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Stefanie Feldman, PPS’10

Stefanie Feldman graduated from Duke with a degree in Public Policy Studies (PPS) in 2010. She works at the White House as President Biden’s Deputy Assistant for Domestic Policy. Read a Q&A with Stefanie below:

What is the most interesting work or highlight so far in your career?

During the presidential transition, I coordinated the development of dozens of executive orders and other executive actions signed by President Biden during the first 10 days of his Administration. I had to make sure all of the incoming White House leadership – from counsel to communications to policy council chairs – had the opportunity to shape the documents. We then briefed the President on the proposed actions and secured his approval. We also had to figure out the very basic “Day 1” logistics – Who prints the executive orders? How do we acquire pens for the President to sign the executive orders?


Stef Feldman in the Oval Office
President Joe Biden receives a briefing from White House senior advisors Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. Feldman is third from right (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

Serving as Policy Director for President Biden’s 2020 campaign – helping him successfully win the Democratic primary and the general election. I led the development of President Biden’s campaign policy agenda, helped him prepare for debates, and worked hand in hand with our communications and political teams to make sure the public knew about the President’s agenda. 

What is one highlight memory you have at Duke? At Sanford?

I TA’d for the undergraduate introduction to public policy course for three years. For two of those semesters, I TA’d for Professor Kelley, now Dean of the Sanford School. It helped me develop deeper ties with Sanford – not just faculty, but also younger students. Teaching also helped me refine my memo writing skills; skills which have been a critical part of my career in Washington. I also wrote my honors thesis with Jenni Owen and Ken Rogerson. Jenni made policy feel concrete and practical, not academic.


Stef Feldman with President Biden
Vice President Joe Biden walks through the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Alex Mackler, former Senator Ted Kaufman, John Flynn and Stef Feldman, July 14, 2015. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

What would you say to a current student at Sanford – a word of advice or something you wish you knew when you were graduating?

Don’t try to plan your career out too far ahead. You don’t know what opportunities are ahead. Instead, ask yourself “what opportunity will allow me to joyfully and meaningfully contribute in the next year?” and reevaluate that question on an annual basis.

Stef Feldman with President Biden
Vice President Joe Biden meets with Don Graves and Stef Feldman on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in his West Wing Office, July 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
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