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Priority 3:

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. We have been successful in challenging students to life-changing involvement with programs like the Hart Leadership Program, Duke in DC, American Grand Strategy, and Polis.

Student Highlights

Shandiin Herrera received the 2019 Terry Sanford Leadership Award for fostering an inclusive environment for Native students at Duke. She is Duke’s first Native American Udall Scholar.  

young man at podium

Kushal Kadakia

was named a Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar.

young woman, arms crossed, smiling

Daisy Almonte

was named a Truman Scholar and is one of the youngest board members of Student Action with Farm Workers.

young woman, listening, at a table

Amulya Vadapalli

was named Hart Fellow and is working in Jordan to aid Yemeni refugees.

young woman smiling, Duke Chapel

Maryam Asenuga

created the nation's first invitational for LGBTQIA+ prospective students.

Tyler Koch

traveled to Mexico City and interviewed returnees who had been deported from the U.S. His research earned him 2020 Best Honors Thesis.

Kaylee Brilhart won the 2020 Terry Sanford Leadership Award for her work with Duke LIFE which supports low-income, first-generation student engagement at Duke.

Classroom Innovation

Policy Lab

PolicyLab is a nonpartisan initiative that gives students the opportunity to research real-world policy questions and draft research for policymakers.

Getting Out the Vote

An on-campus early voting site and a vigorous get-out-the-vote effort pushed Duke University’s student voting rate to more than double in the last election. 

Duke Joins Eight-Campus N.C. Youth Voting Initiative

Distinguished Speakers

Darren walker with student and Judith Kelley

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, spoke about philanthropy and social justice. Leah Abrams PPS’20 introduced him.

Paul Farmer, a physician, medical anthropologist and founder of Partners in Health captivated students with stories of global health

Jason DeParle

Jason DeParle,  a New York Times reporter and author moved in with a family in one of the worst slums in Manila to better understand poverty.

Undergrad Life


Our award-winning series continues. 


“I worked at the Community Empowerment Fund my sophomore fall and through the rest of Duke. I worked with members of the community who were facing obstacles because of a prior interaction with the criminal justice system. This charge could be from 7 – 10 years ago and yet it was preventing them from finding employment, finding housing, all of these repercussions that in my view were unfair. I became serious about not just advocating for change in that arena but studying and understanding it on a more academic level.”

More Student Voices

Students described events, classes and opportunities for the website and social media.