Outreach Opportunities Across the Triangle

Duke Biology is committed to increasing access to biology for students of all backgrounds, particularly for marginalized and/or underrepresented minorities in STEM. The outreach efforts listed below are some of the ways faculty and students have engaged with the community through biology. If you are interested in participating in one of these outreach efforts or want to learn more, check each program's website. If you know of another program that is not included in this list, contact us!

girl looking in microscope

Community Days

Darwin Day Road Show 

Run by TriCEM, to coincide with Darwin’s birthday on February 12th, scientists travel across North Carolina to bring evolutionary science to schools and communities. There is no cost to teachers or schools, and we even leave behind a collection of evolution teaching resources. We work with host teachers to design an event that best serves their school and community. There is no “typical” visit; both the topic and the format are flexible to meet specific needs. Please visit the website to learn more about becoming a teacher or a participant.

Duke Splash 

Splash is an educational initiative that allows middle school and high school students to participate in small, interactive seminars designed and taught by passionate Duke students. These seminars cover a wide range of topics, and we’re proud to offer everything from Genome Sequencing to Disney Movie Culture. All of these classes take place on Duke’s campus during the Fall and Spring semesters. Please visit the website to learn more about becoming a teacher or a participant.

After/In-School Programming

Letters to a Pre-Scientist 

The mission of Letters to a Pre-Scientist is to facilitate one-on-one connections to humanize STEM professionals, demystify STEM career pathways, and inspire all students to explore a future in STEM. The Letters to a Pre-Scientist pen pal program, or LPS, pairs fifth to tenth grade student “pre-scientists” in US low-income communities with STEM professional volunteers during science class. LPS facilitates individualized interactions rather than full-class activities or guest speakers. This allows for meaningful interactions with a role model over time.

Skype a Scientist 

Skype a Scientist creates a database of thousands of scientists and helps them connect with teachers, classrooms, groups, and the public all over the globe. We want to give students the opportunity to get to know a real scientist and get the answers to their questions straight from the source. Share your research and experiences with these communities!


FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science) is an organization that works with 4th-12th grade girls to get them excited about STEM! Our goal is to encourage young girls to become involved in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through our activities and programming. We hope that through these activities, students are empowered to learn and build confidence that will continue to serve them long after they leave FEMMES. FEMMES adheres to and complies with Duke University’s anti-discrimination policy. Our After-School and Saturday programs involve hosting experiments and activities for 4th-6th grade girls, and our FEMMES Connect Program works with 7th-12th grade girls and pairs them with Duke student mentors. We also host two one-day programs, FEMMESHacks and FEMMES Capstone, during the year. Volunteer registration is open at the beginning of each semester for our After-School/Saturday and FEMMES Connect programs. 

Duke Science Olympiad

Science Olympiad is an undergraduate organization at Duke that is dedicated to improving and expanding the experience of high school students in Science Olympiad. Our activities include volunteering at local Science Olympiad competitions and organizing a high school invitational. 2021 will be our third year holding the tournament! Within Science Olympiad are many opportunities regarding Biology, with events such as Protein Modeling, Anatomy and Physiology, Disease Detectives, and more! These events engage both high school students and Duke undergraduates to dive deeper into these biology topics and their applications. If you would like to get involved as a high school team or as a volunteer, email us or check out our website! 

Duke Health and STEM Connect

DHSC partners with the Durham Public School system to leave long-lasting, positive impacts on future scientists. Our mission is to encourage scientific exploration and inquiry in local Durham schools through interactive demonstrations, field trips as well as academic and professional mentorship. We are in a pilot partnership with Hillside High School and Lowe’s Grove Middle School, with plans to expand to more locales in the future. DHSC is currently adapting to provide virtual interactions this year. 

Duke BOOST - Building Opportunities and Overtures in Science and Technology

BOOST is a multidimensional program, serving Durham Public Schools students in 5th through 8th grades. The program is designed to excite young people about science and inspire them to pursue careers in medicine and related fields. BOOST serves underrepresented minorities including African American, Latinx, and Indigenous students; girls; and kids from economically challenged backgrounds.  BOOST is situated within Duke University School of Medicine’s Multicultural Resource Center.

Lesson Development


The free SciREN Triangle networking event provides a networking opportunity for educators and researchers. At SciREN events, researchers share K-12 classroom-ready lesson plans that are based on their current research and adhere to state and national educational standards. The SciREN Triangle networking event is held at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC. Additionally, SciREN gives scientists and educators opportunities to arrange classroom visits and to collaborate on curriculum development.

Summer Opportunities

Duke Innoworks  

Innoworks is a week-long STEM summer camp held at Duke during O-week for local middle school students. The camp is free of charge, targeting kids who qualify for free and reduced lunch. We serve between 30 to 40 students, and a majority of them return every year.  An overarching theme encourages these students to continue pursuing STEM fields and higher education. We visit Duke labs, set off homemade bottle rockets on Science Drive, learn how to code, build Rube Goldberg machines, and more! If you're interested in getting involved in the local Durham community, mentoring, building leadership skills, and engaging with STEM subjects, we'd love for you to join us!


SALUD was originally founded to give Latinx students at the City of Medicine Academy the opportunity to explore medical training, meet medical students and learn from healthcare professionals in settings that consider their backgrounds and communities. The program has expanded to a 12-session curriculum that addresses social determinants of health disparities through a social justice lens, while retaining a focus on health technology, science, and college access. All 11th grade Latinx students in Durham, NC are eligible to apply!