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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Global Health, Public Policy
A recurring theme in my global health and public policy studies has been the difficulty of translations between research, policy and implementation. The work of this Bass Connections team has made me hopeful about the potential for interdisciplinary collaboration to address complex healthcare delivery problems.
The work I’ve done in Bass Connections over the past semester has been one of the most fulfilling, eye-opening experiences I’ve had at Duke so far. Through my project, I was able to get first-hand experience working with students from a multitude of disciplines and academic levels to understand what it takes to implement an effective community interventional study.
My passion and commitment to this team extends far beyond our team meetings and the Duke University academic year. My involvement with Bass Connections has inspired me to pursue my interests in child and family policy, health policy and educational policy alongside an MD degree.
While my project and its members taught me invaluable lessons about the capacity of self-expression to change and influenced me to start pursuing a more humanity-oriented form of medicine, it was the storytelling aspect that has stuck with me most.
African & African-American Studies
I take so much pride in my team. The partnership between the universities is one of the best things about the project because I get to interact with students from a different university and get different perspectives.
Computer Science, Mathematics
Education inequality across the country became immediately apparent to me after hearing about the more affluent high schools that many of my peers at Duke had attended. I saw a Facebook post for CSbyUs post during my sophomore year and felt like it would be a great way to begin acting on what was at the time a burgeoning passion.
Global Health, Public Policy
The longevity of my involvement in this project is part of what has made it so rewarding. Each year on the team has brought something entirely new.
Learning about the current East African surgical capacity helped me contextualize the American healthcare system in a broader scheme and gave me a better sense of how important surgical development is to the health and life expectancy of populations.
Political Science, Religious Studies
We created a framework for an effective message as being one that was enthusiastic but primarily information-centered, conceptualizing non-voting behavior as being more due to structural barriers than apathy. We then tried to produce media that would bring that concept to life.
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.
This experience has allowed me to focus my research interests for the future, dealing with how to assess and manage physical injuries, such as a concussion or head injury.
This has been by far the most rewarding experience I've had at Duke 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.
My team felt like a family, especially after working together for a year. It was a really positive environment.
My Bass Connections project has given me a more optimistic view of medicine and has renewed my passion for it.
One of the highlights of my Bass Connections team is that we all came from various different backgrounds, which added significant contributions to the meaning behind our research. We all knew one thing was for certain – there is a lack of diversity in the STEM field, and we needed to find some way to solve it.
Civil & Environmental Engineering
As a young woman in STEM, I often find it difficult to balance two things: 1) rigidity in order to be taken seriously as an authority in my field; and 2) compassion in order to remain approachable by others.
Environmental Sciences & Policy
I highly recommend Bass Connections for those interested in learning about academic research or those just looking to explore their passions. I even got to swim with dolphins!
I am finding myself increasingly dedicated to work that helps destigmatize issues around illness both physical and mental while speaking directly to issues that I see my generation facing related to technology and social media.
English, Environmental Sciences & Policy
Formed in response to Hurricane Florence, our Bass Connections project team explored how remote sensing technology can be applied to monitor coastal ecosystems facing sea level rise and intensifying hurricanes due to climate change.
African & African-American Studies, Public Policy
EHD [the Bass Connections Education & Human Development theme] makes room for students who are interested in learning more about education systems and human development. There is a lot of room for educational advocacy.
By far the most valuable part of any Bass Connections experience is the rare opportunity to work with members of the Duke community from a broad range of backgrounds and areas of study.
You may underestimate the numerous intricacies of independent research, but once you get used to it, exciting opportunities abound! Accomplishments are especially personal, and even the perception of progress provides great satisfaction.
History, Political Science
Starting from my first year, I was a full-blown researcher, learning how to code, conduct interviews and staff research studies. Participating in this project gave me connections with professors and familiarity with how to engage in direct research.
Bass Connections has gifted me with mentors and peers (faculty, graduate and undergraduate students), resources and the luxury of time to experiment, connect and learn through field experience.
My Bass Connections experience sparked my curiosity for further research into El Sistema USA through an independent study this year, with a goal of a senior honors thesis next year.
This project has overall been an entirely enriching process, filled with unexpected challenges and rewards that altogether have made me a stronger researcher and learner.
Biology, Global Health
I learned valuable information and collected important data, but perhaps nothing was more meaningful than what I learned during my travel to these places.
My time in this program has provided me with the knowledge I need to continue to pursue the research questions I am passionate about, and I look forward to being able to employ the interpersonal and research skills I’ve learned in future interdisciplinary research projects.