(Class of 2024, she/her/hers)
Elizabeth is a third-year student pursuing majors in Cultural Anthropology and Art History, and a certificate in Latino/a studies. She is incredibly interested in working to better the livelihoods of immigrants, language minorities, and those living in low and moderate-income communities. She has worked on outreach and advocacy initiatives in Miami-Dade County, Durham, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. In her free time, Elizabeth takes care of her pet rabbit and cat.2023.
(Class of 2024, he/him/his)
James is a junior from Basking Ridge, NJ studying Public Policy and Statistics. He is interested in work at the intersection of climate policy, financial economics, and political advocacy. On campus, he is a columnist for the Duke Chronicle, is the president of the Duke Democrats, and performs with the sketch comedy group Inside Joke. He hopes to attend law school to study climate change law and regulatory economics.2023.
(Class of 2024, he/him/his)
Gianmarco is a member of the class of 2024 at Duke University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and a certificate in Secondary Education. He is passionate about education inequity. After graduating Gianmarco would like to return to the community in which he grew up to teach in the same high school he attended to serve as a role model for his community. Gianmarco would like to teach high school social studies for a couple of years and, ultimately, end up working in a non-profit organization that specializes in education inequity. On campus, Gianmarco is the president of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, Fraternity Inc. a Latinx fraternity that has been charted on Duke’s campus since 1995. Additionally, Gianmarco is a general body member of Mi Gente, the largest Latinx organization on campus.2023.
Pilar González Kelly
(Class of 2024, she/her/hers)
Pilar is a Public Policy major and History minor from Chicago, IL. She is interested in gun and housing policy. On campus, she is on the Duke Votes Coordinating Committee and an opinion columnist for the Chronicle. Pilar is also a research assistant at the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy, where she is evaluating the Durham Police Department's ShotSpotter program and analyzing Durham's shooting clearance rates. Last summer, she interned at the North Carolina Housing Coalition as part of HLP's SOL Fellowship, where she assisted with a landscape analysis on affordable housing for individuals involved with the criminal justice system and/or people with substance abuse disorders, to be presented to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.2023.
(Class of 2024, she/her/hers)
Zoë is a junior studying Sustainable Urban Development: Leadership and Planning through her Program II major. She has served as co-Director of the Duke Initiative for Urban Studies since its founding in the fall of 2020. A recent "old SOL" of the 2022 Service Opportunities in Leadership cohort, Zoë looks forward to continuing community engaged research on environmental justice and urban issues.2023.
(Class of 2024, she/her/hers)
Chloe is a Public Policy and Psychology double major from Las Vegas. She is passionate about understanding the psychological drivers of intergroup conflict like political polarization and racism. She currently works as a research assistant at the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab at the University of Pennsylvania where she examines drivers of political polarization and evaluates interventions to reduce them. Previously, she worked as a Directors Fellow for Polis where she researched how to improve political discourse on campus and helped plan events. She has also worked as a political advocate for organizations like Public Citizen on their Protect Democracy campaign. On campus, she is the President and Founder of Duke Justice Project, an organization working to assist formerly-incarcerated people with re-entry, and the vice president of Women in Politics. After graduation, she hopes to continue to push for political reforms that reduce division through legal advocacy.2023.
(Class of 2024, she/they)
Anisha is a Public Policy Major with a minor in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. She's from Charlotte, North Carolina. Anisha is passionate about criminal justice reform and LGBTQ+ rights and hopes to attend law school to become a better advocate. At Duke, she is the senior editor of the Duke Chronicle, and covers student activism and local politics for the paper. She is also involved with the Duke Justice Project to uplift criminal reentry and rehabilitation efforts in Durham, and the Duke International Relations Team. Recently, Anisha has worked in Governor Roy Cooper's office of public engagement and inclusion to engage with constituent feedback and communicate the governor's policy priorities. She also has experience as a writing coach for PubPol 155 and an advocacy intern for voting rights nonprofit Democracy NC.2023.
(Class of 2024, she/her/hers)
Kathryn is a junior undergraduate pursuing a Public Policy major with a certificate in Human Rights from Hendersonville, NC. She is passionate about voting rights policy, with a particular emphasis on youth political engagement. Kathryn has spent the last two years collaborating with her Bass Connections project called “Elections in a Pandemic,” where she researched the implications of absentee and provisional voting policies. Her team’s work has culminated in an article about youth provisional voting in North Carolina that is set to be published in the Rutgers University Law Review. She has also served as a PubPol155 Writing Coach and research assistant. Kathryn is the News Editor for Volume 118 of The Chronicle, Duke’s independent student newspaper. Her senior thesis will examine how recent changes in election policy affect young voters engagement with the political process.2023.
(Class of 2024, he/him/his)
Khilan is a junior at Duke University from Olive Branch, MS. He is majoring in Political Science, with a minor in African & African American Studies and a certificate in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. On campus, Khilan is a member of the Duke Football Team, an athletics representative for Duke SHAPE, a member of the Duke Justice Project, and he took part in the SOL program last year. During the summer, Khilan conducted research on educational inequality and what can be done to alleviate such issues. During his free time, he likes to indulge in his interests of sports, music, fashion, and politics. Khilan hopes to attend Law school after his undergraduate years!2023.
(class of 2023, she/her)
is an International Comparative Studies major and, Education and Visual Media Studies double minor. She grew up in Laurel, MD as a daughter of two immigrants from Eritrea and Ethiopia. She is passionate about the intersections of human rights advocacy, storytelling through visual media, and how liberation struggles from around the world are interconnected with one another. Outside of her academic interests, she has been a dancer for most of her life, currently dancing on campus with Defining Movement, and sings with the United in Praise gospel choir. She also is involved with NAACP, the Mitchell-White House, and the Iota Mu chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. on campus, as well as volunteering with the Community Empowerment Fund in Durham.
2022 Summer Project(s): Rahel hopes to create a film documenting the work of organizers in the DC area that are involved in on-the-ground work revolving around gentrification, policing, and DC statehood initiatives and the issues they are attempting to rectify in the DC community. Alternatively, she might also be working with the Urban Education Leaders Internship Program in DC Public Schools, which would allow her to get a first-hand perspective on managing urban school districts and navigating systemic urban education challenges through an equity lens.2022.
(class of 2023, he/him)
Eric Gim is a Public Policy major with a minor in Economics and a certificate in Markets and Management Studies. On campus, he is a rower on the Duke Men's Rowing team, sports writer for The Chronicle, an undergraduate research assistant at Duke Law School's Wilson Center for Science and Justice, and a former Kenan Institute of Ethics 2020 Scholar. Most recently, Eric has worked primarily in the intersection of immigration and education through his work at the New York Immigration Coalition where he produced a policy memo that argues for the NY state legislature to overturn a citizenship question on early childhood applications. Eric looks to continue his fight against educational inequality and immigration challenges as a PEP Scholar.
2022 Summer Project(s): Eric will be working with the New York Immigration Coalition to continue his work from last summer to draft a legislative bill to change early childhood program applications in the state of New York where he will be taking the steps from using his research to creating actual policy changes. As such, he anticipates dividing his summer into 3 parts - expanding on his research to reflect changes given one year, building data on immigrant households, and drafting the state legislative proposal.2022.
(class of 2023, she/her)
is a Global Health and International Comparative Studies double major with a concentration in Africa and Education minor. She is passionate in overhauling the social system to tackle health equity and various linked social injustices, such as immigration and workplace rights violation. Last year, she worked for NC Representative Zack Hawkins (DE-31), moderating biweekly COVID-19 Conversation and reaching out to Durham community members to reduce barriers to access COVID vaccines and subsequent inequities. On campus, she is a photography director of the FLOW reproductive health magazine, a volunteer at Duke Puppy Kindergarten, and a research assistant for Dr. Monique Anderson Starks at the Duke Health’s Division of Cardiology. She plans to attend law school after college.
2022 Summer Project(s): Bentley will conduct field research for eight weeks to support her thesis: building an overarching national policy framework for reproductive health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Within Sub-Saharan African countries, she will be focusing on Kenya. She is planning to conduct interviews with Kenyan government officials, directors of non-governmental organizations or non-profits that are based in Kenya, and officials of UNFPA and WHO in Geneva as part of an extended political engagement project.2022.
(class of 2023, he/him/his)
is a Public Policy major with minors in History and Spanish. He is from Durham, NC, and previously lived in Germany and England. He is passionate about studying the intersection between law and political economy and wants to use policy as a tool to promote transformative socio-economic justice. On campus, he co-leads Duke’s largest student-run international relations organization alongside Cole, advocates for economic curriculum change within Sanford, and is a founding member of Duke Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention and Education (SHAPE). He is also a research assistant for the Wilson Center for Science and Justice at Duke Law School, where he has analyzed the significance of state-level police reform legislation and is currently serving on a court-mandated monitorship team examining efforts to reduce cash bail in Houston, Texas. For the past two summers, he has worked with a team of student researchers advising the Paraguayan government on how best to leverage its access to cheap renewable energy towards promoting sustainable community development. After graduation, he plans to work as a policy analyst before attending law school.
2022 Summer Project(s): Alex will be fulfilling the needs of United States Senate Committee on Banking and Housing committee staff, having the opportunity to conduct original research on the future of financial policy. The committee’s jurisdiction covers two of his passions, banking, and urban design, and he wants to explore how the federal government can promote alternative policy regimes within both areas. Alex is especially keen on researching how the Senate committee might use its regulatory authority to encourage lenders to begin converting our cities into “15-minute cities”, a suite of policies that fund public transportation and bike/pedestrian lanes, density punctuated by communal green spaces, and networks of essential services that are within 15 minutes of every citizen’s residence.2022.
(class of 2023, he/him/his)
is a double major in Psychology and Political Science pursuing the certificate program in Decision Sciences. He is passionate about studying political behavior, particularly among historically underrepresented identity groups, and hopes to reform systems of political engagement and increase voter turnout using insights from psychology and the behavioral sciences. At Duke, he researches various topics in the psychological sciences, from attention and information seeking to religious identity and transcendental emotion, and is currently mapping out Hindu religious and cultural sites in the Triangle as part of a Humanities Unbounded lab. For the Democracy Lab, he worked with a team of three other researchers who began to examine the remarkable class, racial, and cultural disparities that make the bail system in Raleigh not only unproductive and biased but also unaccountable, as records are not preserved in a consistent or thoughtful manner. His research for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice is just a first step for diagnosing and researching how bail reform works and might be reformed. Outside of labs and the classroom, he cultivates bipartisan campus discourse as co-President of the Visions of Freedom living learning community, collaborates with Duke and Durham organizations to tackle key questions in education, and is an avid spoken word poet and performer. Post-Duke, he sees himself pursuing a J.D./Ph.D. while staying involved with his local community.
2022 Summer Project(s): Pranav is dedicated to making the American political process more legible, discernible, and supportive of groups such as Asian and Indian Americans whom, he argues, have been left out of our modern political state. Pranav wants to bring the Hindu community into politics by making some sort of specific religious or cultural appeal that helps people tie their own values into American politics rather than overwriting them. Working with NCAAT, Pranav hopes to find ways to pilot political engagement and civic participation with a distinctively Hindu flavor.2022.
(class of 2023, she/her)
is a global health and public policy double major, and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies minor. On campus, she participates in Varsity Track and Field as well as Embark with the Sanford School of Public Policy. Over the summer Payton participated in an internship with Champion Women, an organization dedicated to ending sexual assault in collegiate and professional sports teams. She also participated in a semester research assistantship with the Duke Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research (CHPIR) to highlight the roles that gender minorities play in research at Duke University. Payton is currently involved in a year-long Bass Connections project mapping the relationship between contraceptive use and conflict using quantitative analysis.
2022 Summer Project(s): Payton will pursue a Sanford Research Assistantship titled: Systematic Review of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention/ Infant-Toddler Trauma-Informed Cared Project with the Duke Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research (CHPIR). Her project encompasses two research goals working with current policies in North Carolina surrounding school-based sexual assault prevention programs as well as the implementation of these programs into local schools. Through a period of eight weeks, she will be working alongside Sanford researchers to engage with local policy. With this project, she will have the goal to code methodological data knowledge surrounding sexual assault prevention tactics as well as the evolution of this knowledge over time to create discernable policy changes at the local and state level. The work completed in this project will be directed towards policy recommendations as well as current understandings of sexual assault resources in select North Carolina schools.2022.
(class of 2023, he/him/his)
is double majoring in Public Policy and Chinese. He is from Atlanta, but hopes to one day live and work in East Asia where he can use his Mandarin Chinese proficiency to engage in diplomacy or business. As a 2021 Virtual Student Federal Service Intern, he did research on China’s economic and political engagement in Africa and is interested in pursuing further research in this topic. On campus, he’s the Co-President of Duke’s chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society, an executive team member for the Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit, and a student ambassador at the Duke Gardens. He also tutors student athletes and works with the Duke Chinese department to create Mandarin curriculum for schools in the Research Triangle. He is passionate about creating equal access for students across the US to get exposure to Mandarin Chinese. He spent the past summer taking virtual classes at Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University as a Critical Language Scholar. Cole also worked on the data side of the bail reform research initiative for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, helping his team understand precisely how discriminatory bail sentencing and administration currently are in Wake County. His PEP senior year project is similarly focused around using quantitative skills to address the Mandarin education opportunity gap for students of color at the K-12 level.
2022 Summer Project(s): Cole plans to assist the Black China Caucus’ (BCC) programming team by working as a liaison to further develop its college and high school student pipeline for the organization’s mentorship program. Fluent in Mandarin, Cole also plans on writing articles to be posted on the BCC website, and/or creating a blog or some other product that could document his experience in Taiwan as an African American undergraduate.2022.
(class of 2023, she/her/hers)
is a double major in Political Science and Religious Studies from Carrboro, NC. She was one of the lead researchers on the bail reform initiative under the leadership of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. Her focus was on reading and analyzing the varied narratives that emerged from the fragmented evidentiary record. A humanist and an activist, Abigail also played an important role as a member of the Bass project “Elections in a Pandemic,” investigating how and why positive messages were the most likely to succeed in getting unregistered young people to vote. You can see Abigail’s “Why Vote” video, created before she became a PEP fellow, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jENaRoibPiY. She has also served as a POLIS Director’s Fellow and a PubPol155 Writing Coach and TA. Outside of the Sanford school, she has completed a Story+ project on women’s roles in the rural electrification efforts of mid-20th century America; she also spent the last summer working at a non-profit law firm focused on prisoner’s rights through DukeEngage Miami. After graduation, she plans to pursue non-profit work, and possibly law school.
2022 Summer Project(s): Abigail plans to write a thesis entitled “Zen Buddhism and Political Movements in America.” She hopes her project will shine a light on a religious minority that seems neglected in the understanding of American political culture.2022.
(class of 2023, he/him/his)
is a Public Policy and Computer Science double major with a certificate in Policy Journalism & Media Studies. He is originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. On campus, he is involved with The Chronicle, Duke Public Policy Major Union, and Small Town Records. He previously worked on the Bass Connections project called "Elections in a Pandemic," where he helped analyze social media posts to understand the challenges of misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2020 elections, he worked with various organizations on campus to promote voters turnout across North Carolina. He has previously interned for the Vietnamese government, and his senior thesis will examine the impact of U.S. foreign policies on Vietnam's economy. He plans to attend law school and works in politics after graduation.
2022 Summer Project(s): Tri worked for NCAAT during this past semester in the Democracy Lab and plans to expand his research into how Asian Americans in North Carolina are being impacted politically by COVID-19. Tri is especially interested in the impact of Covid on North Carolina’s Vietnamese immigrant community. He will interview local community organizers and advocacy groups and apply the Syndemic Framework for understanding the asymmetrical impacts of severe Covid, comprising three categories of research and analysis: financial status, mental health, and structural racism. Tri also hopes to apply his research into how and why Covid has had disproportional impacts on the state’s Asian American communities by connecting with local City Council members in Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill to make sure they understand and see the needs of Asian American communities and help advocate for legislation that can help them.2022.
(class of 2023, she/her/hers)
is a junior majoring in Public Policy with minors in French and Psychology. She is from Cary, NC and is hoping to attend law school after graduation. On campus, Neha is involved in the American Predatory Lending Bass Connections team, researching the impact of subprime loans on the 2008 financial crisis. She also plays violin in the Duke Symphony Orchestra and Duke Chamber Music Program. Off campus, Neha works at the Community Empowerment Fund as an advocate and is a member of the youth committee of South Asians for America. This past Spring, Neha interned at the North Carolina House of Representatives, working with the Finance committee.
2022 Summer Project(s): Neha will be conducting research into her senior thesis on the impact of Hindu nationalism on the political behavior of Hindu Indian Americans. As the Indian American demographic grows in sociopolitical influence and prominence, there have been growing concerns that Hindu nationalism has been reflecting in Indian American voting patterns through Hindu Indian Americans who vote Republican due to the party membership’s stances against political Islam. From her understanding, no one of her generation really understands the root causes of the Hindu/Muslim conflict: the biases that exist are merely a product of years and years of perpetration. Thus, she wants to facilitate conversations between Indian and Muslim students at Duke to help promote understanding and political camaraderie between the two. Her hope is that through increased understanding and empathy, we can start to move past the baseless prejudice that pervades through the religious communities of India and its diaspora.2022.
(class of 2023, he/him)
is a major in Political Science with minors in Spanish and Philosophy from Chapel Hill, NC. He is passionate about political science and local community engagement. He has worked at Common Cause, the Eviction Lab at Princeton, the Cash Transfer Lab at NYU, and Democracy NC. He also helped lead campaigns for Roy Cooper, Ricky Hurtado, and Ryan Watts. At Duke, Jonah leads Duke Votes, works at a preschool, and is involved with Duke Democrats, tour guiding, and the ultimate frisbee team. In his free time, he loves playing basketball and the New York Times Crossword.
2022 Summer Project(s): Essentially he wants to understand how value and land interact in the Triangle, especially within the context of land collectives. The way he sees it, "Communities of homes and people serve as one of the best avenues for mobilization. Exciting political campaigns can provide transient mobilization by offering promises and an intriguing candidate, but they often fall short of achieving anything permanent. By allowing and empowering communities to mobilize, land collectives create sustainable change for decades on end. Conventional affordable housing solutions do not do that. They focus on the shelter - an important part of any housing solution to be sure, but not the whole story. Land collectives go all the way. They manipulate the market, empowering owners and renters alike to think of themselves as stakeholders in the community’s future, allowing for investment and community mobilization." He is interested in understanding how land collectives' impact, inspire, and influence democratic initiatives and solve collective organizing challenges and wishes to know about how land, community, and self-worth interact in housing spaces. To help with his research, Jonah hopes to work with local organizations like Durham Community Land Trustees and The Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History in Chapel Hill.2022.
(class of 2023, she/her)
is a Public Policy major with a certificate in Policy Journalism and Media Studies and a minor in Environmental Science. She is originally from Miami, Florida which inspired her interest in environmental and immigration policy. On campus, Kaylee is a co-director of Camp Kesem and a member of the Latin American Student Organization. She is also an ambassador for Duke Study Abroad and Duke Engage. Last summer, she interned with Catholic Legal Services as part of Duke Engage in Miami and volunteered as a community fellow with her state senator Annette Taddeo. Her senior thesis will examine how declines in local news outlets have contributed to increased polarization.
2022 Summer Project(s): As an extension of her thesis research, Kaylee's democracy project focuses on understanding to what extent communities in North Carolina feel that they and relevant issues in their community are represented in the reporting they read. Additionally, her research seeks to assess whether individuals’ news diets are sufficient in meeting their critical information needs broadly divided into 8 categories: risks and emergencies, health and welfare, education, transportation, the environment, civic information, political information. Her research will focus specifically on civic and political information, as it relates to primary election coverage in North Carolina.2022.
(class of 2023, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major with minors in History and Economics. She is from Ashburn, VA, which is right outside of DC. At Duke, she's been involved in Polis and Duke Women in Politics. She's also been a research assistant in the political science department and Sanford, working for projects on international constitutional courts and civic technology in the 2020 and 2021 Georgia elections. Last summer, she was a Legislative Advocacy Fellow at Democracy NC, where she became passionate about voting rights.
2022 Summer Project(s):Hana will be working with PolitiFact — a leading fact-checking organization founded by Duke professor Bill Adair. The role will focus on reporting misinformation that affects electoral policy and voting rights, alongside research and writing in other democracy-related topics.2022.
(class of 2023, he/him/his)
is a Public Policy major and Creative Writing minor. He is from Asheville, North Carolina, and wants to work in arts policy after he graduates. He has previously worked as Deputy Campaign Director for Col. Moe Davis’s congressional campaign, a finance intern for Sen. Jeff Jackson’s US Senate campaign, and a legislative intern for Del. Kathy Tran in Virginia. At Duke, he is an editor for The Fluke News, Duke’s satire publication.
2022 Summer Project(s): Wyatt will study the immediate impact of independent redistricting commissions for the 2022 redistricting cycle across America. Largely, his project will compare the maps of states with independent redistricting commissions versus those that are determined by other means (the state assembly, etc.). However, this will also look into the individual makeups of the independent redistricting commissions and compare the commissions to determine if one system or model produces fairer maps than the others.2022.
Olivia Reneau (class of 2022, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major with a concentration in Domestic Policy and interests in racial economics. At Duke, she was a member of Defining Movement, the Student Conduct Board, and the I&E Fellowship. Outside of Duke, she was the legislative assistant's intern to NC House Rep. Vernetta Alston and member of a COVID-19 policy research group through the Margolis Center. More recently, Olivia has worked as a teaching assistant for the 2022 Democracy Lab, taught by Professor Suzanne Katzenstein. And this past month, Olivia was chosen to be a Hart fellow.
2021 Summer Project(s): Olivia's goal was to evaluate how Black farmers interact with their local, state governments, to improve bargaining power, access to information, and democratic participation. Advance North Carolina, a black led 501c3, is dedicated to working with rural black landowners. Although the partnership proved difficult because of Covid-19, Olivia used her experience to begin research on a second senior thesis, this one in the history department on black landownership under the direction of prizewinning historian Thavolia Glymph. In the summer of 2021, Olivia also performed research for her primary senior thesis on reparations under the direction of Professor Sandy Darity, creating an interactive map highlighting where local municipalities had pursued reparations. As a Hart Fellow, she will be continuing her work on reparations with the Fulton County Government's Reparations Task Force in Atlanta, Georgia. There, she will generate qualitative and quantitative data on indicators of economic wellbeing through archival and vital records research. In her time with the Reparations Task Force, she hopes to launch a public-facing reparations tracker, in addition to creating a tool kit for municipalities that are considering reparative policy interventions for their Black citizens.2021.
Dora Pekec (class of 2022, she/her/hers)
is a double major in Public Policy and Political Science with a minor in French. She grew up in Chapel Hill, NC as a first-generation American to Croatian immigrant parents. She is passionate about political messaging and increasing voter turnout and enthusiasm among young people. She has previously interned for Cal Cunningham's Senate run, House Majority PAC, Common Cause NC, and a D.C. lobbying firm. Most recently, she took the fall 2020 semester off to work as a field organizer for Sara Gideon's Senate campaign in Maine. At Duke, Dora has been involved with POLIS, the Reporters' Lab, Tour Guides, and the American Grand Strategy program.
2021 Summer Project(s): Dora worked with PEP fellow Jack Rubenstein to track the plethora of restrictive voting laws that have been passed since the election of 2020. They created a website that mapped the varied laws across competing jurisdictions the nation that were disfranchising citizens or making it harder for citizens to vote and delivered it to the Chairman of the State Board of Elections in June 2021. In the summer of 2021, Dora also began her senior thesis research on the question of exactly how representative the Supreme Court bench is. Building on the research of former SOL fellow Amelia Steinbach, Dora researched how representative the appointment of each Supreme Court Justice has been since 2000. As she did when delivering the website to the State Board of Elections, Dora had public goods in mind when performing her research, using data to determine how many people are truly represented by the 21st Century Supreme Court Bench.2021.
Maya Miller (class of 2022, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major with a certificate in Policy Journalism and Media Studies and a minor in Environmental Science. She is originally from Des Moines, Iowa and hopes to pursue a career in journalism and media after she graduates. On campus, Maya was a member of the Duke University Marching Band (known affectionately as "DUMB") and has served as a staff reporter for The Chronicle. In summer 2020, she interned as a breaking news reporter for her hometown paper, The Des Moines Register, and has interned as a metro reporter for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis in summer 2021.
2021 Summer Project(s): Maya demonstrated her leadership as a PEP fellow by working with Mediawise, a News Literacy Project, to advocate for news literacy education for students in middle and high schools. Her senior thesis examined the relationship between the decline in local news resources (proxied using staffing numbers and advertising revenue) and the quantity and content of stories produced by local newsrooms about their elected U.S. House members. Maya is a talented student journalist who will soon work for the Seattle Times.2021.
Jack Rubenstein (class of 2022, he/him/his)
is a Public Policy Major with a certificate in Civic Engagement and Social Change and minor in Political Science. He is originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and hopes to work on the Hill after graduation. Jack took a leave of absence in the fall 2020 semester to work as a Field Organizer for the North Carolina Democratic Party. Prior to that, he was an intern for Common Cause North Carolina, Cal Cunningham's U.S. Senate Campaign, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. On campus, he used to write for the Duke Chronicle's Arts and Entertainment section, Recess, and was active within Duke's Center for Politics, Polis.
2021 Summer Project(s): Jack worked closely with PEP fellow Dora Pekec to track the plethora of restrictive voting laws that have been passed since the election of 2020. They created a website that mapped the varied laws across competing jurisdictions across the nation that were disfranchising citizens or making it harder for citizens to vote and delivered it to the Chairman of the State Board of Elections, Damon Circosta in June 2021. Jack also worked on an exciting a plan for democratizing and decentralizing access to renewable energy, a public facing resource that makes renewable energy accessible, all of it framed through the lens of climate justice, which ironically is perceived as an elitist discourse. Jack worked with various partners in the Duke community and Durham area during the past year, including folks at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Sunrise Movement Durham.2021.
Amanda Kang (class of 2022, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major with a minor in Economics and French Studies. On campus, Amanda was the VP of Engagement for Women in Politics, VP of Philanthropy for Scale and Coin Business Society, and the previous VP of Finance for the Duke chapter of WISER International. She also worked as a research assistant on the Global Care Policy Index project team, focusing on care policies in the United States. In fall 2020, Amanda took a gap semester to serve as the Call Time Manager for Eugene DePasquale's Congressional campaign in PA-10 and worked as the VP of Student Outreach for Swing NC Duke.
2021 Summer Project(s): Amanda worked with NCAAT’s Voter Engagement Director, Shruti Parikh, to address some of the language and cultural barriers that suppress Asian American voters in North Carolina from turning out. Amanda’s project involved research into ways of expanding Asian American turnout across four cities – Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, and Raleigh – in off year mayoral and city council elections in November, 2021. NCAAT already curated voting resources and developed guides for their audience, but Amanda developed a more focused plan for the off-cycle elections. She would also expand the translational work that NCAAT does with voting materials, almost all of which remains English only as a process. Amanda also turned her advocacy work into an engaging and compelling research topic in her senior thesis “Seeing Red: Exploring How a Communist Country of Origin Affects Republican Partisans in Asian American Immigrants,” under the direction of Kristin Goss.2021.
Kyle Melatti (class of 2022, he/him/his)
is a Public Policy and Political Science double major with a minor in Computer Science. He is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada and plans to pursue law school or graduate school. At Duke, he has previously served as a Senator for Duke Student Government. He also served as President of Duke Students for Education Reform, Co-Chair of the Program in American Grand Strategy, and TK Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Additionally, he has been a Research Assistant for Professors Helen Ladd and Doug Brook at the Sanford School. He is interested in public budgeting and administration, education, and national security. He spent summer 2020 interning for Congresswoman Susie Lee’s D.C. Office.
2021 Summer Project(s): Kyle made finding ways to build community and voice among first generation college students his political engagement project. Inspired by current Twitch political commentator Hasan Piker, Kyle aimed to create better public awareness and organizing through storytelling. Using his own experiences as a starting point and teaching opportunity, Kyle worked closely with members of the Duke College Advising Core to find ways of making the process of applying to college for first generation applicants less mystifying and less daunting. The YouTube he made for the Democracy Lab class was instrumental in that outreach and can be seen here. In his senior year Kyle also researched the educational inequities that first generation college students have experienced, while honing his analytical skills. He describes his ambitions for that work in this YouTube video. Part of a larger cohort of first-generation college students in the PEP class of 2021, Kyle has accepted a position as a consultant with McKinsey in their government relations department. Kyle is also explicit about his intention of returning to Nevada to run for elected office.2021.
Daisy Lane (class of 2022, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy and History double major from Charlotte, North Carolina. At Duke, she was the Press and Marketing Committee Chair for Duke Votes as well as the Vice President of Community Outreach for Women in Politics and an officer in the Alexander Hamilton Society. She also worked as a writing coach for Public Policy 155, was a tutor for student athletes, and volunteered with the Duke Puppy Kindergarten. In 2021, she was involved in a Bass Connections project called "Elections in a Pandemic" where she and two other women created and executed a pilot project aimed at convincing non-voters to vote. She spent fall 2020 semester working with Duke Votes and various campus organizations to promote voting across Duke's campus and encourage all members of the Duke community to engage politically. After graduation she hopes to work in politics and attend law school.
2021 Summer Project(s): As a PEP fellow who also became Chair of Duke Votes during the calendar year 2021, Daisy did important work to build and expand the important educational work around voting that Duke Votes has accomplished over the past several years. Daisy was especially interested in student voting rights and also the question of how student voters communicate election information to one another through social media. As a Bass student in the spring of 2021, Daisy led a research team that demonstrated the power of positive messaging rather than shaming in motivating students to participate in the voting process. She pursued those insights in her senior thesis at Sanford, entitled “Exploring the Intersection of College Students, Social Media, and Political Participation,” under the direction of Professor Deondra Rose, Daisy’s thesis demonstrated both the power and perils of social media in channeling the democracy work of young citizens. Her story as a PEP fellow, researcher, and activist is featured in Duke Today here.2021.
Jeremy Carballo Pineda (class of 2022, he/him/his)
is a public policy and political science double major with a concentration in normative political theory. He is originally from Wilmington, NC. On campus, he was involved in GANO, Team Kenan, and the Chronicle Editorial Board. He was also a John M. Belk Fellow and Intern for the Hunt Institute where he worked on national educational equity policy. His research interests include structural Marxism and expanding the project of democracy to non-citizens in the US. After college, he plans on attending law school or working on the Hill. He was previously a reporter for IndyWeek where he covered the NC General Assembly, a policy intern for Emerging Markets Investors Alliance where he analyzed the sovereign debt conditions of Brazil, and an immigration legal intern for asylum seekers in Miami.
2021 Summer Project(s): As a political engagement fellow, Jeremy asked an ambitious and ethically important question: why couldn’t immigrant “dreamers” vote in local elections? And if so, would that begin to reduce the distrust felt towards non-citizens more generally in the United States? Using already existing examples in which many non-U.S. citizens deliberate and vote on publicly crafted budgeting ideas, such as Durham’s participatory budgeting process, Jeremy canvassed politicians across the political spectrum in Raleigh to learn what they thought about the potential voting rights of Dreamers. Jeremy’s answers have come in the form of superb writing, including a piece recently published in the local Indie Weekly entitled “Forget Congress – the Supreme Court should uphold DACA for Economic Growth.” Because of his research, Jeremy also became interested in education policy more broadly and will be pursuing that line of work after he graduates. You can read about Jeremy here. Himself a dreamer, you may also see Jeremy’s inspiring Why Vote video from the 2020 election, featuring a cameo appearance by Carlo-Alfonso Garza.2021.
Lucy Callard (class of 2022, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major, with a minor in Classical Civilizations and a certificate in Policy Journalism and Media Studies. She is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and plans to attend law school or graduate school after Duke. A superb student athlete, competing in the USA Olympic Team trials in 200 M Butterfly, Lucy was the captain of Duke’s Varsity Swimming and Diving Team and a member of Duke Athlete Ally. She was also a member of the Bass Connections project: Harnessing Data for North Carolina Jails to Inform Effective Policy, where she interviewed stakeholders to explore the utility of a statewide jail database for North Carolina. Her policy interests cover a variety of civil liberty issues, including criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights and voting rights.
2021 Summer Project(s): Lucy worked with You Can Vote on a question of mutual interest to her and her community partner: how do college students decide where to register to vote, at home or at school? Through a survey and several qualitative interviews, Lucy analyzed how students choose their residence for voter registration. That research also became foundational to Lucy’s senior thesis in public policy, “At Home or on Campus? How Duke Students Decide Where to Register to Vote,” under the direction of Kristen Goss. Her research also built on her work in the Democracy Lab that explored how and why Duke students lost the capacity to vote due to confusion and uncertainty about where they possessed voting rights.2021.
Wyatt Bui (class of 2022, he/him/his)
is a Public Policy major, pursuing minors in Religious Studies and Economics. He is originally from Orange County, California. On campus, he has worked in a variety of different roles, including as an operations intern for Duke Men’s Basketball, a team member of the Duke Law Innocence Project, and as a member of the Interfraternity Council Executive Board. He has also worked closely with the I’m Not Done Yet Foundation to raise money for Duke’s adolescent oncology program through the annual Shave and Buzz philanthropy event. Additionally, he worked on a research project with a Political Science professor focusing on African American political participation in the South. In summer 2020, he worked for a Congressman in Washington D.C., and he plans to pursue law school after graduating.
2021 Summer Project(s): For his PEP project, Wyatt participated in the Bass Connections Race and New Southern Politics Project. His project aimed to use a study done by researchers Donald Matthews and James Prothro, providing an extensive survey of the South’s racial attitudes toward electoral and social movements, protest participation, and residential context. Wyatt worked with his Bass team to compile Black Lives Matter protest data from the past two years alongside census and survey data to understand southern public opinion regarding racial attitudes, public policies, and political preferences. Specifically, Wyatt worked on a section of the project that looks specifically at Durham, North Carolina and Tuskegee, Alabama to see how the two cities’ large black populations live now in comparison to the 1960s. As a PEP fellow, Wyatt also completed a guide for any student interested in working with local NGOs dedicated to immigrants and/or immigration within the Triangle. His guide included contact information for student volunteers, descriptions of the local organizations, and an overview of the types of service work that Duke students might want to participate in. A conservative, Wyatt is also open to the idea of running for office though he does not have a specific plan for doing so.2021.
Caroline Avery (class of 2022, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major, with a minor in History. She is from Spokane, Washington. On campus, Caroline was on the executive board of Women in Politics, a teaching assistant at the Center for International Development, and a member of the Penny Pilgram George Women's Leadership Initiative. Caroline is passionate about social justice, especially issues related to women, children, and families. In the summer of 2020, she interned for a local nonprofit called WomenNC.
2021 Summer Project(s): Concerned about the failures of civic engagement instruction among high school students, Caroline created a “Highschooler’s Guide to Political Engagement” for the Southern Coalition of Social Justice. The twenty-five page guide, described here has served as a model for how to empower young citizens in the making of their democracies at the local level. That same spirit inspired Caroline to take a leadership role, along with two other PEP fellows Amanda Kang and Daisy Lane, as President of the Women in Politics club. After graduation, Caroline will be working as the communications intern for the Cheri Beasley Senate campaign. Caroline also plans on running for public office.2021.
Shania Khoo (class of 2022, she/they)
is a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar and Coca Cola Scholar pursuing a Program II in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. As a 1.5 generation Malaysian immigrant, they are passionate about creating and being in learning and growing spaces to better understand and commit to anti-racism, anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, and interrelations of power structures. At Duke, they were deeply involved in the fight for Asian American Studies through the Asian American Studies Working Group, and in 2019, they helped launch the first issue of Margins, a publication inviting Asian/Americans to engage in more nuanced conversations to radically understand identity. Beyond Duke, they were involved in Community Empowerment Fund, a nonprofit that combines person-centered support with financial services that pursue racial and economic equity. Beyond North Carolina, Shania was on the East Coast Asian American Student Union National Board as the current Advocacy Director and past High School Program Coordinator.
2021 Summer Project(s): Shania spent the summer of 2021 working directly with NCAAT on two forms of political engagement work for young Asian Americans in North Carolina. She wrote a blog post titled "how to make a zine: dreaming and creating for a better world" for NCAAT that used making zines as an extended metaphor for organizing for a better world in her community. Shania also organized, planned, and executed a workshop for Asian American youth that created a zine expressing a transformational vision of what political engagement among Asian youth might look like in North Carolina: http://bit.ly/ylizine. Shania wrote a senior thesis for an academic program in Asian American Studies that her herself helped advocate for but can not officially enjoy as a recent story in the Washington Post published on Thursday “A minor in Asian American studies at Duke is a major win for student activists.” Shania portrayed an in-depth view of the quality and complexity of organizing by Asian American students on college campuses over the past two decades as students organized for change in distinct sociopolitical contexts and campus climates.2021.
Carlo-Alfonso Garza (class of 2022, he/him/his)
is an Economics major with a Finance concentration. He is originally from San Antonio, Texas. On campus, he founded and led Duke's Latinx Business Organization, was involved with the Scale & Coin Business Society, served on Duke Student Government's Latinx Caucus, and curated an Exhibit in Perkins detailing the history and experience of Latinx students at Duke. After college, he will be working at the Boston Consulting Group and will spend his career increasing representation of Latinxs in business. His political interests lie in increasing Latinx representation in politics, increasing Latinx voter turnout, and one day running for office.
2021 Summer Project(s): Carlos-Alfonso spent the summer of 2021 working for El Pueblo researching the barriers that prevent Latinx business owners from participating financially in political campaigns. Carlo-Alfonso conducted interviews with fundraising experts and Latinx business owners across the Research Triangle area and applied that research to building an important organization on Duke’s campus that directly enacted his vision for political engagement: the Duke Latinx Business Organization. In the process, he also helped organize a larger cohort of Latinx student organizations across Duke who in spring 2021 pressed the University to fulfill its curricular promises and to create a public history of Latinx student organizing and community at Duke University. Carlo-Alfonso’s role in that story is told here in a recent issue of Indy Week. The exhibit which opened February 21st and currently occupies a primary space in the entrance of the Perkins Library, can be seen here: Our History, Our Voice: Latinx at Duke. After graduation, Carlo-Alfonso will be working in finance and is planning on running for elected office.2021.
Hannah McKnight (class of 2022, she/her)
is an English Major and is most passionate about political engagement as a means to defend human rights. Hannah was concerned that low-income Durhamites might not vote because they did not have a car. In collaboration with a non-partisan voting rights group in Durham, Bull City Votes (BCV), Hannah created a new organization in September 2020 called Durham Drives. Over the next two months, Hannah recruited, trained and organized over 500 drivers, about 30% of them Duke students, to drive fellow citizens to the polls across Durham County.
2021 Summer Project(s): In collaboration with several local grass-roots organizations and political leaders in Durham, Hannah created a proposal for a Pop-Up Vaccination Clinic at the Bus Station in downtown. The plan won the support of Bull City Votes and Durham Drives, as well as then Mayor of Durham Steve Schewel and the leadership of the Durham Regional Hospital. Although the proposal was ultimately not implemented, Hannah’s insights into deep canvassing and how to empower local citizens helped her become a leader of the Bass provisional ballot research team during the 2021-2022 academic year. (See Hannah’s deep canvassing training video on behalf of Bull City Votes here. Hannah’s skills as an interviewer of disfranchised student voters at NC Central were foundational to her team’s research and will be published as an article in the Rutgers Law Review in the summer of 2022. You can see Hannah present her research and its implications at the recent Student Voting Rights Event. She presents at the 22-minute mark, after PEP fellow Jimmy Toscano: https://youtu.be/0E8dk2l8EMk 2021.
Jeremy Yu (class of 2022)
is a Political Science major with minors in International Studies and Japanese. At Duke, he was the President of the Duke Speech Team and has worked to expand intellectual diversity on campus and also to put his experiences of alienation from Duke’s liberal climate to work.
2021 Summer Project(s): As one of several self-described conservatives in his PEP cohort, Jeremy did not in fact adopt a project partner outside or within Duke University. Instead, he considered how and whether it would be possible to rebuild a form of student conservatism on campus that was not defined by racism, white victimhood, or identity politics, but instead on conservative principles. For Jeremy, those principles have involved asking hard questions and following them up with challenging actions. As the President of the Duke Speech Team, Jeremy has worked to expand intellectual diversity on campus and also to put his experiences of alienation from Duke’s liberal climate to work. No stranger to conflict, Jeremy’s commitment to free speech and inclusive engagement was vividly demonstrated in his Why Vote video challenge in 2020 that defended the necessity of free speech in the face of political repression, a submission that in fact generated censure against his submission from outside entities. You can see his “Defend Democracy” submission here.2021.
Dalia Dichter (class of 2021, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major and also pursued her Master’s of Public Policy through Sanford’s 4+1 Accelerated Master’s program. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA. Her policy areas of interest are education policy, democracy reform, and civic engagement. On campus, she has been an executive board member for Women in Politics, the Director of Communications for the Public Policy Major Students Union, and has conducted research with professors. Her policy experience includes campaign and nonprofit work. After receiving her MPP, she hopes to work on the Hill or stay in North Carolina in some capacity.
2020 Summer Project(s): Dalia worked for Rock the Vote, a nationwide youth voting organization, helping create social media resources for young voters to better understand the democratic process. Dalia shared her Instagram and social media deliverables with Duke Votes in the fall of 2020, helping many Duke students, forced to leave dorms because of the pandemic, maintain their voter eligibility. Dalia also worked with the "Elections in a Pandemic" Bass project to research which student videos for the Why Vote challenge were impactful and why during the summer and fall of 2020.2020.
Thea Dowrich (class of 2021, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major, with a double minor in Chemistry and Statistical Science. She is originally from Bridgetown, Barbados and previously lived in Connecticut before relocating to Tokyo, Japan. At Duke, she was a camp counselor through Duke’s chapter of Camp Kesem, a teaching assistant in the Statistical Science department and volunteered at StepUp Durham, off campus. Thea also participated in a Bass Connections project about expressive writing for resilience. In summer 2020, she interned at Civis Analytics as an Applied Data Scientist on their Government team.
2020 Summer Project(s): In the summer, Thea worked with Melissa Price Kromm of NC for Clean Elections on research into how formerly incarcerated can better secure voting rights upon finishing parole in NC. Thea also worked for Step-Up Durham during the summer, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to providing job placement services for formerly incarcerated residents of Durham County. That advocacy work helped Thea find a productive starting point for her senior thesis research, evaluating the public programs in Durham County that supplement or extend the work of non-profits like Step-Up Durham in helping the formerly incarcerated become fully enfranchised and productive residents. Dowrich wrote her senior thesis, entitled "Coming Home to Bull City: A Program Evaluation of Durham’s Local Reentry Council" under the direction of Professor Gunther Peck.2020.
Nadia Innab (class of 2021, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major, with minors in Statistical Science and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. She is originally from Los Angeles, California. On campus, she was involved in Greek Life’s Sexual Assault Prevention Team, served as VP: Panhellenic for her sorority, and is a member of Duke Students Against Gender Violence and Women in Politics. Nadia also participated in the Duke Puppy Kindergarten, housing a service dog in training three times a week. After college, she hopes to work in policy, specifically gender policy, and eventually attend law school.
2020 Summer Project(s): As a communications fellow at the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and also a Stanback Intern, Nadia researched and wrote pieces about the clean energy industry in North Carolina during the summer of 2020. Nadia also helped author a report during the summer and fall of 2020, in collaboration with Melissa Price Kromm of NC for Clean Elections and PEP fellow Anna Klingensmith, that called for a legislative solution to students' lack of access to early voting sites, with every campus larger than 4,200 students becoming eligible for an early voting site. The research informed a key provision of a democracy reform effort led by Melissa Price Kromm through North Carolina for Clean Elections.2020.
Maya King (class of 2021, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy major, with a double minor in Education and Spanish. She is originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and plans to attend law school after graduation. During the Fall 2019 semester, Maya studied Spanish language and culture in Madrid, Spain. Back on campus, Maya was involved in Duke Student Government, the President’s Council on Black Affairs, and Duke Partners for Success. Maya’s specific political interests are education policy and minority access to the political process.
2020 Summer Project(s): Maya spent the first part of her summer working as an Environmental Education intern at Population Connection, a nonprofit organization which promotes education of young people about world population and other progressive issues. She was also a Student Legal Intern at Mobilization for Justice, serving the legal needs of vulnerable students and parents in the Children's Rights Division. In the Fall of 2020, Maya helped organize the Why Vote video challenge through the Hart Leadership Program and also worked to amplify student voices and needs during the 2020 Fall election.2020.
Anna Klingensmith (class 2021, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies double major with a concentration in Arabic. Anna grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but has identified as a blue devil all her life. She is passionate about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and U.S. security policy, especially countering violent extremism efforts and international diplomacy. On campus, Anna was a member of Illyria and enjoyed volunteering for INJAZ, tutoring Arabic speaking refugees in Durham. She was a member of the Women in Politics Club, and the Duke Association for the Middle East. Anna enjoyed studying abroad, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. She spent the summer of 2018 participating in the Duke in the Arab World program in Morocco, and in summer 2019 she won a Critical Language Scholarship award to study Arabic in Oman. In fall of 2019 she studied the geopolitics of the Middle East in Amman, Jordan, through the School for International Training.
2020 Summer Project(s): During the summer of 2020, Anna worked on collecting data for her senior thesis “Women as Agents in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE): A Comparison Between Europe and the Middle East and North Africa.” She also worked as a student legal intern at Mobilization for Justice, serving the legal needs of vulnerable students and parents in the Children’s Rights Division. With Nadia Innab, Anna also wrote a legislative proposal for Melissa Price Kromm that called for a legislative solution to college students’ lack of access to early voting sites, with every campus in NC containing over 4,200 to be eligible for an early voting site. She also worked as a Research Assistant for the Nicholas School on a project entitled "Targeting of Infrastructure in the Middle East" looking at the impact of conflict on environmental infrastructure in Israel-Palestine.2020.
Erin Lee (class of 2021, she/her/hers)
graduated from Duke with a degree in Public Policy. At Duke, she was the co-director of MeToo Monologues 2019-2020, a BassConnections undergraduate researcher with SALUD (Scholar Academy for Latinxs United for Diversity), and a member of Duke Swing. Since graduation, she has been working as the Youth Organizer at NCAAT (North Carolina Asian Americans Together), an organization dedicated to empowering the civic engagement and political participation of Asian Americans in North Carolina. She was also accepted to Georgetown Law where she will be attending in the Fall of 2021.
2020 Summer Project(s): Erin worked at both the ACLU of Georgia and with NCAAT during the summer of 2020, while simultaneously researching her senior thesis under Professor Gunther Peck’s supervision. Entitled “Fires from Across the River: Korean American Racial Discourse,” Erin’s thesis explored the complex understandings of race and blackness among Korean and Korean Americans over the past three decades in Los Angeles, using and translating Korean language newspaper sources. Erin also collaborated with two Bass research teams in the fall of 2020, helping them in their effort to reach out to Asian American young voters across North Carolina in Korean, providing them with advice, translation help, and support from North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT).2020.
Catherine Martinez (class of 2021, she/her/hers) is a double major in Public Policy and International Comparative Studies with a certificate in Markets and Management. She is originally from Miami and plans to attend graduate school to continue her studies in public policy. On campus, she was part of the Penny Pilgrim George Women’s Leadership Initiative, political chair for Mi Gente (Duke’s Latinx Student Association), chief administrative officer for Latinx Business Association, and academic chair for Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority. Catherine also helped lead the Center for Race Relation’s annual Common Ground retreat, centered on dialogue and perspective taking regarding privilege and marginalization within race, socioeconomic status, gender, and sexual orientation.
2020 Summer Project(s): Catherine interned for the non-partisan voter registration organization You Can Vote (YCV) in the summer of 2020, helping them with their outreach to Hispanic citizens across the state and also translating some of YCV’s informational materials into Spanish. Catherine also worked on her senior thesis for International Comparative Studies during the summer and fall of 2020, examining the battles that farmers in Honduras encountered during the civil unrest of the 1980s as they struggled for land reform. Her research explored the underlying factors that generated immigration caravans more recently from Honduras and the historical narrative about land dispossession that is often excluded from policy considerations. Catherine was unable to complete her thesis because of Covid-19, unfortunately, not only because many of her interviews in Honduras were cancelled but she herself came down with the disease late in November 2020. She recovered but the thesis was a casualty.2020.
Sydney McKinney (class of 2021, she/her/hers)
is a double major in Public Policy and German. She is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and plans to either pursue a career on the Hill or attend Law School. On campus, she has served as a student journalist for the Duke Reporters’ Lab, a member of the Club Soccer team, Political Action Committee Chair of the Duke NAACP, and Team Leader for Duke Community Consulting. Last summer, she worked as a Sales and Trading Analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. King spent the fall 2019 semester studying abroad in Berlin.
2020 Summer Project(s): Sydney collaborated with Thea Dowrich in working with Melissa Price Kromm of NC for Clean Elections on research into how formerly incarcerated might secure voting rights more consistently upon finishing parole in NC. Sydney also created an anti-racism book club over the summer in the immediate wake of George Floyd’s murder. That cohort of Duke students quickly became one of the largest student organizations on campus in the fall. In the spring of 2021, Sydney helped organize a signature event for the book club, attended by over one hundred Duke students, inviting former death row inmate Anthony Ray Hinton. to speak about his experiences as an unfairly condemned black man in the state of Alabama.2020.
Julianna Rennie (class of 2021, she/her/hers) is a Public Policy major with a certificate in Policy Journalism and Media Studies and Sustainability. She is originally from Charlotte, N.C., and is interested in environmental justice. She was a reporter for PolitiFact North Carolina and the student editor of the 9th Street Journal, a class-run publication that covers local news in Durham. She also worked at the Duke Campus Farm and led hiking and camping trips for students through Outing Club.
2020 Summer Project(s): Julianna worked on an organic farm during the summer of 2020 as part of a research project studying the role of nonprofits in amplifying the work of organic farming for black and indigenous farmers across the Southeast. At the end of her summer, Julianna decided to take a pandemic break from Duke. She returned to Duke in the fall of 2021, resuming her research into both organic farming and black and indigenous land ownership in North Carolina. Julianna also resumed her work as a reporter for PolitiFact North Carolina and worked as a student editor of the 9th Street Journal, a class-run publication that covers local news in Durham.2020.
Asael Salinas (class of 2021, he/him/his)
is a Public Policy and International Comparative Studies double major, with a minor in Mandarin. At Duke, Asael was president of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, was an executive board member of Duke Splash, and a member of LangDorm. Asael was also a part of the Duke Equestrian team and a research assistant for the Parenting Across Cultures (PAC) study. Outside of Duke, he was also a fellow with The Blue Lab South Carolina and an intern with CityBright LLC. He plans on attending graduate school after working in the public sector for a few years. Asael is passionate about education and child welfare, equity, and social justice, and hopes to work with related non-profits after graduating.
2020 Summer Project(s): Asael worked on three research projects during the summer of 2020: Parenting Across Cultures; Evaluation of the Durham Children’s Initiative; and Latinx communities and the Right. In addition, he worked as a fellow with The Blue Lab South Carolina where he learned how to organize and work on political campaigns. In the fall of 2020, Asael also helped organize several other PEP fellows to pool their resources to redress some of the worst language barriers to voting in North Carolina. In particular, Asael collaborated with members of the Election in a Pandemic research project to build a team of 80 bilingual Duke undergraduates who helped “cure” spoiled absentee by mail ballots cast by independent Hispanic citizens in Durham, Wake, and Orange Counties. Asael also created Spanish-language instructions for how to trace and follow your absentee by mail ballot.2020.
James (Jimmy) Toscano (class of 2021, he/him/his)
is a Public Policy major from Orlando, Florida. On campus, he was a research and teaching assistant in the Duke Center for International Development, a senator for Duke Student Government, and a member of a Board of Trustees Strategic Task Force on the future of the relationship between Duke and Durham. He is passionate about diplomacy and political engagement, has studied abroad in Chile, Serbia, and Scotland.
2020 Summer Project(s): Jimmy helped create a nonpartisan voter education website for a national youth voter education organization called My Vote, founded by survivors of the Parkland Massacre. During the summer, Jimmy also began the research for his senior thesis on provisional ballots as a Bass Research Fellow. In the fall, he wrote his senior thesis entitled “Whose Ballots are Rejected? Demographic Dynamics of Provisional Ballots in North Carolina from 2010 to 2020,” under the supervision of Catherine Admay. Jimmy’s thesis explored the large differences in the rates of casting and rejecting provisional ballots by race in North Carolina, findings that were helpful to future teams of Bass student researcher who investigated how and why young people and young black citizens in liberal bastions like Durham County have experienced the highest rates of provisional ballot rejection in the state. You can see Jimmy present his research at a recent youth voting rights summit at Duke and its contribution to a new cohort of Bass student researchers here.2020.
Ellie Winslow (class of 2021, she/her/hers)
is a Public Policy Studies major, with a double minor in Spanish and Political Science. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio. At Duke, Ellie was captain of the Varsity Swimming & Diving team and represented the Duke Athletic department in the Duke and Atlantic Coast Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committees. In 2020, she was involved in a Bass Connections project called "NC Early Childhood Action Plan," where she co-developed a study to investigate the factors influencing children’s health and development indicators in North Carolina and developed policy strategies that could be implemented by the state with members of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy.
2020 Summer Project(s): During the summer of 2020, Ellie had to rethink her plans like many Duke students as the pandemic sent most of our fellow's home. During the summer, Ellie began researching her senior thesis on the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, and how the WNBA in particular had successfully made gender pay equality central to the team’s definition of success (or lack thereof) in those three sports. Ellie also partnered with ACE in Place to help student athletes like herself prepare for future civic engagement work. Ellie also helped the ACE Program Directors create the virtual experience for the 2021 program.2020.