Carter Zenke

Hi there! I’m a student researcher at Duke University designing and scaling a better education for the Digital Age.

Care to join me?


What I Do.

For a more formal introduction, check out my CV.

Above everything, I strive to create meaningful learning experiences. This pursuit has taken me around the world, from local Durham schools to the suburbs of Kathmandu, Nepal. Over the years, I’ve seen the power of merging research with action - which is exactly how I approach all of my work.


Computer science (CS) education in Durham excludes most students. CSbyUs is a partnership between universities, private schools, and nonprofits to not only expand access to CS education, but to self-empower students to use CS in personally authentic ways.

Co-Founder and Co-Director

  • Raised $10,000 in grants to expand CSbyUs to 3 schools

  • Trained 5 new mentors to teach over 60 students who have created apps to improve nutrition, teach survival skills, and promote literacy

Lead Investigator

  • Using design-based research to improve curriculum and contribute to theories of equitable CS education

  • Co-teaching Duke Bass Connections course where participants synthesize literature to discover design principles upon which to base CSbyUs

Karsh Mentorship Initiative

Rote learning education systems - in Nepal and in the United States - leave students disengaged from their local schools and our global challenges. I co-lead the Karsh Mentorship Initiative (KMI) with Shanker Paudel, principal of CVM School in Gatthaghar, Nepal, to mobilize his students as change agents and global citizens.


  • Lived in Nepal to facilitate 2 summers of leadership and teamwork development camps for Nepali high-school students

  • Partnered with Microsoft and WomenLEAD to organize first HackKMI, a full-day hackathon for student-designed social impact projects

Co-Lead Investigator

  • Writing curriculum based on theories of experiential learning to teach leadership, teamwork, and civic engagement

  • Conducting (short-term) ethnographic research to discern how experiential learning can better facilitate the above student outcomes

Why I do it.

Dissatisfied with how education wasn’t preparing students for the new Industrial Revolution, Charles Eliot, 21st President of Harvard University, outlined a plan titled “The New Education” that gave us our contemporary education system. Now we find ourselves facing a new revolution – a digital one filled with grand promises of new technologies, yet rife with new social inequities and cultural conflicts – and a look at the numbers shows we should be just as dissatisfied with education as Eliot was a century and a half ago.

What should the next "New Education" look like?



John Lewis Fellowship

With the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and 25 international fellows, studied past and present social justice issues in Atlanta, GA

Holton Prize for Innovative Work in Education

Often awarded to senior theses, but received freshman year for CSbyUs research, curriculum, and strategic plan

Angier B. Duke Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to approximately 15 students per year (out of 34,000+) who “most embody a commitment to solving challenges faced by society at large”

Let’s collaborate.

Hardly anything is more powerful than collaboration and community.

Name *

My bookshelf.

I’m always reading. Here is a regularly updated list of articles that are shaping (and challenging) my worldview.