Duke students, welcome to your one-stop shop for planning a summer of energy exploration.

Happy Duke students in various internship locales, including a boat in San Francisco, a corporate lobby, mountains, a roof with solar panels, and next to a research poster.

Whether you seek an energy internship, research experience, or service-learning opportunity, this directory has you covered!

The Energy Internship Program connects Duke undergraduate and graduate students from all majors and degree programs to summer internship opportunities across the energy sector, including at start-ups, utilities, renewable energy developers, large firms, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

Qualifying undergraduate and graduate students can also apply for supplementary funding for internship opportunities. The internship does not have to be included on the Energy Initiative's list of opportunities for you to be eligible for funding. Supplementary funding applications are evaluated on a rolling basis; the FINAL DEADLINE for summer 2020 supplementary funding applications has passed.

Duke students who subscribe to the Energy Initiative’s email list will be alerted when internship listings for summer 2021 are available.

The Energy Access Project at Duke has partnered with the Energy Initiative Internship program to ensure that a portion of available funds are reserved for remote internships that relate to energy access in low- and middle-income countries. To be considered, students should apply via the Energy Internship Program once they have offer letters; applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis.Learn more about opportunites and apply for funding.

Duke undergrads interested in taking summer 2020 courses related to energy can find a list of courses below:

Extractive EconomiesExtractive Economies (HISTORY/ENERGY/ENVIRON 390S)
Instructor: Tom Cinq-Mars
Meeting times: M, Tu, W, Th, F
2-3:15 p.m., Summer Term I
View a past syllabus (includes course description)


Energy and the EnvironmentEnergy and the Environment (ENVIRON/EOS/ENERGY 231)
Instructor: Jun Shepard
Meeting times: M, Tu, W, Th, F
:30-10:45 a.m., Summer Term II
View a past syllabus (includes course description)


Find these courses listed in DukeHub.

Sustainable Duke has launched the Trillium Student Research Initiative to bring students and faculty together to incorporate sustainability learning outcomes into Duke's course offerings. Selected faculty are awarded with a fully funded student researcher for the summer to assist in the development of integrating sustainability into their existing or new courses. Students must commit to working 35 hours a week for 8-11 weeks. 

The deadline for student and faculty applications for summer 2020 (Feb. 16) has passed. Learn more

Data+ is a 10-week summer research experience that welcomes Duke undergraduates interested in exploring new data-driven approaches to interdisciplinary challenges. Students join small project teams, collaborating with other teams in a communal environment. They learn how to marshal, analyze, and visualize data, while gaining broad exposure to the modern world of data science. Applications are due on Feb. 27, 2020.

Three Data+ projects offered in summer 2020 will focus on energy: 

Deep Learning for Rare Energy Infrastructures in Satellite Imagery
Satellite over the USAA team of students led by researchers in the Energy Data Analytics Lab, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and with participation from the Energy Access Project will investigate how to use synthetically-generated satellite imagery to improve the identification of energy infrastructure in satellite imagery. The detected energy infrastructure will fill outstanding data gaps in the ability to identify pathways for electrification in low-income countries. The team will build the foundation for research that can identify objects that appear relatively rarely in satellite imagery and accomplish this using very limited training examples by creating realistic synthetic 3D models of those rare objects. This would greatly scale up the applicability of computer vision techniques for energy object identification in overhead imagery.
Project Lead:  Kyle Bradbury

Taking electrification on the road: Exploring the impact of the Electric Farm Equipment roadshow
Example of electric advertisementA team of students led by researchers in the Energy Initiative and the Energy Access Project will explore historical data on the U.S. Electric Farm Equipment (EFE) demonstration show that ran between 1939 and 1941, which aimed to increase usage of electricity in rural areas. Students will compile data collected by the Rural Electrification Agency into a machine-readable form, and then use that data to explore and visualize the EFE’s impact. If time allows, they will then compare data from the EFE and a related, smaller-scale project from 1923 (“Red Wing Project”) to current data on appliance promotion programs in villages in East Africa that have recently gained access to electricity. The outcomes of this analysis would offer evidence on the successes and limitations of these types of programs, and the relevance of the historical U.S. case to countries that are currently facing similar challenges.
Project Leads: Victoria Plutshack, Jonathon Free, Robert Fetter

Forecasting campus energy usage for improved energy management
Duke site plansA team of students led by the Data and Analytics Practice at OIT will develop a robust forecasting model for predicting energy usage for different facilities on campus. Students will explore a wide range of real-world time-series data challenges from anomaly detection as well as handling, to benchmarking traditional statistical and modern machine learning models for forecasting. Students will also gain valuable experience developing an interactive application with latest open source libraries converting Jupyter notebooks into web applications to facilitate effective stakeholder collaboration. This work will enable several critical analyses for Duke Facilities Management to optimize their operations and significantly reduce costs.
Projects Leads: John Haws, Gagandeep Kaur

Story+ is a 6-week paid summer research experience for Duke undergraduate and graduate students interested in exploring humanities research approaches. The deadline for summer 2020 Story+ applications (Feb. 14) has passed. 

Two of the projects recruiting team members for summer 2020 are focused on energy topics: 

Body Work: Reanimating Policy Responses to Coal Mining Disasters
Illustrated coal miner holding up an anthromorphised coal mineImage from Coal Age (July 1947), pg. 80.

During this collision of artistic and academic energies, students will examine U.S. policy responses to significant coal mining disasters during the 20th Century and experiment with methods of processing their research through dance. Drawing on evidence such as transcripts of Congressional hearings, federal reports explaining the causes of disasters, and oral histories with coal miners and their families, students will employ content analysis methods to answer two primary questions: how were the narratives used to explain each disaster constructed? And how did those narratives influence policy that aimed to prevent similar catastrophes in the future

At the same time, dance artist, educator, and researcher Justin Tornow will introduce the students to embodiment methods, which will include an introduction to somatic practices, structured improvisations for movement and spatial orientation, and the use of chance operations. By the end of the six-week term, students will draw on these tools to compose a post-modern movement performance that communicates both their research and the results of including embodiment as one of their methodological cornerstones. Through this unique research experience, students will investigate themes such as the politics of expertise, the role of focusing events and class and gender-based power dynamics in policymaking, the impact of embodiment on academic inquiry and communication, and the alienation of human bodies from processes of energy production in fossil-fueled societies like the modern U.S.
Project Sponsors: Dr. Jonathon Free (Duke University Energy Initiative and Justin Tornow (Dance Department)

Joining the electric circus: rural electrification and gender in the papers of Louisan Mamer
Copy of pageFrom Louisan E. Mamer Rural Electrification Administration Papers,
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Between 1939 and 1941, representatives from the Rural Electrification Agency organized a carnivalesque roadshow designed to encourage families to purchase and use electrical appliances and other equipment in their homes and on their farms. A key audience of the roadshow was rural farm women, who were seen as equal partners in the effort of electrification -- and who, the REA reasoned, needed to be shown the way to modernity through electricity. This Story+ project will draw on the Louisan E. Mamer Rural Electrification Administration Papers located at the Smithsonian National Museum for American History to examine how officials’ understanding of the gendered division of labor on American farms informed the tactics they used to encourage utilization of electricity. The overall goal of the project is to understand and share how assumptions about gendered labor influenced the electric circus’s programming, as well as collate any lessons learned for similar programs happening today.

Students will be asked to (at minimum) compile a report on their findings for the Duke University Energy Access Project, and there is also scope to create a podcast episode, or a brief documentary-style video. There may also be an opportunity to contribute to a collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.. The Data+ project entitled, “Taking electrification on the road: Exploring the impact of the Electric Farm Equipment roadshow (1939-1941),” is a partner project to this one and may offer opportunity for collaboration with a data-driven team.
Project Sponsors: Dr. Victoria Plutshack (Energy Access Project), Dr. Rob Fetter (Energy Access Project), Dr. Ashley Rose Young (Smithsonian National Museum of American History)

The Stanback Fellowship Program is a partnership between the Nicholas School of the Environment and non-profit environmental organizations. The purpose of the program is to provide students with significant project-based learning experiences in energy, conservation, advocacy, policy, research, and applied resource management. Open to all Duke students who are eligible to work in the United States and who have at least one semester remaining at Duke before they graduate. Applications for the 2020 Stanback Fellowship program ARE CLOSED as of Jan. 28, 2020.  Learn more. 

Geneva Switzerland

The Duke Global Policy (DGP) Program in Geneva, Switzerland helps undergraduate and graduate students learn how international and non-governmental organizations in Geneva are addressing today’s most pressing global challenges.

All participants take a rigorous weeklong course (three academic credits) that includes site visits at international and non-governmental agencies, networking events, professional coaching, group case simulations, and a culminating policy memo assignment. Many participants also opt to stay in Geneva for the summer to complete an internship at an international or non-governmental agency.

Each year, the Energy Initiative funds up to two advanced undergraduates or graduate students to complete both the Duke Global Policy Program course ("Environment, Energy, and the Economy" track) and an internship in Geneva. Students must submit a separate application to be considered for this funding. The deadline is in late fall—we are no longer accepting applications for summer 2020 funding. 

Students overlooking the Itaipú Dam

DukeEngage empowers undergraduate students to address critical human needs by fully funding a summer of immersive service. 

The group programs offered through DukeEngage sometimes focus on energy topics. For example, for summer 2020, the Energy Initiative helped organize "Researching the potential for sustainable development and growth for Paraguay and Brazil," led by energy faculty members Dr. Christine Folch and Dr. Luana Marangon. The deadline for students to apply for international group programs is typically in mid-November; the deadline for summer 2020 has already passed.

Alternatively, students can propose an independent DukeEngage project tailored to the needs of a community partner of their choosing (which could be an energy-related organization), with learning objectives especially meaningful to them, in a location of particular interest. Typically, applications open in mid-fall and are due in mid-January; the deadline for summer 2020 has already passed.  

Your school's career center is also an excellent resource for finding internship opportunities and funding: 

Know about another #energysummer opportunity that we've missed? Please contact Stacy Peterson (stacy.peterson@duke.edu) with the details.

Mailing Address

Duke University Energy Initiative
Box 90467
Durham, NC 27708

Street / Delivery Address

Duke University Energy Initiative
140 Science Drive
Gross Hall, Suite 101
Durham, NC 27708


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  • Assistant Director for Student & Alumni Engagement

    Stacy plans and manages energy education activities across the university.