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Student Leaders

Student perspectives are valued at the Sanford School and at Duke, and students can find and create numerous opportunities to serve in leadership roles. These are the Sanford School student organizations that provide input and suggestions to the school’s leadership team.

Sanford MPP Student Council

The Sanford Student Representative Council is responsible for bringing any concerns, questions and recommendations regarding the MPP program (e.g., curriculum, faculty, facilities, etc.), to the administration. The Council facilitates student involvement in Sanford School planning in partnership with the Director of Graduate Studies and MPP Director of Student Services.

2018-2019 Representatives

  • Second-year Representatives: Joe MarshallAbby Snyder 
  • First-Year Representatives: TBD
  • Dual-Degree Representative: Adam Fischer
  • Dean's Liaison: Justin O'Neil
  • Treasurer: Kevin Wu
  • Honor Board Representative: Shelby Gullion
  • Duke Graduate and Profession Student Council Representatives: Meg Fee, Augie Gonzalez

Visit the Student Council homepage

MPP Academic Committee

The MPP Academic Committee serves as a forum for student concerns regarding topics such as requirements for academic concentrations, course offerings and electives, core curriculum needs, Master’s Projects and faculty and student interaction and advising.

The Public Policy Studies Majors Union (PPSMU)

The Majors Union is the official organization representing undergraduates at the Sanford School. Led by PPS students, the Majors Union engages students in the life of the Sanford School and provides opportunities to learn and network outside of the classroom.

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  • Adam Beyer stands with "vote" sign

    A Quiet Leader

    Adam Beyer nabbed the Terry Sanford Leadership Award at the 2018 Sanford School graduation. As president of the Duke Democrats during his sophomore and junior years, Adam focused on securing an early voting site on campus. He also registered students to vote. "I personally registered hundreds of students, maybe close to a thousand,” he said. 

    The award was named for the founder of the Sanford School, Terry Sanford, who was known for ethical leadership. 

PPSMU provides student input on administrative and academic matters; plans community-building events involving students, faculty and alumni; and creates networking and other professional opportunities for students. The Majors Union coordinates student-faculty dinners at Durham restaurants.

The group’s career guidance series, CareerTalk, brings policy practitioners to campus to talk about employment opportunities in the field. PPSMU also assists with hosting the school’s biannual Board of Visitors meetings, and serves as the primary source of student perspectives for the Sanford administration and faculty.

2019-2020 Majors Union Officers

  • President: Madison Cullinan
  • Director of External Affairs/Treasurer: Autumn Barnes
  • Director of Academic Affairs: Spencer Kaplan
  • Director of Career Affairs: John Honeycutt
  • Director of Communications: Dalia Dichter

PhD Executive Committee

2018-2019 PhD student members: Ajenai Clemmons, Marwa Al Fakhri, Nivedehitha Subramanian

Board of Visitors

Students serve as ad hoc members of the school’s advisory Board of Visitors, providing student perspectives during the board’s biannual meetings. 2018-2019 representatives:

  • PhD Representative: Laura Bellows
  • MPP representative: Justin O'Neill
  • MIDP Representative: Branka Panic
  • Undergraduate Representative: Alec Lintz

Faith & Leadership

Jonathan Osei, PPS’18 says while at Duke, he made connections between policy and his faith through involvement at Sanford and the Duke Chapel. Jonathan also worked 25 hours/week for a community organization while in school.Upon graduating, Jonathan will continue to serve in Durham, N.C.