Rob Rappleye

Rob Rappleye
The skills I developed and the values I have come to hold will stick with me for the rest of my time at Duke, and hopefully for the rest of my life.


Computer Science and Statistical Science ’19

Project Team

I had an awesome experience as a part of this research team. I began the year by learning a ton about how the U.S. government spends money on its constituents and I would now consider myself an expert on the U.S. tax system. I also became much more aware of how many direct spending programs function, who they target, and the purposes they serve. I ended the year by synthesizing this knowledge with the research the team had performed to present our findings in a digestible, concise, and approachable manner. In between the research happened!

imageThough I had a little experience gathering and analyzing data to answers questions, I had never taken part in a team-based search for answers like this and I certainly had never been involved in a project with such a large scale. Though working in a team provided its own set of challenges — communication proved very key to getting everyone on the same page — the experience was very rewarding and I am extremely grateful to have had team members who worked so hard. Working on such a large-scale project was just as rewarding and I take pride in answering such an important question.

In closing, I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to participate in this project. The skills I developed — STATA and IPUMs fluency, team-based communication, piecing together fragmented bits of data to answer a larger question — and the values I have come to hold — persistence, hard work, humility — will stick with me for the rest of my time at Duke, and hopefully for the rest of my life.