Best Honors Thesis
Awarded annually to a Duke Sanford student.
Best Honors Thesis 2023
Mary Monti won 2023 Best Honors Thesis for her work looking into the regional differences in high school textbooks to assess how different perspectives might help shape different political beliefs and ideologies. Professor Kristin Goss described Mary's thesis as a “tour de force” and “hands down” the best thesis she has advised in her 20 years as a thesis advisor.
Best Honors Thesis 2022
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.”
2021 - Sophia Katz
2020 - 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.
Joel Fleishman Distinguished Scholar Award 2022
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.
2021 - Hannah Miao
2020 - 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.
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.
2023 Tifft Award Winner
Mallory SoRelle's research and teaching explore how public policies are related to inequality in the US. She focuses primarily on issues like consumer financial protection and access to civil justice that fundamentally shape the welfare of marginalized communities yet are often overlooked by scholars of the welfare state because they are not traditional redistributive programs. Details from the nomination include how Professor SoRelle has been a spectacular mentor and how she is able to treat students as an intellectual peer while still helping them grow.
2022 Tifft Award Winner
Suzanne Katzenstein is a lecturer in public policy and is faculty affiliate with the Hart Leadership Program. Since 2020, she has been an instructor and writing coach with the Hart Leadership Program, teaching “PPS 259 – Women as Leaders.” Katzenstein received the Susan E. Tifft Teaching and Mentoring Award in spring of 2022, which recognizes outstanding contributions to teaching undergraduates and a deep commitment to the intellectual, professional and personal development of undergraduate public policy students.
2021 - Professor Kristin Goss
2020 - 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
Each year at the Public Policy graduation ceremony a senior makes a speech. The speech is often the highlight of the ceremony.
2023 Student Speaker
Gabrielle "Gaby" Battle comes from a family rooted in justice and advocacy for marginalized communities. Raised by her mother and grandmother, and close to her great-grandmothers, she says their intergenerational teachings, "not only made me feel empowered to be Black but also motivated to continue to advocate for our people." Battle's speech focused on the idea of "radical hope", a term popularized in a 2006 book of the same title. Gaby will be attending Harvard Law School.
2022 Student Speaker
Kyle Melatti grew up in Las Vegas, the first generation son of parents who migrated from Brazil. His parents both worked in the casino industry. His selection as graduation speaker was a surprise to his parents. Kyle took advantage of many of the opportunities available at Sanford and Duke, including American Grand Strategy Student Council, Duke Student Government, Kenan Institute for Ethics, 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.
2021 - Aly Diaz
2020 - 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