What We’re Getting Out of Our Bass Connections Teams

December 10, 2020

Eklund and her Bass Connections team.
Bridget Eklund and her 2019-2020 team members at the Triangle Land Conservancy’s Williamson Preserve. (Photo: Courtesy of Bridget Eklund)

This fall, Bass Connections hosted a virtual event to share stories of the program’s impact with our supporters. Three Duke students described their experiences as team members on projects exploring the global financial crisis, youth concussions and sustainable farming.

Leadership Opportunities

Maria Paz Rios ’21, History and Mathematics

Duke senior Maria Paz Rios is a member of the American Predatory Lending and the Global Financial Crisis team. The team aims to draw from local, state and national perspectives in service of building an accessible online resource that will deepen public knowledge on the conditions leading to and the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.

Maria Paz Rios.“Throughout my time at Duke, I’ve been involved with a variety of groups and research opportunities. [Bass Connections] has been by far the most rewarding experience I’ve had because it has provided me with a bridge between the classroom and the real world. It has also provided me with the most rewarding leadership opportunity I’ve had.

“I’m the subteam lead for the oral histories subteam, and I work with another five undergraduate and graduate students. It has not only involved teamwork, but also carrying out my own lesson plan and being in charge of the general orientation of the team.” – Maria Paz Rios

Teamwork and Collaboration

Wesley Pritzlaff ’21, Neuroscience

As a senior, Wesley Pritzlaff is participating in the Eye Tracking: Objective Assessment for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Youth Athletes team for the third year in a row. This Bass Connections project is assessing how head impact exposure may contribute to observable deficits in oculomotor response that can be tracked and used for diagnostic purposes.

Wesley Pritzlaff.“A few aspects of Bass Connections have impacted me and informed my life after Duke. One is the interdisciplinary and teamwork aspect of it. For example, outside of the research itself, Dr. Luck organizes weekly team meetings. When we come together for these meetings, rather than simply talking about what we’re working on, we reflect and discuss ways to push forward in our research.

“Someone might bring up the question that they're working on, and as a group, we provide different perspectives from our different academic backgrounds and help that individual move forward. Understanding that teamwork and collaboration is what makes a team successful, I’ll definitely bring that aspect with me into future endeavors.” – Wesley Pritzlaff

Building Partnerships

Bridget Eklund, J.D. ’21

Duke Law student Bridget Eklund is participating in the Regenerative Grazing to Mitigate Climate Change project. Team members are working to figure out how grazing practices can mitigate climate change in two ways: practical application, such as how grazing practices actually work and how can they mitigate climate change mainly by sequestering carbon in the soil; and legislative application, such as how researching different laws and policies can help promote these practices and make it easier for farmers to implement them in their fields in North Carolina.

Bridget Eklund.“I think the most valuable part of Bass Connections has been the partnerships with the faculty and community. I’ve grown really close with all of the faculty leadership, but in particular, with two faculty members from the Law School. We’ve gotten to develop a really close relationship through the project, and I’ve been able to collaborate with them on other projects at the Law School. I’m now a teaching assistant for one of the faculty supervisors on the project, helping out with his Food and Agriculture Law course.” – Bridget Eklund

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