Priya Parkash '22 - Duke Management Company Internship & Research (Summer 2020)

financial data picture

This summer, I interned with Duke Management Company, which manages the University’s 8.6-billion-dollar endowment, as a part of the Data+ program. We explored how artificial intelligence can be used to support the investment office and developed a cost optimization tool for financing charges paid to prime brokers. For the latter half of summer, I worked closely with the Private Investments team and analyzed DUMAC’s venture capital investments from the last 20 years. 

I also spent my summer conducting research about the motivations for the pursuit of STEM amongst Kenyan students enrolled in college access programs like KenSAP. The purpose of my project is to advance knowledge on international students in their pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  It aims to provide information about the impact of societal and cultural aspects as well as attitudinal, character and educational achievement in the career selection process and persistence in the STEM disciplines for international students, which may have implications for higher education practices and support U.S. institutions in their drive to better understand and develop strategies for the successful retention of international students in STEM. As a result of the pandemic, I was not able to go to Kenya, which meant that my project faced a variety of obstacles and needed to be re-thought into a virtual format. Although still ongoing, I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to work on this project and interact with outstanding Kenyan students; I look forward to expanding my research to other developing countries over the years to identify and understand factors that motivate the pursuit of STEM within the four broad themes of financial correlations, cultural attitudes, US foreign policy, and STEM identity.