The Kevin P. Reilly Fellowship Fund was established in 2007 in honor of the father/father-in-law of Anna Reilly MPP ’90 and Matt Cullinan MPP ’90. Preference is given to students who have demonstrated a commitment to public service, including, but not limited to, students pursuing careers in the public sector at the local, state, and federal level.
Olivia Bond, MPP ’22, received the fellowship a few days after learning she was admitted to the Sanford MPP program.
“I was extremely excited because it made seem like attending Duke had finally become a real possibility. Discovering how generous the fellowship was seemed completely surreal – I sometimes still find it hard to believe!” Bond said.
Prior to coming to Duke, Bond was a middle school math teacher through Teach for America. She is particularly interested in education policy and other interconnected policy areas, such as housing and transportation.
“During my time in the classroom, I witnessed the effects of flawed public policies related to education, immigration and health, leading me to pursue a career in public policy,” Bond said. “Public policy matters to me because people matter to me. To me, life is about serving others and making life better for as many people as you can.”
Bond is extremely grateful to the donors of the fellowship, she said.
“Without the generous support of my fellowship’s donors, I would likely have had to choose a different program for financial reasons. After one semester at Duke, I can wholeheartedly say that Sanford’s program is the best fit for me, and that the relationships I am developing now with my classmates and professors will likely alter the trajectory of my life in many ways,” Bond said.
Though many days are challenging, I don’t take a single day of being a Duke student for granted. I fully recognize that I likely would not be here without the generosity of the donors.”
Polly Englot, MPP ’22, also received this fellowship. In Washington, D.C., Englot worked for Population Services International, an international public health NGO, supporting programs across West and Central Africa. In 2018, she moved to New York City and joined the marketing and events team at Food Bank For New York City, an umbrella organization for food access and advocacy serving all five boroughs.
“I have cared about public policy for my entire life. 2020 has made me even more interested in working for our government. A unique positive of the past several years is that even more people now recognize it’s impossible to separate one’s life from politics. For me, public policy means taking care of the most vulnerable,” Englot said.
Englot said going to graduate school would not have been possible without financial support. So when she received word of the fellowship with her MPP acceptance, she was thrilled.
“Learning of the value of my fellowship was when I really got excited about getting accepted to the program. I was accepted at other schools too, but this was a higher value than any other offer I received. Being here, knowing that I have the security and support from the school, it makes me feel that I can pursue my interests and make a difference – and have one less thing to worry about in terms of finances,” Englot said.
Englot said she is thankful for the support of the donors for the fellowship. For Englot, having the fellowship means not having to worry about a job while pursuing her MPP. Because of the support, she has been able to focus on her studies and activities, and take additional classes like Arabic. She is also part of the Sanford Board Leadership Initiative, paired with the NC AIDS Action Network, calling it a rewarding opportunity.
“I know the donors are very involved at Sanford. It’s so meaningful when people use family resources for other people – especially to benefit society. It’s hard to put into words how much this fellowship means. It made my degree possible, but also pursuing the path of public service possible, feasible and sustainable,” Englot said. “I’m so grateful that the family decided to make this contribution. It’s huge. Now I can confidently go after any public service job.”