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When Ashley Hawkes MPP ’21 joined the Sanford MPP program, she also learned she had received the Richard B. and Kathryn C. Lieb Dean’s Fellowship. The endowment was established in 2012 to provide whole or partial fellowships to MPP students, with preference given to individuals who are in active U.S. military service or who have been honorably discharged from such service. The Liebs are ’69 graduates of Duke.

Hawkes is an Air Force Major in the U.S. Reserves. She graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s degree in political science. After graduation, she served as an Acquisitions Officer in the U.S. Air Force. She completed her MBA while in the Air Force, and transitioned to corporate positions, most recently at General Electric (GE) as a senior product manager. A series of consultancy projects for nonprofits, volunteer time at community centers and passion for public service focused her interest in social policy. 

“I have a varied background in the sense that I’ve served in the military and in the private sector. Both aspects of my journey confidently brought me to Sanford. I am grateful for the opportunity to be at Sanford. It’s a safe place to get uncomfortable, to stretch myself and learn about public policy. It is a great place to build a foundation for my future endeavors,” Hawkes said.

After graduation, Hawkes is excited to pursue a career in corporate social responsibility. She said being at Sanford has shown her that public policy matters to everyone.

“Public policy is all around us – from the local decisions to those made in Washington, D.C. And hopefully, when decisions are made by policymakers, they reflect thoughtful evaluation, iteration, and innovation. But beyond that, policymakers can -- and should be -- influenced by an ecosystem of stakeholders. So whether you are at an advocacy organization, a nonprofit, a private company, or attending your local city council meeting, your inputs are valuable and needed,” she said.

She said the fellowship has made a difference to help students like her focus on their studies and be of service to others. To the donors, she would say:  “Thank you! Not just for your gift during my time at Sanford, but for being a model of stewardship that I will carry forward,” she said.

Marc Losito 

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Marc Losito, MPP ’22, has a deep background in national security, concentrating in technology policy, and focusing on the intersection of those two policy disciplines. He is a career military warrant officer with a bachelor’s degree in strategic studies and defense analysis from Norwich University. The majority of his military career has been serving in special operations units and national level combat support agencies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and France. After graduation, he will return to military service, in a Special Operations assignment at Fort Bragg, N.C. 

Losito received both the Lieb and Carlucci fellowships, the latter which provides a summer internship. “The fellowships have stitched me into a network that is incredibly rewarding,” he said. 

“Despite COVID-19 and the limitations of the pandemic, the Carlucci fellows have established a close-knit and supportive cohort. When I am writing for publication, my first sanity check comes from my fellow Carlucci fellows. The group is comprised of rich and diverse backgrounds from across the national security sector,” he said of the Carlucci fellows.

Losito said the Lieb fellowship has provided critical funding to engage in extracurricular activities, including his leadership role in the Sanford Veterans Association and participation in a national cyber policy competition.

“As a public policy candidate and a military officer, public service is front and center in my life. I have assumed a leadership role in a newly formed student organization for veterans at Sanford. Additionally, the fellowship has enabled me to participate in enriching experiences while at Duke. As a technology and national security policy student, I am deeply interested in the cross-cutting nature of the cyber domain across all national security issues. As a result of alleviating other financial needs, I was able to represent Duke University and the Sanford School at a national-level policy competition hosted by the Atlantic Council. As a member of the Duke-Sanford team, I competed against and learned from some of the best up-and-coming minds in policy and strategy,” he said.

In addition, Losito adds that the Lieb fellowship has allowed him to publish his scholarship.

“The Lieb fellowship has allowed me to author four articles during the first semester of study, outside of class requirement, where I might otherwise be engaged. I have been able to pursue a range of topics, including great power competition, artificial intelligence in the military, drone policy, and civil-military relations,” he said. “With the support, I am able to better focus my time toward a greater academic experience while at Duke and give back to the Duke community in ways otherwise not available.”

His passion for public policy has carried through his 20-year career.

“I have seen poorly planned policy poorly executed in the name of national security abroad and I can only hope we are capable of better. Much like any endeavor, I refuse to be a part of the problem without providing a solution…and therein lies my spark. My Statement of Purpose for admission reflected on my experience in Libya and the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks. It was on the shores of Tripoli where I found the power of policy—to borrow from a timeless adage, the pen is mightier than the sword,” he said. 

“I hope to orient my newly acquired policy and analysis skills toward national security and technology issues at the operational and strategic levels of the military.”
Read Losito’s articles supported by the Lieb fellowship: