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Editor’s Note



A Best Employer By now, you may have heard that Forbes named Duke University one of “America’s Best Employers,” ranking the university 27th of 500 large institutions and companies across 25 industries. For the 2017 ranking, American workers were asked how likely they were to recommend their employer to family and friends and what other employers they would recommend. We posted news of the Forbes recognition on the Working@Duke Facebook page and asked employees to share their favorite part of working at the University or Health System. Overnight, more than 100 employees shared what they love about working at Duke. “Tomorrow marks my 32nd anniversary,” said Rhonda Painter Mooney, a financial management analyst III. “Love the people and that we all make a difference in patients’ lives, whether we're direct patient care or behind doors.” “The opportunity for both professional and personal growth have been beyond what I imagined,” said Michael Palko, an informatics educator with Duke Health Technology Solutions “I've grown as an instructional designer and picked up a photography hobby along the way.” “There aren't many places that can say they have had the same core staff for 10+ years! But the Duke Law Admissions & Financial Aid office can!” said Ebony Freeland Bryant, associate director of Student Affairs for Duke Law. Reading through the responses got me thinking about what I value about working at Duke as I approach my 13th anniversary this year. Here are several of my favorite aspects.

World-class healthcare. When I suffered a partial tear in my foot’s plantar plate from running, Duke Dr. Samuel Adams diagnosed the issue and got me on the road to recovery. With Duke’s medical plan, I have peace of mind. Equitable, progressive policies. As part of

its commitment to diversity, Duke extended benefits for many years to the same-sex partners of eligible faculty and staff when the right to marry did not exist. For a while, my wife Heather was on my Duke health plan. Duke’s commitment to an inclusive workplace is something I’m proud to be a part of.

Tuition reimbursement. With Duke’s $5,250 annual reimbursement, I’m pursuing a master’s degree in liberal studies at Duke. So far, I’ve been introduced to French female author George Sand. I read my first Margaret Atwood book and then two more. I learned about the history of photography. And I've confronted scary questions in an aging and death class. Vacation time. A generous time away benefit has allowed me to travel to Morocco, where I camped in the desert and marveled at the Milky Way. Read what colleagues value about working at Duke:






4 TIn recent he Future of Work years, hundreds of positions have been created or reclassified at

Duke, a sign of a constantly evolving workforce. Learn about Mitch Greene and other employees whose roles did not exist five years ago.

7  Ready to Save a Life Duke is installing Automated External Defibrillators (AEDS) in key campus buildings with the heaviest traffic.

8 Getting to Duke

 By electric scooter, bicycle, bus, carpool and vanpool – five employees share why they choose a mode less traveled.

11 12 14 15

Learn presentation skills with Toastmasters Share time off pics, win chance at JB Duke Hotel stay Deals on summer fun with employee discounts Duke honors its green champions

Contact us Editor/Communications Director: Leanora Minai (919) 681-4533 Assistant Vice President: Paul S. Grantham (919) 681-4534

Graphic Design & Layout: Paul Figuerado (919) 684-2107 Photography: Duke University Photography and Beth Hatcher, Stephen Schramm and Paul Grantham of Communication Services.

Working@Duke is published every other month by Duke’s Office of Communication Services. We invite your feedback and story ideas. Send email to or call (919) 681-4533. Visit Working@Duke daily on Duke Today:

Stephen Schramm Senior Writer (919) 684-4639

2014 Gold, 2015, 2013, Silver, 2016, 2009, 2007 Bronze, Print Internal Audience Publications and 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007 Gold Medal, Internal Periodical Staff Writing

Cover photo: Duke's Innovation Co-Lab printed a 3-D plastic model of the title, "The Future of Work."

BRIEFLY Deals on Duke Football season tickets Duke staff and faculty interested in picking up Duke Football season tickets have some intriguing options for the 2017 season. The Duke Employee Season Ticket presented by Duke Credit Union returns with a helpful new addition. For $130 per season ticket, employees get reserved seat tickets to all seven home games in a seat with chairbacks and armrests in one of the best sections in Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium. Each season-ticket holder will also get a chance to win a pre-game sideline experience. For the first time, season tickets include parking privileges in all general public lots.

Also new this season is the “277 Club,” open to any Durham resident. For $277, Durham residents with a ZIP code that begins with 277 get four season tickets in general admission and four exclusive “277 Club” T-shirts. This offer is only open to first-time season ticket holders. Duke’s 2017 schedule features seven home games, all against teams that reached bowl games last season. The season kicks off with a home game against North Carolina Central University on Duke Employee Appreciation Day, Sept. 2. To buy tickets, call (919) 681-2583.

Parking permit renewal begins The parking permit renewal process begins in June with changes in rates to help cover enhanced parking facilities and technology. Beginning in August 2017, rates will increase 50 cents to $5.50 per month, depending on permit type. The change in price affects all Duke parking permits. Duke continues to enhance its parking infrastructure, which includes facilities like the Science Drive Garage that opened with 2,320 spaces earlier this year at the corner of Science Drive and Cameron Boulevard. “There are annual costs associated with operating and maintaining Duke’s large parking operation – everything from technology, electricity and paving to new construction,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration. “This year, we have been able to keep cost increases to a minimum while upgrading our campus-wide parking system.” Employee permit holders who pay for their permits through payroll deduction have permits that expire Aug. 15, 2017. These permits will automatically renew, and rate updates will be applied. Confirm your mailing address by July 21 by visiting and selecting “Manage My Parking Account.” Duke community members who are not eligible for payroll deduction or have one-year permits must renew by visiting to complete the necessary form. Learn about 2018 parking rates at

Leave the 3-D printing to IT experts Interested in 3-D printing at Duke but unsure how to get started? Currently, Duke community members can print successive layers of material to create threedimensional objects at no charge at the Technology Engagement Center. That stays the same, but if you want help or have a complex project, the Office of Information Technology’s Innovation Co-Lab will configure and print your project for a fee through a new service called Bluesmith. Anyone from the Duke community can submit a standard “STL” file of the model to Bluesmith for help. STL files can be designed from scratch or found online on a variety of open source websites, like The Co-Lab’s 3-D print team will review the file and provide an estimate for work within one business day. The cost and delivery time is typically less than non-Duke online 3-D printers. The price varies, but an average project is $30 to $60. Community members can pay with DukeCard Flex funds, credit card or Duke fund code. The Bluesmith service can be accessed at

Discounts to summer dance and music festivals This summer, save on tickets to the American Dance Festival and Music in the Gardens with Duke employee discounts. American Dance Festival, which runs June 3 to July 29, is offering 20 percent off ticket prices to the festival, now in its 84th season and 40th year at Duke. The festival includes 71 performances and 30 companies and choreographers from around the world. Tickets range from $10 to $62 without applying the 20 percent discount. Heidi Latsky Dance will present a free performance of “On Display” at Duke Homestead on July 9. To see the schedule and receive the employee discount, visit and enter promo code UNI17ADF. To receive the discount in person, the promo code and Duke Card ID must be presented at the box office window. Also this summer, Duke Performances pays homage to American roots music with “Music in the Gardens 2017,” a two-month series featuring outdoor performances at Sarah. P Duke Gardens. Duke staff and faculty receive a half-price discount to each of the eight shows during the series, which runs June 7 through July 26. Tickets are $5 for Duke employees and free for kids 12 and under. “Live performance is potent, it’s powerful,” said Aaron Greenwald, executive director of Duke Performances, which presents the series. “This is another opportunity to provide something of value to Duke employees.” Visit for the schedule.


The Future of Work Mitch Greene, a studio technician at Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab, was hired in November 2016 to help oversee and maintain Duke’s growing 3-D printing capabilities.


Job roles evolve as nature of work changes at Duke

n intricate replica of a child’s heart emerges from a machine about the size of a MINI car in a corner of Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab on West Campus. The pink plastic 3-D model serves as a bellwether for the future of healthcare and reflects a growing trend of new types of roles developing within Duke’s workforce. Five years ago, Duke did not have 3-D printers. Today, it operates more than 60, including the high-end unit that takes an MRI scan of a heart and churns out a detailed model that enables physicians to better diagnose and evaluate a patient’s internal organs before surgery. Now, someone oversees the machines. Meet Mitch Greene. “Part of what I do is help teach people how to use the 3-D printers,” said Greene, who was hired last year. “I also give tours and spend about half my day refilling and maintaining the printers.” Greene’s role in managing 3-D printers as studio technician at the Co-Lab is one of hundreds of positions created or reclassified at Duke in recent years. These roles, many of which didn’t exist at the University and Health System in years past, include everything from dosimetrist

in radiation oncology to genetic counselor and operations coordinator for global administrative support. As automation and artificial intelligence replace jobs at one end of the workforce spectrum, new roles emerge on the other. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics added 24 new occupations in its latest update in 2010 to classify and categorize workers. This trend is expected to accelerate in the coming years. According to “The Future of Jobs Report” issued last year by the World Economic Forum, “65 percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t exist yet.” At Duke, the workforce is constantly evolving, said Dave Smithwick, assistant vice president for Compensation and Classification. “We process between 200 to 300 classification requests each month to address changes in departments’ needs and job responsibilities,” he said. “Areas such as international, research, compliance and technology are places where we are seeing more requests for new or reclassified positions.” Changes in technology at Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab led to 19,486 3-D print jobs and 57,804 hours of machine time in the first year of operation.

Duke Health purchased a 3-D printer that produces replicas of organs such as this pediatric patient’s heart.



Among the 3-D projects was the replica of the child’s heart for Dr. Piers Barker, professor of pediatric cardiology in the Department of Pediatrics. Duke University Hospital has now added 3-D printing at the Co-Lab as an extension of a standard diagnostic imaging test that can be ordered for patient care just like a blood panel or X-ray. Barker said the 3-D model provided insights not visible through two-dimensional images, which helped him find a better way to repair the patient’s congenital heart defect without obstructing blood flow to the lungs and other organs. “What you really like to do for surgical planning is to know exactly what you’re getting into before you open up a child’s chest,” Barker said. “The more you can decrease the time you have to have a chest open to evaluate what you are dealing with, the better.”

Social Side of Business Like 3-D printing, another transformative area that has led to new types of work at Duke is social media. Duke Athletics was among the first areas to explore how to use new social media tools to engage its audience. Jon Jackson, senior associate director of Athletics, said that since 2014, Duke Athletics has hired about 10 people to manage social and digital media, including video production for Duke’s 27 teams. Among the newly hired is Jess McNamara, who arrived in 2015 as a digital media assistant after graduating from Virginia Tech, where she played softball.

Last year, McNamara became social media manager for Athletics. “This job is fun,” she said. “I’m always learning and discovering new things. I love being able to promote our student athletes so people see their faces and get to know them better.” McNamara spends days, and many nights, managing Duke Athletics accounts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. She also helps manage Twitter for 21 other Duke sports and contributes to social media for Men’s Basketball, which is Duke’s largest social media audience. When multiple sports are in season, McNamara’s job duties begin by creating graphics in the morning and end with posting the final score from a Men’s Basketball game at night. “It can be difficult to unplug sometimes,” she said. “I’m constantly on social media because I don’t want to miss anything. Getting sleep can be a problem when things get busy. But you can’t complain about getting to go to a game in Cameron.” Duke Athletics’ social media efforts have paid off. Earlier this year, the Twitter account for Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) reached a new milestone, topping 1 million followers – a first in college athletics history. It is the most-followed social media account in college sports and has an audience larger than many professional teams. “Social media allows us to directly communicate with people invested in Duke Athletics,” Jackson said. “In the beginning, social media was more of a novelty, but now it has become a key part of our strategy in how we engage with people for the benefit of the entire University.”

>> continued on page 6

Jess McNamera, social media manager for Duke Athletics, seated second from left, works on press row in Cameron Indoor Stadium during the last home game for the Men’s Basketball team on February 28, 2017.


The Forefront of Healthcare While McNamara finds new ways of engaging fans, Karthik Shyam is at the forefront of a new strategy in healthcare to engage patients. He is the new director of communications for the Duke Population Health Management Office, which formed in late 2016. Population Health Management analyzes patient data from health claims and medical records to assess health risks and develops interventions before chronic or acute problems arise. The approach has been successful in improving the health of patients and reducing the cost of care. “There are many important factors that contribute to a patient’s health outcome that are difficult to address within the limitations of a 20-minute office visit,” Shyam said. “We review all available data and provide recommendations to the physician based on the patient’s health risks. We also connect patients with community resources to help them achieve their health goals.” Shyam’s work has ranged from developing new websites to meeting with Duke and community providers to introduce the office’s services and create new partnerships. “I’m working in a very entrepreneurial environment,” he said. “This is a rare opportunity to start up something new. I feel lucky to be here now, at this time.”

Shyam earned a master’s in public policy at Duke in 2012 and focused on health care reform. “This job didn’t exist when I graduated,” he said. “I have experience in both health policy and communications, but I felt like I had to choose one path or the other. This job allows me to pursue both.” With summer here, Duke’s hiring will pick up. Duke averages nearly twice as many hires during the summer with 641 per month compared to 335 per month during the rest of the year. Many of the new hires are likely to be people like Mitch Greene, the Co-Lab studio technician who maintains 3-D printing on campus. Before arriving at Duke, Greene managed a 70-acre horse farm in Oxford, N.C. He hired contractors and got the operation off the ground before turning the farm over to his parents. While the field of technology looks different than a farm, Greene’s ability to quickly learn and adapt to change has helped him and other employees step into new workforce roles. “With the farm, I had to teach myself how to make it work,” Greene said. “I take pride in learning things fast, and that has helped me in this job. Things are always changing. Sometimes we get a new piece of equipment or the platform changes, and I have to learn things all over again.” 

By Paul Grantham

This job didn’t exist when I graduated. I have experience in both health policy and communications, but I felt like I had to choose one path or the other. This job allows me to pursue both.

Karthik Shyam

Communications Director Population Health Management Office

Karthik Shyam, director of communications for Duke’s Population Health Management Office, talks with members of the Medicare Beneficiary Advisory Council, a patient group that advises the office.



Ready to Save a Life Going unnoticed by some who pass by, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in Perkins Library could save a life if needed.


Duke installs automated external defibrillators in key buildings

eep in Perkins Library, tattered books sit on shelves in the Verne & Tanya Roberts Conservation Laboratory, waiting for their turn to be repaired. Near a worn volume of Hieronymus Bosch’s work, a beefy ledger of the “Transactions of the Zoological Society of London: June 1866Nov. 1869” needs attention. Someone tried to repair it with packing tape. Head of Conservation Services Beth Doyle and her crew have everything necessary to bring these books back to life. Now, they’ve got something that can do the same for people there to read the materials: automated external defibrillators. In 2015, George Grody, an instructor at Fuqua School of Business, suffered a heart attack just down the hall from Doyle’s office. Three students, all Duke University Emergency Services volunteers, were nearby. They grabbed an automated external defibrillator (AED) from their Quick Response Vehicle parked outside and used it to save Grody’s life. The incident came at a time when university leaders were already taking a look at where to install additional AEDs on campus, a desire voiced by many in an assessment. “Should we be doing something more just in case?” said Wayne Thomann, Duke’s director of occupational and environmental safety, of the sentiment he encountered while working as a member of Duke’s Emergency Management Steering Committee. The committee’s plan put AEDs in key campus buildings, placing a priority on those with the heaviest traffic. The first

wave of installations is complete, and the committee is reviewing requests for more units. If you’re in an AED-equipped building like the Brodhead Center, formerly called West Union, or Duke University Chapel, you’re less than a 90-second walk away from a device. The AEDs guide users with voice commands and, in some cases, automatically alert emergency responders. Numerous university staffers – like Doyle – have received instruction on the device as part of hands-only CPR training. “The training demystifies this,” said Lou Ann Martin-Rogers, a human resources department manager at Fuqua. “… I’ve never had to use it, but I feel like I could.” Grody’s story hit home with the Fuqua community. Associate Dean for Finance and Administration Jill Tomlinson said that after hearing about his emergency, she made sure Fuqua was among the first places to receive AEDs. Six now reside in the building’s sunlit hallways. “Thank goodness he was at the library when that happened because we would not have been as prepared,” Tomlinson said. “Now we are.” At Perkins Library, there are four units. Near where Grody was teaching and where library conservators work, one waits for the moment when the device – along with anyone called upon to use it – can save a life. “It’s something I could do if I was in the wrong place at the right time,” Doyle said.  By Stephen Schramm


Getting to Duke Why these employees choose an alternative commute


ccording to the U.S. Census, about 76 percent of U.S. workers drove to work alone in 2015. At Duke, the situation is similar with most University and Health System employees driving solo to work. However, that trend may be changing. The Census noted in a 2015 report that the Durham-Chapel Hill area was among large U.S. metro areas with the biggest decline (3 percent) in the rate of car commuting between 2006 and 2013. Here are Duke employees who choose modes less traveled. By Leanora Minai



Jonathan Viventi

Sarah Woodring

Assistant Professor Biomedical Engineering

Clinical Research Coordinator Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center

Mode: Electric Scooter Residence: Durham Round trip distance: 5 miles

Mode: Bicycle Residence: Durham Round trip distance: 8.5 miles

Why this commute: “Fastest door to door commute possible, faster than driving since the parking garage is 0.4 miles from my office,” Viventi said. He gets to work in nine minutes and doesn’t pay for parking.

Why this commute: “Avoid traffic congestion and parking hassles,” Woodring said. “Great exercise, nice transition between work and home.” She has never owned a Duke parking permit. “I’ve been biking over 35 years,” she added. “Anywhere I’ve worked, I’ve always biked.”

Fun fact: He rides a iMax S1. “It looks ridiculous,” he said. “Not the coolest way to get anywhere.” But the e-scooter travels 20 miles on a full charge and folds up, allowing Viventi to stow it in his office or in a car trunk. Tips: “E-scooters and e-bikes can travel over 20 miles per hour. Wear a helmet!” he said.

Fun fact: “When you go down streets slower, you get to enjoy the scenery more,” she said. “You also get to meet more people as you pass them daily. At certain times of the year, you get to enjoy the sunrise on the commute in.” She sometimes finds money and gift cards on the ground and picks up nails. Tips: “Use neighborhood and side streets as much as possible,” Woodring suggested. “If you are unsure about a new route, try it on a Saturday morning to get a feel for it. If it feels unsafe to you then, it will definitely feel unsafe to you during the work week. Google Earth maps are great for finding short cuts between streets.”

Kenari Yarborough

Prasad Kommaraju

Debra Smith

Clinical Trials Assistant II Duke Clinical Research Institute

IT Analyst Center of Excellence

Mode: Bus (GoDurham Route #20) Residence: Durham Round trip distance: 20 miles

Mode: Carpool (with Preeti Bala) Residence: Cary Round trip distance: 41 miles

Staff Assistant Employee Occupational Health & Wellness (LIVE FOR LIFE)

Why this commute: For Yarborough, the decision is based on convenience and affordability. She drives about six minutes to a park-and-ride lot near her house and catches Route 20, which launched in August 2016 for Duke employees who live in South Durham. She uses the $25 deal through Duke for a GoPass, which provides unlimited rides on public buses. “I would much rather pay $25 a year for a GoPass and have plenty of time to read on the bus ride to and from work,” she said.

Why this commute: With a two person carpool, Kommaraju’s monthly parking permit fee at Duke Fitness Center is cut in half. He estimates saving about $100 per month in fuel by sharing the ride to work with colleague Preeti Bala. “We also do our part for the environment, causing less pollution,” Kommaraju added. “It’s a huge help collectively, and less cars on the road means less traffic.”

Fun fact: “I was playing Pokémon Go on the

bus and was the only rider,” she said. “My phone went off to alert me to a Pokémon, and it was a rare one. The bus driver heard the alert … he stopped the bus (at an assigned stop) so we could both catch it.”

Tips: “Make sure you get to your stop at least

five minutes before, and always bring something to read, listen to (with headphones),” she suggested.

Fun fact: He parks in the lot at the Duke Fitness Center and walks to his office in the Hock building while enjoying the morning breeze. “It’s good for my health to have a walk,” he said. Kommaraju and his carpool partner each receive up to two free parking passes per month for when they need to drive alone. Tips: Since Kommaraju’s and Bala’s homes are not far apart, the employees alternate weeks behind the wheel in their car, and the company is welcome. “We get to talk,” Kommaraju said. “We talk about everything from politics to movies – mutual interests.”

Mode: Vanpool Residence: Oxford Round trip distance: 66 miles

Why this commute: It’s cost-effective: Free parking at Duke, free fuel, free insurance, and free maintenance. “It’s a savings for me and the wear and tear on my car,” Smith said. She has been part of a vanpool since 2009 and organized her own vanpool as lead driver in 2011. Vanpool riders pay a monthly fee based on monthly round trip mileage, but since Smith is the van’s primary driver, she does not pay anything. Fun fact: Smith gives riders a two-minute grace period at the pick-up spot at Granville Corners. The van pulls out at 7:02 a.m. with a stop in Butner before arriving at Duke. “I have a nice group of riders and I enjoy listening to them talk amongst each other about different things,” she said. “They are just a great group of people and I am so glad that they chose my vanpool.” Tips: To start a vanpool, you need to organize a driver and at least six riders, and based on your location, either GoTriangle or the Piedmont Regional Transit Authority will provide a van. “Establish the rules for your vanpool such as departure time, pick up location, grace period, backup drivers, etcetera,” Smith suggested. 

For a full list of Duke commuting options and associated incentives, including the Emergency Ride Home program, visit


Behind the Scenes:

Duke Technology 83,000 service requests, 1.3-billion spam and virus messages blocked

How We Contact OIT for Help


aroline Gorham was working from home during a severe weather day in January and couldn’t connect to the university’s Virtual Private Network to access her files. A staff assistant at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Gorham used the “live chat” function through the Office of Information Technology’s website to get help. “If I don’t have access to work files or email, I can’t provide the support that my colleagues are expecting,” Gorham said. In the OIT offices at American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham that day, service desk staff Sam Naim helped Gorham connect to her files. IT analysts like Naim field thousands of requests by phone, chat, email, and online each month. Last year alone, the OIT service desk fielded nearly 83,000 requests from university employees. “It’s a bit of organized chaos on busy days,” Naim said. “That snow day was busy with constant chats and calls covering a lot of different technology. It’s great to help people resolve those issues quickly.” From fielding service requests to protecting email accounts from viruses, maintaining Duke’s technology infrastructure is a 24-hour job. By Jeannine Sato



In 2016, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), which manages Duke’s central technology infrastructure, fielded 82,920 service requests from university users. Most requests came by phone, one of the fastest ways to get help – on average 33 seconds versus an average of three hours when a request is submitted by email. One other quick way to get help is by “live chat.” The chart does not include requests to Duke Health Technology Solutions (DHTS), which fielded 159,047 service requests in 2016.

Phone 39,011

Self-service (web) 15,063 Email 12,236

Walk-in 10,082

Chat 6,528

How Many Emails Get Blocked, Delivered

1.3 Billion

580 Million



For every email you receive at the University or Health System, there are at least two spam emails that didn’t get through to your inbox. Every month, Duke’s central email system (University and Health System) receives millions of emails from external sources, but the majority are spam, malware, and viruses. Without a sophisticated screening system, Duke inboxes would be flooded with potentially harmful junk mail. The graphics above represent figures for 2016.

For OIT metrics, visit

More Than Staying Cool The Blue Devil Toastmasters club offers a positive environment where members hone communications skills.


For Duke’s Toastmasters Club members, getting over nerves is only the start

f you’re familiar with Toastmasters, you’ve probably heard a story like Lesley Looper’s. The unit supervisor at Duke University Libraries wasn’t keen on public speaking. After joining a Toastmasters group, she had to give a report on an award at a large meeting. Focusing on what she learned at Toastmasters, she quelled her nerves and delivered. If this is the only kind of story you’ve heard, though, you may not be all that familiar with Toastmasters. For Looper and fellow members, getting over nerves is a first step on a journey that’s helped them in several ways. And with three Toastmasters clubs operating on campus, overcoming nerves is a journey any Duke community member can take. “The skills that we pick up cover an interesting range,” said Looper, president of the Blue Devil Toastmasters. Here are skills you can learn through Toastmasters:

Organize thoughts Biochemistry graduate student Jonathan Li had a tendency to ramble, turning simple sentences into winding soliloquies. He joined Blue Devil Toastmasters to remedy that.

He’s benefited from exercises during Toastmasters meetings to pull together a timed speech on an unknown subject in a moment’s notice. It makes him quickly decide which thoughts need to be expressed and which are best left out. He calls upon these skills when he fields questions about his work. No matter what comes, he’s ready. “You have to come up with an explanation on the spot,” Li said. “I get less shocked when people ask me questions I’ve never thought about before.”

Manage time Peg Helminski, Department of Radiology staff assistant, can tell when someone with Toastmasters experience runs a work meeting. During Toastmasters meetings, speeches are evaluated by how speakers adhere to time constraints. Sticking to an agenda is constantly stressed. “You get a really strong sense of what time is and how to put your information out in the most concise possible way,” said Helminski, a member of Duke Toastmasters since 2013.

Master language Lab administrator Maggie Mbugua starts each semester with a lengthy

presentation to Pratt School of Engineering Teaching Assistants. This hasn’t always been easy for Mbugua, who moved from Kenya in 2006. Growing up, she learned English but spoke Swahili and also a mother tongue unique to her community. After lessons on vocabulary, body language and time management at PRATTically Speaking Toastmasters, she has honed her communication and leadership skills. “Most of the time, I will think in my mother tongue but then I have to translate that into English, without distorting the meaning as perceived by others” Mbugua said. “That becomes an obstacle. … Over time, Toastmasters has helped me have a good command of the language.” 

By Stephen Schramm

Join Toastmasters at Duke Toastmasters International offers an encouraging environment to hone communication and leadership skills. Membership requires a small fee.

Blue Devil Toastmasters Duke Toastmasters PRATTically Speaking Toastmasters


Share Your Summer Vacation Photos Win chances at an overnight stay at JB Duke Hotel and dinner at Washington Duke Inn

Above: Samantha Shaltz took this picture of her husband and dog on Kerr Lake. “Time off allows me to escape from the normal chaos of life, to take a step back and realize how important the little things in life are,” she says.

Above: Danette Pachtner traveled through China for several weeks with her family. “This picture was taken in the town of Xizhou in Yunnan Province. Cormorants are trained to catch fish for the local Bai people,” she said.

At right, photo by Michael Palko. “Build a life you don’t need a vacation from,” he says.



Maria Droganova on the way to the top of Mount Emei, Sichuan Province, China. "Because my brain is like (a) computer, it ineeds to be restarted as well from time to time,” she says.


rom now through mid-August, Working@Duke invites staff and faculty to share photos as part the #DukeTimeOff campaign to highlight the hobbies, excitement, and big and small summer adventures of employees. Last year, employees shared about 230 photos. Matthew Turrentine, manager of support services for Duke Health Access Services, shared an image of his missionary work in Kenya. “Time off allows for time to recharge, to remove yourself from the heavy stressors of the season,” he said. “It also gets you out of your normal routine – makes room for spontaneity. The trick is to force yourself to forget about email, jabber, meetings, etc.” Ways to send your pictures:

 Share your picture using the

#DukeTimeOff hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and note what you’re doing with your time away from work. Mention @WorkingatDuke in your Twitter post.

Matthew Turrentine, seen here with children, submitted this picture from mission work in Africa.

Stephanie Grant skydiving with Triangle Diving Center, Louisburg, N.C. "Time off rejuvenates me for work and the next adventure!” she says.

 Post a photo and caption on

Working@Duke’s Facebook page:

 Upload a picture here:

During the contest, the Working@Duke Editorial Team will award prizes such as Dukethemed beach chairs and towels from Duke Stores. Grand prizes awarded at the end of the campaign include:

 An overnight stay with breakfast for two at the JB Duke Hotel

 Dinner for two at the Washington

Duke Inn’s Fairview Dining Room

To be eligible for prizes, photos must be taken and shared by current Duke staff and faculty between May 26, 2017, and Aug. 11, 2017. Carol Retsch-Bogart, employee assistance counselor with Duke’s Personal Assistance Service, said time off restores balance. “The best antidote for burnout is to change the rhythm of our life, even for a short period,” she said. “So taking an afternoon off, or if possible, a couple weeks away becomes a reset button.”  By Beth Hatcher

Submit your summer pic:

Above: Tara Ilsley Murillo says, “in order to give 100 percent at work I need to have a life outside of work. This means planting my garden, traveling, and connecting with family and friends."

At right: Michael Manning says “this picture was taken shortly after my daughters buried my son and I in the soft sand of Corolla, NC."



Enjoy theme parks, state parks, North Carolina Zoo and more Deals on summer fun with employee discounts


r. Victoria Thornton loves the North Carolina mountains for their bucolic beauty, proximity to activity-filled state parks, and scarce Internet connection. A consulting associate with the School of Nursing and School of Medicine, Thornton has used Duke’s employee discount to visit Chimney Rock State Park near Asheville with her husband and grandkids during the summer. “The mountains of North Carolina are beautiful,” she said. “They really take us back to nature. I find it restorative.” This summer, get back to nature and enjoy other destinations using Duke employee discounts.

Love thrill rides? Check out Carowinds, Kings Dominion and Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe – all of which offer savings on admission. Virginia-based Kings Dominion features rides like the Viking ship “Beserker” and “Drop Tower.” Kristina Eilbacher, a neurosurgery physician assistant, and her fiancé, Adam, travel through the South, chasing their favorite summer fun: roller coasters. Last summer, she used the discount at Kings Dominion and Carowinds, both of which offer special online pricing for employees through this season. “I like the anticipation of doing that big drop,” she said.

Want to get up close with animals? The North Carolina Zoo is situated on 2,200-acres in the Uwharrie Mountains in Asheboro, where approximately 500 acres 14


has been developed into the largest natural habitat zoo in the U.S. From animal exhibits to an aviary that showcases over 3,000 tropical plants and dozens of exotic birds, the zoo brings nature to you only a few hours from Durham. Day pass ticket prices range from $9 to $13.

Interested in a ride back in time? Visit Tweetsie Railroad, the Appalachian Mountains’ “Wild West Theme Park,” which dates back to 1866. Besides a scenic three-mile train ride through the mountains in Blowing Rock, the park offers a carousel, live entertainment and other activities. “So excited that Duke has a Tweetsie Railroad discount,” said Stephanie Swan, an administrative assistant with the Metabolic/ Weight Loss Surgery clinic. “My sons will get to experience the same places that my sister and I did, which means a lot now that my sister has passed.” Online discount prices are $39 for ages 13 and up and $23 for ages 3-12. Or, return to nature like Thornton at Chimney Rock State Park. Located about an hour outside Asheville, the park consists of more than 6,800 acres, offering miles of trails, including Exclamation Point, which ends at the highest peak in the park. Save $2 off adult admission and $1 off youth admission. To access the discounts, visit and search by discount type. Some discounts require logging in with NetID and password. 

By Beth Hatcher

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Duke Honors its Green Champions


2017 Sustainability Awards highlight community members

and lower carbon he crop of emissions, Johnson nominees for has offered his this year’s expertise to student Sustainability groups hoping to Awards was learn more about especially strong – so sustainability. strong that two categories “Professor featured multiple winners. Johnson gave a “It’s always amazing group of freshmen to see all the different the chance to learn projects and people that about a unique take it upon themselves in technology from a lot of ways to work on From left: Duke Sustainability Director Tavey Capps, Dr. Timothy Johnson, Jack Adams, Madison Barnes, an expert,” said Lin these efforts,” said Duke Chiara Mecagni, Barbara Lynn Weaver, Tim Hoer, Lin Zuo and Michael Ong. Zuo, a member of Sustainability Director Chiara Mecagni , Physical Therapist at the Duke Green Tavey Capps. Duke Hospital Devils. “It was really exciting to connect Here are the staff, faculty and Mecagni was the driving force behind with the grad school professor over dinner students honored by their peers for the Adult PT/OT Inpatient Department and a good discussion.” work that supports Duke’s commitment sustainability program that earned the to sustainability. Outstanding Leadership office a Green Workplace Certification. Outstanding Leadership in Sustainability – Students She’s provided sustainability training for in Sustainability – Staff Madison Barnes co-workers and is a leader on the hospital’s Jack Adams, Assistant to the Dean Barnes, a member of the Students for Green Team. for Duke Chapel Sustainable Living recycling team, brought Co-worker Laura Schwark, who Earlier this year, Adams organized energy and initiative to student-led waste nominated Mecagni, said that Mecagni the Green and Fair Chapel Day, which reduction efforts. Among contributions, “is truly dedicated to educate anyone who featured a showcase for green and ethical she led volunteers during Duke’s Zero is interested in how to make Duke and goods and policies, a panel discussion Waste Game Day programs during Durham more sustainable.” about how faith shapes environmental football season. Outstanding Leadership work and a screening of Before the Flood, Duke Green Devils a documentary about the threats of climate in Sustainability – Faculty The group’s 16 members helped Dr. Timothy Johnson, Associate change. educate fellow students about making Professor of the Practice in Energy and Duke Divinity student Lena Connor more sustainable choices by distributing the Environment, Nicholas School of the said that Adams “initiated a wonderful a Green Dorm Checklist. Among their Environment campaign at Duke Chapel to focus on work, they set up a reusable bag program In addition to teaching courses that sustainability in their infrastructure and and promoted alternative transportation focus on innovative technologies and ideas programming, which he has poured options.  that could lead to energy independence incredible amounts of time into.”

By Stephen Schramm

Learn more about how to get involved in greening Duke at:




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Working@Duke June/July 2017 Issue  
Working@Duke June/July 2017 Issue