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Christian Jones describes herself as a "Graduate student coalescing a passion for national security policy and cultivating connections through an innovative approach to soft power strategies in education, workforce development, and cybersecurity." She's in the first graduating cohort of Duke Sanford's Master of National Security Policy (MNSP program.) She wrote about her experiences at Sanford for the Humans of Duke Sanford Instagram project.

"My journey is not just academic; it's deeply personal, intertwined with my devout Christian faith, my background as a legal assistant, and my time as Miss New Jersey United States, where I orchestrated a legislative platform. These experiences have instilled in me a commitment to service and a perspective on how soft power can be a transformative force in our national security strategy. 

I vividly remember the confusion and helplessness I felt as a child during the September 11th attacks. I was overwhelmed with questions. I’m from South Jersey and I saw firsthand how my school mobilized in response to the crisis. This inspired me to think about the often-understated role of educational institutions in national security. 

Later I served with AmeriCorps at a Durham nonprofit, where I helped to develop strategies to provide children with essential reading materials during the pandemic. The pandemic really exacerbated educational disparities, and this felt like such essential work. During this time, I also discovered a 2012 article by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education Joel Klein. They highlighted the national education crisis and connected it to America's global competitiveness. This totally reshaped my professional focus from legal aspirations to a different but equally critical domain. 

Sanford has armed me with an innovative problem-solving skillset, unique to Duke’s interdisciplinary environment. I’m focusing on how different areas in society like technology, the economy, and talent development—affect U.S. national security on a domestic scale. I hope to influence a narrative that complements current strategies and utilizes soft power tools to address and transform the hard challenges we face within our country. I hope that this will fulfill our immediate needs and cultivate a legacy of peace, excellence, and unity for generations to come." 


Christian Jones' Photo Highlights

Graduation Stories & Details

We will be sharing graduation stories throughout the week leading up to graduation on Sanford's website, and on our social channels. Need the graduation details? Check out the official Graduation Page to find parking info, live streams and more. 

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