Student Stories

Ajilé Owens and team members.
Global Health, Sociology

The biggest personal victory for me was learning enough Malagasy and observing my Malagasy teammate conduct enough interviews to administer one by myself.

Lisa Regula and team members.
Biology, Evolutionary Anthropology

One day, I realized that I was collecting data on my 100th animal. Coming into the summer, I never anticipated that I would grow so independent as a researcher. Being able to handle the animals and collect data by myself was extremely empowering and something I’m sure I’ll use throughout my future in research.

Ryan Fitzgerald and team members.
Biology, Global Health

Sometimes the extreme isolation could be jarring. I really had to learn to rely on my team to not feel so alone, and I’m lucky to have had such an incredible group of people with me.

Mechanical Engineering

The most rewarding aspect of my Bass Connections experience was learning how to approach a real-world problem with my Engineering background and iterating on a solution through research and testing.

Mechanical Engineering

I have loved working with the team on this project, and am especially appreciative of gaining a mentor. It has been the most formative part of my Duke experience. 

International Comparative Studies, Public Policy

I joined the Schooling and Parenting Bass Connections team eager to find greater understanding of the education research that may ultimately influence policy.

Global Health, International Comparative Studies

The most meaningful part of my Bass Connections experiences was working with and learning from people I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to collaborate with otherwise.


The opportunity to work with a vast variety of professors, grad students, and undergrad students from all over Duke was the most rewarding element.


Everyone brings their personal strengths and interests to the table.


The skills and experiences I gained from these projects will not only help me better navigate postgraduate life, but will positively affect my upcoming dissertation research and writing.

French Studies

Like most Bass Connections teams, our team is a collection of people with varied majors, skills, and experiences.

International Development Policy

Duke teams have been working in the region for almost a decade, and during this time, there has been intensive community engagement that allowed us to be welcomed and reach out to different stakeholders.

Evolutionary Anthropology

We are each writing our own published research paper, so I’ve had to go through the process of getting my IRB protocol done and approved, and writing survey questions.


We’re not just researching problems; we’re also coming up with solutions for problems.

Evolutionary Anthropology

I have appreciated being on the organizing and designing side of a research project that has such a great potential to impact children with autism on a larger scale.


The funding allows us to do important research in a setting where it is needed, but also the way it is set up—with undergrads, master’s students, and doctoral students, along with staff and faculty, collaborating together—really works.

Environmental Sciences & Policy

My advice to students considering Bass Connections—other than to seize this unique and worthwhile opportunity—is to be flexible as the project evolves.

Environmental Sciences

Data+ gave me a broader perspective of what data science research is.

Evolutionary Anthropology

We’re working with people with dementia who are living in the Durham community.

Environmental Sciences

Finding the right problem that we thought we could tackle, coming up with solutions and working together to brainstorm all the different pathways and solutions is one of the biggest learning experiences I had at Duke.

Environmental Management

Fortunately, even though the road is long and hard, a bright future is waiting for us, and waiting for Duke.

Environmental Management

The project not only involved solving a real-world problem using skills learned in classes, but it also had to do with working closely with clients and collaborating with students from different academic backgrounds.

Electrical & Computer Engineering

We worked with the World Bank and actually got to present at the World Bank, which was a really cool experience. 

Biomedical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering

My participation in the Data+ program has shown me how to successfully work with a dynamic team.


I would encourage students to take advantage of Bass Connections as an opportunity to meet smart, interesting and engaged people who think and solve problems in different ways than they do.

English, Psychology

Armed with my amalgamation of resources, I’m excited to put everything into action next semester.

Biology, English

I want to work with this research team to study different global policies geared towards supporting the disabled and discover ways to change existing policies that limit the physically disabled.

Lauren Shum.
Electrical & Computer Engineering

My Bass Connections experience has been instructional in two key areas: it has shed insight upon the dynamics of a successful team, and it has allowed me to explore pathways to institutional change.

Education, Psychology

It exposed me to this whole community of students with autism and special needs. 


This project was challenging yet very rewarding. The fact that the research we conducted resulted in numbers and facts that have never been calculated before, and that will now hopefully contribute to future policy decisions, continues to amaze me.

Economics, English

This project exposed me to actual policy research, a field that I hope to go into in the future.


I loved the subject of the research from the beginning, but I hadn’t realized how challenging designing an intervention and analyzing the collected data could be.

Economics, Psychology

Our team leader really encourages us to learn how to conduct this research ourselves.

Cultural Anthropology, Psychology

We tried to meet our community partner where they were, and our deliverables reflected this.

Cultural Anthropology, Global Health

The opportunity to receive mentorship from many different professors and leaders in the field has been incredibly rewarding.

Cultural Anthropology

This project has the potential to shape my career prospects by giving me the opportunity to organize community health models that incorporate sociocultural considerations.

Business Administration, Environmental Management

For the Bass Connections Campus Digester Team, the trip was an opportunity to see first-hand what a functional waste-to-energy anaerobic digestion system looks like.

Business Administration, Environmental Management

Effective teams have a diversity of thought processes, skill sets, and preferences that balance each other.

Business Administration, Global Health

My participation on the Bass Connections team has further developed my creative problem‐solving, leadership and cross‐cultural competencies that will set me up for success in my future endeavors.  

Computer Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering

My advice to students is to develop good relationships with your peers and mentors—it makes the learning process more fulfilling and will help you in the future.