Hart Leadership Students Return from Summer Projects

The faculty and staff of the Hart Leadership Program welcome back to campus 28 students who spent their summers across the United States and in six countries in a variety of leadership development projects with community partners.


Sixteen students conducted community-based research projects through Service Opportunities in Leadership (SOL).  While some students traveled to Africa, Asia, and South America, others worked right here in the Triangle.  This fall, the students will have the opportunity to reflect on the policy issues connected to their experiences in a capstone course taught by Hart Leadership Co-Director Alma Blount.


The Enterprising Leadership Initiative (ELI) launched a Summer Leadership Accelerator this year, which helped nine students develop their leadership abilities through internships across the country.  Each student worked alongside a member of the ELI social entrepreneurship network.


Three Public Policy majors worked in New York this summer as Leaders and Arts Policy Interns (LAPI).  This program gives students the chance to explore how arts programming, policy, and leadership are connected.


In addition, three recent Duke graduates departed for ten-month Hart Fellowships.  The three will work for non-profit organizations in South Africa, Cambodia, and India, and they will also complete community-based research projects that support the mission of their host organizations.



Service Opportunities in Leadership


Senior Alyssa Forman spent her summer in Brooklyn, New York, at the Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice, an all-girls middle and high school.  Her project focused on designing and implementing a pilot summer research initiative for ninth and tenth grade girls.  Her faculty mentor is Alma Blount.


Junior Sadhna Gupta worked in Muhuru Bay, Kenya, at the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER).  Her project consisted of an evaluation of the WISERBridge Program, and she assessed the major challenges that primary schools in Muhuru Bay face.  Her faculty mentor is Associate Professor of the Practice of Biology Sherryl Broverman.


Senior Caitlin Johnson joined Sadhna in Kenya at WISER.  Her project examined the challenges that students encounter upon entering the WISER school.  Her faculty mentor is Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Alex Harris.


Sophomore Anastasia Karklina spent her summer with the Progressive Health Partnership in Kashongi, Uganda, where her project examined ways in which the Partnership can employ traditional birth attendants to reach out to pregnant women in the region.  Her faculty mentor is Ami V. Shah, Lecturing Fellow in Duke’s Thompson Writing Program.


Sophomore Natasha Kirtchuk traveled to Itacare, Brazil, to work with Libelula, an organization that engages with young women from local favelas.  Her research focused on how Libelula can improve its volunteer recruitment process and its access to international funds.  Natasha also worked with Equality Now in New York City, where her research focused on investigating past and current initiatives undertaken by the Brazilian government to address sexual trafficking in Brazil. Her faculty mentor is Alma Blount.


Junior Sanjana Marpadga spent her summer at a diabetes camp in Tanzania.  Her project examined the extent to which caretakers understand the disease and are able to provide proper care for the children under their care.  Her faculty mentor is Assistant Professor of the Practice of Biology Julie Reynolds.


Senior Elisabeth Michel worked with Family Health Ministries in Leogane, Haiti.  She used photography and interviews to look at how members of the community view FHM’s work in providing healthcare to women and children.  Her faculty mentor is Dr. David Walmer, MD, PhD.


Senior Sharon Pomranky worked with Project Compassion in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she examined ways the organization can improve the effectiveness of end-of-life caregivers and identified potential areas for future research.  Her faculty mentor is Assistant Professor of Public Policy Kristin Goss.


Senior Ivy Prince spent her summer in New York City at the Heart Gallery, which brings together professional photographers and foster children.  Her project looked at the benefits that foster children receive from adoption into permanent homes as opposed to remaining in the foster system until they age out.  Her faculty mentor is Professor Goss.


Junior Raasti Said worked with SOS Village in Karachi, Pakistan, an organization that cares for children who were orphaned in Pakistan’s recent floods.  Her project consisted of developing a writing program for a group of girls there.  Her faculty mentor is Alma Blount.


Sophomore Melanie Sperling spent her summer in Boston, Massachusetts, at the BELL Foundation.  Melanie looked at ways in which the Foundation can help parents overcome barriers to parental involvement in their children’s at-home learning.  Her faculty mentor is Leslie Babinski, who is a research scientist at Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy.


Senior Hyejin Sul worked at Durham’s Partnership for Children, where her project looked at how the organization can improve its use of social media.  Her faculty mentor is Associate Professor of Public Policy Christina Gibson-Davis.


Sophomore Jacob Tobia spent his summer at the Marion County Museum of History in Marion, South Carolina.  Jacob examined the ways in which county residents create a collective narrative about their town, which culminated in an oral history exhibit.  His faculty mentor is Professor of Public Policy and History Robert Korstad.


Junior Sunhay You worked in Queens, New York, at the Women in Need Center.  She focused her project on ways in which the Center can improve its cultural programs to better serve the needs of the surrounding Asian-American community.  Her faculty mentor is Alma Blount.


Senior Lauren Zalla spent her summer with Family Health Ministries in Leogane, Haiti.  Her research examined how breastfeeding is practiced in the surrounding area, and how it is influenced by the cultural and economic environment.  Her faculty mentor is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Duke Global Health Institute Kathy Walmer.


Junior Grace Zhou worked in Uganda at the Naama Millennium Preparatory School.  Her research examined the differences in mental, physical, and emotional well-being between different groups of students at the school.  Her faculty mentor is Assistant Professor of the Practice of Global Health Dr. Sumi Ariely.



Enterprising Leadership Initiative – Summer Leadership Accelerator


Junior Eli Kozin spent his summer in St. Louis, Missouri, at The Mission Continues, an organization that supports returning soldiers.   While there, Eli helped facilitate community service projects for veterans across the country.  The CEO of the Mission Continues, Eric Greitens, is a Duke graduate.


Senior Robert Kollenberg worked with Bull City Forward in Durham.  While there, he helped develop a social entrepreneurship accelerator.  ELI alumna and Managing Director of Operations and Strategy Alison Dorsey oversaw his work.


Junior Seung-Yen Park spent her summer in Washington, DC, working with the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (SDCN).  ELI alumna and Executive Director of SDCN, Amy Lazarus, was Seung-Yen’s summer supervisor.


Senior Kevin Lieberman interned with Idea Fabrik, an online video games company, where he helped market two new products.  He was coached by ELI alumna and Marketing Director, Melina Papadopoulus.


Senior Alexandra MacLeish worked with Durham Regional Affairs in its Duke-Durham Neighborhood Partnership office.  She focused on enhancing summer programming at the Partnership.  Sam Miglarese, the Director of the Partnership, served as Alexandra’s supervisor.


Sophomore Tara Stokes interned this summer at Brinker Capital, an investment management firm in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.


Junior Veronica Ray worked at WorldCorps, a fellowship program for recent college graduates, in San Francisco, California.   While at WorldCorps she worked to enhance its web presence.


Junior Ian Harwood spent the summer in Durham working with the local Latino community through St. John’s Presbyterian Church.  While there, he worked on establishing a community center.  ELI alumna Amanda Diekman served as Ian’s supervisor.


Junior Ross Tucker interned at MTV Networks in New York City where he worked in its web and digital multimedia department.



Leadership and Arts Policy Internship 


Senior Brian Contratto interned at the Arts & Business Council in New York City.  He worked with ABC New York on an arts advocacy project, and with WNYC, New York’s public radio station, at its new live broadcast and performance venue.


Junior Kait Gaiss worked in New York City with No Longer Empty, an organization that places public art exhibitions in vacated storefronts.  Her work focused on evaluating the impact of the organization’s model, and specifically on its upcoming exhibition in the Bronx.


Senior Kevin Obana spent his summer at The Shelly & Donald Rubin Foundation, a family foundation that supports the arts.   He assisted the foundation with a range of arts and culture projects that included promoting the use of rich theatrical resources by university humanities programs in New York City.



Hart Fellows Program


Edwin Coleman began work with the Extra Mural Education Project, a not-for-profit development organization based in Cape Town, South Africa.  The Project strives to help educators overcome obstacles such as over-crowding and lack of resources by developing schools into ‘community hubs’ through extra-mural activities.  His faculty adviser is Leader-in-Residence in the Hart Leadership Program, Ambassador James Joseph.


Leila Dal Santo arrived in Battambang, Cambodia, where she is working with the Khmer Center for Development (KCD). In existence since 2002, KCD aims to improve the quality of life of orphans and vulnerable children in the Ek Phnom district of Cambodia by facilitating their access to education. Her faculty adviser is Associate Professor of Public Policy Kathryn Whetten.


Madeline Pongor is working with Mumbai Mobile Crèches (MMC), an NGO that supports children living on construction sites in Mumbai, India. In India, migrants from very poor districts move to the city and become construction workers and live on-site. MMC, established in 1972, sets up schools and day care centers on construction sites to support these children.  Her faculty adviser is Professor of Public Policy James Hamilton.