Across the nation, young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are the least likely to vote. At Duke, the Hart Leadership Program at the Sanford School of Public Policy is aiming to change that.
The Political Engagement Project (PEP)—co-led by HLP Director Gunther Peck, an associate professor of public policy and history, and POLIS Director Deondra Rose, Associate Professor of public policy—is a three-semester opportunity aimed at supporting the political and leadership development of Duke students. One of the program’s goals is to support women and underrepresented groups in political leadership, though the program is open to students of all identities. Eligible participants are Duke students of any majors who apply during the fall of their junior year. Selected students will serve as PEP Fellows until their graduation from Duke University.
As PEP Fellows, students will participate in unique leadership development opportunities, including taking an HLP class during Spring Semester of their junior year, participating in special POLIS Events, a possible Research Assistant position for PubPol 301: The Policy Lab, and creating a public-facing project during their senior year. Each student will be provided up to $3,000 of funding to support their project endeavors, summer internship and/or their Honors Thesis work.
Polis/HLP will work collaboratively to nurture the PEP Fellows’ political and leadership abilities through engagement with guest speakers and participation in training and mentoring activities centered on running for political office or building careers in public policy.
PEP is supported by a generous gift from the Carrin M. Patman Fund. Patman was a long-time activist for political reform and inclusive political practices in Texas. She successfully lobbied for a law requiring political parties to publicly disseminate their participation rules prior to making decisions. On the national level, she led the fight against winner-take-all presidential primaries at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Patman was an advocate for political engagement, and multiple members of her immediate family served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Texas legislature.
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