Summer Enrichment Experiences

This summer, I did gravitational wave research at Caltech through the LIGO Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The LIGO collaboration is dedicated to detecting gravitational waves, which are ripples in spacetime that are caused by violent processes in the Universe. During the 10-week program, my research project focused on determining the feasibility of using matched filter searches for core-collapse supernovae. Gravitational waves have yet to be detected from core-collapse supernovae, so matched… read more about Pavani Jairam '23 - LIGO Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow at Caltech »

This summer I was pleased to work with Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy, the university’s leading research, education and engagement capabilities to inform policymaking and implementation for better health and health care. I worked at the Durham office for 10 weeks over the summer to research  and make a case for a  Medical Legal partnership at Academic Medical Centers, such as Duke Health. A Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) is an interdisciplinary collaboration between a medical entity such as a hospital or clinic… read more about Breanna Barrett '25 - internship at the Margolis Center for Health Policy »

This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to intern at Blur Product Development, a start-up in Cary, NC, that works on developing and manufacturing medical devices for clients. I worked in person as an R&D Engineering intern with a focus on electrical engineering. Throughout this summer, I had the chance to work on multiple projects, varying from those that were nearing the end of their development cycle and only had testing remaining, to those that were still having active research and iterative prototypes created.… read more about Riddhi Ranjithkumar '23 - R&D Engineering Internship at Blur Product Development »

This summer, I was able to work as a STEP Intern in the Google office in New York City. This was my second STEP internship with Google and my first in-person internship with the company, and I chose to return after interning virtually last summer to get a stronger feel for the company culture that I couldn’t really get through a computer screen. I soon found that culture to be particularly informal and encouraged creativity as well as a willingness to seek help, both of which helped make my internship a positive experience… read more about Jamael Smith '24 - STEP Internship at Google »

This summer, I had the pleasure of interning at Schneider Electric, a multinational company that works to power homes, buildings, data centers, etc., using sustainable energy technologies, automation, software, and services. I worked at the office in Morrisville, NC as a systems and testing engineer. This was my first internship, so it was my first experience applying what I have learned in my classes to industry and finding what aspects of electrical engineering I enjoy most. My main work this summer was focused on… read more about Jenna White '23 - Electrical Engineering Internship at Schneider Electric »

This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to intern at Truveta, a health-tech startup based in Seattle, WA. This was my second summer at Truveta, and I decided to come back because of how welcoming they were and the company culture, which focused a lot on growth and knowledge sharing. I was especially excited about this summer because I had the opportunity, unlike last summer, to intern in person. This was my first in-person internship since high school, so it was truly amazing and rewarding to get to experience living… read more about Arushi Bhatia '23 - Health-Tech Internship at Truveta »

Each year during the rainy season in the mountains of Bolivia, kids that attend school in the rural community of Japo must swim across a flooding river to get to class. Engineers in Action (EIA) serves communities across Bolivia, like Japo, where rivers become dangerous or impossible to pass, making education, healthcare, and markets inaccessible. By pairing college students with bridge projects in these towns, EIA facilitates both sustainable international development and technical and social learning opportunities for… read more about Sarah Bailey '24 - Duke Engineers for International Development »

This summer I had the opportunity to continue my research in the Becker Lab for Functional Biomaterials through the Duke University Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and SPIRE. Starting in January I shadowed and worked in the Becker lab, but had not yet been able to begin an official independent study or spend extended time in the facility. Dr. Becker offered for me to continue working with him and begin my own research project but was not able to provide a paid position. Through application guidance from… read more about Anna Davis '23 - Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship »

After a year and a half of online classes, a virtual high school graduation, a virtual convocation and orientation at university and only interacting with others virtually, I was skeptical about doing a 9-week internship remotely. With zoom fatigue and social isolation setting in, I expected long workdays filled with socially awkward meetings where we would hide behind muted mics and turned-off cameras. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this internship would not be what I expected. The InStep Global… read more about Sharan Sokhi '24 - Cybersecurity Internship at Infosys Limited »

With the use of SPIRE enrichment funds, I was able to purchase documentary equipment that I used to collect archival-quality interviews and oral histories beginning in the summer and continuing through this academic year. This work, which was conducted for my senior thesis in cultural anthropology, concerns questions of race, place, land, and inequality, particularly as they pertain to my family’s farm in rural Alabama. Thanks to the SPIRE enrichment funds, I am able to continue engaging with the data that I collected even… read more about Lucas Lynn '22 - Research for Senior Thesis in Cultural Anthropology »

This summer, I interned as a Global Markets Summer Analyst within the Sales & Trading division at Credit Suisse. My internship was ten weeks long with the first 8 weeks being virtual and the last two weeks being in-person in New York. It was an excellent opportunity to seek an intersection between my passion for finance, strategy, innovation, and analytics. The rotational nature of the internship allowed me to spend three weeks each on Global Execution Services, Global Credit Products, and Equity Derivatives. I… read more about Priya Parkash '22 - Credit Suisse Global Markets Summer Analyst »

I worked in the Haravifard Lab at Duke University this past summer. This physics lab, run by Duke professor Sara Haravifard, mainly focuses on the behaviors of quantum materials. We synthesize and analyze these materials for properties of special physical phenomena, such as superconductors. As an undergraduate researcher in the lab, I was tasked with beginning a project to create eight new materials. I also would help attend to lab maintenance, such as organizing and labeling chemicals in the lab. The entire process for a… read more about Riley Fisher '23 - Undergrad Researcher in Haravifard Lab »

Robotic Arm Control Through Algorithmic Neural Decoding and Augmented Reality Object Detection  A brain-machine interface (BMI) is a device that uses neurally implanted sensors to translate brain neuron activity into commands capable of controlling external software or hardware, such as a computer or robotic arm. BMIs are often used as assistive living devices for individuals with motor, sensory, and/or verbal impairments. They can also restore more independence than voice-controlled prosthetics by eliminating the social… read more about Sydney Hunt '23 - WAVE Fellow in Dr. Richard Andersen's Lab at Caltech »

This summer of 2021, I interned at Cook Medical as a quality engineer. The internship was remote, as were several things this summer due to COVID, but I am glad to say that it was an amazing experience, and I learned a lot. Cook is a family-owned medical devices company based in Bloomington, Indiana, and even though I was interning remotely in Raleigh, I was able to make connections that I will value for a long time to come. What I did this summer as a quality engineer at Cook: I was part of… read more about Simran Sokhi '22 - Summer Internship at Cook Medical »

This past summer, I utilized the SPIRE enrichment experience to intern for a company called Frontier Tower Associates. It is a telecom tower company centered in the Philippines with smaller operations in various Asian countries. I worked as a financial analyst, doing work like investment banking, as all my superiors had experience in that realm. At a large investment bank: technology, media, and telecom (TMT) is a business unit and I worked for a firm in which a bank would help grow their business. I worked on cross-… read more about Qaiser Mahmood '21 - Financial Analyst Internship (Summer 2020) »

With SPIRE’s enrichment funds, I was able to spend my summer interning remotely with Advance Access & Delivery (AA&D), a global health non-profit focused on tuberculosis (TB) interventions. As the Health Policy and Writing Intern, I had the opportunity to tell stories for the Zero TB Initiative. One examples includes writing about how AA&D’s partnerships in Karachi, Pakistan leveraged existing TB-screening mobile X-ray vans to jointly diagnose TB and COVID-19 to help overwhelmed hospitals triage potentially… read more about Yuexuan Chen '21 - Advance Access & Delivery Internship »

I worked as an investment banking summer analyst for Rothschild & Co. What separated this internship from any other is that I was offered this position, reserved exclusively for rising-seniors, as only a rising junior—owing to the firm’s interest keeping me on board long-term: in fact, I was the only such intern at Rothschild in at least North America, if not the world. I worked on various projects ranging from a live deal, to constructing pitch decks, to managing a deal’s two-party database of confidential documents.… read more about George Sanchez '22 - Investment Banking & Venture Capital Analyst Internships (Summer 2020) »

This past school year, I used my enrichment funds to participate in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Nationals Conference this past March! Through SPIRE, I was able to attend the conference and gain exposure to not only new peers studying similar disciplines in STEM to my own majors of Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science, but also industry members and potential mentors that attended the conference as a means of recruiting for internship positions! Walking away from the conference with an expanded… read more about Mimi Larrieux '22 - NSBE Conference (Spring 2020) »

I just attended my first Grace Hopper Conference, and I’ve never felt more inspired to continue in the computer science field. But truth be told, I haven’t always felt this way. Last year, when I was rushing Catalyst, Duke’s technology community, I couldn’t help but compare my own classes and intellect to the accomplished males who were also rushing. I couldn’t help but feel small in my computer science classes. So hearing a female engineer’s at first uncertain, then successful transition from being a new-grad into full-… read more about Natalie Tarn '22 - Grace Hopper Conference (Fall 2020) »

This summer I utilized SPIRE funds as well as a physics research fellowship to work on a high energy physics research project. The ATLAS experiment at CERN aims to find new physics by analyzing data from high energy proton-proton collisions. These collisions are observed via a shower of particles called a jet. One of the ways this is done is by “tagging” known jets that come from certain particles (such as quarks and gluons) in order to isolate abnormal jets. I have been working on creating an untrained jet tagger that uses… read more about Elliott Kauffman '22 - High Energy Physics Research Project (Summer 2020) »

This summer, I had the opportunity to work for Clark Construction, a general contractor in DC. I spent the month of June working remotely from my home in Maryland. During the month of July, I was able to come to work in DC. During my time at Clark, I was able to work with the sustainability department in order to do materials tracking for a $300M surgical pavilion to be opened in 2023. In addition, I was able to perform some work tracking volatile organic compounds to be used inside the structure. LEED requirements are a… read more about Kemunto Okindo '21 - Clark Construction General Contractor (Summer 2020) »

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… read more about Priya Parkash '22 - Duke Management Company Internship & Research (Summer 2020) »

This summer, I took a Duke ECE course in mobile app development and also had an internship through the Duke Phoenix Project where I was also doing mobile app development. In order to develop mobile iOS applications, I had to develop them on a mac, so I used my enrichment funds to purchase one.  Through the mobile app development course, I built a few apps in Swift that were largely centered around schedule/database management and ran on both iOS and watchOS. It was a very fun course and I got to learn a lot about Swift and… read more about Michael Williams '21 - Duke Phoenix Project Internship (Summer 2020) »

My last memory of Duke right before all campus activities shut down and students returned home is a happy one. I was spending Spring Break with my fellow Spring Breakthrough Participants and we were having the most wonderful time volunteering at the puppy kindergarten, learning about canine cognition with Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, and even visiting a goat farm and the NC Zoo. The pandemic that created chaos across the world put me in an initial state of despair, confusion and hopelessness when I realized that the… read more about Simran Sokhi ’22 – Research Internship at Duke-NUS, Singapore (Summer 2020) »

This summer, I had an amazing opportunity to work as an intern for the National Weather Service through NOAA. During my 10-week internship, I conducted my own research project under the guidance of the amazing Dr. Peter Roohr and Wendy Marie Thomas. This research worked to evaluate the role of satellite imagery in the forecasting and operational decisions of wildfires, and the project was conducted as a case study into the 2019 Kincade blaze. As an individual studying decision science and applied mathematics through Duke’s… read more about Madeleine "Mac" Gagne' '21 - National Weather Service Internship (Summer 2020)) »

This summer, I had the opportunity to serve as a Product Management Intern for Equinix, which is a leading data center and colocation services company. My internship was remote due to COVID-19, and I was initially uncertain about how this experience would be, but it was great. I was mentored under a smart, patient, and caring team, and my role within product management helped confirm my interest in it. As a product management intern, my role involved: Coordinating approval from cross-functional teams to develop two new… read more about Avery Brown '21 - Internship at Equinix (Summer 2020) »

My freshman year self signed up for the Duke Computer Science Department to try and purchase an entrance ticket on my behalf, so that I could attend the Grace Hopper Celebration: a conference that includes workshops, speakers and a career fair for around 20,000 women in tech. That is right, 20,000 women. I was very lucky, and the CS Department was able to buy me a ticket to attend GHC 2018. My sophomore year self boarded a flight to Houston and checked herself into a hotel room that would soon be the site of hours of… read more about Isabel Shiff '21 - Grace Hopper Celebration 2018 »

Over this past summer, I decided that it was time for a change of pace with regards to research. Instead of working on epigenetic research, I decided to work on researching a putative HIV vaccine through the Azoitei lab at Duke University last summer. The work I did over the summer focused around creating a library of mutations  for DH270, an antibody that has been implicated in a potential HIV vaccine. Essentially, when a patient with HIV undergoes somatic hypermutation, DH270 can undergo a series of mutations that enable… read more about Michael Williams '21 - Researching HIV Vaccine Through Duke's Azoitei Lab (Summer 2019) »

This summer I spent time abroad in Valparaíso, Chile, studying Spanish, living in a homestay, and learning about the local culture. During the second part of the summer I worked in Dr. Alison Adcock's cognitive neuroscience lab. I studied curiosity and how it relates to time. My tasks were to run participants through our study, involving the guessing of drawings, and then to write code to interpret the results. Computer science is a new skill for me, and this summer I spent a large amount of time aquatinting myself to… read more about Eleanor George '21 - Chile & Dr. Adcock's Cognitive Neuroscience Lab (Summer 2019) »

This summer I participated in the DOmath research program for 8 weeks this summer, for which SPIRE helped assist me in my housing expenses. I worked on a project entitled “Dynamics of Floating Plates on Thin Films” with another student, Daniel Hwang, under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Witelski, Dr. Jeffrey Wong, and Jingzhen Hu. In our work we considered the problem of a rigid plate floating on a viscous fluid film down an inclined plane. Many similar problems have been previously investigated, because these problems have… read more about Elliott Kauffman '22 - Duke Opportunities in Mathematics (DOmath) Program (Summer 2019) »