Announcing the 2024-2025 Hart Fellowship Recipients

Hart Fellowship 2024-2025 Banner depicting headshots of the five new fellows

Five seniors have been awarded the Hart Fellowship for 2024-2025, a prestigious postgraduate fellowship for recent Duke graduates, offered by the Hart Leadership Program in the Sanford School of Public Policy. After graduation, the new Hart Fellows will travel across the United States and the globe to engage in ten months of community-based research, forming deep connections in a community outside their own and partnering with a local host organization to conduct meaningful research on social, political, and humanitarian issues facing our world today.

The Hart Leadership Program exists to inspire and prepare students to practice the art of ethical leadership in public life. By providing students and recent graduates with opportunities to conduct meaningful research and action in partnership with community organizations, Hart Leadership develops skills of mindful reflection, purposeful collaboration, and applied learning. Andrew Nurkin, Hart Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of the Hart Leadership Program, notes that, “This is the thirtieth cohort of Hart Fellows, and all of us at the Hart Leadership Program are inspired by the passion, commitment to community, spirit of humble inquiry, and public purpose demonstrated by these five exceptional seniors. We look forward to seeing where their Hart Fellowships take them and supporting their growth and continued learning about leadership over the next year.”

Since its inception in 1995, 118 Hart Fellows have served community partner organizations in over forty countries across six continents. This year’s Hart Fellows stood out among a competitive pool of applicants as passionate leaders and researchers who demonstrate integrity, humility, and compassion in their social and professional lives. We welcome this group of change-makers to the Hart family and hope you will join us in wishing them a successful fellowship year ahead.


The 2024-2025 Hart Fellows


Ashley Bae Hart Fellow 2024-2025Ashley Bae (she/her)

Ashley is from Leesburg, Virginia, majoring in public policy and cultural anthropology, with a minor in global health. On campus, she serves as the Executive Vice President of Duke Student Government and President of Duke KAjok, Duke’s Korean American student organization. In her free time, Ashley enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, watching Korean dramas, and cooking.

Ashley will spend her Hart Fellowship year in Oakland, California, working to better understand and amplify multi-racial and intersectional coalition building in the reproductive justice movement, with a focus on Asian American mobilization. Through immersing herself in a city with such rich and diverse community organizing history, Ashley hopes to contribute to and learn from the Oakland community in meaningful and energizing ways.


Corali Francisco-Zelkine Hart Fellow 2024-2025Corali Francisco-Zelkine (she/her)

Corali was born and raised in South Florida, with family from France and the Dominican Republic. In May, Corali will be a first-generation graduate with majors in Cultural Anthropology and Global Health, and a minor in Sociology. At Duke, she is the co-artistic director of Street Medicine Street-style Dance team and a former dance captain of Nakisai African Dance Ensemble. She is also a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and has spent her senior year working on an ethnographic research project on the relationship between reproductive justice and community. Off campus, Corali works at the Emily K Center with elementary and middle school students as a program assistant, where she has developed a passion for working with youth.

Through the Hart Fellowship, Corali will be traveling to Bahia, Brazil at the Instituto Cultural Bantu (ICB) – to explore further her interests in education, community, and social justice. This community-based and community-led organization focuses on youth support and racial justice through mentorship, academic tutoring, and Afro-Brazilian cultural practices such as capoeira Angola. During her fellowship, Corali plans to carry out another ethnographic project looking at how the programs offered at the ICB promote community-building and empowerment. 


Khilan Walker Hart Fellow 2024-2025Khilan Walker(he/him)

Khilan is a graduating Senior from Olive Branch, Mississippi, majoring in Political Science and minoring in African & African American Studies. Khilan played four years of football for Duke, is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., and has also participated in the Service Opportunities in Leadership (SOL) and Patman Political Engagement Project programs through the Hart Leadership Program at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Khilan has conducted research on educational discrimination and the pressurization of athletics upon Black youth. Outside of Duke, Khilan enjoys making clothes and watching sports.

During his Hart Fellowship year, Khilan plans to partner with Durham Success Summit. He aims to craft a new curriculum for both teachers and students, with the goals of cultivating inclusive classroom environments for minority students.


Rishab Jagetia Hart Fellow 2024-2025Rishab Jagetia (he/him)

Rishab will graduate in May with a major in Environmental Sciences and Policy. Calling Houston, Texas home, Rishab has spent much of his last few years working in climate activism, environmental justice work, and researching how energy transitions are affecting rural populations. On campus, he organizes extensively with the Transformative Systems Project student group around economic systems change and increasing political consciousness on campus. When not working on intellectual pursuits, Rishab loves hiking, playing sports, dancing, and cooking with his friends.

Rishab will spend his Hart Fellowship building upon his undergraduate thesis research by investigating how the energy transition is impacting rural, indigenous populations in La Guajira, Colombia. Specifically, he will study how local populations define human flourishing and sustainable development and how these definitions should influence environmental and economic policy frameworks in the country.


Ruthie Kesri Hart Fellow 2024-2025Ruthie Kesri (she/her)

Ruthie Kesri is from Bowling Green, Kentucky and studies Political Science, Religion, and Global Health at Duke. With a passion for foreign policy, her focus lies in conflict resolution and peace-building, reflected in her work at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the State Department’s U.S. Mission to the United Nations. On campus, Ruthie assumes prominent leadership roles as she leads the UNICEF club and the American Grand Strategy Student Council.

Ruthie will spend her Hart Fellowship year advancing global conflict resolution efforts to inform her intended career of supporting mediation in post-conflict settings.