staff team. The students did win 4-3, but the staff enjoyed the opportunity to play against them.


Mid-program Snapshots

“Hi, I’m Rameen, and I’m with the Global Leadership program, and this program has made me see how beautiful diversity can be. I’ve met people from all around the world, knowing their opinions and knowing how they think of things that I thought of so differently is amazing because it really did broaden my horizons in so many things, and I think the best thing about Duke is definitely the diversity over here. It’s like, you meet so many new people from different parts of the world teaching you so many things, different languages, and…I’m in love with it! I’m in love with Duke for giving me this opportunity to be here and having this program where we can all come together to find solutions to our problems and discuss everything with each other, so I think it’s beautiful.”

-Rameen Shahram

“Hi my name is Satya Yalamanchi, and if I could go anywhere, I’d go back in time about two days because I really like the program! It’s been super fun with all the activities we’ve had, like foosball tournaments and just a bunch of other fun stuff that’s happened in our RA groups, and I’m really having a lot of fun, so if I could, I’d go back two days [in time] and relive it all over again. In those two days, I’d relive all the hanging out with different people from different places. It’s been fun getting to know them, and now that I know them, it’s a lot more fun.”

-Satya Yalamanchi

Mid-Program Reflections

“My name is Rebecca Flack. My favorite part of the program so far has been getting to know my roommate Danah. We’re from different countries, and it’s been a huge learning experience for me hearing what her life is like in Saudi Arabia and how it differs and is similar to mine. I didn’t expect to get so close to the girls and guys I met here so quickly, but everyone is so open and willing to be friends. My favorite lesson so far in the Global Leadership class has been on poaching. I hope to implement these skills when I get back to my own school! Although it’s only been a week, I feel like I’ve learned so much, and I’ve made friendships that I think will last past this trip.”
-Rebecca Flack
“My name is Abdulhadi, and I’m having a fun time at Duke Summer Academy at Duke University. Yesterday I went to the karaoke place, which was pretty cool! Everyone was singing, communicating, having fun together with their friends, and…that’s how fun it is! I mean I can’t describe how cool it is to be in Duke Summer Academy! I mean, today, I went to class, and we did experiments and other cool things. I sang with my RA Jeremy, he is so cool, he knows how to play the piano, he’s amazing! When we’re together, we’re like the best! I love him, I love this place, and I’m just having a good time.”
– Abdulhadi Aubailah

“Hey, my name is Sid and I’ve been having a good time so far! I’ve made a bunch of friends. We did karaoke last night, which was amazing! We got to hear a bunch of lovely voices and some voices that weren’t so lovely, but that doesn’t matter, as long as they’re having fun, ya know! I’m looking forward to the next one.”


Summer College: Beginning of the third week

“The weather here is always sunny which makes me feel the characteristic of passion and dynamic of Duke. (Except once I have been caught in the sudden rain) The people here are really enthusiastic, teachers here are willing to help their students and RA here are always ready to solve our problems. During the stay, I fully enjoy the nice food and the comfortable dorm. My roommate and I have both become a bit heavier…. I can always find people who share the same interest with me here, he could be one of my classmates or one of the students living in the same dormitory hall. Honestly, I am really enjoying the life here and the summer session at Duke would definitely become one of the greatest and sweetest memory.”
-Huang Yi

“My experience at Duke Summer College has been an eye opener to life after high school. As a rising senior, this my last year and this experience gives the knowledge to make in college. It’s kind of like a trailer for the next few years of your life. Knowing that I’m glad to have people like Ken, my RA, here to look after me. Show me the ropes and give helpful advice when need. The diversity here really gives you a taste of how life is. There will be differences but we must overcome them to create lasting bonds between one another. This may be my second week into the summer college sessions but I feel as though. I’ve connected with some people on a deep spiritual level.”

-Devon Rogers

Weekend Events!

On the weekends there are many program-wide activities for students to participate. This weekend we had Academic Expos focused on SAT/ACT preparation. Film series where we watched Documentaries, North American films and International films. Face painting and tye-dying before our Neon Lights Dance. Many RA groups also had their own community building activities. Some of them included touring other local Universities for students to increase their knowledge about other Universities and their application processes. You can go here for a few student’s reflections of the SAT/ACT Expo:


A few RA groups went to UNC – Chapel Hill to get a better of idea of what the campus was like. This lead to great conversations about the next steps students can take to prepare themselves for college in general and more specifically for the college application process.


One RA took their student’s to the Nasher Museum of Art. You can find out more about the Nasher Museum of Art here:


Some students got their face’s painted in preparation for the fun night at the Neon Lights Dance.


Many students used the tye-dying station at the Arts and Crafts club to prepare for the Neon Lights Dance.


On Saturday we had an Academic Expo to focus on helping students prepare for taking the SAT and ACT. Here are some reflections from students about their time in the Expo:

“It was helpful because of the strategies that he gave us and telling us how to prepare for it. Like creating spreadsheets so that we know what schools we want to go to in order for us to figure out what sections of the SAT we need to take, and what scores we need to get on them.”

– Victoria Gallacher


“He brought up strategies for spreadsheet. How to proportion your time for question in test. To do the easy ones first and then go back to the other questions. He also gave us information on how to guess consistently.”

– Alexandra Jerdee

Summer College: A Student’s Perspective

“The time I spent in Duke University is a special experience to me. Not only is it the first time I come to the United State as a student, but it’s also the first time that I live without my parents for a month. Living as a university student obviously helps me to properly arrange my time. Duke University also has a great environment of study and sport.”

-Haoxiang Zhang (Tom)


“I have thoroughly Duke Summer College thus far. From the campus to my peers, everything about this program seems special. Not only am I being taught by a college professor, but I am also learning what campus life is like at Duke University. In fact, the most amazing thing happened on my second day. I was walking to the Broadhead Center for lunch with my friends when I see three towering figures in front of me. It turns out that I was behind the three best basketball players in the nation. I thought to myself, “You have to get a picture with at least one of them!” I went up to Zion Williamson and asked him for a selfie, all the while my hands and legs are shaking from nervousness. This encounter emphasized Duke’s emphasis on a well-rounded experience. Not only is Duke a premier academic institution, but it is also home to one of the most prestigious basketball programs.”

-Wei Wang

Favorite Spot On Campus: The Library!!

“FRQ: Favorite spot on Duke campus?

Answer: the library, the library, the library!

It may seem a little boring to stay at the library during the summertime, but I really enjoy my time spent beside these large windows with the mild light shining on my book. The environment is just so nice for one to calm down and absorb knowledge into the brain. Did I mention the amazingly abundant resource Perkins have? You have access to a large number of books here. In fact, I found all four books I need for my summer assignment. So farewell to staring at the laptop and read 4 lines for an hour experience, and hello to the efficient happy afternoon reading time. It’s just a great place for one to concentrate and work. You can even make a reservation for a study room if you want to spend some time discussing the project with your group.

Grab the book you need, sit down and enjoy.

Don’t get too lost in the books though, because it is time for nightly news!”

– Jinyue Yuan

You can find out more about Duke’s Libraries here:


Summer College: A Student’s Perspective

“My time at Duke has allowed me to experience college life on campus, and interact with different people, exposing me to new opportunities and experiences. Coming into the first day, I was both nervous and excited! Multiple questions circulated in my head: Am I going to make friends? Am I going to be the dumbest in my class? Am I going to be able to navigate my way across campus? These questions are inevitable when experiencing a college class for the first time.

The friends I have met at Duke are some of the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life, not only the students at camp, but the faculty too. I am surrounded by an environment where no one is judged and everyone gets along. I have met people who are SO similar to me, and I have met people who are SO different. Through RA activities, I have been able to branch out and meet a lot of girls from China.

The Tuesday that class started I was so nervous, but everything turned out okay, like it always does. I am finding my class very interesting and my professor, Mr. Shreve, so awesome. The class is always something I look forward to everyday, and I actually find myself looking forward to Monday’s class on the weekends.

Duke’s campus is so beautiful and the prettiest campus I have ever seen; I love the architecture. The first few days, it was like I was a lab rat in a maze. But as days passed, I became so familiar with the campus.

As each day passes, I only want to attend Duke University more and more. This camp has given me so many opportunities to get out of my comfort zone by meeting new people from around the world and engaging in different activities. I will be forever grateful for this amazing experience.”

Kiera Meloche 

Clubs are under way!

This summer we are offering many clubs for students participant in. Clubs that stretch students creativity, clubs that help them increase their physical fitness, and clubs that help them prepare academically. These clubs include: Gaming Club, Arts and Crafts Club, SAT/ACT Club, Drama Club, Hiking Club, Group Fitness Club, Team Sports Club, Home Economics Club (also known as Life Hacks Club), and Photography Club.

Here are some photos of what we have been up to in the clubs so far:


Students enjoy creating art and making bracelets in the Arts and Crafts Club.


In the Life Hack Club students are learning skills that are applicable for daily life activities: cooking, making home-made lip-balm, making home-made laundry detergent and the list goes on.


The Drama Club provides an opportunity for students to practice and enhance their acting skills. This is done through Improvisation activities and Role Playing, as well as other techniques to teach acting skills.


Besides football (soccer), many students have enjoyed the opportunity to play 5 v 5 basketball games. Team Sports Club has been a big hit with many students eager to play, even in the sun of the North Carolina summer.


In the Photography Club students learned how to frame a photo and how to fully utilize the functions of a camera.


Some days in North Carolina we have summer rain showers. When that happened on a day that Hiking Club met this past week, we used the opportunity to learn about some of the local flora and fauna.


Group Fitness Club has provided another opportunity for students to engage in physical fitness. From Zumba, to bootcamps, these students are definitely staying active!

Gaming Club has provided students interested in playing board games, card games and chess an opportunity to do so while bonding with others who have similar interests.

Summer Academy: A Student’s Perspective

“Hi, my name is Daryll Jackson, I’m from Washington D.C., and I’m here at Duke Summer Academy in the Global Researcher program, and so far, this whole week has been magnificent. I’ve met so many different people from those who speak Portuguese, to those from Greece, Japan, China, and all of that, and it’s just wonderful. Today we did a personality assessment, almost like a checklist to see like if you’re an introvert/extrovert just to get to know more about yourself. Throughout this whole week, I’ve really learned a lot about myself, like I’ve learned that I’m an introvert, that I’m more of a thinker than a feeler. It is good to like have your direction and know where your’re going, and also, you get to have many different activities. They also have a hiking club, arts and crafts club, a dance and drama club. Also talent shows and parties and I would really recommend this program to any high schooler that isjust looking for direction of like finding themselves and just looking for their future.” – Daryll Jackson

Summer Sisters


“Hello, I’m Menahil Kanwal, I’m from Pakistan, I came here in an exchange program called “Summer Sisters” in the Global Researcher program, which is like really nice and interesting. I made a lot of friends here who are all really nice there are really fun clubs, and I’m enjoying the football club, it’s just like amazing, even though there aren’t many girls. The guys are good too! It’s nice here.”

-Menahil Kanwal

Summer Academy First Day

Monday was the first day, it was fantastic and a nice beginning. On my first day at Duke, I was excited and nervous, but obviously everything was better than I had expected, and I was looking forward to the rest of life in Duke.

We took the first lesson of Global Entrepreneur. After the icebreakers, we got to know each other, and define what will make an entrepreneur. That’s really a challenge for me but I’m willing to tackle it! And after dinner, we played together and listened to music, which I really enjoyed.





Summer College: A Student’s Perspective

“The welcoming environment that Duke has, has made me able to easily adopt the daily life of a Summer College Program student. From the RAs to my fellow peers, making friends has been an easy thing to do. Being able to enjoy a good meal with some friends in the dining hall has truly been an experience. New experiences have been happening outside of campus as well. With trips to places such as 9th street and the mall, Duke has been fun all around. My class, Existentialism, has been one of a kind, and I couldn’t enjoy it any more than I already do. After class, being able to play soccer in the fields has been wholesome. The Summer College Program at Duke is incomparable to anything I have ever done.”
– Bryan Orosio
 “When I showed the photos I took in Duke Garden to my friends in other summer programs, their first reaction was that the campus was so “remote” and “village-y”, “like a national park”. If that’s the case, then it’s the type of village-ness that I love. As early as on my first day at Duke, I felt deeply attracted to the scenery and the natural and historic beauty of the Duke campus. There was the majesty of the Duke Chapel, sitting at the center of the huge campus, overlooking the bustling school every day and every night. And then there is the tranquility of the Duke Garden, a perfect refuge for students from a day of hard work. Both locations were deeply moving for me. I could feel not just the happiness of being at those places, enjoying my time but also the will of the founding fathers of the school and the vast alumni network, all of whom dedicated to the education industry and to raising thoughtful, joyous, and independently-minded future citizens.”

Summer Academy Orientation

We are so happy that our Summer Academy participants have arrived. Participants had Residential Orientation last night where they saw skits from staff about their time on campus. This morning they had Academic Orientation which lead into a tour of the libraries and campus with the last stop being the Club Fair. At the Club Fair participants received information on the different clubs that are offered this summer and got to sign up for the ones they were most connected to. And last but not least, they had their first day of their Summer Academy course. Look at the picture below to see all the fun that was had today.

One of our Deans of Residence Life, Toby Finizio, presents to participants during Residential Orientation. We have a section of orientation for participants to hear from our Residential staff about expectation while living on Duke University’s campus and to provide participants information about the many events we have scheduled over the summer.

Our Academic Staff lead Academic Orientation where they provide participants with information about the academic support they can receive over the summer. This time is also an opportunity for students to learn about our Academic Expos: Writing and Plagiarism, SAT/ACT Preparation, and College Admissions. They also were informed of our Film Series that has three focuses: International Films, North American Films, and Documentaries.

We ended Summer Academy orientation with a Club Fair for students to hear about and sign up for the clubs we provide. Here one student draws on a poster for the Arts and Crafts Club.

World Cup Finals Party!

We threw a World Cup Finals watching party yesterday to unite students and staff as they watched the beautiful game. There were snacks, sodas, laughter, cheering, ooos and ahhhs. Much fun was had all around. Everyone was enthralled by the ups and downs, scores and penalties in the match and in the end France beat Croatia 4 to 2.

Farewell STEM Academy, Hello Summer Academy!!

Yesterday we said goodbye to our last STEM Academy participants. We had a great time with them throughout the week. We got to explore West Campus, tour many different labs and research facilities at Duke University, and expand our knowledge in different STEM related subjects. We also had a lot of fun getting to know people from all over the world in our RA groups and clubs. Today we look forward to the arrival of all of our Summer Academy students!!! Keep an eye out for our wonderful Staff to help you as you arrive 🙂

Hear what STEM Academy participants had to say about their time at Duke University:

“It was absolutely amazing, I really enjoyed living on campus and experiencing college life while making key connections with people from around the world as well as strengthening my knowledge of the STEM fields.”


“This is a good program. You really do learn a lot about STEM and the different career paths you can take. Many people are available for questions. We get to learn a wide variety of things related to STEM and it inspires you to be a part of it. The food and housing are very good and Duke is a beautiful campus. You learn a lot about Duke and how it has one of the best medical facilities in the world and provides you with so many opportunities, I found a lot of things I was interested in and can’t decide which one I want to do. You get a lot of counseling about college as well.”


“Duke University is an amazing campus with some of the most brilliant people in the world. I was able to have fun, make friends with interesting people and enjoy the college experience.”


“The Duke intensive STEM program is a great program. It allowed me be to surround myself with many people who have the same motive that I do. I’ve met so many wonderful people who have encouraged me to do my best and I can achieve my dreams.”


“It was so fun! We saw so many cool things like research facilities and new tech. It showed me a bunch of new aspects of STEM and was overall very interesting and extremely fun.”

Summer College: A Student’s Perspective

“When my words will be publicly displayed on something called the Internet, I always want them to be somewhat inspiring. Since today is only the third day of Summer College, I wrote down something you could use to make your time at Duke the fullest.

During my early teenage years, I traced to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, a true serendipitous find, from Dead Poets Society. Today, though my adoration for Dead Poets Society has lessened, Walden remains to be my favorite American classic. Thoreau wished to “live deliberately”, but how? One trick of mine is to pay attention all my five senses — smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch.

My morning started off with a cup of matcha latte, the source of my energy and comfort. Taking the first sip, I was already having a great day. I am not exaggerating when I say everyone is an amateur food critic in China. With that being said, you should know Duke cafeterias are satisfying when I tell you don’t feel even a single bit nostalgic when it comes to food. In Game Theory & Democracy class, embedded in the seemingly mundane words on the chalkboard are methods to best represent the voters’ intention on a ballot and speculated upon the meaning of democracy.

At Duke Garden, I saw blooming flowers sprinkled in melted green (it was melted because it was July in North Carolina). I heard birds chirping and water gurgling. At the Drama & Dance Club, the rule of “Freeze”, an improv game, empowered to a shout of “Freeze” and a simple tap on the actor’ or the actress’ changing the scene completely.

The senses are the inputs, and the understandings are the outcome. I am more self-aware paying attention to all five senses. At last, I used my sixth sense, and it tells me that more goodness is in store.”

– Cindy Zhang

STEM Adventures: DiVE Lab

The DiVE lab is a virtual environment that provides an immersive experience into virtual reality. You can find out more about the DiVE Lab here:

“The Duke Summer STEM Academy opened my eyes to be the new world of college life.  The campus is amazing, and the professors and institutions are even beyond that.  I met people from all over the world and learned about their different lifestyles.”- Shane Epstein-Petrullo

STEM Adventures: Innovation Co-Lab

One way that Duke promotes research in technology and engineering is through the Innovation Co-Lab. This Co-Lab provides a space for students to put some of their ideas to work by developing on 3-D printers, writing grants, or connecting with others who can help propel their ideas forward. You can find out more about the Innovation Co-Lab here:


“The Co-Lab was such a fun and unique experience!  We were able to learn about 3D printing and interact with and even take home some of the pieces!”- Ellie Siebeneck


“The 3D printer tour was my favorite because it was a cool process that I know little about but learned in detail better.”- Kira Lucas

STEM Adventures: Opti Lab

There are many different types of research that are being conducted at Duke University that are in the STEM field. One that combines science, technology and psychology is the Opti Lab. The Opti Lab focuses on conducting research to find ways to enhance learning and development for people. You can find out more about the Opti Lab here:


 “I loved being able to experience so many different labs and lectures in various fields.  It really solidified my passion for STEM!”- Piper Hampsch


“In the STEM Academy, you meet people with common interests while going to incredible places.”- Emily DaCruz

STEM Adventures: Research Greenhouse

One of the many tours STEM Academy went on was of the Research Greenhouse at Duke. These greenhouses are used to store plants so that researchers can better conduct controlled research to gain information about the plants they study. You can find out more about the Research Greenhouse here:


“Greenhouse tour was really cool because of the different types of plants and Mrs. Jenny was super amazing and it made it really interesting.” – Lyn-Isha Peterson


“My favorite tour so far must have been the Greenhouse.  In the Greenhouse, a large variety of exotic plants were showcased, also demonstrating their unique abilities.”


“The greenhouse was really beautiful.  There were so many cool plants.  I even got to take home a plant!” – Ariana Frazier

STEM Adventures: Duke Life Flight

Our STEM Academy participants had the opportunity to visit Duke’s Life Flight facilities. Life Flight provided services to people who need medical attention quickly!  Their fleet consists of helicopters and ambulances, which they use 24/7. To find out more about Duke Life Flight go here:


“Life Flight was lots of fun!  It was cool to see the work that they do and how Life Flight saves lives everyday!”- Isabelle Zitto


“It was a great experience. We went to many interesting STEM related places around the campus and I made several new friends, some of which were international.”- Sam Hillenmeyer

STEM Adventures: Duke Campus Farm

This week the STEM Academy experienced how a farm can be used for more than just food. It can provide sustainable resources and even educational opportunities for people interested in using farms to support communities. You can find out more about the Duke Campus Farm here:


“It’s nice to be surrounded by people who actually want to learn.” – Samantha Betor


“The lectures were really interesting and demonstrated the interdisciplinary nature of a lot of work in STEM.  It was really cool to hear from the experts about their fields.”


 “No matter your comfort zone limits, push them!  Be open to experience new things.” – Talla Hood

Quad Hangs

“So far I have really enjoyed Duke and all it has to offer! Me and my friends have been taking advantage of the gym, the bookstore, the wonderful cafeteria, and the benches in the quad. I’m really looking forward to spending the next month meeting new people and learning new things!”

– Ally Coppedge

STEM Academy: A Student’s Perspective


This morning my STEM group visited the IBRC (Interdisciplinary Behavioral Research Center) where psychological studies are performed. First we were given an intro to the facilities and then taken on a tour of the various rooms where research is conducted, such as a computer lab where participants answer online surveys and group rooms with hidden cameras for observation of couple interaction. Following IBRC was a lecture detailing the selection and application process for college. The workshop was exceedingly informational and eye-opening, looks like I have a lot of research to do before senior year this fall!


After lunch we regrouped for a trip to the famous lemur center. Although it was hot outside the tour was fun and exciting. We saw and learned about 10 lemur species, including ring-tailed lemurs, fat-tailed dwarf lemurs,  and Aye-ayes. One group of nocturnal lemurs were indoors in a simulated nighttime environment, which was very interesting.

Once back from the tour I personally explored the campus around Duke chapel, as well as went into the crypt of the church. While inside I heard the beautiful choir singing during service. I would recommend a visit to the chapel to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation. The internal design is simply stunning. Looking forward to another great day at Duke!”

– Shannon Cousineau, Intensive STEM Academy

STEM Adventures: Duke Cancer Institute

This week the STEM Academy had the opportunity to tour  the Duke Cancer Institute.  You can find out more information about the Duke Cancer Institute here:

“The Cancer Institute was an interesting and special experience because we were given the chance to learn more about advancements in cancer research”. – Holly Gussis

 “Going through the Cancer Research Lab was really exciting and helped me find something I may want to pursue in college.”- Courtney Bland



“It was amazing to see all the labs and research centers that Duke has to offer and to meet people with similar passions as me.” – Tori Schmitt

STEM Academy: A Student’s Perspective

“Hello. My name is Salter Hydinger and I am 16 years old. I currently live in Birmingham, AL and I am a rising junior in high school.

This is my third full day at Duke’s STEM Academy. My group and I have visited multiple labs and listened to multiple lectures. While I enjoy hearing the academic side of college, I have loved getting to know the other girls in the dorm. Every night, Katherine, the RA of our hall, plans an activity for the girls to do together. Tonight, Wednesday, she planned a scavenger hunt across campus. The whole group of 20 divided into groups and had to take pictures of popular landmarks around campus.

It was so great to spend time with some of my new friends and run around campus laughing.

I am so thankful for the new friendships I have formed, and I am looking forward to finishing up my time at Duke.

Thanks for reading,”

Salter Hydinger

STEM Adventures: Lemur Center

“Today we went to the Lemur center and it was really cool to see all of the different types of Lemur’s. Some are nocturnal and some are awake during the day! We saw several in their natural habitat, where they were jumping and leaping!”. – Rachel Ham, Jordan Ham, & Isabelle Issa

“It was cool to find out that the Lemur center is the biggest in the world! The other center is in Madagascar. It was cool to see and hear how they were running the conservation as well!”.

The Club Fair: A Student’s Perspective

“It was a nice day to get myself settled in this campus.  The clubs were such great opportunities for us to make friends with people with similar hobbies and I am looking forward to spend some great afternoons with them.  After that hour, I went to the Wannamaker Dorm.  Students of three different programs stayed together just to hang out.  The environment was joyful, and I, as an international, was more than happy to make a few foreign friends.”

-Siwei Wang

Welcome to Duke!

There is a sense of excitement in the air as Duke Summer Session for High School Students welcomes both staff and participants to its beautiful campus!  Everyone seems eager to learn and engage as they explore Duke University for the first time.

“Despite the fact that we haven’t started any courses yet, we were able to get a glimpse at both academic learning and leisure time that we could possibly enjoy on the campus.  The academic orientation in the afternoon was quite an enlightening experience, as it gave me an overview of how classes operate here at Duke.  Being an international scholar to whom this Duke Summer Session is a first of the kind, I was sort of apprehensive at the beginning, because being surrounded by whole lot of foreign peers is totally brand-new.  Nonetheless, I hope that the tension will be eased sometime soon!” – Xin Hu