DegreePh.D. in Psychology and Public Policy ’24
To my knowledge, I am the first joint Public Policy/Psychology Ph.D. student, so it’s definitely been a learning experience. We’re kind of feeling things out still in terms of classes that are required and how to fulfill all of the degree requirements over 4 to 5 to 6 years. I did my undergrad work majoring in Psychology and minoring in Communications Studies. I went on to work for the Department of Education in New York City doing data analysis on the lowest performing schools in the city, trying to find out what we could do - resource wise - to improve student outcomes and teacher success.
Whether it was related to poverty, gender or race, I was interested in answering the question of how can we, on a large scale, target our resources to mitigate negative outcomes related to those social identities? I became interested in the research side of things, and I had never considered getting my Ph.D., but I wanted to learn more about research design and how to answer the questions I wanted to answer. I knew I wanted to go back to school for Psychology, but I didn’t want to lose this policy side either.
There is already some work underway that is using my research on masculinity/gender norms as a means of reducing sexual assault among undergraduates at Duke. It’s a Bass Connections project where I’m helping to spearhead the design, testing and implementation of interventions that (I think) are a beautiful tie between how the social identity/norms research I do over in psychology can be useful/impactful at a policy or community level!
I leverage my experience and skill set from both Psych and Public Policy in my role as Co-President of Duke Interdisciplinary Student Innovators (DISI). DISI is a student-run, pro bono consulting organization that creates and trains teams of graduate students to work with nonprofits on semester-long projects. The way it works is that each semester, graduate students from across Duke apply to DISI, nonprofits apply with projects to work with us and we curate/pair the teams of graduate students based on their skills/interests to the nonprofit projects we accept based on what is being asked in the project (e.g., marketing, impact analysis, data analysis).
Cross-posted from the #Humans of Duke Sanford Tumblr