Duke University — Goal 1 Initiative Keep Exploring
Keep Exploring is an initiative designed to create connections, facilitate learning opportunities, and foster professional experiences among current Duke students and recent graduates.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, job opportunities for both current Duke students and recent graduates looked thin. In response, Duke leveraged its strong alumni and parent network to launch Keep Exploring, an initiative designed to connect students to professional opportunities, mentorship, and other learning experiences over the summer of 2020.
Throughout the summer, students were matched with parent or alumni sponsors in their areas of interest, providing them with work experience and meaningful mentorship. During this pilot phase of Keep Exploring, 449 students were placed in professional opportunities, far exceeding the initial goal of 200 students.
After witnessing the success of the initiative, Duke is now expanding the Keep Exploring program, building a long-term strategic plan to continue engaging students in mentorship and professional experiences. This work will include establishing a set of guidelines for successful mentorship, continuing to foster strong alumni and parent connections, and creating a strategy for funding unpaid student experiences.
The success of the Keep Exploring pilot program required an unprecedented collaboration across many departments university-wide, as well as the support and engagement of alumni around the globe.
Key Interventions and Milestones
During the pilot phase of Keep Exploring, 449 students were connected with professional opportunities. As the initiative expands, Duke will focus on growing in four areas: establishing mentorship guidelines, creating a strategy for funding unpaid work experiences, fostering alumni and parent engagement as sponsors, and leveraging university-wide resources to ensure the success of this program at scale.
Though Keep Exploring was devised to address the unique needs of students during the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative's future will involve growing this program and its mentorship capacity to meet the professional development needs of current students and recent graduates.