Kate Baxter

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


History ‘17

Project Team

The intersection of history, political science, and policy, as well as the representation from multiple different departments and schools, was my key consideration in joining this Bass Connections team. On top of that, the opportunity to do research with some of the strongest professors at Duke and delve into what is an incredibly relevant topic for my future interests was incredible. Working in business, finance, consulting, or non-profit work were some of my future interests as a sophomore (all very heavily impacted by regulatory change, especially finance). This was a perfect opportunity to jump straight into the field.

It was quite different than the other research opportunities or group projects I had been a part of, mainly due to the longer term nature of the project and the different mix of people involved (professors, grad students, students). I learned a lot about my own desire for timelines and organization, as well as my personal need for set objectives and long-term achievable goals.

My involvement had very far reaching impacts on my future plans. The research and writing skills I was able to cultivate and the product we ended up creating were the personal and physical takeaways I had from this experience. The network of people with which I am now connected have also been helpful in many ways; it was through FLUNCHing Professor Balleisen with my teammates that I came to work for Bass Connections [as a student assistant]!

Beyond those, my work with RRRR was actually a core reason that I feel I received an offer from the company I will be working for after graduation, as well as many other opportunities. I will be working for BNP Paribas, an international bank, in their internal consulting group. Beyond the incredible collaborative group skills that this program gave me, the exposure to and in-depth researching of regulation set me apart from other candidates. The world of financial regulation is constantly changing and they were excited to see a candidate who had taken advantage of an opportunity to learn more about the regulatory world, even though it wasn’t part of my major/core undergraduate studies.

That is a key part of why I feel Bass Connections is one of the best programs a humanities student can do. In my time at Duke, I have studied medieval history, 19th century literature, the New Testament, and many other classes of that ilk. While I have definitely taken lots of more practical/relevant classes (foreign policy courses, the Modern Regulatory State, financial accounting), I believe that those more “off the wall” courses gave me MANY fantastic and useful skills. However, the Bass Connections program allows students in the arts and humanities to get involved in projects that are engaging with the world in a way they might not get in their core field of study. 

The ability to study what I am passionate about (HISTORY!) while still getting the chance to take part in a project that is directly relevant to modern society is one of the reasons I love Bass Connections (and Duke). It fed my curiosity and passion while setting me on the path to a fulfilling career (albeit an indirect and curvy path).

The opportunity to work with a vast variety of professors, grad students, and undergrad students from all over Duke was the most rewarding element. The vertical and horizontal diversity of the team was great, and made meetings engaging with the unique perspectives and opinions. It also helped that we had some characters on our team who kept everything a little spicy.