Student Stories

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.

Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering

Bass Connections gave me confidence in my technical skills and made me realize the extent to which they can be used to solve engineering problems encountered in industry.

Chemistry, Global Health

The close collaboration across disciplines have been formative experiences and helped me become more conscious in all of my studies. 

Maaz Mulla

Not only were my contributions valued, but they were held on equal grounds with all of my other team members regardless of major, year or level of education.

Saumya Jain
Computer Science

Working with this project I get exposure to a lot of development literature and some really great professors, and I get to do a lot of hands-on work in the area of development and work directly with grad students and professors.

Environmental Engineering

Bass Connections allowed me to practice my “problem solving” skills in a real life setting, rather than a problem set on paper. It gave me the liberty to design a protocol myself rather than having one given to me.

Economics, English

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

Four team members standing in front of Duke Chapel.
Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science

Creating WearDuke truly was a collaborative process, and our team continuously adapted our focus group material, website set-up, reward structure and marketing strategies to ensure our pilot program is as successful as possible.

Computer Science, Public Policy

Working with a tight-knit team of motivated individuals and a professor who is at the forefront of the global value chain framework development allowed me to gain insights into North Carolina’s economic position that I would never have been able to grasp.

Mechanical Engineering

The most meaningful part of Bass Connections was the end-to-end development of a project.

English, Psychology

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

French Studies

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

Pim Chuaylu
Computer Science, Political Science

The great thing about this project is that you can apply both soft and technical skills.

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.  

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.

Lizzie Hunsaker.

I used to (naively) think that most problems could be solved through scientific pursuits, and that a reduction of uncertainty through science would lead to an obvious course of action. I quickly learned that using science to address societal concerns is much more complicated and difficult.

Biomedical Sciences

Bass Connections at its core is a mission by Duke University to overcome the issues that our society faces by encouraging different disciplines to collaborate. This collaboration allows teams to look at problems from several angles and pull from multiple skill sets.

Biomedical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering

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

Environmental Management

I am confident that my education and experiences at Duke are preparing me to make a true impact in the energy sector after I graduate.

Jaslyn Zhang
Computer Science, Statistical Science

I joined the team and hope to find out if incorporating active-learning techniques can improve current college STEM education and thus help increase retention rates of women and minorities.

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.

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.

Cultural Anthropology, Global Health

One of my favorite experiences of our Bass Connections project so far was the debate. This debate was a great learning experience for me on how to argue for a different side than I originally thought and helped me improve my own debate skills.

Jennifer Ling
Evolutionary Anthropology

Working on the STEM for ALL Bass Connections team allowed me to approach research through an interdisciplinary lens and watch how a project grows and develops over many years.

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.

Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering

I’m really willing to learn new things every day, and I’m always trying to explore new areas of expertise.

Cultural Anthropology, Global Health

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