The Hart Leadership Program is pleased to announce the selection of new fellows for the Patman Political Engagement Project. These politically-engaged students have been chosen through a competitive application process and will embark on a transformative journey in the program this spring.
The Patman Political Engagement Project is designed to inspire and equip future leaders in democracy, offering them avenues for meaningful participation. The program aims to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive political representation across all levels in the United States. Patman Fellows are required to complete the gateway course, “Political Communications in a Social World” (PUBPOL 490) during the spring of their junior year. Under the guidance of Professor Lenny Stern, this course actively addresses queries related to political leadership and structural impediments to political engagement. Following this foundational course, fellows will have the opportunity to apply their acquired knowledge through an immersive internship experience with a community partner this summer or by working on research as part of their senior thesis project. As Patman Fellows conclude their educational journey in the fall semester, they will participate in a capstone experience with Polis: Center for Politics, offering them a platform to showcase and make their insightful work public.
Introducing the 2024 PEP cohort, a group of talented individuals selected to learn and engage with HLP this year:
Danya Belkin is a Junior from Santa Barbara, California, studying Political Science, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Spanish. She plans to obtain a law degree after graduation. Before attending Duke, she took a gap year in Israel (2020-2021). Danya has been active in Latin and Jewish communities since high school. She is President of Duke Friends of Israel and founded Jewtinos@Duke (a Jewish-Latino student group). Two summers ago she interned at the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a legal nonprofit focused on combating anti-Semitism. As the culmination of her internship, she organized a conference at Duke titled “Common Ground: Anti-Semitism, Zionism and Dialogue.” Last summer she interned at the immigration law firm, Goldstein & Lee, P.C. where she learned much about immigration. Danya also studied in is currently studying in Madrid, Spain, during the Fall 2023 semester. In her free time, Danya enjoys traveling.
Abigail Bromberger is a junior from New York City studying Public Policy and Spanish. She is interested in reproductive policy and spent part of last summer working for a reproductive rights advocacy group, where she learned about the importance of state and local politics; she’s also passionate about environmental justice and policy, specifically the ways in which environmental remediation efforts impact the communities in which they take place. Last summer, in addition to advocating for reproductive rights, she worked as a legislative intern at the district office of NYS Assembly member Grace Lee, her first experience in an elected official’s office. On campus, you can find her taking pictures for The Chronicle or The 9th Street Journal or working as a Peer Success Leader.
Chloe Decker is studying Public Policy and History with a certificate in Child Policy Research. Born and raised in the mountains of southern Appalachia, Chloe cares deeply about advocating for a better future for families in rural America. In pursuit of this mission, Chloe has interned in the US Department of Commerce, the National Labor Relations Board, and the NC Department of Justice’s Public Protections Section. On campus, she writes opinion columns for the Duke Chronicle and contributes to research related to K-12 public education, child maltreatment prevention, and NC’s policing history. Chloe attended the 2022 Public Policy Leadership Conference at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and the 2023 Summer Honors Academy at the American Enterprise Institute. After graduation, Chloe intends to take part in a research fellowship in Washington, D.C. before pursuing a J.D. She hopes to continue working in the public interest sphere to advocate for rural families in the U.S and abroad.
Jaden Faunteroy is a junior from Silver Spring, MD working towards her self-designed Interdepartmental Major in Political Science and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies titled: The Inherent Value of Black Women in the Political Sphere. She is also obtaining the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Certificate. Jaden is passionate about the role that Black women play in politics and various spaces in the world, social justice, and humanitarian affairs. On campus, Jaden is the Director of Communications for the Black Pre-Law Society, the President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Vice President and Secretary of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and works in Housing and Residence Life and at the Perkins Library. In her free time, Jaden enjoys reading, spending time with her loved ones, watching movies, trying new restaurants, and traveling abroad!
Benji Gold is a junior from Arlington, Virginia. He is studying Political Science and Math. He is interested in the influence of mathematic models and data on the policy making process, as well as the institutional effects of political parties on politics. Outside of class, Benji is an avid baseball fan and reads a lot of high fantasy. After graduating, Benji hopes to pursue a higher degree in Political Science or teach high school math.
Sarah Holehouse (she/her) is a student of Political Science, Sociology, and Human Rights from Lexington, South Carolina. She works on campus as an intern for the Duke University Human Rights Center and the Student Wellness Center. Outside of her classes and jobs, Sarah is highly involved in human rights activism. She founded and leads Duke’s Amnesty International chapter, while also serving as a Peer Trainer for the national organization. After graduating from Duke, she plans to work in the human rights non-profit sector.
Anna is a junior undergraduate pursuing a Public Policy major and Psychology minor from Bradenton, Florida. She is interested in urban planning, architecture, housing policy, environmental protection, international relations, education, social mobility, and economic development. Anna interned on Capitol Hill for Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14) last summer. She is proud to be from the Tampa Bay area and is passionate about promoting a better future for her home state in equity, affordability, and protecting Florida’s unique natural environment. At Duke, she serves on the Board of Trustees Resources Committee, the Racial Equity Advisory Council, and the Climate Commitment Advisory Council. Anna is also the Undergraduate Co-President of the Polis: Center for Politics Student Committee and was a member of the Bass Connections Media and Democracy project team during the 2022-2023 Academic Year.
Alexa Jimenez is a junior at Duke University majoring in Political Science with a minor in Cultural Anthropology. She is passionate about the intersection of education, immigration, and politics. In her free time, she likes to make jewelry, spend time with cats, and make ceramic art.
Kathy Lee is a junior from Seoul, South Korea, double-majoring in Public Policy and Psychology. She is passionate about public interest and international law, regenerative economy, and youth policy advocacy. Last summer, she taught English in schools dedicated to multicultural migrants and North Korean defectors’ children in Korea as part of the DukeEngage program. Previously she worked as a research assistant at the JustScience Lab at the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke Law, and she also contributed to launching the Regenerative Futures Lab at the Kenan Institute of Ethics. She hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in law to improve the accessibility of the legal system.
Will Lieber is a junior from Springfield, IL completing a Program II regarding healthcare access for justice-contacted individuals and communities. He is specifically interested in the use of prisons as a means of economic survival for rural communities. On campus, Will works with the Duke Justice Project, the Mental Healthcare in the Durham County Justice System lab, and the Duke Partnership for Service. In his free time, Will enjoys working out, listening to Colter Wall, and playing piano or tuba.
Yadira Paz-Martinez is a junior studying Public Policy and Sociology with a certificate in Human Rights. She was born and raised in Sampson, NC, a rural agricultural county. Yadira is Mexican American and the proud daughter of Mexican farm-working and blue-collar immigrants. Yadira serves as Duke Student Government Vice President for Equity and Outreach and one of the Co-Presidents for Duke Define America, an organization focused on amplifying the voices of im(migrants) at Duke and Beyond. She also serves on the Theater Committee for Student Action with Farmworkers and Duke Racial Equity Advisory Council. Yadira is also a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, where she is researching the socialization of farm workers in rural North Carolina. Through the JD and Ph.D. track, Yadira aspires to represent and echo the voices of her community members and work towards creating governmental and systematic reform for marginalized populations.
Madelyn Plansky is a junior, originally from New Jersey, studying political science, environmental science and policy, and human rights. On campus, she is a member of the Duke University varsity cheerleading team for both football and basketball. Last year she had the opportunity to travel with the team during March Madness. She is also on the executive board for Duke’s Devilthon that organizes a university dance marathon to raise money for the Duke Children’s hospital. Madelyn is very passionate about environmental justice and social inequalities and hopes to pursue a career in a field that will address both. Outside of school, she is a member of the Duke Club lacrosse team and takes dance classes. She also volunteers at Durham public schools to tutor 4th and 5th graders in math and english, and has also spent time at the local shelter as a volunteer dog walker. She loves anything that involves spirit and community building and hopes to continue be involved after she graduates.
Jenna Smith is a junior studying International Comparative Studies and Journalism. She is passionate about cultural memory, storytelling, and dismantling the prison-industrial complex. On campus, she serves as the Co-President of the Duke Justice Project, the founder of the campus organization Lotus, and a research assistant for the Durham Black Curial Grounds Collaboratory. Additionally, she has served as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a documentary intern for the Delta Center for Culture and Learning. She is also a Robertson Scholar, Point Foundation Scholar, Eva Clayton Fellow, Estée Lauder Vital Voices Visionaries Fellow, and has been ranked among the nation’s Top 20 best speakers in the AMCA Undergraduate Moot Court Competition.
Olivia Smith is a junior from Los Angeles, CA, majoring in Public Policy with a minor in Environmental Science. On campus, Olivia works at the Goodson Law Library, volunteers at the Durham Animal Protection Society, and is a a part of Muse Magazine. Olivia’s interests include environmental health, reproductive justice, sex work decriminalization, and animal welfare, and she hope to do advocacy work after Duke. In her free time, Olivia enjoys reading, crocheting, going on walks, and hanging out with dogs and cats. She is very excited to be a Patman Political Engagement Fellow this year!
Karen Xu is a junior at Duke from Chantilly, VA. She is majoring in Public Policy with a minor in Education and a certificate in Documentary Studies. She is interested in education policy, specifically race and education, gifted education, and curriculum design. On campus, she plays trumpet in the Duke University Marching and Pep Band, volunteers with the Duke Puppy Kindergarten, and is the news photo editor for the Chronicle.