Many Duke alumni continue working on issues they began tackling through Bass Connections. In some cases, Bass Connections projects have affirmed or inspired future plans. The following are just a few examples of former students who are pursuing further studies or working in a field related to their Bass Connections projects. These stories are supported by the findings of our alumni survey and alumni focus groups. We invite alumni to reach out to us with their stories and connect with us on LinkedIn

The information below each name includes major/program, school (Trinity is indicated by T and Pratt by P), graduation year, Bass Connections project and current position.

Jennifer Acosta.

Global Cultural Studies and Psychology T'17
Schooling and Parenting: Implications for Students' Academic Identity (2016-2017)
Survey Research Associate III, Human Services Unit, Mathematica Policy Research

For the past year and a half, I have worked as a Project Manager for an NIH-funded early literacy longitudinal intervention study called Baby Books 2 in the Family Involvement Lab at the University of... read more »
Arun Augustine.

Biology and Global Health T'18
Global Mental Health Program (2017-2018)
Global Mental Health-Integrative Training Program (2016-2017)
M.D. Candidate, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

More than 50% of the U.S. population receives care from a healthcare organization that uses Epic as its Electronic Health Records system (including Duke and UNC). I partner directly with healthcare organizations installing Epic as a project manager and guide their IT staff and clinical staff in... read more »
Sarah Jean Barton.

Theology D'19
Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) (2017-2018)
Global Alliance on Disability and Health Innovation (GANDHI) (2016-2017)
Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School

As a doctoral student in the Divinity School, Sarah Jean Barton took part in a Bass Connections project on improving disability and health initiatives and received the... read more »
Ashley Blawas.

Biomedical Engineering P'18
History and Future of Ocean Energy (2016-2017)
Marine Science and Conservation Ph.D. Student, Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment

As a marine mammal physiologist, I get to study some of the most extreme animals and try to understand how they are adapted to function in such a challenging environment as the ocean. A skill that is key to answering many of the pressing questions in my field is the ability to understand an... read more »
Kirsten Bonawitz

Neuroscience T'17
Brain-immune Interactions in Neurodegenerative Disease (2015-2016)
Clinical Research Coordinator, University of Michigan

After graduating from Duke, I worked for a year with the Global Public Service Academies, where I assisted a rural health clinic in Guatemala with the development of community health projects. Bass Connections played a large role in my decision to pursue this opportunity by challenging me to tackle... read more »
Nadia Brashier.
Mini Wheats improve kids’ attentiveness by 20%. Walking in New Balance toning shoes burns extra calories. Luminosity is like a personal trainer for your brain. Why do these deceptive advertisements sound credible? I supervised two Bass Connections teams focused on the heuristics that consumers use... read more »
Ainsley Buck headshot.
As a senior in high school, I sat among prospective applicants at a Duke info session in Shelton, CT. I already thought that Duke was my top choice, but when a representative began discussing the Bass Connections program, I was sure. The interdisciplinary nature of the program rang true to my... read more »
Tai Chen

Economics and Philosophy T'15
Project Bright IDEA: Finding Talent and Giftedness in Children of Diverse Backgrounds (2013-2014)
Academic Coordinator, International School in Guangzhou, China

My given name Tai represents the hometown of Confucius, and perhaps through some mysterious cosmic force of my namesake, from the time I was born, I was drawn to philosophy and education. Working with Bass Connections and Project Bright IDEA was a unique experience in that I was taken away from my... read more »
Kristen Collar.

Physics T'17
Energy Efficiency in Industry: High-tech Glass Manufacturing at Corning Inc. (2016-2017)
Senior National Security Analyst, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

The Corning team members were fantastic mentors. With weekly calls from our Corning sponsor, we were able to learn quickly and adjust our solutions as we went along. It was great working with Corning on a project where it was made clear that they were actively interested in the outcome of our work... read more »
Kendall Delyser.

Environmental Management N'18
Turning the Mid-Century Decarbonization Strategy into Concrete Policy for U.S. Forests and Agriculture (2017-2018)
Senior Manager of Forests and Climate, American Forests

I am currently working as the Forests and Climate Manager for American Forests, a small forest-focused nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. In my position, I am helping lead the organization’s thinking on forests and climate change, including how to protect forests from future climate impacts and... read more »
luke farrell

Computer Science and Neuroscience T'19
Gerrymandering and the Extent of Democracy in America (2018-2019)
Project Manager, Google

Currently, I am a Product Manager at Google working on strategic crisis response for the Office of the CEO. In 2019 and 2020, I led Google Discover’s global elections integrity effort; fighting political misinformation for hundreds of millions of users, combating elections interference and helping... read more »
Elsa Friis headshot.

Global Health and Psychology '20
Global Mental Health-Integrative Training Program (2016-2017)
Global Mental Health Program (2017-2018)
Senior Director of Research and Development, Alongside

As a licensed psychologist and global public health practitioner, I am passionate about developing novel technology and care models to expand access to mental health support. Many of the skills that I use in my work today were cultivated through my work on my Bass Connections project team.  I... read more »
Alumni Elizabeth Ginalis
Bass Connections was an integral part of my undergraduate experience while at Duke that ultimately shaped my career choice in medicine. Our project investigated the use of oculomotor tests to evaluate mild traumatic brain injury in high school athletes. We were a multidisciplinary team that brought... read more »
Healthy people need healthy environments in order to thrive. The latter is not a convenience, but a necessity. My Bass Connections experience gave me the opportunity to delve into the intimate connection between human and environmental health, and in doing so, experience working with communities to... read more »
Emily Hadley.
I joined RTI as a Data Scientist in the summer of 2018 after finishing a Master of Science in Analytics at North Carolina State University. I use my data science skills on projects in a wide variety of areas, including education, health and criminal justice. I work with a variety of open-source and... read more »