Liza Rodler MPP ’21 described being in disbelief when she learned about her acceptance to the MPP program at Sanford and the generous financial aid package from Duke.
“When I first read the letter describing my admittance and financial aid offer, I thought there was a typo – it was much more generous than I expected,” Rodler said. Included in her offer was support from the Charles A. and Elizabeth Ann Sanders Fund.
This endowment was established in 2007, by Dr. Charles A. Sanders, chair emeritus of the Sanford Board of Visitors and longtime friend to the school. This unrestricted endowment has provided support to many MPP students.
“The fellowship has lightened the financial stress of attending graduate school during a pandemic, so much so that the experience would be entirely different -- or impossible -- without this support. Without this fellowship, I never would have attended Duke, moved to North Carolina, and been set on the path that I’m now on,” she said.
Rodler is an MPP candidate concentrating in Social Policy. She grew up in the Bay area, just north of San Francisco, Calif. She graduated in 2017 from Yale University, where she majored in economics. Prior to joining Duke, she spent three years working in social policy analysis and program evaluation in Washington, D.C., aiming to understand and improve programs that support low-income families.
“When I worked as a research assistant doing social policy research right out of college, I quickly recognized the power and importance of public policy. I found that cities and states are developing creative solutions to problems they see, but often struggle to implement them on a large scale. I see public policy as the best tool I have to address these problems, as policy sets up the infrastructure that allows states and communities to build programs that work for them,” she said.
She said the fellowship allowed her to pursue new opportunities when she arrived in Durham. After graduation, she hopes to apply policy research in practice, specifically through working with state and local governments.
“With the support of this fellowship, I was able to broaden my search for summer internships and school-year volunteering to include non- and low-paying positions. Under greater financial pressure, I would have had to limit my options based on funding opportunities. I feel much freer to explore opportunities based on my interest, as a result,” she said.