First-Year Student Design Teams Solve Real-World Problems

Making a difference »

Welcome to Duke First-Year Design

Featured Projects

Through Duke University’s First-Year Design (FYD) program, students gain early experience as they work in multi-disciplinary teams to design and build prototype solutions to solve real-world, client-based problems.

group shot of students

Residential Bridge in West Virginia

A cost-effective, residential bridge that can withstand major weather events

Storage For Bikes

A storage system for adaptive sports equipment for those with physical challenges or disabilities

Shipping Container

An efficient and productive makerspace from a 40-foot-long converted shipping container

Recent News

Students present their "smart shade" prototype to bystanders

December 7, 2021

Solutions for Seedling Sunburn, Runaway Trash Bins and Other Woes

First-year design teams develop solutions for real clients with real problems, like crop loss and decreased mobility

Students working on an engineering project together

November 8, 2021

Incorporating Ethics Into Engineering

Undergraduate Reya Magan joined a Bass Connections team to help prepare the next generation of engineers for their careers. The team designed modules for Engineering 101

teeth

November 4, 2021

How Freshman Engineers Solve Real-World Problems in EGR 101

From reducing injuries from intubations to helping elderly residents with their garbage bins, students in EGR 101 are as busy as ever.

Inspiring Engineers

Duke Engineering offers students a progressive immersion in engineering design, from the first-year overview to capstone design projects in their chosen disciplines.

Be part of the excitement

You have the opportunity to support bright students and to benefit from their ideas!

Students in the POD

Project Idea

When you see a need or problem, submit the idea as a project.

Professor Gavin with student

Provide Support

Share you knowledge as an expert in the engineering field as a team mentor

Tools in the POD

Pay It Forward

Support components of the First Year Design program to ensure student success

Explore our impact Map

Click the pins to see First-Year Design clients and projects by location