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.

Read about scholar Judah Canon’s experience with us this past summer here.

Program Goals

  • 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.

Program 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
  • Daniel Kelvin Bullock, Program Liaison; Executive Director for Equity Affairs with Durham Public Schools
  • Keaundra Robinson, Co- Liason; Equity Leadership and Strategy Coordinator with Durham Public Schools
  • Iwinosa Idahor, Co-Liasion; Student Equity, Engagement and Opportunity Coordinator with Durham Public Schools

Program Information

  • Programming: The dates for the 2024 program are July 8th – August 2nd, and the capstone is August 5th.
  • Location: Duke University
  • Transportation: Provided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Food: Breakfast and lunch are provided while on site.
  • Cost: Free.

Application & Deadline

We will be accepting and reviewing applications on a rolling basis until March 2024. Young Scholars Summer Research Institute participants must be enrolled in Durham Public Schools and enter the ninth, tenth, eleventh grade, or rising twelve graders. Please fill out the application link below, and if you have any questions, please email

Apply Here for the 2024 Young Scholars Program:

Young Scholars Summer Research Institute participants must be currently enrolled in Durham Public Schools and entering the ninth, tenth, or eleventh grade.

2022 Young Scholars Capstone Conference

On July, 25, 2022, the Duke University Samuel Dubois Cook Center on Social Equity hosted its eighth annual Hank and Billye Suber Aaron Young Scholars Research Institute. This event took place at the Washington Duke Inn where families, Duke faculty, and DPS teachers/officials gathered to engage with the scholar’s 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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

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

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

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

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.

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.