What is DTech?

What is DTech?

Duke students in computer science classThe Duke Technology Scholars Program is a comprehensive effort to inspire a more diverse group of Duke students to choose careers in computer science and electrical & computer engineering. Our goal is to create a pipeline of tech-savvy individuals who will thrive in an industry that is the backbone of our society and economy. The program centers around the idea that relationships, mentorship and hands-on experience make the difference in recruiting and retaining such individuals in technology fields. DTech is a partnership between Duke's Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and Pratt School of Engineering through our departments of computer science, and electrical & computer engineering.

The program starts with a personal and professional development leadership day. Each scholar is then paired with a one-on-one mentor from the tech world who will help extend her individual technical skills, build confidence and professional networks, and help her envision how to create a rewarding career. Groups of scholars will live together throughout the summer, sharing experiences, learning together, and participating in summer programming with technology industry leaders. Internships with Silicon Valley or Research Triangle Park technology companies--many of whom include Duke University Alumni-- give DTech Scholars the opportunity to discover their potential to have an impact in the tech industry.

Program Features

  • 12-14 weeks of a paid internship
  • Professional and personal development leadership training
  • Housing with other Duke interns provided during the internship
  • One-on-one mentorship with experienced tech leaders
  • Networking events to meet top venture capitalists and industry leaders
  • Cultural and social events with Duke University alums
  • Exposure to high-tech companies and recruiters
  • Dedicated support and guidance throughout the year

Why Do We Need a DTech Program?

We launched DTech in 2016 in part because the tech industry has experienced a precipitous national decline in women and diverse populations majoring in computing disciplines. For example,  just one in four individuals working in the profession is female. Looking closer to home, we saw that although diverse groups of undergraduates started out choosing courses in computing, something happened along the way -- and fewer than we hoped actually chose careers in tech. We believe that intervention as early as possible in a student's academic career is critical for retaining such individuals in tech majors. A key challenge we have to overcome is sustaining students' interest and enthusiasm for tech throughout four years of college. By providing these signature DTech mentorships and internship opportunities as early as sophomore year, the DTech Scholars program increases the probability that these individuals will choose tech for their careers and ultimately thrive in the tech industry.

Fast Facts

Silicon Valley, California

Silicon Valley is a nickname for the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The area is home to many large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers and many of the world's largest high-tech corporations, including the headquarters of 39 businesses in the Fortune 1000, and thousands of startup companies. Silicon Valley also accounts for one-third of all of the venture capital investment in the United States, which has helped it to become a leading hub and startup ecosystem for high-tech innovation and scientific development. It was in the Valley that the silicon-based integrated circuit, the microprocessor, and the microcomputer, among other key technologies, were developed. As of 2013, the region employed about a quarter of a million information technology workers.

Explore Silicon Valley startups and other companies in the valley. "Silicon Valley" actually includes the Santa Clara Valley, the city of San Jose and surrounding cities and towns, the southern half of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo County, and southern portions of the East Bay in Alameda County.

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina

Starting in 2018, DTech will be placing scholars in tech companies in the 7,000 acre Research Triangle Park (RTP). RTP is one of the largest research parks in the world. It is named for the three hub cities of Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill, or more properly for the three major research universities in those three cities (Duke University, NC State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill respectively). The Research Triangle region of North Carolina received its name as an extension of the name of the park.

The park is home to over 200 companies employing 50,000 workers and 10,000 contractors, including the second largest IBM operation in the world. Check out the RTP Company directory.

chifamoChicago, Illinois

In Summer 2018, Chicago will be home to some DTech scholars. The diversity of Chicago’s economy is a chief strength as a startup hub. The city is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies in industries ranging from transportation and logistics to manufacturing, insurance, finance, retail, publishing and food processing. A new report from KPMG surveyed more than 800 tech leaders and found that Chicago is in the top 10 of tech innovation hubs worldwide. Chicago's growing technology pipeline boasts coding schools and universities with strong programs, making it an attractive place to move for young innovators and early career professionals. In 2015, Chicago startups raised a whopping $1.7 billion, and it's now home to five privately held companies who have received fundings at valuations of a billion dollars or more.

Ongoing Innovation on Campus

Back on Duke's campus in Durham, North Carolina, leading faculty researchers are working together to make both Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering more appealing to women through hands-on curricula that focuses on real-world impact. And, we are deepening advising and cultivating a sense of belonging and community as key elements in our quest to recruit and retain women undergraduates.