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Sanford students are the voices of our world, and as each one is amplified, we hear the chorus of progress that they will bring to the professional arenas they enter. 2024 graduates will reach every aspect of our world as journalists, teachers, health professionals, government leaders, policymakers and so much more. Here are some of the stories of the Class of 2024. 

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2024 Graduates on Why Public Policy Matters


Solomon Ayehu MIDP’24

Solomon served as a general practitioner at hospitals across Ethiopia, including on the frontlines at Eka Kotebe General Hospital, the primary COVID-19 treatment center in Ethiopia. Driven by a desire to champion equitable healthcare access and implement sustainable development solutions in low- and middle-income countries, he returned to school to study international development and global health policy.

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Christina Wang PPS'24

Christina Wang cares about democracy and wants to help others care about it as well. But as a voting rights advocate, she has often faced a pressing quandary: What does democracy mean to each person? Under the mentorship of Professor Nicholas Carnes, she hopes her research can answer that question.

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Rachel Ansley MIDP'24

After working for think tanks, NGOs and the Peace Corps, Rachel decided to study international development policy to be better prepared to connect policy design and implementation. “I wanted to develop the skills needed to analyze policy, design effective alternatives and work on projects that implement these policies.”

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Imad Alhajj MIDP'24

"As a Syrian-Kurdish-born person, my life and career as a humanitarian practitioner have been shaped by the conflicts in Iraq and Syria,” Imad Alhajj says, adding that he aims to develop a strategy to "bring all actors together to establish a clear path toward achieving an overarching strategic vision of preventing the relapse of conflict and building sustainable peace and democratic governance.”

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Laya Sathyan PPS'24

The undergraduate speaker for Sanford’s graduation on May 10 is focused on systemic change related to women's health. Growing up in a family steeped in engineering and computer science, Laya's path initially seemed destined for similar territories. But she soon found a passion passion for public policy, global health, and women's advocacy that would shape her into the remarkable individual she is today.

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Jorge Delgado Golusda MIDP'24

Before joining the Master of International Development Policy (MIDP) program at Duke Sanford, Jorge Delgado Golusda served 18 years in the Chilean Army, including a role as head of the planning and investigation section in the education division. He says he came to grad school to add more technical skills in order to reach a higher decision-making level.

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Brittany Gabriel MPP'24

Two years ago, Brittany could not have imagined the experiences she’d go on to have in graduate school—creating Duke University’s and Sanford’s first student-led Black Policy Conference, heading to Geneva to participate in a summer global health policy program, or leading an on-stage interview with a renowned writer to a sold-out crowd.

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Juan Merlo MPP'24

Juan has seen Duke University during his time in the Master of Public Policy (MPP) program in a way few have – both from his seat in the classroom, and from behind the instructor’s lectern. He taught eight undergraduates about public policy, in Spanish

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Alison Pei PhD'24

Since joining the Sanford community in 2019, Alison has dedicated her research to the relationship between labor market dynamics and innovation, with a focus on the impact of regulations on worker outcomes. She co-authored research that was cited in a U.S. Federal Trade Commission's landmark ruling related to non-compete agreements.

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Jose Luis Diaz Ramos iMEP'24

Even before joining Duke’s International Master of Environmental Policy (iMEP) program, Jose Luis was a rising star in environmental policy. He knew he wanted to further galvanize his expertise in one of the most crucial areas of our current age, and he found a perfect venue at Duke Kunshan University. He calls his experience there life-changing.

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Jordan Wilson MPP'24

When asked where he came from, where he’s going next, and why he is getting a master’s degree in public policy, the answer is always, resoundingly, “San Francisco.” After graduation, Jordan is headed back to the Golden City and will be working in the mayor's office, actually implementing his master’s project, which aims to advance career technical education in public schools.

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Jessica On PPS'24

As a student teacher at EK Powe Elementary School in Durham, Jessica embodies a dedication to education and community service. Despite her rigorous teaching schedule, she volunteers to welcome prospective students, leaving a lasting impression with her genuine sincerity and passion for her alma mater. Not surprisingly, Duke recently announced Jessica as their 2024 nominee for North Carolina teacher of the year.

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Christian Jones MNSP'24

Christian says her journey is "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." She's focused on how soft power can be a transformative force in the nation's security strategy.

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Goharik Tigranyan MIDP'24

Before attending Duke, Goharik earned a master’s degree in human rights and democratization in her home country, Armenia. She'll use her new knowledge and skills as a democracy officer, promoting women’s inclusion, human rights and democratic governance back in Armenia.

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Christian Menin MIDP'24

Christian Menin believes in the transformative power of every individual to make a significant, positive impact on others and society. After graduating from Duke Sanford with the Master of International Development Policy (MIDP) degree, Christian plans to use his knowledge and experiences to advance peacebuilding dialogue, support political efforts and promote development in conflicted and post-conflict regions.

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Imani Hall CERT

Imani Hall is a Senior majoring in Neuroscience and getting the Child Policy Research Certificate. Her interests lie in supporting individuals with diverse learning needs as she has first-hand experience with seeing her parents become her sister’s number one advocate for her learning disability. Imani’s independent research project examines the importance of parental involvement for children with Autism spectrum disorder in the implementation of child policies.

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Lisa Gennetian Receives Tifft Teaching and Mentoring Award

Named after the esteemed Susan Tifft, the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Communications and Journalism, this award celebrates educators who excel in guiding and nurturing undergraduate students.

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