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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources for Students

Duke University and the Pratt School of Engineering offer many resources to encourage diversity, equity and inclusion.

From school-wide gatherings to professional groups for students traditionally underrepresented in engineering, you'll find dozens of opportunities to engage with fellow engineers and make friends across our diverse community.

See our calendar of events »

Inclusive Community Activities

For all students, our biggest community-building experiences are:

Pratt & Chat: Every Friday afternoon during the academic year, the Duke Engineering graduate student community gathers to socialize. It’s a great opportunity to meet many people with diverse interests and backgrounds who make up Duke Engineering.

Campout: For grad students, there’s nothing like it: the annual campout brings graduate students throughout Duke together for 36 hours with the goal being an opportunity to buy season tickets to Duke men’s basketball games.

Student Groups: Duke Engineering also offers a wide array of student groups that bring together undergraduate and graduate students together around common personal and professional interests.

Mentoring Programs

Engineering a Community logo

Engineering a Community

Our "Engineering a Community" mentoring program seeks to create a more vibrant and inclusive community at Pratt by connecting undergraduate students from historically underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds with engineering master's and PhD student mentors. 

The program provides students with a system of support and encouragement, and as well as the opportunity to connect and network with someone who has been exactly where you are and successfully navigated the path that you are undertaking. 

All participants gather a few times a year for a social, with mentor-mentee pairs meeting regularly throughout the academic year. To learn more, contact the Director of Diversity & Inclusion in Engineering.

Engineering societies for underrepresented students

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE): The Duke Society of Black Engineers focuses on increasing the number of successful Black engineers at Duke University, and on growing a network among students, alumni and other undergraduate engineers within the Triangle area. NSBE's mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.

oSTEM: The Duke chapter of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM) is a LGBTQ+ affirming organization that aims to provide services and support for students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to create a dynamic network between students and professionals in industry and academia.

Out For Undergrad (O4U): Out for Undergrad is a national professional development program to help high-performing LGBTQ undergraduate students reach their full potential. Admitted O4U students take part in professional meetings produced with industry partners. Applications to join the next O4U annual class open each March.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE): The Duke chapter of SHPE was formed to serve as role models in the Hispanic community. Networking was the key basis for the organization. Nationally, SHPE enjoys a strong but independent network of professional and student chapters throughout the country.

Society of Women Engineers (SWE): The Duke Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers seeks to serve as a center of information on women in engineering at Duke University; encourage women engineers to attain high levels of education and professional achievement; and inform young women, their parents, counselors, and the general public of the qualifications and achievements of women engineers and the opportunities open to them. Nationally, SWE is a not-for-profit educational and service organization promoting engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women.

See more student groups at Duke Engineering »

for graduate students 

In addition to the groups listed above, Duke is home to several organizations focused on underrepresented graduate students in engineering and the sciences. Visit our Graduate Student pages to learn more, meet some of our current grad students and learn about recruitment incentives, scholarships and fellowships available at Duke Engineering.

See diversity resources for graduate students »

Diversity & Inclusion Events

The Lanthanide Series. USA. Erin Espelie & The last Nomad. China. Liu Zhuang.

7:00 am to 8:30 am Online

The Lanthanide Series. Erin Espelie. 2014, 70 minutes, Color, Sound, HD digital video & 16mm film mastered to DCP From the portals of personal computing devices to ancient obsidian mirrors, optical instruments control how people see, foresee, frame, record, and remember their lives. The Lanthanide Series meditates on how we understand the world through such material means, with a reliance on history, the Periodic Table, and the people we love. The last Nomad. Liu Zhuwang. 2019. 8' In the face of climate change and environmental degradation, the herdsmen of Sanjiangyuan at the Longge Village began to protect their land, spontaneously. They are now taking photography to document their flying way of life, through their own eyes and photo lenses.

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Aaron McDuffie Moore, MD: The Story of Durham's First Black Physician and Founder of Lincoln Hospital

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Zoom

Presenter: C. Eileen Watts Welch, Blake Hill-Saya, Damon Tweedy, MD

Join us for a conversation about the impact of the life of Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore (1863-1923) on the health of Durham's Black residents. Panelists will discuss his role as a pioneering physician, educator, and driving force behind the establishment of Lincoln Hospital, the first secular, freestanding African American hospital in North Carolina. They will also explore Dr. Moore's legacy for our current times. C. Eileen Watts Welch is the President & CEO of the Durham Colored Library, Inc. (DCL) one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Durham, NC. Founded by her great grandfather, Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore, chartered in 1918. In 2014, Ms. Welch laid the foundations for beginning a new DCL initiative to research a biography of Dr. Moore's life and work, ultimately written by author Blake Hill-Saya and published in 2020 by UNC Press. Blake Hill-Saya is a biracial writer, verbal branding consultant, and classical musician living in Los Angeles. She is author of the recently published biography, Aaron McDuffie Moore: An African American Physician, Educator, and Founder of Durham's Black Wall Street. Damon Tweedy, MD is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a faculty member of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine. He is author of Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine.

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In Conversation: Tift Merritt & Allison Russell

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Online

Hungry River is a performance collaboration between Tift Merritt, Allison Russell (Our Native Daughters, Birds of Chicago) and playwright and cultural worker Nina Angela Mercer, exploring the emotional history of North Carolina's segregated asylum and the prophetic importance of the people who lived their lives there. Through song and monologue, ceremony and storytelling, this community history helps us understand not only the asylum's past but also how that past informs the ways we view race relations, poverty, criminalized margins, and the stigma of mental illness today. Hungry River began as a collection of objects - a language of abandoned essential knowledge - from asylums across NC. Within were much more than the simplistic diagnoses left in medical archives - sickness, heartbreak, poverty, loss of a child, the war, pregnancy -but appropriate responses to a mad flawed world. A young woman's grave covered in pine branches, a photograph of a WWI veteran in a velvet suit, the hospital brass band, river roots from an unmarked graveyard, a moth caught for decades in an intake record - Hungry River travels lyrical presences in archived materials, buildings, collective memory and a forgotten box of photographs seeking how best to reconnect and care for lost stories.

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The Opportunities of Struggle and What We Will Keep: Faculty Reflection on Lessons Learned During Covid-19

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Register for Zoom link

Our nonprofit and school collaborators report while this year demanded immense creativity and flexibility, new methods of effective outreach emerged and structural inequities were lifted up in public discourse. Engage in a robust conversation and reflection with colleagues to consider how challenges in community engagement led to new learning and unexpected opportunities in the time of Covid-19. As activities return to "normal," what will we keep?

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Faculty Works-in-Progress with Ranji Khanna

1:15 pm to 2:30 pm Zoom

Presenter: Ranji Khanna

Ranjana Khanna proffers the dual concept of Geschlecht-translation in order to reconsider, with Derrida and Laplanche, the role of sexual difference in psychoanalysis. She argues that culturalist notions of gender assignment and the blind spots of Freudian theorizing too often produce a hypostatized and binaristic understanding of sexual difference. Psychoanalysis tends to view sexual differentiation as the ur-difference, one that excludes, even erases other differences such as race, class, sexuality, and ethnicity. It posits the sexed body and the sexual binary as originary, neutral terrains on which gender and other cultural norms are inscribed. Khanna seeks to problematize this neutrality-the zone of indistinction imagined as the polymorphously perverse "sexual"-questioning the neuter status of the signifier itself. Registration is required; however, we encourage anyone interested in the work of English faculty members to participate. Professor Khanna will provide some opening comments at the session, followed by Q&A and open discussion.

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