Bass Connections

Bass Connections at Duke supports vertically integrated teams of students and faculty across campus to engage in problem-based research built around five core themes: Brain & Society; Information, Society & Culture; Global Health; Education & Human Development; and Energy.

For the 2015-2016 academic year, the partnership with KIE and Bass Connections is supporting three new projects, thanks to the Silver Family Fund. They include Citizenship Lab: Civic Participation of Refugee Youth In Durham; Increasing the Living Kidney Donor Pool: Mechanisms, Models, and Motivations; and Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review. These three projects align with KIE’s program areas and will feature a public symposium on the research findings. Students interested in connecting with one of these projects should fill out the online form.

Previous projects include Displacement, Resettlement and Global Mental Health; Moral Judgments About and By Stimulant Users; The Language of Genocide and Human Rights; and Living Donor Kidney Transplants and the Good Samaritan. Information on these projects has been archived.


The United States resettles between 50-80,000 refugees annually. And more than half of these are women and children. North Carolina ranks tenth in the country in terms of refugee resettlement. In the past three years 2,500 refugees, predominantly from Bhutan, Burma and Iraq but also from Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere were resettled in the Triangle area. Resettlement poses numerous challenges for refugees whose history of violent displacement together with cultural and linguistic barriers often makes access to resources, jobs, education and social support difficult. Refugees also face substantial barriers to full participation in the life of their communities and initial evidence is that they have significantly lower lifetime levels of civic engagement. This project explores mechanisms for enhancing refugee civic participation with a focus on high school youth in Durham, North Carolina. This project has two allied dimensions. First, we will create a citizenship lab at Duke whose core objective will be to conduct a community based research project in Durham. Second, Duke faculty, graduate students and undergraduates will explore the empirical relationship between social science research engagement and citizenship.

Duke faculty, graduate students and undergraduates will explore the empirical relationship between social science research engagement and citizenship. Through program assessment (pre-test/post-test of participants based on a mix of existing survey instruments) we will attempt to measure the effectiveness of teaching citizenship via this pragmatic social science research method. Here faculty, graduate students and undergraduates revisit, update, and examine the impact of this program on migrant youth civic participation.

Bass Connections theme: Education & Human Development
KIE program connection: Human Rights

Faculty team members:
Abdul Sattar-Jawad (Islamic Studies & AMES)
Suzanne Shanahan (Sociology & Kenan Institute)
William Tobin (UNC Civil Rights)
Undergraduate and Graduate Student team members:
Maha Ahmed (Undergraduate)
Aidan Coleman (Undergraduate)
Catherine Farmer (Undergraduate)
Reed McLaurin (Undergraduate)
Alex Oprea (Graduate, Political Science)
Snehan Sharma (Undergraduate)
Maura Smyles (Undergraduate)
Elizabeth Tsui (Undergraduate)
Xu Wang (Graduate, Public Policy)
Elizabeth Wilkinson (Undergraduate)


In 2012, despite a waiting list of more than 100,000, there were only 5,620 living kidney donors in the U.S. Only 161 of these were non-directed donors (i.e., donors who did not specify the recipient). What are the barriers to living kidney donation, and how might we increase the pool of living kidney donors?  Looking closely at the current mechanisms of kidney donation and the motivations of those who do donate, especially those who donate outside their circle of family and friends, this project will explore innovative models of donation, with the aim of increasing the pool of living kidney donors. Given the large disparities between the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in whites (275 per million) and African Americans (924 per million), and similar disparities in kidney transplants, the project will focus specifically on the barriers to treatment and transplants among African Americans. The project will also focus on the role that faith and faith communities play, or might play, in the recruitment of living kidney donors.

Bass Connections themes: Brain & SocietyGlobal Health
KIE program connection: Religions and Public Life

Faculty team members:
David Toole, Divinity School, Global Health Institute, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Kim Krawiec, Law School
Ray Barfield, Medicine, Divinity
Farr Curlin, Medicine, Divinity
Kieran Healey, Sociology
Warren Kinghorn, Medicine and Divinity
Richard Payne, Medicine and Divinity
Undergraduate and Graduate Student team members:
Brett McCarty (Graduate, Theology)
Harrison Hines (Graduate, Theology and Public Policy)
Kathleen Perry (Graduate, Divinity and Global Health)
Selina Wilson (Undergraduate)
Julia Carp (Undergraduate)
Sarah Beaverson (Undergraduate)



How well do regulations actually work—and, in turn, how well do government reviews of regulatory impacts actually work? This project will study the emerging efforts of government agencies throughout the world to evaluate the actual impacts of their regulatory programs—so-called “retrospective regulatory review” (RRR). As RRR mechanisms proliferate, a number of questions arise: Who performs these reviews, and what are their goals? What are their methods? How do their findings influence regulatory policy? Through comparative analysis of case studies at the local, national, and international levels, we’ll examine how well these mechanisms are functioning, and learn how they could do better.

Bass Connections theme: Brain & SocietyInformation, Society & Culture
KIE program connection: Rethinking Regulation

Faculty team members:
Edward Balleisen (History, Public Policy)
Lori Bennear (Environmental Sciences & Policy)
Jonathan Weiner (Law, Environmental Sciences & Policy, Public Policy)
Elizabeth Brake (Fuqua)
Kimberly Krawiec (Law School)
Amy Pickle (Nicholas Institute)
Billy Pizer (Sanford School of Public Policy)
Benjamin Waterhouse (History, UNC Chapel Hill)
Undergraduate and Graduate Student team members:
Kate Baxter (Undergraduate)
Josh Bruce (PhD, Sociology)
Mercy Demenno (PhD, Public Policy)
Bochen Han (Undergraduate)
Anna Johns (PhD, History)
Sarah Kerman (Undergraduate)
Rishabh Kumar (Undergraduate)
Jackie Lin (Undergraduate)
Nancy Merlin (Undergraduate)
Neelesh Moorthy (Undergraduate)
Daniel Ribeiro (SJD, Law)
Alena Sadiq (Undergraduate)