“I honestly didn’t know what I would major in my senior year of high school. But the summer before I came here, I watched all of Parks & Recreation. And I saw so much of myself and my personality in the main character, Leslie Knope, who’s a bureaucrat and a civil servant who works for her community."
Damjan Denoble PPS’07 is an immigration attorney, but he’s an immigration attorney who has had a diverse and circuitous career path. While at Sanford, Denoble’s involvement in Professor Tony Brown’s courses and service-based activities, both of which contributed to his being awarded the William J. Griffith University Service Award as a senior, inspired him to enter the field of social entrepreneurship.
By Adam Beyer
When people think of LinkedIn, they think of it is as the leading social media network for professionals. But today, LinkedIn is a growing source of news and original reporting.
Sitting on a bus in Uganda, Pearce Godwin PPS’08 felt the urge to write. He had been following the political news from his home state of North Carolina and felt troubled by what he saw as increasingly vitriolic political rhetoric.
As somebody with a lot of access to information still am not educated on all of the things that I feel I should be educated on. And so, that's kind of a foundational question of democracy - how, with a sprawling public that has a lot of different issues and people who assign different importance to different issues, how do you get people to a place where everybody has the same facts, everyone is operating with the same types of policy understanding? How do we get to a place where people are having meaningful debate?
North Carolina has 58 community colleges, serving approximately 700,000 students annually, spread all across the state. Jennifer Haygood MPP’01 is one of the system’s top administrators.
"There's a very specific reason why I’m interested in Public Policy and I think a lot of it has to do with my upbringing. I'm an American Muslim born and raised very much in the post-9/11 generation."
"You have to be willing to take up those societal labels you're given because you really cannot escape society's perception of you. I feel that it is futile to spend my life working to disprove people's perceptions of me when I could be working towards a tangible goal. I don't want my everyday life to be, I wake up in the morning and I have to work ten times as hard to get past certain things just so we can have a conversation."
Across the country, newspapers are evolving. As print subscriptions and advertising revenue fall, they are increasingly becoming digital media organizations. As executive editor for the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer John Drescher MPP’88 is leading his newsroom’s digital transition.
“I’m interested in the intersectionality of religion and policy, and how policy informs religious freedom. Especially in today's climate, I think it’s particularly important with our current presidency, Islamophobia, and things like that. I think evaluating the ways in which your religious freedoms affect other people is important. I personally define religious freedom as [allowing] for all people to be able to practice what they want without fear of repercussions or for their safety, like when people don’t want to admit their religious identity because of potential dangers, like with Islamophobia. Building on that, the right to exclude is very narrow. I think educating yourself is huge, because you don’t want that burden to fall on someone when it’s already hard to speak up in the first place, and learning more about other people’s beliefs will ultimately go back to that - to affecting our policies.
Beth Gifford takes a data-driven approach to studying education and criminal justice policies affecting children and their families. She joined the Sanford School in July as assistant research professor of public policy, after being part of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) since 2005.
“I’m currently working on my readings for ethics. It’s for the MPP class. It’s really cool. Jay Pearson is the professor and he’s really great. I think he really contextualizes a lot of issues and also looks into the intersectionality of those issues. So things aren’t just isolated problems, they’re all interconnected. To be honest, I had never really considered public policy as something I wanted to pursue in graduate school. I was a history major in undergrad, I worked for 2 years in a AmeriCorps program in St. Louis city and I worked at a public high school in education and it kind of made me realize that a lot of the issues I was seeing with my students didn’t solely stem from problems within the education system but other things too such as their health, home life, and stress levels, and that was why they were having trouble. I looked into public policy, and I realized that I wanted to make more of a concrete change within the system in order to improve the lives of others.