It’s Not Too Late to Join a 2019-2020 Bass Connections Project Team

August 5, 2019

Apply Now!

Interested in joining a 2019-2020 Bass Connections project team?

Twenty-one project teams are still recruiting student team members. Applications are open and will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Students may apply to up to two teams using the online application link at the bottom of each project team page. The deadline to apply is August 22 at 11:59 p.m. Teams will close once they fill.

Please read the project descriptions carefully to learn about the unique student opportunities available on each team. Many teams are seeking students with specific backgrounds or skills. Graduate students should note that several teams are seeking a graduate student project manager. Project teams last for two semesters (unless otherwise specified) and include course credit. Check out How Project Teams Work to learn more.

Please note that spots on teams are limited as the majority of positions were filled during the main application cycle last spring. Students interested in applying for a Bass Connections project team during the main application cycle will be able to explore 2020-2021 teams in January 2020.

Project Teams Recruiting New Members

American Predatory Lending and the Global Financial Crisis
  • Graduate applicants only; preference for students with experience conducting oral histories
  • Graduate student project manager position available; preference for students with strong organizational skills and experience managing teams

Ten years after the failure of Lehman Brothers, there is still debate about the causes of the global financial crisis and the efficacy of policy responses. However, there is little debate about the central role subprime home loans originated by mortgage brokers and banks played in the crisis. This project team will explore mortgage market data and collect oral histories to deepen the public’s understanding of the policy and market dynamics in the run-up to the crisis. 

The Art and Craft of Saxophone Mouthpiece Design
  • All students may apply; skills in acoustic analysis, data analysis, recording and interview design and/or tone evaluation appreciated but not required
  • Graduate student project manager position available

Many professional jazz saxophonists and aspirational amateurs play on vintage mouthpieces produced in the mid-20th century. Boutique makers produce reproductions, but the vintage pieces are still more desirable. Modern mouthpieces are generally machine-finished and produce reliable but inferior products. This project team will digitally archive the dimensional and material property differences between vintage and reproduction mouthpieces to document the differences in playability and tonal character.

AvH250: Imagining Interdisciplinary Research for the 21st Century from a 19th Century Perspective
  • All students may apply

Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) was a 19th-century German scientist most noted for bringing together different scientific and historical perspectives on Earth, including positing the first description of human-induced climate change and providing core launch points to other luminary scientists. This project team will mark the 250th anniversary of his birth by studying his career and history and exploring the future of interdisciplinary scholarship.

Building Duke: The Architectural History of Duke Campus from 1924 to the Present
  • All students may apply; skills in 3D modeling appreciated but not required

Building Duke is a three-year initiative designed to explore the history of the conception, design and construction of Duke campus as well as its changes and expansions through time. In its second year, this project team will combine historical research with digital technologies to create a chronological timeline of Duke’s buildings, landscape and infrastructure, and a series of historical narratives that detail patronage and financing, architectural and landscape design, materials and labor as well as issues around identity, gender, class and race.

Coal and America: Coal Communities in Transition
  • Graduate applicants only
  • Students interested in data-driven social sciences (economics, sociology, public policy, etc.) preferred

No fossil fuel permeates the history of the United States like coal. Coal was the first mineral to provide the majority of the nation’s energy; it fueled steam engines, railroads, factories and foundries; and between 1885 and 1951, coal constituted as much as three-quarters of the nation’s energy budget. This project team will analyze coal’s rise and subsequent fall through the lenses of history and economics, with a special emphasis on how coal entwined energy, the environment and community over the past 200 years.

Collaborative Learning in STEM: Impacts on Student Motivation, Retention and Self-efficacy
  • Graduate students and sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates only

Collaborative learning is an evidence-based instructional strategy that deepens student learning by facilitating engaging classroom discussions among students. While active learning increases performance for most students in STEM fields, underrepresented students show the largest positive effect. To better serve Duke’s diverse undergraduate student population, this project team will test the impacts of collaborative learning on student motivation, retention in STEM and self-efficacy.

Consumer EEG Devices: Attention, Emotion, Privacy and the Brain
  • Graduate applicants only

Consumer-based EEG devices are marketed and sold to consumers for tracking and improving their brain activity through neurofeedback. These devices prompt privacy and data-sharing concerns because of their unprecedented ability to gather and decode real-time brain activity in everyday contexts such as education, employment, gaming and fitness. This project team will develop and administer surveys to the general population to gain a nuanced perspective of views on brain data privacy across ethical, legal and policy contexts.

DECIPHER: Decisions on the Risks and Benefits of Geoengineering the Climate
  • All students may apply

Geoengineering is the large-scale modification of the Earth’s systems to address climate change that includes a range of speculative approaches, such as solar radiation management or extraction of greenhouse gases directly from the atmosphere. These strategies pose both benefits and risks. This project team will examine a series of risk-based decision scenarios involving geoengineering technologies to support a broadly considered projection of the consequences of geoengineering.

Exercise Therapy and Brain Networks: Implications for Alzheimer's Disease
  • Graduate students and sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates only
  • Students with strong background in math, science or engineering preferred

Because Alzheimer’s is a disease with both genetic and environmental causes, considerable research has focused on environmental factors including lifestyle and nutrition as potential therapeutic interventions that might delay or prevent the disease. This project will use imaging technology along with analysis of neuropathology and behavior to examine how genetics and environment modify risk for Alzheimer’s in a female mouse model.

How to Build Ethics into Robust Artificial Intelligence
  • Graduate students and sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates only
  • Students with background in machine learning and statistical analysis preferred

Autonomous systems such as self-driving cars, surgical robots and artificial intelligence to aid criminal justice have promise to provide many services that will help society, but they also raise significant concerns. Autonomous agents need to be programmed with an artificial intelligence that instructs them how to interact with other agents, but how can we do this? This project team will attempt to build morality into artificial intelligence by incorporating morally relevant features based on crowd-sourced data.

Impacts of Artisanal Gold Mining in the Peruvian Amazon on Aquatic Ecosystem Biodiversity
  • Graduate students and sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates only
  • Students interested in environmental science preferred

Artisanal, or small-scale, gold mining (ASGM) is the leading cause of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon and one of largest sources of global mercury pollution to the atmosphere. This project seeks to understand the impacts of ASGM on aquatic ecology and communicate these impacts with policymakers and local communities.

Integration of Technology and Storytelling to Create a Visual Art Exhibit on Women's Health
  • All students may apply
  • Students with interests in women’s healthcare, coding, arts and curation, and/or engineering preferred

It is critical to educate women about their reproductive anatomy and foster an environment of positive self-image in order to promote improved health outcomes. This project team will bring together three key innovations – the Callascope, a Duke-developed device that allows for self-exploration of female reproductive anatomy; live imagery of the cervix; and storytelling created by women for women – to empower women to be active agents of their sexual health.

Moral Economy of Markets: Constituting and Resisting Relations of Power
  • Graduate applicants only
  • Fall semester only (continuing from 2018-2019)

The creation of capitalist markets has been, and continues to be, a transformative process, involving the displacement of peoples from their homelands as well as the disruption of traditional norms, cultures and institutions. This project team will continue to explore the experiences of those thrown into various states of vulnerability by the spread of market logic as well as the ways in which individuals and communities resist and organize with and against various manifestations of market logic in their everyday lives. The team, which is continuing from last year, is tracking the emergence of capitalist markets in multiple state and regional contexts, seeking to identify strategies for more equitable development, particularly in the Global South.

Ocean Evidence Gap Map and Synthesis
  • Graduate students and sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates only
  • Students based at the Marine Lab for either the fall or spring preferred; coding skills appreciated but not required

Evidence gap maps and evidence synthesis are emerging as important conservation tools that review existing scientific research in a creative way and suggest linkages between particular interventions and outcomes. Building on the ocean evidence gap map developed by a previous team, this project team will synthesize and assess the strength and nature of evidence-related conservation interventions for coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses.

Pocket Colposcope: Analysis of Bringing Elements of Referral Services to Community Care
  • All students may apply; students with interest or experience in policy and/or economics preferred
  • Graduate student project manager position available

Since 2012, Duke researchers have been working to develop a low-cost, portable cervical cancer screening device called the Pocket Colposcope, which has the potential to expand access to cervical cancer screening and diagnosis worldwide. Since 2016, this project team has been working to introduce this device in low- and middle-income country settings. In 2019-2020, the team will partner with three Duke-affiliated community clinics in low-income settings in North Carolina to assess barriers to acceptance and implementation of the Pocket Colposcope from both the patient and provider perspectives.

Representing Migration through Digital Humanities

Human migration is, by definition, hard to represent. Its inherent transience often renders its memory ephemeral. This project team, which will be broken into two linked sub-teams – Remembering the Middle Passage and Linguistic Landscapes – will use digital humanities tools to creatively visualize human migration and interact with migration data and stories in exciting ways. Each sub-team is recruiting students.

Linguistic Landscapes
  • Graduate students and sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates only
  • Language skills (especially in Spanish or Arabic) appreciated but not required; experience or interest in digital humanities, human geography and/or linguistic anthropology preferred

The Linguistic Landscapes sub-team will create a digital interactive map of the Triangle area to explore visual representations of language in urban spaces.

Remembering the Middle Passage
  • All students may apply

The Remembering the Middle Passage sub-team will explore stories and data on the slave trade to put together a map of where the deaths of enslaved persons occurred in the Atlantic.

Scaffolding Ethics: How to Integrate Ethics into Engineering Curricula
  • Graduate students and sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates only
  • Students with experience, interest and/or cross-cutting knowledge in engineering, ethics, design, pedagogy, experiential learning and/or technology are preferred

Many engineering challenges contain thorny ethical issues, but ethical considerations are often secondary to the technical aspects of engineering curricula. This project team will develop a framework that can be used by first-year engineering design teams to address ethical considerations.

Smart Archaeology
  • Graduate students and sophomore, junior and senior undergraduates only
  • Students with experience in GIS, remote sensing, robotics, VR (e.g., Oculus, Unity 3D) and/or digital photogrammetry preferred

In archaeology, smart technologies involve the use of different collaborative and intelligent tools to capture the data. Such tools include sensors, close-range sensing systems, robots, rovers, drones and laser scanners. This project team will use digital tools to investigate the pre-Roman archaeological landscape of Vulci, Cerveteri and Tarquinia, the most important and visited pre-Roman sites in Central Italy.

Using Behavioral Science to Understand Why Some Durham Families Choose Non-public School Options
  • All students may apply
  • Students with skills in data analysis and/or survey design preferred

In the last decade in North Carolina, the narrative about public education has become increasingly negative. More parents are choosing to send their children to private schools or charters or opt for home schooling. In Durham, only 70% of school-aged children enroll in Durham Public Schools (DPS). As a result, fewer resources go to support students in DPS, and Durham’s schools are increasingly segregated by race and socioeconomic status. This project team will use behavioral science to understand how families are making decisions about school enrollment.

Vaccine Misinformation and Its Link to Vaccine Hesitancy and Uptake in Durham
  • Graduate applicants only; advanced Spanish language proficiency and/or skills in survey data collection preferred
  • Fall semester only (continuing from last year)

Vaccinations administered during pregnancy and the first year of a child’s life are crucial for preventing a myriad of potentially deadly and debilitating infections such as polio, pertussis, measles, influenza and tetanus. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence of the benefits of vaccination, pregnancy woman and parents of young children often refuse to accept them for themselves or their children. This project team is studying vaccine misinformation and its impact on vaccine hesitancy and uptake in Durham.

The Value of Love: Global Perspectives on the Economy of Care
  • All students may apply

This project offers an opportunity to join the launch stage of an international, interdisciplinary collaboration reconsidering how we value “care” in various forms, including not only household and dependent care but also ecological, cultural and social care. The project team will focus on three research areas, including: 1) metrics (i.e., how we measure care and its value), 2) governance (i.e., what laws and policies currently exist to ascribe value to care) and 3) social practices (e.g., alternative household and kin formations, social movements oriented toward care and care within social organizations). A principal objective of this team is to create a public-facing resource of analysis, data sets and white papers that might be of use to policymakers and civil-society leaders interested in this topic.

Learn More

  • Browse stories from students about their Bass Connections experience.
  • Explore the benefits of participation for undergraduates and for graduate/professional students.
  • Learn more about the advisors who can help students of all levels incorporate a Bass Connections experience into their educational pathway.