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Engineering in Service to Society PhD Fellowship

PhD Students: Enhance your degree with experience in the policy or nonprofit sectors

Through generous support from the Lord Foundation, PhD students in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Duke can apply for funding to support a semester to gain experience in the policy or nonprofit sectors.

Engineering in Service to Society Fellowships provide financial support as PhD students explore careers through semester-long internships. Duke MEMS encourages prospective fellows to identify internships that align with their research expertise at the international, national, or local level.

Duke is well-located for this program—our campus's proximity to Raleigh, the capital city of the State of North Carolina, and its location within the Research Triangle Region offers many possibilities for positions with policy and nonprofit organizations with state and national impact.

"Duke MEMS PhD students are outstanding engineers and scientists. We need these talented people to help inform governmental policy, especially related to technical issues in energy, autonomy, AI, and nanoscience—and to become leaders in nonprofits that address critical needs."

CATE BRINSON | The Donald M. Alstadt CHAIR, Duke MEMS

Program Details

  • Applicants must have completed their preliminary exam and coursework, and be in good standing
  • An application consists of:
    • CV/resume
    • One-page internship plan, including a statement of its value to future career goals
    • Letter of support from PhD advisor
  • Applications are considered on a rolling basis by the PhD Steering Committee
  • To apply, submit the materials listed above to the Duke MEMS Director of Graduate Studies in the semester prior to course registration for the internship semester
  • Successful applicants will register for ME 758S—tuition and a stipend for that period will be paid from Lord Foundation funds

Contact US

Email Duke MEMS


About the Lord Foundation

In October 2020, following approval by the Board of Trustees, the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science became the first department at Duke University to be named in honor of a benefactor.

Thomas LordThe Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science recognizes the transformative contributions of the late Thomas Lord, chairman and CEO of LORD Corporation. The Lord Foundation of North Carolina (LFNC) was established with $40 million in stock holdings in 1984 to support research, teaching and programming in engineering and related programs at Duke. 

Over 35 years, LFNC generated more than $47 million for a wide variety of programs and activities at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.

In 2019, following the sale of LORD Corporation to Parker-Hannifin, Duke and three other research institutions selected as beneficiaries by Thomas Lord received a total distribution of over $1 billion through their respective foundations. 

The $261 million allocation to Duke was designated for the university’s endowment to provide a permanent source of long-term support for science and technology education and research at the Pratt School of Engineering, as well as financial aid for undergraduate students across Duke.

In addition, the MEMS department chair position was named to honor of Donald M. Alstadt, former president of LORD Corporation and a 24-year member of the Pratt School’s Board of Visitors. Alstadt originally introduced Thomas Lord to Duke.   

Read about the history of the LFNC and Duke »