Student Stories

Liv Schramkowski headshot.
Program II

This experience has not only provided me with numerous connections for my future, but it has also changed the way I view polarization and the conversations I have with people.

Mary Lauren Veazey headshot.
Psychology, Public Policy

Combining my interests in promoting equity-driven policymaking and connecting with people to hear their stories, being part of this Bass Connections team was both an informative and rewarding experience. 

Noelle Garrick Headshot.
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Computer Science

The work we did was at times challenging and confusing, but overall important in creating space for experimental projects that do not fit cleanly into a single department.

Finnie Zhao headshot.
Economics, Environmental Sciences & Policy

The diversity and dynamics within and among the teams I participated in allowed me to grow alongside my peers, blooming with passion for research and community service as well as the aspiration to make positive changes to the communities and the environment around us.

Pranav Athimuthu headshot.
Political Science, Psychology

The program offered me valuable opportunities to interact with faculty that were outside my discipline, but with whom I shared a common commitment to solving a pressing world problem.

Melody Gao headshot.

One of my favorite aspects about this project is that it allows us to form partnerships with local community members. We hope that what we’re doing will benefit the families and students we work with, but we also hope it will benefit the Duke students involved.

Will Hess headshot.
Mechanical Engineering, Political Science

Bass Connections reminded me why I wanted to be an engineer in the first place and allowed me to be creative in my design work. It made me seek out more projects like it where sweat equity was appreciated and valued.  

Jordan Hamelsky headshot.
Statistical Science

It is amazing to see how my passion for statistics has grown throughout my experience in Bass Connections. I have been able to apply my academic knowledge to real-world scenarios and gain a better understanding of what my career in data analytics will entail post-graduation.

Kyle Ferguson headshot.

The team’s diversity was the most rewarding aspect of the year-long project. I learned significantly more from interactions with fellow team members than from working independently on assignments and general research.

Adrienne Jones headshot.
Public Policy, Sociology

This project was an opportunity for me to have some teaching, mentoring and supervision experience working with students at all levels. It’s helping me to think not only about research, but then how do we teach research?

Warren Lowell headshot.
Public Policy, Sociology

We have approached this work from a community-based perspective, meaning that the questions are developed in collaboration with our community partners to help improve the programs that we’re looking at and provide feedback to them.

Julia Gambino headshot.
Biology, Global Health

The interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the program has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone to explore uncharted avenues of research while expanding my own goals as a researcher and aspiring healthcare provider.

Jasmine Daniel headshot.
Global Health, Psychology

My time with this team was spent building meaningful relationships and developing a strong foundation in social justice, history and research methods. This team pushed me to work relentlessly as a critical thinker and advocate.

Sydney Hunt.
Computer Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Being on a long-running Bass Connections team has allowed me to connect with amazing professors from multiple disciplines, learn how to pace my work throughout the year and gain confidence as a researcher in my own right while simultaneously having a positive impact on the Durham community.

Brendan Kelleher.

The overall flexibility and diversity of ideas in [my Bass Connections] project have allowed me to delve into these various fields and find the topics that excite me the most while working towards an end product with real-world implications.

Caroline Palmer.
Global Health, Public Policy

After helping to set up testing and vaccination sites and publishing calls to action for providers to remove identification requirements and expand access to multilingual health resources, I felt proud to be able to see the tangible impact our team had on Durham’s health disparities.

Erica Langan.

My experience on this team helped me adopt a more comprehensive view of medicine and convinced me that doctors have the ability (and moreover the responsibility) to focus on not only a patient’s physical ailments, but also their personal preferences for care and overall psychosocial well-being.

Joey Rauch.
Public Policy

My team members are so different and so smart. I’ve found myself having extremely deep housing and planning policy debates. We’ve gone back and forth on what our utopia would look like, talking deeply about what we liked and disliked about our hometowns.

Arushi Biswas.
Biomedical Engineering, Global Health

I have already learned a great deal about the process for obtaining regulatory approval for medical devices. My teammates and I have begun to rigorously document the assembly and testing of the prototype in preparation for submission to the FDA.

Albert Sun.
Computer Science, Mathematics

I was able to analyze a pressing policy issue using data. We spoke to jail administrators, social scientists and lawyers, but one of the most valuable experiences through my project was speaking to someone on death row.

Don Nguyen.
Global Health

My time on the team has had a huge impact on my future plans to work in health and medicine. My interest in health communication has also grown, and this next year I hope to integrate my skills in videography and photography along with my background in science to share valuable messages and communicate science information effectively.

Chelsea Tuohy.
Environmental Management

I am pursuing the GIS Analysis certificate at the Nicholas School, but this allows me to take the skills that I’ve learned from classes and apply them in a real-world scenario. I really like that aspect of the course and it has allowed me to become more comfortable in my GIS skills.

Kishen Mitra.
Biomedical Engineering

This experience truly opened my eyes to the breadth of experimentation that occurs in research outside of a laboratory setting.

Janai Williams
Psychology & Neuroscience

The diverse knowledge and thought on the team helped me build on my own questions within this project, which inspired what I’m planning to do for my future dissertation project and what I’ve presented for my thesis.

Mohanapriya Cumaran.
Biomedical Engineering, Neuroscience

With this team, I’m the first person to design the technology on the ground floor. Eventually, people with neurodegenerative conditions can use this therapy to improve their quality of life.

John Boom.
Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry

This experience made me realize that [in the future] I don’t just want to be a bench engineer — I want to work in an interdisciplinary team and lead projects like this one.

Aditya Kotla.

Digital health communities make a huge difference in community members’ disease outcomes. Hopefully as a future physician, I’m able to give suggestions to patients about what communities exist out there.

Priya Parkash.
Economics, Statistical Science

Bass Connections helped me seek an intersection between my multidisciplinary interests, spurred my curiosity and engrained a deep appreciation for research.

Anjali Arora.
Mechanical Engineering

This project combined many of the fields I am interested in: mechanical engineering, energy and the environment, and innovation and entrepreneurship. This was also my first time working on a mechanical engineering project from concept to implementation, so it was a great learning process.

Lillian Zhu.

This experience deepened my understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship for global health by teaching me what it takes to actually bring a potentially life-saving device to the hands of a patient.

Ayesha Syed.

I learned about writing’s beneficial effects on patients and healthcare providers and its usefulness as a part of the practice of personal wellness. As an aspiring physician, I hope to continue writing in the future as a means of centering and reflection.

Sarah Kwartler

My lab introduced me to a realm of science that I hadn’t previously considered: manipulating molecular biology to counter human and environmental health hazards.

Grace Llewellyn.
Computer Science

Conducting team-based environment research through my computer science background has helped me think about different career options. I gained technical and soft skills, networked with industry professionals and gained insight on my professional future.

Helen Shears.

The central ethos of Bass Connections is the value of project-based pedagogy, and working on Mapping History has provided the most effective crash course in this teaching approach.

Edgar Virguez
Environmental Sciences & Policy

By participating in Bass Connections, I was able to work not only with people in my doctoral energy team, but with undergrads, master’s students and postdocs. Many of my most fruitful experiences at Duke have been working with them.

Spencer Kaplan.
Political Science, Public Policy

One thing I’ve learned is how to lead a team while very much being a part of it, instead of just being on top of it. That’s been a novel experience and I think entirely related to the core of an interdisciplinary collaborative project.

Jalisa Jackson.
African & African-American Studies, Psychology

As a member of a Bass Connections team, I was able to get more invested in research, propelling me to complete a senior thesis project and search for ways to continue building research skills before applying to graduate schools.

Tyler Johnson.

Health equity describes the intersection of two pieces of my identity that are critical to defining who I am – a Black woman with a passion for medicine. Ending my Duke undergraduate career by being a member of this Bass Connections team has been an immensely rewarding culminating experience.

Elaijah Lapay.

I had no idea what to expect for my first year of college, with COVID impacting what I believed college classes, academic research and a general college atmosphere was supposed to look like. My Bass Connections project team has been the most personally impactful and academically stimulating experience of my time so far, and I will continue to remember the work and collaboration our team has done for the rest of my life.

Amanda Kang
Public Policy

My Bass Connections project got me interested in seeing how social media advertising affects the political process and how media plays a role in elections. When I took the Fall 2020 semester off to work on a Congressional campaign, I found it interesting to compare the ads I examined for Bass Connections and the digital ads that we ran ourselves.