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Undergrad Experience

Priority 3: Undergraduate Experience

Deepen our undergraduate experience to inspire students to live lives of service and leadership

Our public policy undergraduate program is one of the best in the nation and one of the largest majors at Duke. Students experience life-changing involvement with programs like the Hart Leadership Program, Duke in DC, American Grand Strategy, and Polis.

Sanford school, orange flowers in foreground
Students walking through Duke arch
Sanford School sign in foreground, students out of focus

This past year, PPS undergraduates accomplished so much – despite the limitations of a global pandemic. They helped get out the vote on campus and in the community, took action around injustices, won awards for their policy contributions and much more. 

May 2021 Graduation highlights

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Sophia Katz

Sophia’s thesis about environmental policy received Sanford’s Best Honors Thesis Award.

Jabril Wilson

Jabril traveled to Togo to analyze the success of a microfinance institution in rural areas.

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Yuexuan Chen

Yuexuan was the Health/Science Editor at the Chronicle during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sam McDermott

Sam aided Transition Term NC for Sanford’s enterprising leadership course.

Hannah Miao

Hannah wrote a story about Cleveland’s AsiaTown published in Cleveland Scene.

Swathi Ramprasad

Swathi helped create the Cyber Policy and Gender Violence Initiative at Sanford.

Lauren Howell

Lauren won the Terry Sanford Leadership Award from the Sanford School of Public Policy.

Jake Statisky

Jake served as Editor-in-Chief, digital strategy director and recruitment chair for the Chronicle.

Lauren Howell won the 2021 Terry Sanford Leadership Award for her work with Duke LIFE which supports low-income, first-generation student engagement at Duke.

Additional Highlights

Eisenhower Award

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Swathi Ramprasad PPS’21 was named one of four Eisenhower Global Scholars for the following academic year. She is the first Duke student to win this award.

Read More

Why Vote

Duke students participated in Hart Leadership Program’s Why Vote video challenge and created 30-second non-partisan PSAs encouraging their peers to vote. 


Kyle Melatti PPS’22

The Office of Congresswoman Susie Lee

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Kyle interned in the office of Congresswoman Susie Lee (D-NV) during the summer of 2020. He thought his internship experience might be hindered by going online but it wasn’t the case. Often interns only handle mail and phones, but Melatti was able to draft several memos and background briefs, too.

Joanne Kim PPS ’22

Intel Corporation

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Joanne had the chance to intern at the tech company Intel as a public policy intern. It’s an exciting time in tech, and Kim’s internship placed her squarely at the fascinating intersection of technology and policy.

Learn More about Internships

PEP Fellows

Vote Here sign

The Political Engagement Project Fellows (PEP Fellows) is a joint program through both the Hart Leadership Program and Polis: Center for Politics. Established in 2019, the PEP Fellows is made possible by the Carrin M. Patman Fund, honoring her legacy of political engagement.

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Nadia Innab
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Anna Klingensmith

Learn more about our PEP Fellows


Our Award-winning Series Continues

Discover Our Stories

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Student Voices


Data Hubs May Be the Path to Improving the U.S. Healthcare Landscape

Samantha Littenberg

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The Rosetta Stone of Cybersecurity

Olivia Levine

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Stand for Human Rights with David Miliband

Jonathan Griffin

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Exploring Purpose and Public Policy at Good Reason

Zoë Macomber

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Racial Equity Work is the Hope for All Children and Families

Sophie Hurewitz

Capitol building

Diving into the Safe Connections Act to Protect Survivors of Abuse

Swathi Ramprasad and Niharika Vattikonda

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Artistry and Research Behind The ARC of Justice

Erin Blanding