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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!

About 17 years ago, my cousin came out as gay. I didn’t understand why family members were so emotional and serious about it. That’s when I discovered homophobia. Stirred to frustration because it seemed so illogical that anyone cared who someone else loved, I subsequently advocated for acceptance in a Read more
I never understood coming out – it’s like stepping into a spotlight so people can put me in a box. I call myself queer, but I don’t care for labels. By coming out as a certain label, I feel we have to restrict ourselves to connecting with people under that Read more
Living most of my life in Seattle, I needed a change of geography. Sanford let me substitute the rain-filled Northwest for the sun-soaked Southeast. I chose Sanford to expose myself to policy areas and demographics that might be unique to the Southeast, and explore the intersection between civil liberties, social Read more
I grew up thinking if I had tattoos, I would have no political career, so I didn't get my first #tattoo until about age 23. A big reason why I started getting them was because they helped me heal from mental health issues. And ever since, I’ve not held back Read more
I’ve always been interested in sports. As an athlete (soccer, lacrosse), it’s challenging trying to adhere to both my religious needs and team requirements. I was always an outsider because of my headscarf and uniform adjustments, but if it meant playing the sport, I would make the necessary changes. A Read more
Before Sanford, I worked with Verizon in Hyderabad, India. One day, while stuck in a traffic jam, I had an existential moment: the work I was doing had no soul in it. It was limited to just outcomes and logic games; my work did not give me fulfillment. I soon Read more
I went to #Ukraine in August 2018 for an education-focused Peace Corps program. I lived with a host family in a really small rural town within the province of Poltava Oblast – southeast of #Kyiv. At the time, I don’t think people here really knew much about Ukraine as a Read more
Have you been enjoying our #HumansofDukeSanford series of student stories related to #BlackHistoryMonth? Shoutout to the series curator, Hamza Mohamoud. Hamza is a master's student, and is the graduate student assistant in the communications office of the Sanford School of Public Policy here at Duke University. #MPP Read more
Growing up, I had to look after my younger siblings. The pressure of being the "example," while difficult, taught me a lot about myself and how I wanted to impact the world. This led me to work for an exciting school network in #Kenya and #SouthAfrica that focuses on developing Read more
Throughout my three years of teaching (two with Teach for America) I thought I wanted to go back to school and become a school administrator. Yet the more time I spent in the education sector, the more I realized its flaws and barriers to equitable change. I decided to forgo Read more
My time in the tech industry as a risk analyst for Meta Inc. (fka Facebook) made me fall in love with tech policy. That’s where Sanford came in; I wanted to attend a school that had a tech policy concentration and brilliant leaders to learn from. I am also honored Read more
In undergrad, I majored in Speech and Hearing Sciences to prepare myself for a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). I was passionate about advocating for patients, research, and diversifying the field, but I found I did not enjoy the clinical duties. I decided to take a break after graduation Read more
At age 20 I was living in New York and I was primarily a jazz musician, but I met this girl from London … she was a singer-songwriter of anti-folk music – it’s like Regina Spektor-type stuff. We met another guy, and we became a three-person anti-folk band. She played Read more
Highlights of my experience at the 2021 UN climate change summit (COP26): I spoke to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, got to shake Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s hand, and met Sanford alum Robin Millican – who works for Breakthrough Energy. I went to the Indigenous pavilion, EU pavilion, and the Read more
For me, public policy is really about meaningfully engaging communities, in topics or issues that are most relevant to them and doing the most good for the most people. My area of specialty is the #environment, environmental justice -- how laws and policy go about protecting and advocating for people Read more
I vividly remember the evening I found out I received the Ladd Fellowship. I received a call from a Durham number, and oddly enough I had this positive and hopeful feeling that this was **the call.** Jessica Pan was on the other line and after she congratulated me on my Read more
Since the senior year of my undergraduate study in Economics, I worked as a research assistant at Duke Kunshan for professor John Ji. I’m a Kunshan, China local. (In fact, moving from Kunshan to Durham felt like moving from one city with a Duke to another!) John really gave me Read more
“I lived in Mexico City almost all my life. I identify as ‘Chilango,’ that’s what we call people from Mexico City in Mexico. I’m very tied to this megalopolis of 20 million people, and love the urban environment, the experience of having so many cultures in one place. When you’re Read more
“One of my peers recently said that they chose Sanford because the curriculum strikes a perfect balance between academic work and real-world professional experience, and I completely agree. As you progress in the MPP program, you start out by building and drilling practical tools like writing and data analysis, and Read more
Myra: We worked at the same company in #Boston helping homeowners go solar. Raffi: I was there first and when Myra came to interview, I said, “Wow I really like that interviewee…” (laughter) After the two-week training period, we were walking to the train station after dark, about to go Read more