On July 30, 2018, the Duke University Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity hosted its fourth annual Capstone Conference for the approximately 60 middle and high school students from Durham Public Schools who participated in this year’s Young Scholars Research Institute.
Each year students are responsible for producing either a group presentation, research poster, or research paper. This year’s student projects ranged from studies on the effects of gentrification on low-income students to sexual assaults and fraternity culture.
Keynote speaker Reginald Bean, the vice president of culture, engagement and stewardship for Coca-Cola Consolidated, spoke to the students about embracing their beginnings and using that to motivate them in the future.
Also present were media and television icon Mrs. Billye Suber Aaron, for whom the program is named along with baseball legend Hank Aaron, and the family of Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook, for whom the Cook Center is named.
“I believe that the YSSRI is doing instrumental work by helping youth of color, queer youth, and poor youth understand that their stories and passions have a place in the academy. In fact, it is what they have to offer that the academy is missing and in desperate need of,” says recent Duke alum, Michael J. Ivory Jr., who co-taught the second-year cohort this summer.