Students Magazine Articles




June 30, 2021

Writer:

Scott Huler

Slow-growing microbes in peat bogs in the lazy South break down organic matter much more slowly than their northern relatives, making them much better carbon sinks and more effective in preventing the release of greenhouse gases than their counterparts further north.

June 28, 2021

Duke has always been a place with a sense of humor. From student pranks to improv groups, we like to laugh. Not everyone’s taste in comedy is the same, though, and in 1951, a difference in opinion between students and administrators led to the shuttering of Duke’s first humor magazine.

June 28, 2021

Writer:

Corbie Hill

The weather was easy—mid-seventies and pleasantly sunny—and the windows were down as the three friends departed West Campus in a cramped Uber backseat, headed for the Eno River.

March 20, 2021

Writer:

Daniel Kim

Emasculated and neutered or evil and calculating? Domineering dragon lady or helpless concubine? In twentieth-century Hollywood, the choices for Asian-American actors were few and far between. Often, the roles available were reductive and one-dimensional—stereotypes come to life.

March 20, 2021

Several years ago, I came upon striking photographic negatives of Duke students… boxing? Was that a real thing? A little research in the University Archives revealed a short but remarkable athletic program—one worth remembering.

March 19, 2021

Writer:

Corbie Hill

2024 was always going to be distinct for this class.

Rap Godz image

December 9, 2020

Writer:

Corbie Hill

In the spring of 2020, JaBria Bishop built her first video game.

It was a 2D side-scroller—think Super Mario Brothers—which she believes she called Lunar Dreamscape. In it, a little girl wakes up in a lost world. Bishop’s idea for this whimsical game was for the players, too, to feel lost, so she designed it accordingly.

“I wanted the player to also feel how the little girl feels,” she says.

December 9, 2020

Writer:

Scott Huler

ON A BRIGHT AFTERNOON early in the fall term, associate dean of students Amy Powell is taking a walk through a West Campus residential courtyard, and she sees three guys sharing one of the tables under a shelter for lunch.

“Hey, friends?” she calls. “If you’re done eating, can I ask you to put your masks back on?” Three masks go back on. There is at least a hint of eye-rolling, to be sure, but overall the guys just go along, doing what they know they’re supposed to do.

September 28, 2020

Writer:

Preston Bowman

The sun has barely risen over the tree line by the time I’m on the road, sweat in my eyes and gasping for breath. The sound of my footsteps echoes through the empty streets. My heart pounds in my chest as I finish the last section of my run, giving it everything I have left. As I round the corner in front of my house, the wind howling in my ears, I know something is very wrong. My left calf feels like it has been ripped apart. 

September 28, 2020

I was studying in my freshman dorm, Gilbert-Addoms on East Campus. 

A table away, a guy sat, also glancing occasionally at the TV, so we struck up a tentative conversation. He had on a worn T-shirt of pastel greens, blues, and pinks with an unfamiliar name in script. I couldn’t figure out how to pronounce it, and since we were having a pleasant talk, I asked, “What’s that mean?”

September 26, 2020

Writer:

David Malone

A COVID paradox: I haven’t stepped foot on Duke’s campus since March 6. Yet, in the months between the start of remote learning, this past spring, in the face of COVID-19 and the start of the fall semester, I have felt more meaningfully connected to the Duke community than at any other time during my thirty-seven years as a member of its faculty.

September 26, 2020

Writer:

Thalia Halloran

I can’t exactly pinpoint the day I realized I could no longer plan for my future, but it wasn’t long after I received an e-mail informing me that I could not return to campus. I was alone in New Orleans on spring break—a trip I’d planned months in advance. I had bought my plane tickets seven weeks ahead of my departure to ensure the cheapest prices, and I researched places to stay.

Black Duke employees and white Duke employees, segregated at 1946 holiday party

July 22, 2020

I am writing two weeks after the murder of George Floyd, as protests against white supremacy take place across the country. Many Americans are reckoning with the impact of racism, especially as it relates to American history. I, too, am reckoning with the past, especially here at Duke. There are hard truths to accept in a place where many people feel warmly embraced—a place that many of us love.

George Graham, Terry-Rene Wiesner Brown, John Gromada

July 22, 2020

Samantha Lowe was hoping to spend her summer at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C. But when the rising sophomore learned that the internship would be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she logged onto Ask a Blue Devil to ask for help.

February 26, 2020

Writer:

Kyle Harvey

AS A MAJOR in both computer science and visual arts, I had been eager to design a project that merged these two fields through the use of machine learning. I quickly gravitated toward doing a black-and-white relief print and then experimenting using other mediums in combination.

February 26, 2020

Writer:

Corbie Hill

The first rule of magic is not to trust magicians, says Duke Sleight Club president Wesley Pritzlaff. The second is not to forget what your card is.

February 26, 2020

Writer:

Scott Huler

At the end of a nice three-pass sequence started by senior Corey Pilson, the ball ends up in the hands of junior Nate Tewell streaking inside. Tewell catches the ball under the hoop and completes the play with a smooth reverse, a high-level play by high-level players.

February 26, 2020

Writer:

Scott Huler

The Carpenter Reading Room on the third floor of Bostock Library is an “absolute silence area” during even slow times of the semester. An overloud cough can generate a stare, an unmuted phone chime, defenestration—for at least the phone.

August 7, 2019

Writer:

Ken Chu

Imagine you are a chess player and you’re given a gift, where you can put any one of your pieces anywhere on the board. The possibilities would be boundless! There’s actually a chess strategy called the Christmas Present Game that’s a version of that gift. Once you have the piece and square in mind, you move your pieces to make it happen.

August 7, 2019

Writer:

Jake Chasan

“All right, take your hands off the wheel and pull your feet off the pedals,” the Mercedes-Benz salesperson said. His tone was confident, and his posture relaxed. I was excited to see this “self-driving” car in action. The Range Rover was good, the Tesla was better, but this Mercedes had “250 times more code than the primary flight software in NASA’s space shuttle.” How could it not be the best?

A graphic of numbers as in computer code

August 7, 2019

I was never supposed to teach a course on utopian and dystopian literature, especially not one in modern and contemporary American lit. I’m a nineteenth-century Americanist specializing in the classics (Hawthorne, Whitman, Melville, Stowe, Alcott)—all the stuff people hate reading in high school and then find mildly more digestible in college.

August 7, 2019

Writer:

Madison Catrett

The blue glow of my laptop was the only light in my dorm room. I stared at the screen, my eyes glued to a table ranking twenty-eight methods of suicide based on lethality, time required, and agony. A shotgun to the head would be lethal and almost painless, but there would be a lot of splatter. Jumping would require a building at least 150 feet tall, and there were plenty of those around, but it would also be messy.

Kora Kwok's Ocean Room project

May 17, 2019

Writer:

Kora Kwok

I grew up by the sea. Hong Kong is right on the coast, and you can catch a view of the ocean pretty much wherever you go. Even if you’re deep in the city or up in the mountains, the ocean is always close by. It was a constant in my life: I grew up with the sense that this massive, beautiful piece of blue was always nearby and that it would always be there, wherever I was in the city.

May 17, 2019

Writer:

Scott Huler

Outfitted in someone else’s camouflage protective vests and helmets, preparing to walk the perimeter fence of a concrete motor-pool containment of the Third Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, a half-dozen Duke students give considerable thought to what might happen on their circuit. They’re on a simulation exercise helping the Special Forces figure out how to best get medical care and information to units as they fight, far from support.

February 11, 2019

More working parents and West Coast residents are applying to the Weekend Executive M.B.A. program since the in-person residency requirement has been reduced to one weekend per month, says Mohan Venkatachalam, senior associate dean for executive programs.

February 8, 2019

It really wasn’t a case of sophomore slump. His return from a DukeEngage summer in Vietnam, where, among other projects, he had taught English to rising high-schoolers, was a tough transition point for Grant Besner. He was struggling with “the many privileges of my upbringing and also of the material excess that defines so much of the American experience, particularly at an elite institution such as Duke,” says Grant, now finishing his senior year.

February 7, 2018

Writer:

Scott Huler

The most frustrating thing was the mason. “He spoke, maybe, two words of English,” says senior Lily Coad, who spent the summer after her sophomore year as a DukeEngage student in Kochi, India, surprisingly, building a garden. Nobody expected him to speak English, of course. But nobody had expected to be working with him in the first place.

September 30, 2014

Writer:

Louise Flynn

After taking professor Helen “Sunny” Ladd’s core public policy course, Aliya Pilchen ’13 was eager to sign up for another class taught by Sanford’s foremost expert in education finance. But there was one problem: Pilchen was only a junior, and the class she had her eye on was offered to graduate students.

September 29, 2014

The establishment of The Duke Endowment in December 1924 kickstarted massive construction plans at the newly renamed Duke University. Several existing buildings were to be removed: the library, Alspaugh Hall, Craven Memorial Hall, and Crowell Science Building. W.G. Pearson, treasurer of Kittrell College, wrote to Robert L.

September 25, 2014

You’re an outsider who needs to operate as a n insider in a pretty confusing setting, a setting that, for a couple of years, will impose all sorts of expectations on you. Lots of obstacles for you to stumble over. Lots of rituals and routines to sort out.

September 25, 2014

On a Friday night two Octobers ago, fans flocked to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the fourth annual Countdown to Craziness. In the locker room, the players suited up for the opening-season bluewhite scrimmage. Meanwhile, Ryan Kelly traveled through a hallway in the stadium’s recesses, towing an ice chest heavy with Gatorade and water. But as he moved to switch hands, he lost hold of the handle. In one swift motion, the chest slipped to the floor, spilling ice and liquid everywhere.

September 25, 2014

The foothills are alive...with the sounds of creaky wooden porches, husky train whistles, and tobacco plants being scythed. These sounds are stored in the Sonic Dictionary, a digital archive of acoustics hosted by the Audiovisualities lab at Duke’s Franklin Humanities Institute. It’s a kind of “Wikipedia of sound,” according to English doctoral student Mary Caton Lingold, who conceived the project.

July 30, 2014

Charles Taylor ’15 presents a visual guide to his time at Duke.

Produced for the Motion Design course taught by Raquel Salvatella de Prada, assistant professor of the practice of art, art history & visual studies, and arts of the moving image.

July 30, 2014

Produced for the Motion Design course taught by Raquel Salvatella de Prada, assistant professor of the practice of art, art history & visual studies, and arts of the moving image.

July 29, 2014

Music can bring us back not only to where we once lived, but to places in which we’ve thrived, felt comfortable, and had a niche. Laura journeys to several homes using audio and imagination.

July 22, 2014

Writer:

Michael Penn

Kimberly Blackwell ’89 could have gone about anywhere to begin her career as a pioneering breast-cancer doctor. After graduating from the Mayo Medical School in 1994, she chose to come back to Duke. Now a clinical oncologist at the Duke Cancer Institute, Blackwell is regarded as one of the top breast-cancer researchers in the country.

July 18, 2014

At some point or another, most of us have been afflicted by homesickness—that pang of nostalgia and longing for familiar people and places. To understand the origin and purpose of homesickness, we asked Mark Leary, professor of psychology and neuroscience and the director of Duke’s social psychology program, to give us some insight into this common human experience.

How would you define homesickness?

July 18, 2014

Writer:

Sam June

There are four sacred mountains that outline the traditional Navajo homeland, and inside is where all your blessings are, where all life started. You’re only supposed to perform traditional ceremonies within the boundaries. For example, a baby’s umbilical cord is often buried in the ground. Mine is buried in the horse corral at my maternal grandmother’s house. My mom said it’s done so that I will always return to my people and care for the animals and Earth.

April 29, 2014

Duke senior Martin Shores’ grandmother made a mean steak. She had a way with food, transforming basic ingredients into delicious dishes, he says. Like a tasty carbonara pasta sauce, “which I still need her to teach me to make,” he adds.

Oscar Dantzler

April 29, 2014

Writer:

Lewis Beale

They are the Perennials. Not a silky smooth doo-wop group, but the longtime employees who keep Duke running. Year after year they pick up the trash, help with IT problems, make sure club sports are run properly, set schedules for department heads, work the switchboard. Like mid-level workers everywhere, they are the people who keep the wheels turning and the engine running smoothly. Some have been around since Terry Sanford was university president.

Nausicaa

April 28, 2014

Japanese filmmaker and artist Hayao Miyazaki has won international acclaim for such visually stunning animated films as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle. In the early 1980s, Miyazaki wrote and illustrated the graphic novel Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which he later adapted for a film of the same name.

April 28, 2014

Writer:

Mousa Jawasreh

Nour has fair skin and gray-blue eyes, accentuated by her ocean-colored hijab and dress. She tells us how in love she is with her husband, how he waited three years until she was old enough to marry him. She speaks of her son as the only bright spot in her life here in Jordan, the only happy moment. She details the horrors of her father-in-law’s public murder in Syria and even shows us pictures of his flowery burial on her cell phone.

April 28, 2014

In late March, newly renovated Gross Hall played host to the 2014 DataFest, a forty-eight-hour team competition in big data analytics. The event attracted close to 130 undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines, including statistics, computer science, and engineering. Duke was the best represented school, but participants also made the trip from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and even Dartmouth College.

Samantha Emmert helps Victoria Thayer examine a deceased dolphin.

April 28, 2014

“The rolling sand dunes and gentle waves of Emerald Isle are so picturesque that I almost forget why I am here: to conduct a necropsy on a stranded bottlenose dolphin,” wrote Samantha Emmert from the Duke Marine Lab in early 2014. Emmert spent her junior year researching an outbreak of morbillivirus epizootic, a measles-like virus that has ravaged dolphin populations along the Atlantic Coast since last summer.

Phil Watson performs An Iliad

April 28, 2014

“Nine years,” the Poet begins intensely, in media res. “Fighting on and off, fighting to the wall and back. Greeks win one day, Trojans win the next, like a game of tug-of-war.” He pulls at a black rope hung ominously from a scaffold. “And nothing to show for it but exhaustion, poverty, and loneliness,” he says, articulating each word with a maniacal kick to the air.

February 27, 2014

An Alumni Faculty Fellow, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong is Chancey Stillman Professor of practical ethics in the philosophy department and the Kenan Institute for Ethics. His current work explores moral psychology and brain science, uses of neuroscience in legal systems, and freedom and responsibility. He co-teaches a MOOC, “Think Again: How to Reason and Argue.”

Statistics

February 18, 2014

Writer:

Andrew Clark

Box scores in the National Basketball Association look far different than they did thirty years ago—or even ten, for that matter. these days, they’re canvassed in acronyms such as PER (Player efficiency rating) and 3PAr (3-Point Attempt Rate), which look more like robot names than a way to measure a basketball game.

Bethzaida Fernandez, a lecturer in the Spanish language program

September 17, 2013

Students wanted Bethzaida Fernandez, a lecturer in the Spanish language program, to take them home—not to her place in Durham but to her native Costa Rica. For the past two years, with a small grant from the Romance studies department, Fernandez has done just that.

Class of 2017

September 17, 2013

Today you make a fresh start on an altogether new life. In it, you’ll have one and only one mission: to become the person you have it in you to be, a person equipped to lead a fulfilling life and to give the world the benefit of your gifts.

Illustrations by David Vogin.

September 12, 2013

Writer:

Bridget Booher

Toward the end of a 2012 college tour that took them to nearly a dozen schools, including Auburn, Emory, Duke, Northwestern, William and Mary, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, David Williamson ’87 turned to his oldest son, Cameron, and asked which schools were the top contenders.

“I don’t even know why that is relevant,” Cameron said, “until we know what kind of scholarships I might get.”

May 14, 2013

1. It really is a popularity contest: Rhesus macaques that have large, strong social networks tend to belong to families of similarly amiable macaques. Not only that, but playing nice with others tends to yield greater reproductive success. A corollary shows that the most aggressive monkeys have greater reproductive success—but so do the most passive monkeys. The loser? The monkey in the middle.

Image of diploma

May 14, 2013

Eight U.S. universities, including Duke, have established the Vest Scholarship program, a “reverse Rhodes Scholarship,” to spur international collaborations among graduate students whose studies are focused on tackling some of the world’s biggest engineering challenges.

Image of 2 people talking

May 14, 2013

Future Blue Devils may soon greet each other with “Kusu dewo?” thanks to a new exchange program with the University of Virginia aimed at broadening the availability of low-visibility languages. Starting this fall, students in Durham will be able to take Tibetan-language classes, and students in Charlottesville will be able to enroll in Duke’s Creole courses.

February 13, 2013

A $50 million gift from Anne and Robert Bass of Fort Worth, Texas, will launch an initiative to encourage students and faculty members to collaborate across academic boundaries—and to give them the tools to tackle some of the most vexing society-wide issues.

Circle of concern: gathering to proclaim "Race Is Not a Party" (Credit: Megan Morr)

February 13, 2013

About 200 people participated in an early-February protest sparked by a fraternity party that they said denigrated Asians. The protest sought to hold Kappa Sigma responsible for its “Asia Prime” party; the invitation to the party included stereotypical representations of Asian people and language.

February 13, 2013

Duke Law School’s Guantanamo Defense Clinic has been granted observer status by the Defense Department. Some clinic students are getting the chance to see military commissions in action. Law students Jesse Kobernick and Julie Coleman spent this past fall’s study break observing hearings at Guantanamo Naval Base. Other students traveled there early this semester.

February 13, 2013

For the discerning Duke student who wanted to jumpstart his or her international exposure and couldn’t get enough of the freshman Focus experience, last year’s Duke INtense Global (DIG) fit the bill. The three-semesterlong interdisciplinary program had its test run in India and Russia and featured culture-and language-immersion components.

February 13, 2013

Imagine, just for a second, the night before the first finals period of your freshman year. Your first semester of Duke has gone by in a flash; there are only seven more to go. Between trying to meet everyone in your class, joining new clubs, memorizing the C-1 bus schedule, and perhaps occasionally keeping in touch with friends and family back home, you might have forgotten that other thing—studying. Mild panic sets in, but then, that’s all right.

February 13, 2013

Writer:

Kimberly Sims

One of the most notorious pieces of Duke’s theatrical history—an anonymously written play titled The Vision of King Paucus—never actually appeared on a campus stage. But when 300 copies of the three-page script showed up mysteriously in student and faculty mailboxes in late 1933, it caused a stir felt across the university.

November 5, 2012

“This is a great course and I am excited it is only the beginning.”


“You have no idea how much this course is affecting me on a very personal level.”


“I’m highly impressed and grateful for education like this.”

Right where he belongs: Duke undergraduate student Jamal Edwards with fellow first-year students on Duke's East Campus. Credit: Megan Moor

November 5, 2012

When Jamal Edwards ’16 was admitted to Duke during the early-decision period last fall, the California native was so excited that he couldn’t wait to get to campus. But as enrollment neared, he says, “I began to get stressed about all the logistics.”

November 5, 2012

Duke’s annual Career Fair often can resemble a trading floor, with its chaotic buzz of sharply dressed young men and women in search of a deal. Despite the shaky economy and a weak job market, this fall’s fair was no different. More than 100 employers filled three levels of the Bryan Center, and they were descended upon by hundreds of students, all looking for a handshake that would secure their post-graduation success.

Chain-link canvas: Attendees at the Arts Annex opening reception create a living mural by decorating a fence with materials provided by Durham's Scrap Exchange. Credit: Jared Lazarus

November 5, 2012

Inspiring is hardly the word most alumni would assign to the old Duke Linen Service Center, a nondescript warehouse off Campus Drive near East Campus. Gray and spare, the building befits its utilitarian roots as the site where massive quantities of campus bedding were laundered.

Roughing it: Kavya Durbha (in pink jacket) and her fellow PWILDers assess their location on a topographic map. Credit: Doug Clark

November 5, 2012

Kavya Durbha ’16 struggled down a natural stairway of rocks and roots through a rhododendron forest. Drizzle glanced off her waterproof jacket. Her boots skidded in mud, her thirty pound wilderness backpack unbalancing her every step. It was the eleventh day of her Duke experience, and so far she had hiked through storms and watched dawn rise from the peak of one of North Carolina’s tallest mountains. Not bad for someone who hadn’t even yet moved into her freshman dorm.

Phone scan: Bradley's cell-phone picture of Tsipis' MRI, which shows a large white area where a stroke cut off circulation in his brain. [Courtesy Kendall Bradley]

November 5, 2012

Writer:

Michael Penn

Kendall Bradley ’11 checked her phone and gave herself thirty-five minutes to fall apart. She’d left Nick in the gaping mouth of an MRA machine, his eyes full of pain and fear, and was finally alone. Or, at least, as alone as one could be in the ghastly circus of the hospital triage room, which teemed with people in various states of agony. Somewhere on the streets of Ho Chi Minh there had been an accident, and victims were being carried in in shocking states of disfigurement.

No I in tee: Tabria Williford and Maddy Haller in the team's “Compete” shirts [Photos: Jon Gardiner]

November 1, 2012

In spring 2010, the rising seniors of the Duke women’s soccer team were not pleased. The fall season had ended abruptly with back-to-back losses in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament and the first round of the NCAA championships. That might have been considered a decent season, but the team’s leaders, who had advanced to the Elite Eight the two previous years, expected more. During the team’s spring training, they gathered the team for a mental and emotional overhaul.

View of the Edmund Pettus bridge, Selma, Alabama. [All photo: Elissa Lerner]

August 8, 2012

Writer:

Elissa Lerner

We were still about forty miles away from Memphis when a window blew out on the bus. Ever since we’d crossed into Mississippi, headed northwest from Birmingham, Alabama, a quiet unease had settled over our Carolina Livery minibus. Our trip, the inaugural Roots to Rights alternative spring-break venture between Jewish Life at Duke and the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture, was at one point scheduled to stop in Jackson for a night.

Step by step: Curt Taylor, left, and Jeff Wilcox navigate the Al Buehler trail with ease. - Jon Gardiner

May 17, 2012

From out of the dusk on a gorgeous autumn day, two men, both shirtless, run toward me. Bright leaves drift down from the trees, carpeting the ground beneath our feet as my friend and Duke colleague Priscilla Wald and I enjoy our weekly walk around the Al Buehler Trail, a three-mile forest path that encircles the Washington Duke Inn.

April 16, 2012

Anxiety is in the air. Or certainly in cyberspace.

April 1, 2012

At Duke, “anxiety” is hardly an unusual word. But where does anxiety disorder come from? How about schizophrenia? Obsessive-compulsive disorder? Depression?

These questions drive Ahmad Hariri’s course “Looking Inside the Disordered Brain,” which begins its third iteration this coming fall. While the course tends to attract biology and psychology stu- dents, Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, insists that the sub- ject matter is intended for a broad audience.

April 1, 2012

Alone on a stage, senior Alison Kibbe has just finished speaking about feeling alienated for Christian beliefs, while at the same time feeling judged by other Christians. Naomi Riemer ’13, who has been listening intently, speaks up.

“By the end of your monologue, you need people to realize that you’re not criticizing Christianity, but you’re criticizing the people who use Christianity to be selfrighteous,” she suggests.

A man of distinction: Nathaniel Hill, center, with Ragtime cast members. [Credit: Daniel Scheirer II]

April 1, 2012

As a freshman member of Hoof ‘n’ Horn, Nathaniel Hill had a minor role in Sweeney Todd, the first collaboration between the musical group and the departments of music, dance, and theater studies in a decade. Smitten with the scope of talent around him, he imagined someday bringing a show of his own to the stage.

April 1, 2012

Asilent protest by around forty students on Martin Luther King Jr. Day turned a spotlight on an unpublished academic study, underscoring the delicate contours of discussions involving race at the university.

January 31, 2012

 

Duke senior wins scholarship to study genetics.

Photo above: Cambridge bound
Daphne Ezer

January 31, 2012

Writer:

Dovina Qu '12

International Association's FoodFest becomes a savory tradition.

Photo above: Culinary adventures Hokkien noodles, pikliz, and baklava were among the international delights available for sampling.

January 31, 2012

 
Duke's largest student production is a showcase of unbridles talent.