Project Search

phone: 919-684-3511 | email: |




program email:

From the moment I stepped out onto Chapel Drive, Project Search gave me immediate access to a tight-knit group of mentors and friends, thus easing much of my anxiety about starting college. It also gave me a firsthand look into what real academic labs and research are like. P-Search helped guide my budding scientific passions at Duke.”

Connor King, P-Search Sciences Participant, Class 0f 2019

P-Search gave me the opportunity to learn about the world-class resources at Duke and get to know the city (and food) of Durham. More importantly, P-Search gave me a community that, years later, is still like family.”

Amanda Conti, P-Search Humanities Participant, Class of 2020

Questions or Concerns:

If you have questions about the program, please email our student directors Lexy Markunas, Molly Chakraborty and Satya Khurana at General questions about the pre-orientation experience can be directed to Jordan Hale in the New Student Programs office at or via phone at 919-684-8573.  


Feel free to like “pSearch” on Facebook, join our group “pSearch 2020”, and follow us on Instagram @psearchduke. Please remember to check your Duke emails frequently for updates regarding the program. We can’t wait to meet you!


The Mission of pSearch

We are very excited that you have chosen to join us for our program this summer! Our mission is to equip incoming first years with opportunities and resources to cultivate their intellectual curiosity and form meaningful relationships with faculty and fellow students. We believe you can help us accomplish this, and we all look forward to what this new program format holds.

  • Humanities disciplines broadly include: economics, philosophy, classics, history, linguistics, political science, etc.
  • Science disciplines broadly include: biology, physics, chemistry, engineering, neuroscience, etc.


In-Person Program

You’ll meet your fellow pSearch participants for breakfast in the morning, then the two tracks will split, with the sciences track going to the lab and the humanities track going to the library.

In the lab, you’ll work with Dr. Spana, a Biology Professor with a passion for Star Wars and Harry Potter. You’ll spend the morning going through a procedure to extract and purify DNA from a soil sample. Not too far away, in the library, the humanities students will work with Dr. Stern, a History Professor with a passion for cartography. After hearing about what humanities research entails, you’ll explore the depths of the library’s resources and begin to develop your own research question. In the middle of the day, you’ll take a break for lunch and listen to a professor speak about their research. At the end of the day, the two tracks convene for dinner. You’ll walk to dinner in Durham to explore the local cuisine. After dinner, you’ll have a night full of activities, including roller skating, board games, or a water balloon fight, allowing time to bond with the other participants. After all, building community is our main goal!

For more information on Project Search, feel free to explore their website by clicking here.

While we are still working out the details of our program, the general structure each day will be the following:

  • A community building session with your crew that includes activities so we can get to know each other and foster a sense of camaraderie among the participants.
  • A resources talk aiming to introduce students to research opportunities at Duke and the resources available to support students while pursuing these opportunities
  • A research talk by a professor, group of faculty, or even a panel who will talk about how they got where they are today and what they currently research. 
  • An optional game/movie, creating an opportunity for us to come together in the evening for additional activities including virtual escape rooms, board games, and trivia.