Logo for StudioDuke


StudioDuke is a two-semester creative lab and mentorship program providing students the opportunity to take their advanced, on-going creative projects to the next level of awesome. StudioDuke is a collaboration among Duke I&E, the Duke Entertainment, Media & Arts Network (DEMAN), and Duke Arts.

Students are matched with creative industry professionals (including Duke alumni) for one-on-one mentorship that kicks off on DEMAN Weekend.

Here’s how it works: Project submissions can range from advanced screenplays, films, stage plays, choreography, comedy, music composition or performance, to fine arts, digital media, and manuscripts — many developed during independent studies and in the classroom.

Read a Q/A with a student and mentor team!

Submissions will be reviewed by the StudioDuke team to be selected into an annual StudioDuke cohort. Selected projects can be pursued by students as an independent study, an experiential component of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Certificate, or for no academic credit whatsoever.

Mentors: Each StudioDuke student will be paired with a mentor based on the nature of the project, its genre, and the industry expertise needed to shape and refine the creative venture. Student-mentor teams will work together throughout the semester and perhaps beyond to evaluate the creative potential of each project and then to edit, evolve, and elevate the work through remote and in-person creative iteration.

The goal is to bring each project to the point where it is ready to be presented to industry professionals. The StudioDuke team will help facilitate connections, travel resources, and logistics to support the project. Students will participate in programming aimed to help advance their creative projects and career opportunities.


Mentor Dinners: Students will meet for monthly group dinners featuring mentors, DEMAN alumni, local entrepreneurs and I&E faculty to help successfully develop and promote their creative projects and navigate career interests. 

Weekly Updates: In addition to our monthly dinners, students will share weekly updates on mentor communications, progress on projects, challenges, questions, next steps, etc. with the cohort.

Mentor Check-ins: Students will connect with mentors at least once a month by email, phone, or in-person. Students will also have one-on-one check-in and strategy sessions with Amy during the semester.

Final Presentation: Students will give a five-minute, pitch-style presentation on their projects and strategies, followed by a reception at the Rubenstein Arts Center.


Date Activity
August 28  I&E Fest: Learn about StudioDuke
September 29 StudioDuke Applications Due
October 16 StudioDuke 101 & DEMAN 101
November 1-2 StudioDuke Reunion at DEMAN Weekend
Week of December 2 Monthly Dinner
Week of January 13 Monthly Dinner
Week of February 3 Monthly Dinner
Week of March 16 Monthly Dinner
Week of April 6 StudioDuke Final Presentations & Reception


Example of StudioDuke and I&E Certificate pathway (for undergraduates): 

First Year
Gateway elective: I&E 140 Create, Innovate, Act! OR I&E 295S Arts Entrepreneurship

Second Year
Keystone: I&E 352 Strategies for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Third Year
Experience One (300 Hours) – StudioDuke
*Students get credit for Elective and 150-Hour Experience

Third Year Spring
Duke in LA*

Third Year Summer
Duke in Chicago* (Arts Entrepreneurship)

Fourth Year
I&E 499 Innovation & Entrepreneurship Capstone

Example of StudioDuke and AMI Certificate pathway (for undergraduates): 

First Year
AMI Gateway Course
AMI 101 Intro to Arts of the Moving Image or AMI 201 Intro to Film Studies or AMI 301 Moving Image Practice

Second Year*
300 level Practice Course

Third Year (Second Years* may also apply to Duke in LA)
Spring Semester, Duke in LA 

Apply for Distinction Project and put together Distinction Committee

Fourth Year
Fall Semester

AMI 499S Capstone

Spring Semester
Independent Study Distinction Project in conjunction with StudioDuke


These mentors with accomplished careers in entertainment, media, and the arts have volunteered to work with the students whose projects are accepted into the StudioDuke program. Student-mentor teams will be formed based on the project type and audience.

Chuck Adams ’64, L’67 (Chapel Hill)
Executive Editor, Algonquin Books

Jennifer Baltimore, L’92 (LA)
Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, Universal Music Group

Pola Changnon, ’85 (ATL)
Senior Vice President Marketing, Brand Creative + Talent, Turner Classic Movies | FilmStruck

Robb Chavis ‘98 (LA)
Comedy Writer, ABC’s black-ish

Soleio Cuervo, ’03 (Bay Area)
Founder & Partner, Combine
Former Designer/Advisor, Facebook (invented “like” button), Dropbox

Claire Florian, ’09 (NY)
Studio Company Manager, American Ballet Theatre

Hillary France, ’03 (NY)
CEO/Co-Founder, Brand Assembly

Peter Friedlander, ’96 (LA)
Vice President Original Series, Netflix

David Garfinkle, ’83 (NY)
CEO, Hello Entertainment
Broadway Producer, Ghost the Musical, Spider-Man Turn off the Dark, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Awards 2014 Winner, Best Musical)

Jon-Sesrie Goff, MFA ’16 (NY)
Director, The Flaherty

Amy Gravitt, ’95 (LA)
Executive Vice President Comedy Programming, HBO
Including: Ballers, Girls, Insecure, Silicon Valley, Veep

Hilary N. Huskey, ’11 (Durham)
3-D Character Artist, Game Developer, Writer
Visiting Assistant Professor/SunTrust Endowed Chair, North Carolina Central University

Eric Hölljes, ’09 (Nashville) 
Singer/Songwriter, Delta Rae

Brandt Joel, ’87 (LA)

Head of Talent, William Morris Endeavor

Dave Karger, ’95 (LA, NY)
TV host, Interviewer, Entertainment Expert
Featured on NBC Today, Access Hollywood, Turner Classic Movies

Lisa Katz, ’95 (LA)
Co-president Scripted Programming, NBC; shows include This is Us (Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, 2018)

Christina Baker Kline, P’18 ’22 (NYC)
#1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train, A Piece of the World, and five other novels

Michael “Koz” Kosarin ’82 (NYC)
Emmy award-winning and Grammy-nominated multi-media conductor (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin)

Penka Kouneva, G’97 (LA)
Award-winning Film and Game Composer
Prince of Persia, Transformers video games; NASA’s Heroes and Legends exhibit

Ezra Kucharz, ’97 (NY)
Chief Business Officer, Draft Kings
Formerly: Special Advisor to CEO of CBS & President of CBS Local Digital Media

Maria Kuznetsova ’08 (Auburn, Alabama)
Writer; Fiction Editor; Instructor, Auburn University

Jeremy Lange, MFA ’18 (Durham)
Photographer; Instructor of Photography, Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Duke University

Aaron Lazar, ’94 (LA&NY)

Courtney Liu,’13 (NY)
Broadway Performer/Assistant Dance Captain, Phantom of the Opera

Sequoia Maner, ’08 (Austin)
Professor, Poet, Southwestern University

Sean McManus, ’77 (NY)
Chairman, CBS Sports

Eric Oberstein, ’07 (Durham)
Interim Director, Duke Performances
GRAMMY-winning producer, musician, consultant

Les Ottolenghi, ’84 (Las Vegas)
EVP & Global Chief Innovation Officer, Caesars Entertainment Corp

Kevin Plunkett, ’95 (LA)
Executive Producer, Jigsaw Productions/Elevation7; Former Executive VP and head of Television, New Regency TV; Former Head of Scripted Programming, E! (The Royals, The Arrangement) SVP Comedy Development ABC Studios (Happy Endings, Cougartown, Scrubs, etc)

Charles Randolph-Wright, ’78 (NY)
Film/TV/Theatre Director, TV Producer, Screenwriter, Playwright
Broadway’s Motown: The Musical; Television’s Greenleaf, Step Up Highwater

Bobby Rosenbloum, ’91 (ATL)
Shareholder and Vice-Chairman, Global Entertainment & Media Practice
Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Julien Thuan, ’97 (LA)
Partner and co-Head, Motion Picture Literary Department, United Talent Agency

Mark Vahradian, ’89 (LA)
President, Production, di Bonaventura Pictures (at Paramount Pictures)
Films include: Transformers series (Executive Producer), Deepwater Horizon (Producer)

Greg Veis, ’03 (NY)
Executive Editor, HuffPost Highline
Formerly: The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, GQ

Ryan White, ’04 (LA)
Director/Executive Producer, Tripod Media,
Netflix: The Keepers (Emmy-nominated), Hulu: Dr. Ruth, Magnolia Pictures: Good Ol’ Freda, HBO: The Case Against 8 (Two-Time Emmy-nominated; Oscar shortlist) EPIX: Serena; PBS: Pelada

Katie Wyatt (Durham)
President and CEO, El Sistema USA

Danielle Zapotoczny ’96 (Durham)
Senior Director of Partnerships & Communications, United Nations Foundation; Strategic Advisor to the United Nations Creative Community Outreach Initiative
Formerly: Producer, Wheelhouse Entertainment

Stephen Zapotoczny ’97 (Durham)
CEO & Founder, The Magic Factory
Formerly: Producer/Vice President Development & Production, Wheelhouse Entertainment (We Were Soldiers)

StudioDuke Students

2019-20 STUDENTS
These Duke students have been accepted into the StudioDuke program for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Fall 2019-2020

Nima Babajani-Feremi, ’22
School: Trinity
Major: Literature, English
Project: Poetry Portfolio
Mentor: Sequoia Maner

Clayton Delp, ’20
School: Trinity
Major: Music, English minor
Project: Gun Requiem (original music composition)
Mentor: Eric Oberstein

Soraya Durand, ’21
School: Trinity
Major: International Comparative Studies, Political Science, Documentary Studies Certificate
Project: Journey of Dreams (short documentary)

Thalia Halloran, ’22
School: Trinity
Major: English
Minor/Certificate: Creative Writing; History
Project: In Loco Parentis and Other Stories (short story collection)
Mentor: Maria Kuznetsova

Justin Koga, ’21
School: Trinity
Major: Public Policy
Project: Music+Connect (YouTube channel)
Mentor: Katie Wyatt

Casey Pettiford, ’20
School: Trinity
Major: International Comparative Studies
Project: Patria and Hero (screenplays)
Mentor: Robb Chavis

Quinten Sansosti, ’20
School: Trinity
Major: Political Science
Project: Blood on the Saddle (feature screenplay)
Mentor: Kevin Plunkett

Caroline Waring, ’20
School: Trinity
Major: Global Cultural Studies
Project: Eye Disorders on Television (short stories)
Mentor: Christina Baker Kline

Past StudioDuke Students

2018-19 STUDENTS
These Duke students were accepted into the StudioDuke program for the 2018-2019 academic year.


Who can apply?

Duke undergraduate students, graduate students, and professional students

What kind of projects can be submitted?

Examples of advanced projects (must be on-going, not in beginner stage) include screenplays, fine arts, digital media, manuscripts, stage plays, choreography, comedy, short/feature films of various genres (including animation), and music compositions or performances.

When is the application deadline?

The 2019 application is closed; the 2020 application will open in early fall.

Who will review the application?

The StudioDuke leadership team which includes Scott Lindroth, Vice Provost for the Arts, Amy Unell, Director of Arts Engagement & Partnerships at Duke I&E and Monika Hirschbichler, Director of Programming and Engagement at Duke I&E.

Do I need to have a project underway, or can I submit an idea outline?

You should have a project underway that you are ready to take to the next level.

When will I start?

StudioDuke kicks off DEMAN Weekend, November 1-2, 2019 and will continue through the spring 2020 Semester.

Can I receive academic credit?

Students can register for independent study through Duke I&E.

I’m enrolled in the I&E Certificate. Can I use my StudioDuke time as one of my certificate experiences?

Yes, it can count toward your 150-hour experience.

How many hours will I be expected to work on my project?

If you are working toward the experiential requirement for the I&E Certificate, you should plan to spend 150 hours on your StudioDuke project during the semester.  If you sign up for an independent study course, you are expected to fulfill the requirements normally associated with an independent study.

Is a final project submission required?

A final project must be submitted if you are not completing the experiential portion of the I&E Certificate or taking an independent study.

Which mentors will I work with?

Each StudioDuke student will be paired with a mentor team based on the nature of the project, its intended audience, and the industry expertise needed to shape and refine the creative venture. Students may meet virtually or in person with the members of their mentor team.

Will I receive a stipend?

The StudioDuke team will facilitate the connections, travel resources, and logistics to support the project. Proposal guidelines for funding requests will be shared with accepted students.


The 2019 application has closed; applications for 2020 will open in early fall.

Justin Baez, ‘19: Remnants Mentor: Jeremy Lange, MFA ’18 | Photographer Justin is creating documentary photo-essay on homelessness in Durham.

Janie Booth, ‘19: Miss Spain Mentor: Jeremy Lange, MFA ’18 | Photographer Janie is from Charlotte, North Carolina studying Art History and Chemistry. Her StudioDuke project, Miss Spain, investigates an archive of found photographs and responds to them through creative writing and visual arts.

Flurina Boslough, ‘20: Sustainable Alaskan Clothing Company Mentor: Hillary France, ’03 | CEO/Co-founder, Brand Assembly Flurina is from Alaska studying mechanical engineering at Duke. Her StudioDuke project involves the creation of a clothing line of Alaskan outerwear.

Jess Chen, ‘20: Eyes Unseen Mentor: Chuck Adams, ’64, L’67 | Executive Editor, Algonquin Books Jess is from the San Francisco Bay Area studying Art History and Public Policy. Her project is a short book of poetry entitled Eyes Unseen, a chapbook engaging themes of absence, invisibility and material remnants.

Daniel Egitto, ‘21: Birdsong Mentor: Christina Baker Kline, P ’18, ’22 | NYT Bestselling Author Daniel is a Literature major from Ocala, FL. His StudioDuke project—a novel called Birdsong—follows the adventures of Peter Ashbery through the backwoods of Florida in a quirky, often mind-bending quest to find a purpose in life.

Sam Elliott, ‘20: Artificial Mentor: Lisa Katz, ’95 | Co-President of Scripted Programming, NBC Sam is from Overland Park, Kansas studying English, Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Arts of the Moving Image. Sam’s StudioDuke project is entitled Artificial, an original sitcom that tells the story of Ava, the first ever artificially intelligent being created by the United States government.

Jaxson Floberg, ‘20: Indie/Folk Album Mentor: Eric Hölljes, ’09 | Singer/songwriter, Delta Rae Jaxson is from Huntersville, North Carolina majoring in English with a certificate in Arts of the Moving Image. His StudioDuke project is an eleven-song indie/acoustic album which draws on a wealth of influences, including traditional folk songs and the more contemporary work of artists like Iron & Wine and Fleet Foxes.

Samuel Klein, ‘19: The Man Who Never Smiles Mentor: Kevin Plunkett, ’95 | Executive Producer, Jigsaw Productions Sam Klein is a political science major from Pelham, NY. His project, The Man who Never Smiles, is a neo-western/sci-fi/fantasy pilot script.

Zaire McPhearson, ‘20: Cultural Metamorphosis Mentor: Jon-Sesrie Goff, MFA ’16 | Executive Director, The Flaherty Zaire is a multimedia artist from the Queen City of Charlotte, North Carolina pursuing an MFA|EDA. The project is a series of digital images and sculptural works that display the different stages from caterpillar to butterfly; the body of work explores how Black culture has been altered to portray a different message throughout history.

Valerie Muensterman, ‘20: Did You Forget Your Name? Mentor: Julien Thuan, ’97 | Partner and Co-Head, Motion Picture Literary Department, United Talent Agency Valerie is from Evansville, Indiana studying English and Theater Studies. Her StudioDuke project is a coming-of-age story following Charlene, a 13-year-old with a severe stutter, whose life changes directions after witnessing a fatal train accident in which she is unable to call for help.

Emily Otero, ‘20: The Eye of Arctos Mentor: Hilary N. Huskey, ’11 | Visiting Assistant Professor, NCCU Emily is from Miami Beach studying Computer Science and English. Her project is a fantasy horror visual novel called The Eye of Arctos, which follows the story of a young woman who works as the executioner for a malevolent eldritch god.

James Robinson, ‘20: We See the Change Mentor: Ryan White, ’04 | Director/Executive Producer, Tripod Media James is from Portland, ME and is majoring in Environmental Science and Policy with a Certificate in Documentary Studies. His StudioDuke project is a short film about the impacts of climate change and land loss on native tribes in Southern Louisiana.

Iliana Sun, ‘20: Heartless Mentor: Amy Gravitt, ’95 | EVP Comedy Programming, HBO Iliana is first year grad student from China and has lived in Germany. Sun is working on a sci-fi romance feature length film called Heartless.

Sheridan Wilbur, ‘19: At Will Mentor: Greg Veis, ’03 | Executive Editor, HuffPost Highline Sheridan Wilbur hails from North Smithfield, Rhode Island and is finishing her degrees in Political Science, Psychology and a certificate in Ethics & Society. She partnered with Mathilda Christensson to write, edit and publish At Will, an 88 page print and eprint magazine.

Spring 2018 STUDENTS
These Duke students were accepted into the StudioDuke program for the inaugural Spring 2018 cohort.

Christopher Ames ’20
Project: RobArt (A.I. + robotics)
Mentor: Ezra Kucharz

Jillian Apel ‘18
Project: TV Pilot (screenplay)
Mentor: Lisa Katz

Cameron Beach ‘20
Project: Documentary
Mentor: Dave Karger

John Benhart, ‘19 & Garrett Post, ‘18
Project: Patients (TV show)
Mentor: Amy Gravitt

Nicole Blake ’18
Project: professional sports reel
Mentor: Sean McManus

Tristan Bouan ‘18
Project: Trainhopper (scripted feature)
Mentor: Steve Zapotoczny

Caroline Brockett ’20 & Alexandra Davis ‘20
Project: The Coven (digital publication)
Mentor: Pola Changnon

Lanre Danmola ’18
Project: Warren (screenplay)
Mentor: Julien Thuan

Will Francis ’19
Project: Bennie (play)
Mentor: David Garfinkle

Brooks Fredrickson ’22 (graduate student)
Project: album of chamber works
Mentor: Penka Kouneva, Bobby Rosenbloum

Alex Gonzalez ‘18
Project: TV Comedy (screenplay)
Mentor: Kevin Plunkett

Michael Ivory, Jr. ‘18
Project: poetry, non-fiction essays
Mentor: Chuck Adams

Thomas Li, 2018
Project: Coup (screenplay)
Mentor: Brandt Joel

Jacqueline Monetta ‘18
Project: Escape from Tehran (screenplay)
Mentor: Ryan White

Cara O’Malley ‘18
Project: Artificial (young adult sci-fi novel)
Mentor: Christina Baker Kline

Jackson Prince ’19
Project: 1600 Vine (original musical)
Mentor: Charles Randolph-Wright

Omo Sanusi ‘21
Project: novella
Mentor: Greg Veis

Harini Sridhar ’18
Project: children’s pop-up book
Mentor: Dani Zapotoczny

Madeline Taylor ‘17
Project: web series (screenplay)
Mentor: Peter Friedlander

Kobi Theiler, ’18
Project: Crimewarp Inc. (animated TV series)
Mentor: Stephen Zapotoczny

Robin Wang ‘19
Project: Switch (sci-fi short)
Mentor: Mark Vahradian

StudioDuke is a collaboration between Duke I&E, DukeArts and DEMAN, and has been made possible by a generous gift from Clifford Chanler (T’82).

For more information about StudioDuke, please contact:

Logo for Duke Arts
Logo for DEMAN
Logo for Duke I&E