Duke Diary Dispatch: Staying home, taking on something new

Duke student Alex Pieroni is doing a coding program at Duke this summer and living in Durham

Photo of Duke student alex Pieroni over a map of Durham, NC

Last summer, I contributed as a field archaeologist on the Vulci 3000 project with Maurizio Forte. I used various digital archaeological methods––ranging from virtual reconstructions through 3D modeling and photogrammetry and conducting geospatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS.) It was a transformative experience that solidified my passion for utilizing technology in archaeology. 

However, I’m staying in Durham this summer working with Duke’s Code+ program to further to develop my understanding of building software from the ground up. 

 I am thrilled to embark on an exciting new project that addresses the challenges Duke Campus Mailbox Services faces. I will collaborate with other students on my Code+ team, with Duke’s Office of Information Technology and Campus Mail Services to develop an app to streamline the package pickup process for students. Students wait in extended lines to pick up their mail, especially during the first few weeks of move-in. As such, our job is to create a user-friendly app that provides a solution, ranging from notifying students about the complex arrival system of their packages and providing them with an option to select a preferred time for pickup. 

 I chose to be part of Code+ because I love the idea of focusing on one problem all summer and enhancing my skills in software development. In addition, this project aligns well with my goal of utilizing technology to improve user experiences, a skill I will undoubtedly bring this summer! I am also working on a side project, ChatMedea, an interactive platform where users can converse with Medea, a fine-tuned model of Diablo-GPT I developed based on Euripides’ Medea through the Out-in-Tech mentorship program. This summer will be one of many side projects and explorations as I continue my understanding of building software from the ground up!