It’s been almost 10 years since the Indian Ocean tsunami killed an estimated quarter of a million people. More than 160,000 died in Indonesia’s Aceh province, where the tsunami wiped some coastal villages completely off the map—removing every building, every road, every bridge, every tree. In some villages, not a single child survived. Sanford professors Elizabeth Frankenberg and Duncan Thomas began collecting and analyzing data from 30,000 survivors in Aceh soon after the tsunami and are continuing to follow the group today.
Rewriting a nation’s entire tax code might seem like a pipedream to most policymakers, but that’s what alumnus Aleksi Aleksishvili MIDP’04 was able to do for his home country of Georgia. As part of the administration brought into power by the “Rose Revolution,” Aleksishvili was able to institute sweeping tax and economic reforms in his work as Minister of Economy (2004-2005) and Minister of Finance (2005-2007).
The phrase “higher education” usually conjures images of leafy college quads, imposing stone buildings and school spirit fed by winning sports teams. That image leads to a bad case of “Harvard envy,” and a mismatch between the current system and the educational needs of the majority of the population, according to Andy Rosen, PPS/History '82, chairman and CEO of Kaplan Inc., the for-profit education and test-preparation company.
Now working the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., Maeve Gearing PhD’13 took a few moments away from her research to discuss her experience at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Hear from this successful PhD alum in her own words.
Raised near Los Angeles, Calif., Eric Nakano is no stranger to big cities. The fourth generation Japanese-American got his undergraduate degree in political science at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. When he headed to graduate school at age 29, Nakano wanted to experience something new.
For Jen Shen and Danny Heller, finding solutions to real-world problems involves looking at them from many different points of view. Shen, a PhD student, and Heller, now an MPP alum, formed Duke Interdisciplinary Social Innovators (DISI) in 2013 as a way for graduate students to work in teams with students in other academic disciplines on community impact projects with local nonprofits.
Now working as an education data analyst, Anna Bryant MPP’14 shared her experience as a master’s student at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Hear from this successful MPP alumna in her own words.
At every level of government, the people who make the laws in the United States come from much more privileged backgrounds than Americans as a whole. Members of Congress, state legislators, even city council members – all tend to be significantly wealthier, more educated, and more often from white-collar occupations than the citizens they represent. Although observers routinely downplay this disconnect as insignificant, in reality the upward-tilted composition of our political institutions has serious consequences for the balance of power between the haves and the have-nots in our political process.
By Camille Peeples
Great mentorship can make the difference between success and failure in graduate school.
Daniel Werfel MPP’97 established a reputation as a problem-solver during his 15 years of service at the White House Office of Management and Budget. That reputation led to his appointment as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in May 2013, when the agency was under fire for possible political discrimination.
After two months in Sudan, Idrissa Kamara MIDP’02 was ready to give up. He and his fellow humanitarian aid workers for Save the Children arrived in what is now South Sudan in March 2005 to help implement a basic health, water, hygiene and HIV/AIDS services program. They found themselves fighting intense heat, sleeping on dirt floors and treating contaminated water from a nearby river.