DTech: Building a Network to Last

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Miranda Volborth

Alanna Robinson was moving to Seattle in just ten days to start a full-time job as a software engineer at Zulily, but she still didn’t have a place to live, she confessed to Maddie Nelson and Robin Lorenzini, two fellow Duke alumnae, on a recent Zoom call.

Lorenzini piped up immediately. “I know of a room in Capitol Hill,” she said. “I can get an air mattress over there tonight.” (Robinson reassured Lorenzini that she was working with a realtor and felt confident she’d find an apartment soon.)

Both Robinson, a recent graduate who majored in electrical and computer engineering, and Nelson, who is an engineer at Microsoft, are alumnae of the Duke Technology Scholars (DTech) program. Since 2016 the program has helped female students studying computer engineering and computer science land internships in the technology sector, connected them with experienced mentors like Lorenzini, and provided housing shared with other program interns. The program started with a single site in Silicon Valley but grew to include Research Triangle Park, Chicago and Seattle.  This summer, due to COVID, 108 DTech Scholars worked from locations all around the world.