By Sydney Ballard (Duke ‘23)

From fintech to edtech, Jeff Maggioncalda has played critical roles for some companies you may have heard of — namely Financial Engines Inc. and Coursera.

The story of how Jeff Maggioncalda became Coursera’s CEO is quite an inspiring one, but it may require some backstory.

Coursera was initially founded by Stanford computer scientists Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng (who also founded Google Brain) in 2012. Andrew Ng had been leading the development of Stanford University’s main Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) service. The MOOC ultimately became so inundated with users that its creators realized there…

Written by Luiza Wolf (Duke University ‘22)

POV: You’re on TikTok. You’re scrolling. You think that maybe you should be doing something more productive. But we are in a pandemic. So you keep scrolling. A TikTok reminds you that maybe you have more free time since we’re in a pandemic. But maybe another day. You keep scrolling. Suddenly it’s 1am. You wonder where your time went. You scroll a little bit more. Tomorrow’s the day you’ll be more productive. It’s tomorrow. You find this article. Suddenly things look a little more promising. You glance at your phone. You could go…

By D’Mya Gernae Sanford (ECU ’22)

Note: I will use gender minority (minority not always meaning numerically, but to explain who holds the minority of power in society/oppressed individual), women, non-male, and non-men to explain women and non-cisgendered people. Though the examples mentioned do not include them, the suggested solutions could work for these groups as well.

As a sociology major, I often spend a ton of time relating concepts I learn about in daily life to what I’m reading about in class. …

Photo by Ivan Diaz on Unsplash

By Luiza Wolf (Duke ‘22)

The federal government has had a tremendous impact on COVID-19 vaccine development. Billions of dollars have been devoted to research and manufacturing of vaccines as a way of combating the pandemic. It’s starting to pay off: over 118 million vaccines are already in arms, with that number growing every day. Yet while in some places getting a vaccine might be as easy as checking Walgreens’s scheduling tools (even if you have to check every day), it’s not so straightforward everywhere around the United States. Vaccine rollout, in regards to actually administering the vaccines, has been…

by Sam Carpenter, Duke ‘24

Hey everyone! This is the first issue of Commet-ary, our new opinion article series. Today, we’re talking about some recent moves in the cryptocurrency world and how it affects the entire tech industry!

On February 18th, NVIDIA, the largest manufacturer of high-performance graphics processing units (GPUs) in the world, announced that they would be releasing a new line of processors designed only to mine cryptocurrency, specifically Ethereum. In order to encourage miners to buy these cards, they also announced that any new non-mining GPUs would have software built into them to limit their ability to…

Written by D’Mya Gernae Sanford

If being a professor at Duke University, an author, the first Black woman to graduate from North Carolina State University with a Ph.D in Computer Science, and a former employee at the Department of Homeland Security, Google, and Lockheed Martin doesn’t stack your resume — there is not much else that will.

Dr. Nicki Washington joined the Duke Computer Science department in 2020, equipped with an extraordinary past and a mission on her mind. After nearly fifteen years of teaching at HBCUs (Howard University and Winthrop University), Dr. …

By Matthew Brune (Duke ’23) and Luiza Wolf (Duke ‘22)

You heard a lot about Luke and Mary’s journey in On the Rocks, but where are they now?

Currently, Luke and Mary are second-semester seniors, quickly approaching graduation in less than two months. But they aren’t living in the Hollows, or a local Durham apartment — they’re living in Denver, CO, putting in 18-hour days as students and entrepreneurs. Their passion for financial technology, or “fin-tech,” coupled with their expertise in computing, software, and machine learning found them an investor with an office in Denver. …

Founding a startup in the middle of a pandemic

Image by author

By Sydney Ballard (Duke ‘23)

Imagine this: you’re about to graduate college, a global pandemic causes you to be kicked off your college campus. No graduation, no official close to this chapter of your life, and on top of that, the world as we know it is changed (seemingly overnight). That’s the situation Rahul Sengottuvelu faced early last year, and he managed to turn it around completely by founding Cohere. …

By Matthew Brune (Duke ’23) and Luiza Wolf (Duke ‘22)

As you look through their LinkedIn pages, it’s a journey through the stars themselves. The phrases jump right out at you: “triple major: 3.97 GPA,” “Google intern,” “Salesforce intern,” “founders” and “co-founder” titles galore. You’d think that these people were out of this world, that they had already shot for the moon and got there. Okay, enough space jokes now. What you wouldn’t expect is that these two people are some of the most down-to-earth people you’ll find. The only thing that can rival their work ethic and an exhaustive…

Written by Jessica Luan (Duke University ‘24)

Synopsis: GoFundMe is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. Users connect with donors and raise money for soccer tournaments, classroom supplies, and everything in between. Increasingly, however, GoFundMe donors have become a significant source of funding for medical bills. Many users with chronic or incurable diseases turn to GoFundMe to raise funds to pay for expensive hospital bills, experimental therapies not covered by insurance, or medication. This situation raises ethical issues of patient privacy, online privacy, and healthcare “deservingness,” themes I will explore in this article.

GoFundMe helps users crowdfund for “the most important…

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a biweekly newsletter dedicated to providing you byte-sized tips, resources, and opportunities. made by catalyst at duke.

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