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Alumni Profiles & News

Alumni Profiles & News


Alumnus Profile: Michael Conway PPS’88 Leads Starbucks to New Places

Head shot of Michael Conway.

You would figure there would be a lot of coffee if you were to walk into the Starbucks corporate headquarters in Seattle, but finding four to five break rooms on every floor, each one equipped with coffee brewers, coffee grinders, espresso machines and the milks and syrups the company is known for—that might be unexpected.


Sanford Alum Launches Project to Fight Tuberculosis

Seven-year-old Manoj wriggled impatiently in his mother’s lap, longing to play outside rather than take his latest round of medicine. Months before, a health care worker had come to his home in Chennai, India, to give him a tuberculosis (TB) test after one of his family members had gone to a clinic seeking treatment for the disease. Manoj, it turned out, also had an active case of TB.    


Kristin Rechberger PPS’95: Dig Deep and Follow Your Passion

Rechberger scuba diving, posing near a giant clam

By Adam Beyer

Kristin Rechberger’s travels have taken her all around the world – from the Arctic Circle to tropical islands in the Pacific. But she never goes on vacation.

“I go where I think I can make an impact,” the founder and CEO of Dynamic Planet said. Her company works with businesses and governments across the globe to help them find ways to restore nature.


Career Advice From Sanford Grad, Top Young Healthcare Exec

Delvecchio Finley

Delvecchio Finley MPP'02, the 36-year-old CEO of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, has completed a lot of things that many people his age dream of. He managed to leave public housing in Atlanta behind, eventually earning a master's degree in public policy at Duke.  Since then, he’s risen swiftly in health care. Today, the 36-year-old Finley is CEO of one major medical center, Harbor-UCLA, and he's recently been tapped to lead another, Alameda Health System.


Alumnus Named Director of Duke in Washington Office

Duke alumnus Jeff Harris has been named director of Duke in Washington and associate director of federal relations for the university, said Christopher Simmons, associate vice president for federal relations.

Harris is currently the senior manager for public affairs and policy program communications at the Aspen Institute where he manages public outreach, social media, media relations and other communications responsibilities.  Harris has worked with major media outlets, corporations and foundations to advance the institute's initiatives.


Alumnus Profile: Richard Schwartz PPS’75 Trailblazer in Education Law

“I’m a little biased in this area, but I don’t think you can do anything more important than try to have a positive impact on children who are going through the education process. We can advocate for better conditions for children by representing school systems, and I like to think that’s a large part of what we do,” says Richard Schwartz PPS ’75.


Graduation Speaker: Sean Knierim MIDP’08, The Unexpected Path

Sean looking at another person

When Sean Knierim MIDP’08 imagined his career path, his vision looked very different than the reality turned out to be.

“Every time I’ve been confident about what I was going to do next, I’ve been wrong,” Knierim said. . The alumni speaker for Duke Sanford School of Public Policy’s 2015 master’s and PhD   graduation ceremony, Knierim had originally planned to be an academic. He now works as the chief of staff at the Jeff Skoll Group, which includes media and entertainment companies, several philanthropic groups and an investment company.  


Alumnus Profile: Bradley Byrne PPS'77 Strong Roots Shape Congressional Career

by Judy Sirykissoon

As the first in his family to graduate from college, Congressman Bradley Byrne PPS’77 attributes his success to giving every job he has ever had the highest priority, working hard and, most importantly, listening to what others say. He attributes his career in public service to the lessons and tools that he gained during his time at Duke. However, his path to Congress was far from clear-cut. While he was always interested in public service, it was years before he thought about running for office. 


Alumnus Profile: Jack Conway '91 Follows His Heart

Jack Conway '91, at the podium at a political rally

When Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway ’91 stepped behind the podium last March to announce he would no longer defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, he was, in effect, walking onto the national stage. What caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of online viewers was the catch in Conway’s voice when he discussed the role his wife played in his decision.


In Search of a Home Brew: Sean Lilly Wilson MBA/MPP’00

An MPP/MBA alum shares his experience of creating Durham's Fullsteam tavern and brewery in his quest to capture the flavor of the South.


Mentorship in Health Policy Benefits Future Physician

“One thing that is exceptional about Duke is the way that professors genuinely care and respect students,” said public policy alum Will Woodhouse PPS’14. “I believe Duke and Sanford professors seek to mentor and challenge students in whom they see potential.”