Faculty Perspectives

Interested in learning more about Bass Connections from the point of view of faculty? Here, Duke faculty members reflect on their experience. Inspired? Learn how you can get involved in Bass Connections.

Anna Gassman-Pines.

Anna Gassman-Pines has led Bass Connections teams exploring questions at the intersection of social science and policy since the program’s founding in 2013. full profile »

Tamara Fitzgerald smiling.

Since 2018, Tamara Fitzgerald has led Bass Connections teams on improving laparoscopy access in low-income countries. In 2022, she was a finalist for the Bass Connections Leadership Award. In a faculty orientation meeting, she advised on helpful ways to lead a team. full profile »

Jason Somarelli smiling.

Jason Somarelli is a team leader and faculty contributor to three different Bass Connections teams. Over the years, he has led students to make contributions to conservation and health. He was awarded the 2021 Bass Connections Leadership Award. In a faculty orientation meeting, he shared tips for developing a successful Bass Connections environment. full profile »

Gabriela Nagy.

For many students, it is the first time they have received this type of mentorship. Know that you are shaping part of their college career. They will rely on you for mentorship in a range of areas. Be prepared to write some letters of reference as well! full profile »

Michelle Nowlin.

I really involved the students in what the goals and deliverables ought to be ... I have seen that the leaders announce themselves. full profile »

Minna Ng.

How do we improve the learning experience for all students? Increase retention in STEM, make the classroom a better place and raise motivation, engagement and belonging. full profile »

Sophia Santillan.

What’s been surprising is how much engagement we’ve seen from the undergrads – how much they’re sharing their own experiences in the classroom, talking about what it’s been like to be women in STEM, but also finding the things we all have in common that led us to be in that room in the first place. It has been really interesting and rewarding. full profile »

Megan Huchko.

Bass Connections has been a really nice way to make connections with students on a one-on-one basis and do more in-depth research with them individually, both throughout the time of the project team and also going forward. full profile »

Kyle Bradbury.

Students are learning about electricity access and the needs of the communities that we’re talking about. They’re learning how to implement machine learning algorithms to see if this is a realistic and potentially feasible product. This leads to uncertainty: this technique may or may not work, and sometimes our next steps depend on what we learn along the way. full profile »

Erik Wibbels.

My multiyear Bass Connections project with Anirudh Krishna provided the analytical and empirical foundation for several successful grant proposals and several years’ worth of sustained work in the slums of India. So far that work has produced a gaggle of published papers and two dissertations—and courtesy of policy engagements, I am now doing related work elsewhere. full profile »

Emily Bernhardt.

I am engaging in a wholly new set of important questions about how mercury is being added to and cycling through the Peruvian Amazon. This would not have been possible without Bass Connections’ support. I think we are already generating vitally important information to guide management and policy—we are providing the first ever measures of soil and water methyl mercury (the bioavailable form) in Peru—and we are poised to provide far more. full profile »

Janet Prvu Bettger.

I have found leading Bass Connections to be professionally transformational for me as an educator. Working with students across schools and programs brought new meaning to interdisciplinary research. I learned the importance of establishing “baseline” with all content and skills, and leveraging unique talents, experiences and knowledge. I am forever committed to engaging undergraduate students in clinical and population health research. full profile »

Anthony Fuller.

We start with research questions, but students are driving the research design. It’s been super useful to engage students this way as it provides them with true ownership of the project. It’s been a tremendous opportunity to work on this, and our students have been amazing. The infection rate was in the forties when we started. Through this project it has dropped down to less than 8%, driven mainly by the work that undergrads were able to do. full profile »

Christine Ogilvie Hendren

For us, the repeated engagement of different faculty members has been really important to success, and it’s what our students reflect on the most. I see the appreciation in the students for the fact that an undergraduate elsewhere may not ever have a relationship with a professor, outside of receiving information in class. full profile »

Jonathan Wiener.

Collaborative projects have been crucial to my engagement with colleagues and students across the university. Bass Connections has enabled me to work with teams to investigate complex topics like protecting the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer and climate, how to assess and manage emerging technologies such as automated vehicles and how to protect drinking water. full profile »