Key Benefits to BioCoRE Scholars

The BioCoRE community is robust in its effort to support student trainees of all cultural backgrounds and scientific disciplines through a variety of means. In addition to the programming highlighted in the links below, we are working on innovating new and exciting programming, community building, and scientific development activities for the 2022-2023 school year and beyond.

Some of our new activities include:

  • First Friday Coffee and Conversations (open to all scholars, to discuss pertinent DEI topics)
  • Monthly community service projects to give back to the residents in the City of Durham (in collaboration with the Sloan Scholars
  • Monthly cohort meetings with 1st year BioCoRE sholars
  • Biannual cohort meetings with senior scholars
  • Monthly student talks lead by 3rd and 4th year BioCoRE scholars and postdoctoral scholars
  • Monthly 'Milestone Moments' featuring BioCoRE scholars
student development opportunities for biocore scholars

In addition to the items listed above, we are glad to announce that the following events will be back in person this year:

  • The Annual DEI Symposium
  • What Makes Me a Scientist seminars
  • Various community building and professional development activities lead by our student committees

Finally, beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, we invite scholars who've not been formally accepted into BioCoRE to join our affiliates program. For more information on how to join, please email

Early Start is an opportunity for first-year Ph.D. students who are selected as BioCoRE Scholars. They arrive on campus in early August, before the official start of their PhD program, and will be paid additional funds in their first paycheck. Early Start kicks off with the BioCoRE Symposium, in early August, where the new BioCoRE Scholars are introduced to the scientific community. Then, throughout the week, scholars receive help with finding their first rotation, a graduate-level short course, career development sessions, and community-building activities to facilitate a smooth transition into their Ph.D. program. BioCoRE works closely with all involved Ph.D. programs to make sure we complement orientation and other activities of the programs.

During the academic year the IDEALS office hosts monthly programming to continue to promote the development of graduate and postdoctoral fellows. This includes monthly workshops, diversity and inclusion coffee chats & journal clubs, as well as coordinated Q&A sessions with outside speakers from diverse backgrounds who are willing to share their journey and discuss what steps are needed to continue diversifying the scientific workforce.

Prelim Prep Group is one of the ongoing academic programming opportunities open exclusively to BioCoRE Scholars. This group provides those preparing for their preliminary exam a support network of peers also preparing for their exam to exchange questions, suggestions and resources. In addition, more senior graduate students and select faculty volunteers will also be available to help provide guidance and help shape ideas. Scholars will have the opportunity to do a safe, no stakes practice talk among the more senior post-prelim students and faculty, who will provide constructive feedback a few weeks in advance of the scheduled exam.

In addition to the support from committed faculty and staff in individual departments and programs, BioCoRE scholars receive additional an support network of peers and mentors through the participation in the program. First year BioCoRE scholars will be paired with a more senior BioCoRE scholar who is available to help navigate Duke, rotations, course work etc. Scholars will also have the opportunity to meet annually with the BioCoRE Director to discuss their experience, reflect on how best to continue moving forward in the program, and get any advice or connected with any additional support or resources they may need.


One scientific community programming activity BioCoRE Scholars can participate in each summer is the STEM Diversity and Inclusion Retreat. This retreat is centered on building an inclusive community of research scholars across the STEM disciplines at Duke. The purpose of the retreat is to step away from research to recharge by engaging in conversations about the graduate experience, receiving encouragement/inspiration from speakers, building relationships/community with peers, and enjoying time away.