"I grew up in a small village in Kenya, an informal settlement called Korogocho. It’s the third largest slum in Kenya. I heard of this scholarship by the Ford Foundation. It was extremely competitive. So I applied for this scholarship, and I got it. And it was a good scholarship because if you got it, you could go to any university in the world, provided you were qualified. Duke was always my first choice. Even if I got the scholarship now, I would still come to Duke." - Raphael Obonyo MPP’13
“You get to make a difference every day,” said Matthew Clark MPP’15. “That’s what I love about organizing. You’re right there on the ground with people just as passionate as you are working to move North Carolina and the nation forward.” Clark has been a part of several campaigns for progressive issues. At Duke, he was a founding member of Duke Teaching First, a group that helped organize Trinity College’s non-tenure track teaching faculty into a union. Clark also helped lay the groundwork for the ongoing graduate student unionization effort.
The Bass Connections Medicaid Reform Advisory Team combines Duke’s expertise in public policy, law, medicine and business under the umbrella of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. Team members are crafting a Medicaid reform proposal designed to fit the constraints and demands of North Carolina politics, especially in light of the revised political landscape resulting from the 2016 elections.
Andrea Wilson, MPP/MBA’12, knew what she wanted when she came to the Sanford School. She had developed an interest in combating human trafficking during her six years in finance and program development with nonprofit organizations in Washington state and wanted to make a career shift into the area. She applied to organizations in the field, but hit a snag—most required prior anti-trafficking experience. A dual master’s degree from Duke was the answer.
Amid a changing health policy landscape, Charles Mathews MPP’04, sees his Sanford degree as a critical tool. Mathews, a vice president at Boston Healthcare Associates (BHA), has a niche role in the industry: helping companies figure out how to show the value of new technologies to payers (insurance companies) so they will pay for them. In particular he focuses on new medical laboratory tests.
Sanford professor Helen "Sunny" Ladd participated in the Women's March on Washington following President Trump's inauguration.
I’m from Turkey, and I worked for the Minister of Finance there before coming to Sanford. It was a good job. It was a hard job, but hard is good. As a government official, you have to deal with difficult, unexpected situations.
Charlie Clotfelter’s class was incredibly impactful and memorable. I’ve always been incredibly interested in public policy and human issues, and his class really brought those two together, from the role of the nonprofit in serving communities and needs that the federal systems wouldn’t support and private sector wouldn’t support. When I was at OSHA, after four years, I took a big risk and left to a startup nonprofit dealing with worker safety and health issues, and it was through inspiration from that class that it all fit together. To this day, I look back on that class as being one of the more impactful ones.
I’ll give you two answers for why I chose to major in both Public Policy and Computer Science. One is about my mantra about society and one is about the personal connections between the two. Personally, I would drive myself crazy just studying one discipline."
Sonia Sekhar MPP’14 knows the Affordable Care Act like the back of hand. She has to—it’s her job to implement the law for New York. Sekhar is director of policy and planning for New York State of Health, the state’s health exchange.
"Before coming to Sanford, I was in the Peace Corps in Indonesia as an education volunteer. It was there that I saw how bad environmental problems are. I remember when I was hiking in the jungle with some friends, and all of a sudden, we came to a clearing. The whole side of the mountain had been razed. They cut all the trees down. My friend told me that this had been done on government territory. It was illegal and it was going to affect the local economies. Here at Sanford, I'm focusing on environmental policy, specifically as it relates to climate change."
More than 2 billion children worldwide are “invisible,” said Maya Ajmera, MPP’93. The founder and former president of the Global Fund for Children called invisibility “a lack of hope, a lack of opportunity and a lack of access.” Nearly half a billion children live in extreme poverty, 215 million are engaged in hazardous labor, 100 million live on the street, and 1.2 million are trafficked annually.