In April, Professors Deondra Rose and Manoj Mohanan took students from PubPol 155, PubPol 301, and members of the Polis Student Committee to Washington D.C.
Angelie Quimbo (Poli Sci '26) on Trip to D.C.:
I had the honor to visit Washington, D.C. for the third time this school year. This particular visit was the second time I was able to travel with the POLIS team— with the first time being my freshman orientation week as a student in Project Citizen. As a member of the POLIS Student Committee, I enjoy every chance I can get to engage in policy, politics, and the viewpoints of others. Though I do not take PubPol 155 or PubPol 301, I am grateful for the opportunity to become exposed to the class topics and bright student leaders within such classes through this joint trip.
During the trip, students were able to explore the Duke in D.C. office, the National Monuments, as well as the district as a whole. When I wasn't exploring the Hirshhorn Museum or taking a self-guided moonlight tour of the National Mall, I was able to speak with Duke alumni during our Thursday night mixer, as well as listen to a panel of senior members who work in the White House. It was a really cool and unique opportunity to ask our panelists questions — which consisted of two Duke alumni, who serve as special assistants to the President and oversee different operations.
One of my favorite take-aways from this trip was to experience another Braver Angels debate. Braver Angels is a nonprofit organization whose efforts are in political depolarization. It is no question that our own university falls victim to dismissing a particular set of views and/or political identities; however, our Duke bubble ideals won't last forever, as professional settings won't always be as homogenous.
Braver Angels facilitated a controlled 'debate' on the topic of social media and whether or not it is a threat to our democracy. Four students delivered speeches that were in favor or in opposition to the resolution. As a former policy debater, I was happy to note that the atmosphere was anything but competitive. Students considered each point that was presented, and by the end of the debate, everyone had a revised view of the topic. And that's the beauty of a Braver Angels debate. Instead of competing or attacking a particular view to present a 'winner,' students are working together to build a middle ground. At Duke, we are fortunate enough to have opportunities that not only directly benefit us as students, but also help us gain connections with alumni or nonprofit groups that reshapes how we carry ourselves.
Overall, I would encourage all students to consider taking a class in our Public Policy department, as well as challenge yourself in building a middle ground with your peers.