Currently enrolled Duke undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply for summer research funding from the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI. The goals of the grant are to strengthen global research opportunities for students interested in developing, implementing, and working in human rights. Special consideration is given to students whose research projects contribute to a senior thesis or project, or to students enrolled in the Human Rights Certificate. Students are encouraged to seek supplementary funding to complete their planned research needs from other Duke sources.


Grants are available for up to $2,000.


Eligibility and Criteria
  • Students from all backgrounds and academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. Graduating seniors or graduate students in their final year at Duke are not eligible. Students who have previously received this grant are also ineligible.
  • Students must be directed by a member of the Duke University faculty and conducted over a period no less than 2 weeks during the summer. Students are expected to be in frequent contact with their advisors and the DHRC@FHI throughout the duration of the project.
  • Projects involving interactions with human subjects online will need approval from the Duke Institutional Review Board. Read more here.

The deadline for 2024 applications is March 29, 2024. Please complete the form here to submit an application.

Questions? Contact Corin Zaragoza at

2023 Undergraduate Student Awardees


Taylor Glatt: Barriers to Healthcare for Refugees from a Provider Prospective in Durham, NC

This research project will analyze providers’ perspectives on what they view as barriers to accessing healthcare for the Durham refugee population. The project will survey a variety of individuals involved in the healthcare delivery process such as physicians, nurses, financial counselors, respiratory therapists, receptionists or intake employees and compare to existing literature on barriers that refugees experience in order to assess the gaps or overlaps of barriers to healthcare from the perspective of healthcare professionals and refugees in order to find ways to reduce these barriers and highlight the variance between these two perspectives.


Andrew McCallum: Museums, Memory, and Migration in Paraguay

Through a summer-long internship with the Hrisuk collection in Encarnacion, Paraguay, I hope to examine the role of the museum in memory formation for the region. The Hrisuk collection has extensive documentation recording the dynamic history of Paraguay’s Itapúa department. Itapua, the former site of the numerous Jesuit missions, has received a substantial flow of immigrants since the beginning of the colonial period. The collection will reflect this broad trend – a complicated record of the various groups who looked to make their living in the relative isolation of Paraguay. I will conduct my research through a direct study of the museum’s exhibits, working to catalogue and display the content to the public. I also aim to interview various people with experiences adjacent to the museum and its material. I want to understand what role the collection occupies in the mind of the surrounding community. To what extent are the narratives presented by the museum upheld and disputed by their audience? How can a topic as multilayered as immigration be properly represented? The precise lens of the Hrisuk collection will aid me in thinking through these questions.


Alex Penne: Effects of U.S. Drone Technology in Singapore

I have a lot of interest in the intersection of technology, law, and ethics, and I am currently working with the Bridgeman Lab to develop control systems for UAV and drone technology. Drone technology has recently been implemented by governments to enforce the law, such as China’s use of UAVs to detect violations of COVID-19 isolation protocols or Iran’s use of drones to prosecute women not following hijab rules. Typically engineering feats are criticized ethically after they have already been implemented. My goal with the Human Rights Grant is to criticize my own research before I complete it to mitigate possible harmful implementations. In August, I will be investigating the implications of drone technology and other smart-city design choices in Singapore and using them to drive how I conduct my own research. I hope that my research will inspire other scientists to evaluate their own research in the context of human rights before they publish.

2023 Graduate Student Awardees


John Sabogal Venegas: Indigenous, Rural Communities in Colombia After Civil War

My dissertation project focuses on how rural communities, and particularly indigenous peoples, in Colombia navigate the challenges of autonomy and territorial sovereignty in a changing context of war and its aftermath. Through an ethnographic approach to indigenous struggles in the department of Cauca (Colombia), I will examine how communities and local authorities construct their everyday experiences and social commitments in the years following the 2016 peace agreements between the state and the FARC guerrilla. In particular, this project asks what these changes mean for indigenous visions of autonomy, which have gained strength in the context of increased indigenous activism in Latin America in recent decades. I expect my research to shed new light on the problem of violence and indigenous struggle in Colombia, as well as in similar contexts in Latin America. It will also, more broadly, challenge conventional assumptions about transitional justice, truth, memory and reconciliation in the aftermath and transformation of civil war. Finally, the contribution of ethnographic fieldwork is to highlight the micro-political dynamics of reconciliation and emerging social relations, particularly in the context of indigenous social movements.


Hareth Yousef: illegal settlements and land confiscation and their impact on Palestinian farming communities

As part of my thesis project, I've been working on a documentary that focuses on the changes in the landscape of villages around Ramallah, including my village, and the transformation of the villages' economy from farming to other sectors. The documentary consists of three parts, the first of which explores the nostalgia for lost lands and traditions. In the second part, I aim to document why the landscape has changed so drastically, including the introduction of certain animals by illegal settlers, which have become destruction machines to the land, and other economic and social factors. Finally, the third part of the documentary is about the remaining farmers still holding onto the tradition of farming in a land that is in danger of confiscating by illegal Israeli settlers.