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Innovation@Duke

The latest news and stories from Duke’s innovation and entrepreneurship community

I&E Class of 2021 Reflects on Learning Experiences Via E-Portfolios

After a senior year unlike any other due to changes and precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2021 is looking back on what they’ve learned and what they’ll take with them into the world.

Students graduating with an I&E Certificate typically gather for an in-person celebration where a subset of them are acknowledged for exceptional work on their e-portfolio, a required element of the program where they creatively capture artifacts from their work and experiences.

Watch a video congratulating 2021 I&E Certificate graduates

“While we require the e-portfolio as a way for students to process what they’ve learned, we often hear that students value the e-portfolio as a useful tool for when they apply for jobs or grad school,” said I&E Senior Program Coordinator Anna Jacobs. “With their e-portfolio, they can really showcase their personalities, coursework, projects, and writing skills.”

The e-portfolio is meant to deepen students’ reflection of their participation in the program and provide a narrative of their time at Duke—how their coursework, experiential learning, extracurricular activities, and internships align with their interests and goals.

At a time when we can’t honor students in person, the e-portfolios enable us to share and amplify their voices as they reflect on their entrepreneurship journeys and look to the future.

The e-portfolios below represent exceptional work by students from a wide range of majors and interests. We hope you enjoy reading about what they will take away from their Certificate experience!

Advaitha Anne

“As a senior, I am confident in saying that the I&E program has been pivotal in helping me navigate my academic and individual interests at Duke. From helping me explore different fields, and generate interdisciplinary ideas, I&E is what has been able to help me tie together all I’ve learned at Duke into understanding my own personal guidances and professional goals, now and through the future.”

Ansley Arnow

“Through hands-on learning and a vast array of resources and mentors within reach, the I&E program was there to give us the keys to success.”

Anjali Arora

“This program has impacted my overall experience at Duke by giving me a new perspective on everything that I learn and do. In my engineering classes, I find myself asking both if a project is scientifically feasible and if a project would actually be useful to a consumer.”


Olivia Coletta

“Overall, my time at I&E has challenged me personally and professionally to grow into a better problem solver, more empathetic human, and stronger woman.”

Nicholas Courtney

“I believe the I&E program has given me a more practical education in terms of preparing me for the real world. Studying psychology and education within the classroom has gleaned valuable insights into social and political phenomena; however, the I&E courses I have taken have taught me many practical lessons that can be used at any job, in any industry.”

Cristina Dalton

“One unique facet to the I&E Certificate is that the majority of the coursework involves group work, which simulates the context that entrepreneurs operate in.”


Will Durbin

“The I&E Certificate has been a formative part of my undergraduate experience. When I joined the Certificate my freshman year, I saw entrepreneurship as flashy, high-risk, high-reward actions taken to monetize good ideas. Upon completing multiple courses and two experiences related to innovation and entrepreneurship, I’ve learned that they are simply tools to create impact. For me, I&E aren’t the end goal, they’re the process and strategy that I take in order to get where I want to go.”

Trevor Fowler

“Valuing diversity, creating value for others, and asking probing questions all require what may be the most important quality I have developed in the I&E program: humility.”

Julia Gianneschi

“As a whole, the I&E program helped me learn to challenge the conception of success. In academia, students often view success as an A on an exam or paper. In the I&E Certificate, my professors oftentimes utilized different grading scales to deemphasize the traditional conception of success.”


Parsa Hoghoogi

“The Certificate program has impressed upon me that entrepreneurship exists in all facets of life. A common misconception, at least one I certainly thought to be true, was that the world of entrepreneurship is limited to visionary leaders that create disrupting startups out of their garages. While these examples are a highly publicized version of entrepreneurship, the I&E program has shown me that the entrepreneurial mindset is universal. Innovation is like a muscle that can be exercised throughout one’s day and sharpened through practice.”

Jonah Lowey

“The beauty of the educational methodology of the I&E department is that it is suited to meet evolving passions.”

Katie Orlin

“Through the Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, I can confidently leave Duke as a better change-maker, leader, technologist, and maybe one day an innovator.”


Kathleen Chen

“Being able and actively encouraged, if not forced, to go out and produce something entrepreneurial without risk of real failure was liberating and a refreshing alternative in terms of classes. Furthermore, these classes also changed my mindset towards my other classes as well in realizing that not everything is about the grades – it’s about results, learnings, and experiences.”

Sofia Nieto

“The I&E Certificate has taught me an incredible amount about launching a venture, evaluating ideas, and the best entrepreneurial mindset to have. I&E has also provided such amazing support as I started my own venture. My involvement with the program has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on my Duke experience and has changed my goals after graduation.”

Lillian Zhu

“Overall, participating in the I&E program was one of my favorite parts of my Duke experience. I gained hands-on, practical experience in diverse team projects. I challenged myself to venture outside my comfort zone and embrace learning opportunities such as the Hult Prize, regardless of the results.”


Andrew Zheng

“I’ve learned about new techniques to find and solve problems, to be a self-starter, to be curious, to be inquisitive, and to look towards the future as a workshop or playground where ideas and execution can experiment and play.”

Sophia Zambri

“The Innovation & Entrepreneurship program has been one of the most formative parts of my education and experience at Duke. As an engineering student, it was refreshing to see how product and design could be turned into opportunity. Throughout my I&E curriculum, I was able to gain new perspectives through case studies and learning how to approach the entrepreneurial space from an opportunity-oriented outlook. This Certificate also empowered me to believe that I had the capability to enact change and start a venture of my own one day.”

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