Duke students were scattered across the globe this summer, with some interning in their future career fields, some exploring exotic locations and others embarking on a two-month DukeEngage project. The Chronicle caught up with some students to hear about how they chose to spend their summers:
“This summer I interned in Washington D.C. at an environmental law firm called Earthjustice as a legislative assistant on their Policy and Legislation team. It was a fantastic opportunity to practice what I've learned in my classes as a part of my public policy major while giving me a small taste of the legal field as I decide whether I want to go to law school. At Duke, I often get bogged down in the day-to-day class, work and extracurricular activities. Living and working in D.C., however, showed me that there are many career options and opportunities post-graduation.”—junior Bryce Cracknell
“I completed a nine-week internship this summer in Jinja, Uganda. It was an amazing time, and it has definitely been the most meaningful and enjoyable work of my life. I went there as an intern for the Foundation for Sustainable Development. In my case, I worked with St. Francis Health Care Services in Mbikko, Uganda and conducted research on the impact and effectiveness of one of its biggest projects, SCORE…The more challenging aspects of my internship came primarily from cultural differences and sometimes language barriers. However, I also consider this work to be so meaningful because I was able to interact with the beneficiaries that my research would directly and indirectly help.”—junior Philip Moss
“This summer I went into my internship thinking that I would have my first foray into investment banking. I expected to live and breathe Microsoft Excel by the end of the summer. Instead, I built a website, worked on the first virtual reality pure play and learned a ton about raising money and talking to investors.”—sophomore Ben Ezroni
“As a marketing intern for Microsoft this summer, I was able to not only have a tangible project but also explore the different forms of marketing across all their products. The work culture is great, and I couldn't have asked for better people to work with.”—junior Marielle Rodgers
“I interned at Cisco's RTP campus this summer for 12 weeks. The thing I liked most was Cisco's culture, as everyone from across departments was so open to meet with you 1:1 to offer their career advice, as well as teach you about what they do. What I learned more than anything, was how to be able to work with employees across different generations.”—junior Peter Tan
“Bass Connections was my first real academic research experience, and it opened my eyes to the infinite possibilities that research has to offer. I learned what sociological research looks like, how to find good resources and how to work with a team. I now feel that I have a much better understanding of how my next three undergraduate years should go, and I'm more aware of the resources Duke has to offer."—sophomore David Wohlever Sanchez
“My program was the Summer Multicultural Advancement Research Training at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. I am planning to do scientific research in the long run, and I saw it as an opportunity to get my feet wet in research while being close to home. It helped me network with high-achieving students outside of Duke and advance me towards my career goal.”—sophomore Youlim Kim
"This July, I shadowed a pediatric craniofacial plastic surgeon named Dr. Hobar as he operated on children with congenital defects. Though he provides vital operations such as reconstructing nasal airways, he specializes in purely cosmetic procedures to repair deformities. At the end of the month, I assisted his mission group, LEAP, to Orange Walk, Belize, witnessing lives change through such a surgical field that I had so long considered frivolous in its cosmetic purpose. Correcting even non-life-threatening issues enabled these children to confidently approach society with a brave smile and open mind, defying social stigmas toward those with physical deformities, a rigid perspective particularly restricting for children in superstitious Belize."—sophomore Sam Sadler
"I did a Neurogenetics Research fellowship at the University of Connecticut with Dr. Holly Fitch this summer and absolutely loved it. I learned a number of behavioral techniques in lab that will be super informative and helpful for my research at Duke this semester, and I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best scientists in the UConn Psychology Department!"—sophomore Samantha Bouchal
“This past summer I worked at Google as a tech intern in their Seattle office. Those three months taught me a lot about striking a good work life balance. I learned that it’s not about working 12 hours a day, it’s about being happy to come in to work everyday, finding problems that are interesting to you to solve and turning the 'work life' off when you leave the office so you can enjoy the rest of your day.”—junior Brenna Milligan
“I spent my summer interning for a think-tank in Washington D.C. My favorite part of the internship was making a short documentary about hate crimes legislation. Had I been afraid to be entrepreneurial, I would have spent my entire summer at a desk, and that doesn’t fit my personality. Instead, I suggested a couple of meaningful projects and owned them. By the end, I was able to deliver a final product that my organization loved."—senior Steven Soto
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Editor's note: All responses were obtained via email.