About the Program

The Repass-Rodgers Scholars Program provides Duke University undergraduate students with direct research experience in marine conservation technology. Scholars will acquire the necessary skills to become the next generation of leaders at the nexus of marine science and ocean engineering.

Scholars are trained through small seminar experiences, experiential learning, enhanced faculty-student mentorship, scientific research focused on technology development, and professional development. All scholars are encouraged to spend at least one semester and/or summer term at the Duke University Marine Laboratory (DUML). Each scholar will have funding available for technology development, travel to professional conferences, and Marine Lab travel courses. In addition to the training that they receive, a community of scholars will be developed within each cohort of scholars, among alumni of the program, and with the scholars in the two parallel Marine Lab Scholars programs, the Rachel Carson Scholars and the Scholars in Marine Medicine.

Program Components

Marine lab Research

The Duke University Marine Lab portion of the program involves two components: course work and directed research with a faculty mentor focused on technology development.

  • Scholars will enroll in courses based on their specific interests and needs in satisfying degree requirements; these courses will provide depth of knowledge and experience in a specific area of marine science, conservation, and engineering. 
  • Scholars are expected to carry out technology development in association with the Duke University Marine Lab with their faculty mentor and will be expected to be an active part of their faculty mentor's lab group. We expect that each project will contribute towards Graduation with Distinction or a similarly comprehensive final report and presentation.

Scholars are expected to spend at least one semester (fall, spring, or summer) at the Marine Lab, although we encourage scholars to spend as much time as they would like at the Marine Lab campus.

Scholars will also benefit directly from the use of the Ocean Engineering Collaboratory, a new facility being constructed at the Marine Lab intended specifically for marine engineering and technology development and based on the highly successful Innovation Co-Lab in Durham.

Funding opportunities

Repass-Rodgers Scholars will be eligible to apply for:

  • technology development funding (up to $2,500);
  • conference funding to participate in a professional scientific meeting (up to $1,500); and
  • travel course funding (up to $1,500; funds can be used for technology development funding if not used for travel course).

Professional Development

During the fall semester of their senior year in Durham, Repass-Rodgers Scholars will join the Rachel Carson Scholars and the Scholars in Marine Medicine in bi-weekly seminars, professional development workshops, and networking events. Scholars will benefit from workshops on writing skills, science communication, graduate education, and career opportunities. Senior scholars will also be involved in mentoring the new class of scholars in Durham to prepare them for their Repass-Rodgers Scholars experience and research at the Marine Lab.

Graduation With Distinction

In the spring semester of their senior year in Durham, scholars will participate in writing workshops and will also share their research results by presenting to other scholars. Scholars will write up their research projects as an honors thesis for Graduation with Distinction. The ultimate goal is for publication of their research results in a peer-reviewed journal and/or presentation at a conference.