DukeLIFE x Career Center: Your Gateway to Career Success with Spring Forward

If you are a first-year student from a first-generation and lower-income background, we are inviting you to apply to the Spring Forward Career Immersion Program. Are you interested? Keep reading to learn more!

If you have questions or would like discuss the program in more detail, please feel free to reach out to Jared Smith or Leigh Ann Waring in the Duke Career Center.

The Spring Forward initiative is a new exciting collaboration between DukeLIFE and the Duke Career Center, specifically tailored to offer valuable career experiences for first-year undergraduates from first-generation and lower-income backgrounds. Spring Forward is a four day, project-oriented experience that is held during Duke’s Spring Break, March 11-15, 2024.

As a participant in the Spring Forward program, you will have the opportunity to engage in an on-site project with a local organization. These projects cover a variety of focus areas and welcome students from all backgrounds and interests. The goal is to enhance your transferable skills, provide exposure to potential career paths, facilitate informal networking, and to have some fun as well!

Click here to find the application portal.

Program Details

  • Name of Program: Spring Forward
  • Date: March 11-15, 2024
  • Objective: To provide first-year students from first-generation and lower-income backgrounds with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by working in small teams on a project at a local organization.
  • Duration: Three days onsite at organization’s location, followed by a celebration luncheon on Duke’s campus. A pre-departure workshop will be held the week prior to spring break.
  • Deadline: February 9, 2024 @ 5pm

Why Participate

  • Explore career paths: You will have the opportunity to learn about the different types of internships and professional opportunities that exist within your host organization.
  • Gain hands-on experience: As a participant, you will be working with another Duke student to complete a project related to the host organization’s mission and goals. This will be a great addition to your resume!
  • Develop transferable skills: While projects may differ in topic, all are designed to be completed by Duke students regardless of major or prior coursework. Projects will focus on the development and refining of transferable skills and competencies that can be applied to academics, extracurricular activities, and future internships.
  • Network and develop relationships: You will be working closely with professional staff as you complete your project. In addition, you will have the opportunity to meet leaders (and possibly some Duke alumni!) within the organization.

Program Logistics


Duke students are allowed to remain on campus during Spring Break. There are no special accommodations or permission required to stay on campus.


Transportation will be arranged by Duke University from campus to your assigned organization location and back for each day. To ensure safety, students should not be transported by any other method.


We have requested that site supervisors arrange lunch for you each day. During this time, you may be introduced to staff, current interns, and/or Duke alumni (if applicable) to allow for informal networking and information sharing. Your site may also offer Lunch and Learn opportunities.


Participating students will receive a $750 award to cover any costs (food, professional attire, etc) that they incur while in Durham for spring break.

Please note that these funding awards are contingent upon the successful completion of the Spring Forward program. Students who depart early from the program will be required to repay the full amount of the award.

Potential Student Projects

  • Analysis: Utilize your analytical skills to conduct a micro-SWOT analysis based upon a problem the company aims to solve.
  • Advertising: Explore your creativity by developing a pitch deck or media campaign for a specific organizational need.
  • Customer Research: Apply your investigative abilities by conducting thorough research to identify companies and contacts aligning with the organization’s ideal customer profile.
  • Content/Project Management: Showcase your organizational talents by creating content, planning a simulated event within a specified budget, and establishing connections with locals.
  • Technology: Demonstrate your technical aptitude by creating a project outline to address a specific problem or need within the organization using technology. (Coding experience not required.)
  • Operations: Use your strategic thinking to address realistic operational challenges such as organizational restructuring or office relocation.
  • Human Resources: Practice your problem-solving skills by tackling pertinent Human Resources initiatives, such as fostering a culture of inclusion and support within an organization.
  • Additional projects may be added as host organizations finalize their plans.

Application Process

Students who wish to be considered for the Spring Forward program should complete the online Student Application no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 9, 2024.

Application Tip! As part of the application, you will be asked to submit short statements on why you would like to participate and what you hope to accomplish during the program. These statements will be influential during the selection process so it is recommended that you take time to develop and express your thoughts effectively.

Late applications will not be accepted.

Go to application

By Jared Smith (He/Him)
Jared Smith (He/Him) Associate Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging