Best Honors Thesis



2022 Best Honors Thesis

Arya embedded herself with a grassroots organization in India to conduct interviews with migrant women related to COVID-19. Her advisor, faculty member Anirudh Krishna, wrote, “Arya wrote a masterful survey of the literature on itinerant  migrants,” with immediately relevant policy solutions, and “conducted rigorous, grounded research during the worst of COVID-19.”



Sophia Katz


Tyler Kopp

2019 - Madison Ann Mastrangelo

2018 - Blaine Elias

2017 - Jessica Elisabeth Kalili Van Meir

2016 - Christie Marie Lawrence

2015 - Xinshu Sui

2014 - Caroline Michelle Jacobs

Joel Fleishman Distinguished Scholar Award

Recognizes the graduating major with the highest academic achievement in Public Policy Studies.


2022 Winner

Rebecca DiLuzio was named the Joel Fleishman Distinguished Scholar for highest academic achievement in public policy, named in honor of the public policy program’s founding director (pictured above). DiLuzio majored in Public Policy Studies and earned a certificate in Documentary Studies. 



Hannah Miao


Hayden Lynn Manseau

2019 - Kushal Tushar Kadakia

2018 - Maura Elisabeth Smyles

2017 - Parker Colburn Gilbert and Jessica Elisabeth Kalili Van Meir

2016 - Matthew Allen Peterson

2015 - Reed Adam McGinley-Stempel

2014 - Michelle Christine Burrows, Li-Kuang Chen, Marissa Weil Medine, and Hong Zhu

Terry Sanford Leadership Award

Presented annually to a graduating major recognizing their achievement in leadership.  Students are nominated by faculty and staff and voted on by the faculty committee. 


Shrey Majmudar

He’s a “once in a generation talent.”


Olivia Reneau

She’s got “the kind of magic that we associate with people like Terry Sanford."


Lauren Howell


Kaylee Brilhart


Shandiin Herrera

2018 - Adam Nicholas Beyer and Jacqueline Aram Monetta

2017 - Osasenaga Kelly Aghayere and Jessica Elisabeth Kalili Van Meir

2016 - Christie Marie Lawrence and John Anthony Sullivan

2015 - David Gregor Robertson and Ishan Yatin Thakore

2014 - Andrew Leon Hanna

Susan E. Tifft Teaching and Mentoring Award

This award is presented to a Sanford faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of the undergraduate program and has a deep commitment to the intellectual, professional and personal development of undergraduate majors in public policy.

2022 Suzanne Katzenstein

Woman, small smile, wearing cap and gown
Suzanne Katzenstein 


Professor Kristin Goss


Professor Abdullah Antepli

2019 - Professor Deondra Rose

2018 - Professor Nicholas W. Carnes

2017 - Professor Catherine Adcock Admay and Professor Gunther W. Peck

2016 - Professor Kenneth S. Rogerson

2015 - Professor Jay A. Pearson

2014 - Professor Alma G. Blount

Undergraduate Speaker

Each year at the Public Policy graduation ceremony a senior makes a speech.  The speech is often the highlight of the ceremony. 


2022 Student Speaker

During his time at Duke, Kyle Melatti co-chaired of the American Grand Strategy Student Council, served in Duke Student Government, was a TK Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and a PEP fellow with Polis and the Hart Leadership Program. 

“Majoring in public policy has made me feel like I am on the path of becoming the civil servant that I’ve always wanted to be,” he said.



Aly Diaz


Eric Biehn

2019 - Vanessa Agudelo

2018 - Amy Lynn Kramer

2017 - Steven Richard Brenner

2016 - Isabella Kwai

2015 - Vignesh Sapthagiri Krishnaswamy and Emily Catherine Hadley

2014 - Joy Chang Liu