When Sean Knierim MIDP’08 imagined his career path, his vision looked very different than the reality turned out to be.
“Every time I’ve been confident about what I was going to do next, I’ve been wrong,” Knierim said. The alumni speaker for Duke Sanford School of Public Policy’s 2015 master’s and PhD graduation ceremony, Knierim had originally planned to be an academic. He now works as the chief of staff at the Jeff Skoll Group, which includes media and entertainment companies, several philanthropic groups and an investment company.
An Army officer at the local recruiting officer is talking to an 18-year-old, a physically fit high school graduate with good grades and a clean record, who is eager to enlist. But he also uses marijuana. If the recruiting office is in Colorado, where recreational marijuana use is legal but still against federal law, the Army loses a promising recruit. A team of Sanford students tackled this policy problem.
U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chavius Lewis completed a 2015 Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship at Sanford. During his time at Duke, Lewis explored the feasibility of employing merchant vessels for offshore presence and launch of U.S. military operations. He says he was surprised by something he learned from the other students.
Politics and policy became real to Assistant Professor Deondra Rose – even became her life’s work – when she was on a bus one day as an undergrad at the University of Georgia. There were two young women sitting across from her, looking at a sign above her head. The sign was an advertisement was for the Miss University of Georgia (Miss UGA) pageant.
"You're famous for last-minute, improvised, sometimes panic-filled approaches to finishing and staging plays," noted a Duke University student to playwright Tony Kushner. "What would you say to students looking to create?" Kushner was in Durham, NC recently to deliver the Crown Lecture in Ethics at Duke University.
Amber Henson is a key player for the Duke women's basketball team. On the heels of senior night, she reflected on her decision to attend Duke and choose public policy as a major.
As the first in his family to graduate from college, Congressman Bradley Byrne PPS’77 attributes his success to giving every job he has ever had the highest priority, working hard and, most importantly, listening to what others say. He attributes his career in public service to the lessons and tools that he gained during his time at Duke. However, his path to Congress was far from clear-cut. While he was always interested in public service, it was years before he thought about running for office.
Danielle Zapotoczny PPS ’96 has used her public policy education in every facet of her career, from managing a film production company to engaging media with policy issues at the United Nations Foundation.
When Kentucky attorney general Jack Conway ’91 stepped behind the podium last March to announce he would no longer defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban, he was, in effect, walking onto the national stage. What caught the attention of hundreds of thousands of online viewers was the catch in Conway’s voice when he discussed the role his wife played in his decision.
An MPP/MBA alum shares his experience of creating Durham's Fullsteam tavern and brewery in his quest to capture the flavor of the South.
“One thing that is exceptional about Duke is the way that professors genuinely care and respect students,” said public policy alum Will Woodhouse PPS’14. “I believe Duke and Sanford professors seek to mentor and challenge students in whom they see potential.”
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.