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Grace Endrud: 2024 Terry Sanford Leadership Award Winner

"If I could tell my freshman year self what I'd been doing right now, she’d just be amazed," says Grace Endrud. "Freshman year Grace would be very proud of the person I've become and the person I'm still becoming."

Grace is one of two 2024 Terry Sanford Leadership Award winners. She says when she first came to Duke, she didn’t see herself as a leader, instead she focused on her work in the classroom. But when she applied for Duke’s Nakayama Public Service Scholars program, something clicked.

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Grace Endrud smiling
Grace Endrud 2024 Terry Sanford Leadership Award Winner

“Going through that application process – the idea of a ‘public service ethos’ really impacted my perception of what leadership is. And I began to view leadership as an act of service.” Slowly, she started to see the kind of leader she could be, and she began to step into leadership positions.

For example, Grace is particularly proud of the work she did with the Duke Presidential Ambassadors program (DPA). The organization traditionally serves the office of the president and student participants are the public face of the university.

As Director of Service for DPA, Grace organized a project to look beyond campus to the nearby city of Durham. Her project, which brought local Durham students to campus, was a wonderful way to see that what an impact a fresh idea can have on others. She also gained key insight into leading on the international stage by participating in the Duke Global Policy Program in Geneva. She interned at the International Office for Migration at the United Nations, and has accepted a position there. She will be based in Geneva.

This past year, Grace attended an event featuring the prominent journalist Fareed Zakaria (CNN, The Washington Post) and businessman/philanthropist David Rubenstein. In the on-stage discussion, they talked about how many of America’s best and brightest students are going into the private sector and  are not pursuing careers in public service. Hearing that made Grace think about her own path – one that is directly headed towards a life of service – and she couldn’t be happier.