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I&E Class of 2022 Reflects on Learning Experiences Via E-Portfolios

After a Duke experience unlike any other due to changes and precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2022 is looking back on what they’ve learned and what they’ll take with them into their futures.

Each student graduating with an I&E Certificate compiles an e-portfolio, a required element of the program where they creatively capture artifacts from their work and experiences. Students reflect on their time at Duke and how their coursework, experiential learning, extracurricular activities, and internships have shaped their interests and skills.

“While the e-portfolio is intended 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-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 time at Duke!

Kaya Alagappan

“It was through the certificate that I developed a passion for senior care in the United States. I found the startup that I worked for through the program website. I subsequently joined the Student Founder Program and worked on developing ways to create an environment, managerial practice, or app that could relieve the daily pressures of caregivers in senior housing facilities.”

Daniel Belfer

“So often people, including myself, are afraid of failing, and that limits their abilities and aspirations. Throughout the certificate it was enforced that this is okay and even encouraged.”

Arushi Biswas

“As the COVID-19 pandemic revealed gaps in global health systems, I&E 263S taught me the theory of change framework and helped me understand the role of entrepreneurship in addressing global health issues.”

Franklin Boampong

“Through the required internship and research experiences, I was able to develop my network and meet new people who were equally excited about entrepreneurship and problem solving.”

Mia Chang

“I chose an interdepartmental major in order to blend the technical skills acquired from a computer science major with the deeper understanding of what motivates consumer decisions through a psychology major and the certificate in order to gain concrete business knowledge and learn practical skills that could help enhance my future career.”

Shami Chideya

“My favorite class by far has been Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise through the Duke in Silicon Valley program. The hands-on experience with walking through the ideation of a venture and unprecedented access to leaders transforming tech is priceless.”

Maia Clarkin

“Being a successful entrepreneur is a demanding job that entails a lot more grit and self-sufficiency than pop culture’s over-glamorization of entrepreneurship suggests.”

Alex Epstein

“Similarly to how the certificate and my major provided me the means to approach problems and think in different ways, they also provided me with completely different classroom experiences. The smaller setting of I&E courses has allowed me to build relationships with both students and professors of such diverse backgrounds.”

Anna Gotskind

“In my freshman year I worked with a team of MBA students to launch a startup with the guidance of I7E faculty, in my sophomore year I did pro-bono consulting for a local startup, and in my junior year, I worked with a nonprofit to aid low-income and minority individuals in launching and running small businesses.”

Donald Groh

“Through my exposure to our family business and the lessons taught to me by my parents, I have learned that anything is possible, so when I see space for improvement, I push to think of better ways to accomplish the goal. When I see something that is not working, I pivot.”

Khue Huynh

“Without the certificate, I might not have considered jobs other than R&D engineering. However, with the certificate I felt empowered to do a deeper dive into other aspects of the med tech industry.”

Jackson Kennedy

“I believe that the purpose of college is to learn
complicated and applicable topics both deeper and quicker than self-study would allow. The
textbooks we use in most classes are available online, sometimes for free, and a dedicated
individual could work through them on their own. However, the guidance of the professors and
the incubator of learning cause these classes to be more than the sum of their parts, and while
we are here we should take the classes that give us the tools we will need most in our lives.”

Taher Khambati

“My current and proudest project is my nonprofit organization, CS Sidekicks. Our mission is to promote and teach computer science literacy in the Durham/RTP area in a rather simple, yet unique way.”

Jake Kraemer

“For one of I&E experiences, I interned at Raleigh-based search fund Simetra Operator Fund, where I helped evaluate target companies for a future owner-operator team aiming to engage in entrepreneurship through acquisition. This experience highlighted the grit required to be an entrepreneur (before I even interned, they evaluated over 10,000 companies!).”

Tiffany Liu

“From [a lab] failure, I learned that I need to prepare for many different situations and to not zone in on the ideal outcome because that can lead to a failure in adequate preparation, as well as the inability to adapt to new situations.”

Philip Liu

“My first conversation with my mentor, who also attended Duke, was the first time I ever considered entrepreneurship in the context of a lifestyle company. Before speaking with him, my perception of entrepreneurship, specifically for tech companies, was narrow-minded and limited; I believed the end goal was to always create a high-scale, high-growth company (essentially a popular unicorn startup).”

Leigh Marshall

“I was assigned to the [Accenture Development Partnerships] global health team and helped a large pharmaceutical client with their $100 million investment to eradicate racial and social injustice as a public health threat. I really enjoyed being on the global health team and hope to continue to work in the social innovation space.”

Oliver McCarthy

“Decisions have repercussions, and you must have a distinct set of values before you are ready to make decisions that affect other people’s lives. Being a conscious and moral innovator is now another goal of mine.”

Connor Mead

“Aside from learning important skills such as financial valuation that I will be able to use upon graduation, the certificate most importantly taught me the skill of adaptability. This skill most notably helped me out when the world went on pause in the spring of 2020.”

May Mei

“I hope that throughout my life, I would be able to add on to the knowledge and technology human beings possess, and I hope to improve people’s lives through my contributions.”

Jaan Nandwani

“I not only had the opportunity to explore three different medical specialties, but I also gained a better understanding of pain points inpatient care and delivery through physician and patient interviews.”

Alina O’Brien

“As we incorporated feedback often, my mindset on failure shifted from  a massive, heavy thing to a learning mechanism. I’m definitely less scared now to put myself out there and make mistakes.”

Jonathan Riley

“I am passionate about keeping the world a habitable place for not just humans but all animals and I believe that soon there will be a strong demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly practices which are not currently observed. I hope that I can be at the forefront of designing new technologies which provide an increased utility to previous models while also being environmentally friendly in their development and production.”

Samantha Sette

“Provided with the support and resources needed, I am more inspired than ever to create – whether it be whole foods recipes, a community built on love for movement, or my ambitious aspiration to break from the current field of medicine to a sect that encompasses all of the values above.”

Manmit Singh

“I was profoundly inspired by my family’s struggle to use their talents not only to earn money but also benefit their community. Now as an aspiring computer engineer myself, I have come to believe that a great way to use my skills and bring about any change I would like to see in society is to bring it about in the form of successful businesses.”

Samantha Streit

“Art and acting are inherently entrepreneurial. I want to be an actress, but I also want to create my own work, direct, and produce. By learning skills to innovate successfully, I will be better equipped for the industry.”

Claire Szuter

“Working on strategy and market research for piloting a clothing brand for people with disabilities gave me a glimpse into the role of high level decisions, research, strategy, and planning.”

Mariana Tandon

“My two majors inspire me every day to innovate. Computer Science is all about innovation and breakthrough discoveries about what technological systems can help us solve. My cultural anthropology classes remind me of the nuances to non-technical, institutional systems that must be innovated as well.”

DonoVaughn Tulloch

“I’ve learned the importance of asking questions, being observant when identifying opportunities in the market, working effectively on a team with diverse backgrounds, assessing the validity of an idea with consumer input, and utilizing a human-centered design framework when trying to help a target audience.”

Radu Vasilescu

“I have always enjoyed the challenge of finding creative solutions to problems in order to effect positive change, and I hope to use entrepreneurship to pursue that passion.”

Logan Welborn

“As a sibling of a child with a rare genetic disorder, I have seen first hand the power of music to inspire and raise awareness. I have learned that a song may inspire a doctor to find a cure, a lobbyist to advocate for people with epilepsy, or a parent to find the hope to persevere.”

Thomas Williford

“Since Coach K decided I wasn’t skilled enough to play on Duke’s basketball team, I’ve dedicated my time at Duke to equipping myself with the skills necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur.”

Kaylin Woodward

“Social enterprises and impact investing will likely transform and underwrite the organizations I will be working for after graduation (or graduate school), so learning a more business-oriented angle of tackling social problems will be a huge asset to my education and understanding of how to grow and scale an innovative, impactful enterprise.”

Jimmy Xiao

“I was fully committed to technical innovation, and nothing else. However, picking up a finance minor along the way as well as taking classes across multiple disciplines made me realize the value of a holistic picture of innovation and entrepreneurship and the various considerations that go into each initiative launched, whether that be one within an organization or and independently launched venture.”

Alex Xu

“The certificate has given me the skills, confidence, and vocabulary to pursue any idea. It has complemented my engineering/technical education to enable me to solve problems creatively for people, regardless of domain or industry.”

Elizabeth Zhang

“The Code+ experience has helped me grow as a developer and has also taught me how to think critically and innovatively, taking in all sides of a problem. By the end of this program, we were able to present a successful web application that could solve a problem for both faculty and students in our community.”

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