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MPP Students

Students in our Master of Public Policy (MPP) program often go on to careers as leaders, analysts and managers at various levels of government, nonprofits and corporations – both domestically and internationally. MPP students want to make big change in the world!

I grew up in New York and I started playing tennis when I was three. We moved to the Charlotte, North Carolina area when I was about ten. I trained there for tennis and then got a bunch of offers from schools and chose to go to Elon University to Read more
I think everyone who teaches grows to love their students - you get really attached. I had one student who just loved math class. He used to email me and say, “Mrs. Pett, can you send me more math problems to do?” His family had immigrated from the Congo and Read more
When I was 9 days old, I was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, which is high pressure in the eyes that results in blindness if not treated. Glaucoma is also known as “the silent thief of sight” because a lot of people don’t know they have it until it causes a Read more
I was born asthmatic, and it has shaped my life. Growing up, I felt like a ticking time bomb. Every day was a privilege because I knew I could die at any time. My childhood was challenging because I’d see other people live normally, and wonder ‘Why couldn’t I?’ All Read more
I’ve been adding “complete a half-marathon and marathon” to my New Year’s resolutions for as long as I can remember. I ran a half-marathon in 2022 that resulted in me vowing to literally never run long distance again. But at the beginning of 2023, when my dislike for running long Read more
Being part of the MPP Student Council last year was very defining for me. It was a great way to be involved with Sanford while getting to understand how Sanford plays a role within the broader Duke community. And it's really easy to kind of get sucked into the Sanford Read more
I’ve always just wanted to help people in the career I pursue. In high school, I found that environmental issues are something that I feel really strongly about. I came to Duke originally planning to double major in Public Policy and Environmental Science. But after taking classes at Sanford I Read more
“Go out there and make some mistakes today!” It’s been a huge adjustment stepping away from soccer and my role as a Division 1 midfielder. I played for Rice University as an undergrad, but I still apply the pregame advice my parents gave me at three years old. As a Read more
I am a first-generation student, so neither my parents nor my grandparents went to university. Sometimes people from lower-income countries, think we won't make it in the U.S. The education is so demanding or so difficult. But there’s a lot of potential in Bolivia, South America, Africa or Asia. That’s Read more
(Part 2 of 2) My biggest hope is Energy Week 2023 goes off without a hitch. I’m grateful to co-lead the project along with Carley Tucker, an MEM/MBA student. We've got undergrads, folks in the Nicholas School, fellow Sanford students. Seeing the team buy into the vision Carley and I Read more
(Part 1 of 2) Growing up in Wyoming gave me an immediate appreciation for nature. Living in a log cabin 70 miles from the nearest stop light, seeing bears in the summer, having our idea of a traffic jam be buffalo crossing, it was a special place. It made me Read more
When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Most medical professionals told my parents that I would never have a life of independence or anything remotely close to what I have now. Back in the early 2000s, there wasn't a lot of knowledge about what Read more
Since I was little, I was just a happy-go-lucky kid. Seeing people hurt or in pain, even if it's just on the playground, always bothered me and I kind of wore that with people and wanted to help them. I got involved in church when I was in junior high, Read more
A lot of people are surprised to learn that many clubs advertised primarily to undergrads are open to grad students. I am really happy to be involved in the Duke Chorale – as an MPP student! I'm blessed to have a musical family. Growing up my parents would have different Read more
Growing up in a conflict zone, (Indian-Administered Kashmir) had a profound impact on the way I view the world and my perspective on life. In 2018, my work led me to #Afghanistan, where I contributed to developing educational reforms and fostering inclusive communities. During my time there, I had the Read more
I went to West Point and commissioned as an U.S. Army officer in 2012. Sanford was my first break from the Army world, and I loved every moment of being at Sanford. I’m patriotic, which is the main reason why I joined the Army. My grandpa was in the Navy Read more
  “As a kid, I always wanted to be president. But my real political awakening was the Trayvon Martin case. I‘ll never forget, me, my twin brother, and this guy I consider my brother were in the basement watching the verdict; it came back, [and we were] stunned. That was Read more
Both of my parents were just really good whistlers growing up. They would always be whistling around the house. And then my dad, at some point got these two pet cockatiels; little ones with the orange cheeks and little crowns that go up. And they would listen to my parents Read more
“Inequality at the international level was visible to me early in life. I grew up in Singapore. It’s a unique country, considered a beacon in Southeast Asia because it’s a rapidly developed country surrounded by countries experiencing significant poverty and much slower development. Also, several generations of my family chose Read more
Everyone says it’s hard to teach middle schoolers, but something about meeting the challenge and opportunity of their constant state of “figuring-it-out” pulled me right in. After graduating from Harvard in 2014, I joined Teach for America and spent three years teaching middle school math and science in and around Read more