NCCU Students Reflect on Duke Internship Experiences

Three North Carolina Central University (NCCU) students and one UNC-Charlotte student completed internships this year as part of the Duke-NCCU Bridge Office Internship Program. The scholars presented on their internship experiences during the program’s closing ceremony in April.

The Bridge Office collaborates with various partners to provide NCCU students and underrepresented students from other universities with work experiences in Duke offices and clinical research spaces, connections to professional development resources, matchmaking with mentors, and individualized coaching expertise. Since the program's initiation, 30 students have completed internships.

“Working with and supporting the interns in one of our most important priorities in the Bridge Office,” said Bryan Batch, MD, MHS, faculty director of the Duke-NCCU Bridge Office. “Witnessing the collaboration between mentors and interns and personal growth of the interns is gratifying.”

This year, the office collaborated with Duke Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and the NCCU Department of Psychology to place this cohort of students in internships.   

“It is so wonderful to have Duke Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and NCCU Psychology as supportive, dedicated partners for the internship experience,” said Lisa Davis, PhD, MSPH, director of operations for the Duke-NCCU Bridge Office. “The Bridge Office is thrilled to see this partnership flourish, and it is clear that interns are benefitting at multiple levels from their research and professional development experiences.”

Lianna Davis, a UNC-Charlotte student studying biology and business administration, found value in the internship program as an experience to help her learn more about careers in clinical and psychiatric research.

“I was exposed to many people in psychiatry and attended a conference that showed me the different types of research that people in psychiatry do which was awesome,” Davis said. “I learned about career options in medicine and the pathways needed to get there.  I never thought about a MD/PHD option before this internship but now I am seriously considering it.”

Deanna Floyd, who presented during the last internship closing ceremony in August 2023, had her internship extended through the spring 2024 semester. Floyd found her experience in the program to be inclusive and welcoming. Her participation in the program coincided with her completion of her master’s in social work at NCCU.

“Throughout my time in this program I took full advantage of the opportunities for research experience, and exposure to careers within the psychiatric and neuroscience fields,” Floyd said. “Before this program I never considered these fields but now I am.”

Launched in 2021, the Duke-NCCU Bridge Office is designed to create multidisciplinary opportunities for collaboration between Duke and NCCU, enrich interprofessional education and workforce development opportunities for trainees, and advance clinical research by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships amongst the Duke University & Health Care System, NCCU, and the communities they serve.

“I am grateful for the opportunity the students receive from the Duke-NCCU Bridge Office internships,” said Seronda Robinson, PhD, MS, professor of public health education at NCCU. “It is a great experience that allows them to develop skills and establish networks that can significantly benefit their careers. I also see their confidence and personalities flourishing from the support of their peers and mentors.”