Duke Talent Identification Program Announces New Director

New executive director of TIP, Shawna Young

Shawna Young, executive director of the Office of Engineering Outreach Programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been tapped as the new executive director of the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP), school officials announced Thursday. 

Young, a North Carolina native, attended Duke TIP as a middle-schooler. 

“As an alumna of the 7th Grade Talent Search program, I know first-hand how influential Duke TIP was in motivating me to aspire to higher levels of success than I previously had thought possible,” Young said. “I find the possibility of providing similar opportunities to thousands of gifted students both inspiring and humbling.” 

At MIT, Young has directed the School of Engineering’s outreach programs for talented middle and high school students from diverse backgrounds since 2008. Previously, she managed the Diversity Initiative at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. She also taught science for several years in public high schools in North Carolina, including Hillside High School in Durham. 

Young succeeds Martha Putallaz, who has served as Duke TIP’s executive director since 2004. 

"I’m grateful for the leadership Martha Putallaz provided TIP as she oversaw its growth into a leading program with international impact," said Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education, whose office has overseen the TIP program since 2014.  “Shawna Young is just the right leader to continue this trajectory as we continue to expand the impact of TIP to reach an even broader and more diverse population of talented students.” 

Young holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Howard University, a master’s degree in science education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master of business administration from MIT Sloan School of Management and a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from Boston University. 

Duke TIP was founded in 1980 through a grant from The Duke Endowment. The program annually identifies nearly 100,000 gifted students through its talent searches and provides summer and academic year educational programs at Duke and around the world. Duke TIP  distributes more than $3.2 million in financial aid each year. Since its founding, it has served more than 2.8 million academically gifted students in grades 4 through 12.