Before coming to Duke, Joy Basu PPS’08 lived her entire life in the same house, a split-level on a suburban corner in a conservative Illinois town. Since leaving Duke, she has moved almost twenty times, crossing the country and the globe. Currently living in San Francisco, Basu strives to “act as a thoughtful global citizen, with strong Midwestern roots.” While her path has carried her between the public and the private sphere, she has always felt a clear connection to her public policy training.
For the past several years, Stan Litow has contributed his expertise in corporate social responsibility, education and innovation to students in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. This fall, he does so with a new title: Accenture Visiting Professor of the Practice.
Mallory SoRelle, American political economy scholar, graduated with honors from Smith College in 2006 without ever taking an undergraduate economics class. She was more interested in politics, specifically campaigns and elections, and topics of increasing political engagement and representation for marginalized communities. Then from 2006 to 2008, she found herself in a front row seat witnessing the unfolding of the Great Recession.
New Sanford faculty member Sara Sutherland can point to two distinct moments in life that determined her career path. The first was a trip to Madagascar, the second was happenstance – hearing a story on NPR.
While his post-Duke career started off on the oh-so-familiar trajectory of consulting, what David Estrin PPS’13 is focusing on now is far off the beaten path. After four years at Accenture Strategy, where he advised numerous Fortune 500 clients as well as the firm’s first corporate philanthropy program, he left to start Together We Remember, a nonprofit aimed at honoring victims of the Holocaust and other genocides throughout history.
When Eric Dinallo MPP’87 set out to build a career, insurance wasn’t what he first had in mind. He was interested in public service and had gone to law school to gain more tools that would be helpful in government work. “No one wakes up and says, I want a career in insurance,” he said.
Francisco Jeria MIDP '20 worked at the Ministry of Education in Chile for five years before coming to Sanford with his wife and son. The Sanford faculty "is amazing," he says. Francisco earned a Masters Degree in International Development Policy. He let a camera crew tail him for this day-in-the-life video.
This May, Julian Xie is graduating with his second Duke degree – his Master of Public Policy (MPP). By next year, he plans to complete his third Duke degree – his MD. He is quick to point out the complementarity between the two advanced degrees with his focus on improving health and food systems. “My interests are around food policy and food systems. I knew I wanted to get a non-medical perspective across disciplinary lines. I think the MPP has given me more skills to communicate about and analyze health topics as a medical student,” Xie said.
In the fall of his sophomore year, Tyler Kopp PPS'20 traveled to Mexico City with the DukeImmerse program, where he interviewed returnees who had been deported from the U.S. Kopp, who majored in public policy and Spanish, knew that he wanted to write something bigger about deportation and family separation. The resulting paper, “It’s a Trauma That Stays with You: How U.S. Family Separation Policies Affect Mexican-U.S. Migrant Families,” earned Kopp the Best Honors Thesis Award for 2020.
Even before coming to Duke, Maryam Asenuga PPS’20 knew that she wanted to become a lawyer. In addition to being pre-law at Duke with the intent of studying criminal and civil rights law to advocate for minority communities, Asenuga found ways to make others feel more at home both at Duke and in Durham.
Advocating for racial justice and equality, with a focus on criminal justice, has been a passion of Leah Abrams’ PPS’20 throughout her career at Duke, and one that she has explored in her pursuit of policy change. In the fall of her sophomore year, Abrams began working with the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), a local non-profit aimed at enabling and sustaining transitions out of homelessness. She would continue to work there for the rest of her time at Duke. “Pretty early in my experience there I started working with members of the community who were facing really tangible obstacles because of a prior interaction with the criminal justice system” said Abrams.
Kaylee Brilhart Brilhart struggled with being a first-generation student from a low-income family at Duke, and then turned that struggle into advocacy for other such students. In their nomination of Brilhart for the 2020 Terry Sanford Leadership Award, Deondra Rose, assistant professor of public policy, and Elise Goldwasser, Sanford’s director of undergraduate internships, called her “a behind the scenes leader who has championed first-generation, low-income students at Sanford and on campus.”