A young student presents his research on a poster board

Hank & Billye Suber Aaron Young Scholars Summer Research Institute

Program Description

The Young Scholars Summer Research Institute is a three-week program that provides high school students enrolled in Durham Public Schools (DPS) with training to enhance their writing, research, and presentation skills. The program is sponsored by the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University in partnership with Durham Public Schools (DPS). In keeping with the Samuel DuBois Cook Center’s central mission as a community of scholars engaged in the study of the causes and consequences of inequality, program participants explore curriculum related to the economic, social, and political dimensions of inequality.

During the Young Scholars Summer Research Institute, students receive instruction from distinguished teachers, university professors, and leaders from community organizations.

The program’s main focus is on the development of the students’ research, writing, presentation, and critical-inquiry skills, culminating in a capstone presentation of students’ individual or group research projects.

Program Information


  • Enhance student research, writing, and presentation skills within an academically high-achieving environment
  • Facilitate student ownership of learning and develop tools for critical inquiry
  • Foster collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to the study of the causes and consequences of inequality
  • Enable student production of individual research related to the varied causes and consequences of inequality and possible remedies for achieving equity and social justice (involving the intersections of class, income, wealth, gender, race, health, law, employment, and education)
  • Identify and recruit the next generation of scholars engaged in the study of inequality and design of remedies for addressing group-based disparities and conflicts.


  • Programming: The dates for the 2024 program are July 8th-August 2nd, and the capstone is August 5th.
  • Location: Duke University
  • Food: Breakfast and lunch are provided while on site.
  • Cost: Free.
  • Requirement: Young Scholars Summer Research Institute participants must be currently enrolled in Durham Public Schools and the ninth, tenth, or eleventh grade.

Administration and Faculty

Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity
  • William A. Darity, Program Founder
  • Gwendolyn Wright, Program Administrator
  • JoAnn O’Neal, Business Manager
  • Kennedy Ruff, Program Coordinator
Durham Public Schools
  • Keaundra Robinson, Co-Program Liaison; Equity Leadership and Strategy Coordinator with Durham Public Schools
  • Iwinosa Idahor, Co-Program Liaison; Student Equity, Engagement and Opportunity Coordinator with Durham Public Schools

Application & Deadline

We will be accepting and reviewing applications until April 2024.

Please fill out the link below, and if you have any questions, please email Program Coordinator Ms. Kennedy Ruff at

Application Link

Dr. Lauren Russell behind a podium
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2023 Young Scholars Capstone Conference

On July 31, 2023, the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University hosted its eighth annual Hank & Billye Suber Aaron Young Scholars Research Institute Capstone Conference. This event took place at the JB Duke Hotel where families, Duke faculty, and DPS teachers/officials gathered to engage with the scholars’ research.

What People Are Saying

“It was a total success and I know that the Young Scholars are motivated to become activist and change agents for social justice. Thank you again for this amazing program.”

Young Scholars Parent

“I enjoyed being in the 3rd year cohort and digging deeper into my topic. I also appreciate working with all of the teachers and staff of the institute."

Young Scholars Student

“Keep up the great work. You are creating future leaders who will understand the key issues impacting our community.”

Young Scholars Parent

“Although hesitant at first, my student thoroughly enjoyed himself, and he was excited to tell us about his daily work and learned information that is helpful to him. He was nervous about presenting, however he became more confident and did well.”

Young Scholars Parent

“My favorite part of the institute was watching the change in the depth of conversation with my student.”

Young Scholars Parent

It was really important to me that I finished the Social Equity Program and through your help, I was able to do so. This program has taught me so much and has even played a major impact on my future career goals.

Young Scholars Graduate

“I enjoyed hearing from everyone [at the Capstone] and the topics are all relevant and timely.”

Young Scholars Parent

“The teachers and staff are supportive and transparent. The village concept is working!”

Young Scholars Parent

My student blossomed under tutelage received. The boost to their confidence and ability to work with like minded young people has made for a wondrous experience. Thank you, for your efforts and commitment. These students benefited and our community will continue to benefit.

Young Scholars Parent