Student Stories

Economics, Psychology

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


My participation in this Bass Connections project is one of the most meaningful and rewarding Duke experiences I have had. 


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

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.

Tori Trimm
Global Health, Psychology

It is in these last few weeks of my undergraduate career that I have realized just how lucky I am to have been a part of a team that encouraged my curiosity, fought against my fears, armed me with experience and reminded me that at the end of the day, research can and should be a collaborative, multidisciplinary, passionate environment.

Sydeny Grob

Doing collaborative research became a place of safety and security each week where I was receptive to hearing the experiences of those around me and vice versa.

Nathan Liang.
Neuroscience, Psychology

Data+ has been a thoroughly eye-opening experience for me. Surrounded by so many talented individuals eagerly looking to learn more about the practical applications of advances in the tech industry, I think I still do not realize just how much relevant insight I’ve gained from the program.

Christine Crute.
Integrated Program in Environmental Health and Toxicology

We had to redesign our research plan overnight and determine how to get usable data. On a daily basis, I learned to handle unforeseen issues that arose and determine new routes of study.

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. 

Education, Psychology

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

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.

Celia Mizelle at left.

These projects gave me not only content knowledge but also a new way of thinking about the social determinants of health, a better understanding of translational research and an appreciation for evidence-based decision-making that I will carry forward into my next chapter.

Sarah Kerman.
Public Policy

Bass Connections projects foster genuine collaboration among undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and community members. Those relationships have and will continue to benefit my intellectual growth.

Environmental Management

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

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.

Program II

My involvement with the Bass Connections program very early on in my undergraduate journey helped to establish a network of support during my time at Duke.

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Bass Connections has allowed me to further my research for my dissertation and to greatly improve my communication capabilities.

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.

Klug on left.
Environmental Sciences, Public Policy

My work in Madagascar led me to work for the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI) based here at Duke, which is an international network of energy access researchers and practitioners that coordinates and supports new energy access research around the globe.

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.

Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Environmental Sciences & Policy

Through our internal conversations on our Bass Connections team and our time at Yale discussing their progress on a carbon charge program, one lesson about equity has started to become evident: with every potential program design, a case can be made for and against how equitable it is.


I’m constantly reminded of this first experience working on an interdisciplinary team in my role at the Energy Initiative, where I am almost always the only historian at the table. Thanks to Bass Connections, I can navigate conversations about interdisciplinary research with the confidence not only that history matters, but also that I have been able to make it matter in similar situations in the past.

Cultural Anthropology, Psychology

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

Kerry Mallinson
Biology, Global Health

I am particularly excited to be involved in this work because bioaerosol surveillance is a cutting-edge technique that has raised questions about possible occupational exposure risk for humans working in close contact with animals. 

Erica Onuoha

I think we are on our way to having substantial and potentially life-altering research findings.

Chloe Ricks
International Comparative Studies

My senior thesis, which compares my home region to the Baixada Fluminense, a peripheral region of Rio de Janeiro that serves as the basis for our project, reflects how I have come to situate my own experiences in the Delta within a broader experience after both being a student at Duke and, more particularly, traveling to Brazil.

Education, Political Science, Public Policy

Bass Connections is a program that has the audacity to take on the big, “so complex they’re scary” problems in society, while maintaining the flexibility to find solutions creatively.


Everyone brings their personal strengths and interests to the table.

Environmental Management

The path from policy proposal to rule of law is certainly long and winding. But who knows? Maybe, by the time our recommendations are ripe for congressional action, we’ll be the ones writing the bill.

Hannah Horvath.
Environmental Sciences & Policy, Global Health

Ultimately, we hope [our reports] will create awareness and bring a greater understanding of energy use to campus so we can inspire students and faculty to make behavioral changes, and so we can assist staff by giving recommendations for energy efficiency measures.

Anya Bali

As a student from South Carolina coming to Duke, I thought it would be a really cool way to get involved with something that happened in my home state.  

Liz Crisenbery.

In fields where collaboration is rare, project teams provide opportunities to work with others towards a common goal, develop transferable skills and make connections with people outside of your department.

George Elliott
Political Science, Visual & Media Studies

As a greater number of consumers become focused on the provenance of their food, and start to choose small-scale vendors over large-scale operators, meat production methods are likely to come under greater scrutiny.


I learned the value of a diverse team, which enabled us to think more broadly about the question at hand.


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

Neuroscience, Philosophy

The type of student drawn to Bass Connections is a very independent, creative and thoughtful one. Bass Connections helped me develop an insight into my skills and interests that will be crucial in guiding my future choices.

Computer Science, Statistical Science

My thesis is related to computer vision, which was first introduced to me in the Bass Connections project.

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.

Alessandra Zhang
Computer Science, Economics

I hope that I can use my knowledge to contribute to the team and better help the patients to recover from illness or trauma.