Bass Connections Teams Share Research Highlights at 2024 Showcase

April 22, 2024

Scenes from the 2024 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase (Photos: Les Todd)
Scenes from the 2024 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase (Photos: Les Todd)

On April 17, students from more than 65 project teams shared their research findings at the eighth annual Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase.

Over 750 students, faculty, staff and community partners gathered for the event in Penn Pavilion, where students presented their work through lightning talks, poster presentations and interactive displays.

Stelfanie Williams (left) with students at the showcase.
Stelfanie Williams engages with students at the showcase.

Stelfanie Williams, vice president of Durham & community affairs, celebrated the work of teams in her opening remarks: “Each of your innovative projects contributes to creating sustainable, thriving and healthy communities ... You are turning your academic knowledge into action for the betterment of society ... and you are utilizing your education, passion and ingenuity toward constructive change ... We celebrate your accomplishments and thank you for your hard work, initiative and unwavering dedication to making a positive impact.”



Lightning Talks

Students from six project teams presented five-minute lightning talks.

Lightning talks.
Students present lightning talks on stage at the showcase.

These teams were selected to highlight the breadth of research being conducted through the program.

Interactive Displays

This year, 17 teams elected to share their research through interactive displays. These displays featured short films, audio kiosks, simulations, prototypes, field tools, photographs, digital media and more. 

Students and faculty show off their interactive displays at the showcase.
Students and faculty show off their interactive displays at the showcase. The Language, Music and Dementia team (upper left) won the award for best interactive display.

A panel of judges selected the Language, Music and Dementia team as the winner of this year’s award for best interactive display. The Rosetta Reitz’s Musical Archive of Care team was the runner-up. 

Poster Competition

Fifty project teams shared their research posters with showcase guests. A panel of judges that included program alumni and affiliates, Duke communicators from across campus, and members of the Bass Connections Student Advisory Council selected the winners of the 2024 Bass Connections Poster Competition. (Click on the poster images below to enlarge.)

Students share their research posters with showcase guests.
Students share their research posters with showcase guests.


“Trauma-Informed Care In Court: An Exploratory Research Project,” Trauma-Informed Courts: A Public Health Approach to Juvenile Justice

Research poster.

Runner Up

“‘Oh, This is Actually Fun!’: Impact of a Reading Program on Latino/a Children’s Ethnic Identity Formation and Reading Motivation,” Celebra mi herencia: A Spanish Reading Program

Research poster.

Runner Up

“Design to Enhance Energy Harvesting Application,” New Technology to Expand the Use of Energy Harvesting

Research poster.

Awards and Grants

Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies, Edward Balleisen, recognized this year’s award winners for leadership and mentorship, as well as the recipients of 2024 student research grants.

Maria Tackett, Ed Balleisen, Nicole Schramm-Sapyta.
Leadership Award winners Maria Tackett (left) and Nicole Schramm-Sapyta (right) with Ed Balleisen

Bass Connections Leadership Award

This award recognizes outstanding faculty and staff team leaders for their creativity, intellectual vision and commitment to student mentoring on Bass Connections project teams.

Bass Connections Award for Outstanding Mentorship

This award recognizes graduate/professional students and postdocs who have made tremendous contributions to the success of their team and positively shaped their fellow team members’ experiences.

Bass Connections Student Research Grants

Ten graduate students and 13 undergraduates will pursue faculty-mentored research projects this summer and next year with grant funding from Bass Connections. Their projects explore a diverse range of topics, including how climate change is impacting water quality and health outcomes in Madagascar; ways to address political polarization in North Carolina state leadership and policymaking; the development of new sensory tools for precision laser surgery; the role of Black women musicians in the spread of blues music throughout the Piedmont; and more.

Learn More

  • Review the full showcase program.
  • Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on summer recruitment for 2024-2025 Bass Connections teams.
  • Read reflections from students and faculty on their Bass Connections experience.