2014 Winter Forum – “Rethink Education: the Innovation Challenge”

January 5 - January 7, 2014

img_1274Duke Students Make Gifts to Nonprofits in N.C. and India

Tulipdale Public School in Kolkata, India, two North Carolina public schools, a local bike co-op and a Durham children’s program will receive cash gifts from Duke student teams that won top honors at the 2014 Duke Winter Forum. (At left: students at Tulipdale Public School.)

In addition to Tulipdale, awards will also go to the Durham Bike Co-op, Lowe’s Grove Middle School in Durham, Walnut Creek Elementary School in Raleigh and the East Durham Children’s Initiative. All were chosen by the winning Winter Forum teams, comprised of Duke undergraduates.

Duke junior Max Ramseyer and his teammates captured third place and the “People’s Choice” award for a proposal that uses bicycle repair to illustrate basic science concepts.  The program, called “Gearing Up,” targets middle school students.

Ramseyer’s team is awarding gifts of $500 each two local nonprofits, the Durham Bike Co-op and the East Durham Children’s Initiative. The bike co-op offers bike repair workshops, while EDCI works to better the lives of children in a 120-block area of East Durham. While the size of the gifts is relatively modest, Ramseyer said his team hopes the donations help launch a continuing relationship. He says his team hopes to work with both local organizations in coming months, as the Duke students refine their proposal.

“We’re very interested in making ‘Gearing Up” a reality,” Ramseyer said.

img_1252A tutoring program called “Learning is My Job” won second place in the Winter Forum competition. The proposal calls for hiring middle-school students to tutor younger children, in order to increase the perceived value of education in India, encourage students to stay in school and supplement classroom science and math instruction. The winners donated their $1,000 award to Tulipdale Public School, a high-needs elementary school in Kolkata, India. (At left: a Tulipdale Public School student drafts a conservation message.)
At the 2014 Winter Forum, called “Rethink Education: the Innovation Challenge,” 12 teams of Duke undergraduates competed to create the best proposals  for improving science and math education in the U.S. and India. The students worked into the wee hours to craft their proposals in just 48 hours.

Inspired by a roster of guest speakers that included former N.C. governors James B. Hunt, Jr. and Beverly Perdue, the students outlined visions for several new education initiatives. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges that included a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, a Congressional policy aide, a foundation representative and an education policy expert.Watch Video: "The Week at Duke"

Rethink Education was hosted by Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy and co-sponsored by the Duke Office of Undergraduate Education and the Duke Program in Education.

A full list of the winners is below.


Winter Forum Award Winners

First Prize: “StemPals.” The team split its award between two N.C. public schools. Walnut Creek Elementary in Raleigh received $875. Lowe’s Grove Middle School in Durham also received a gift of $875.

Second Prize: “Learning is My Job.” The team donated its cash award of $1,ooo to Tulipdale Public School in Kolkata, India.

Third Prize and People’s Choice Awards: “Gearing Up.” The team split its winnings between two Durham organizations. The Durham Bike Co-op received a $500 award. The East Durham Children’s Initiative also received a $500 gift.


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