Polis Student Committee (PSC)

We are accepting applications on a rolling basis and will notify applicants of their results by email.

The Polis Student Committee (PSC) is a community of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at Duke University who share an interest in politics, democracy, and public service. The PSC aims to promote greater understanding of—and engagement with—politics at the local, state, national, and global levels. PSC members are official members of the Polis community who participate in the center’s events and activities, gain access to special perks and unique opportunities, and play a valuable role in helping to shape Polis’s programs. It also serves as a pipeline to Polis Director’s Fellows positions. (Polis Director’s Fellows will be selected from the members of the Polis Student Committee and will serve as the student leadership team of the PSC.)

If you are looking for a group that offers transformative political conversations, leadership development opportunities, the chance to connect with inspiring political leaders, and the opportunity to be a part of a vibrant community that cares about politics, democracy, and public service, the Polis Student Committee is for you!

Upcoming Activities

Polis Student Committee Executive Board Application and Election

Apply by 11:59PM, February 9th, 2023
Click here for more information

Officer Descriptions

Co-President (Graduate): Serves as graduate student chair of the Polis Student Committee (PSC) Executive Board and represents the PSC in engagement with internal and external actors. Helps oversee the activities of the Polis Student Committee.

Co-President (Undergraduate): Serves as undergraduate student chair of the Polis Student Committee (PSC) Executive Board and represents the PSC in engagement with internal and external actors. Helps oversee the activities of the Polis Student Committee.

Vice President of Events: Serves as the primary coordinator of PSC conversation events. Helps with vital logistics such as selecting and securing event locations, selecting food for events, and making invitations.

Vice President of Membership: Serves as the chief outreach officer of the PSC. Duties include help with new member recruitment and welcoming, help designing special membership perks and opportunities.

Secretary: Serves as the chief communications officer of the PSC. Duties include maintaining committee information, developing promotional materials for events, and helping to develop and execute a social media strategy for the PSC.

Eligibility and Requirements

1. Any current PSC Member is eligible to apply for an executive board position.
2. Candidates must be willing and available to serve a 1-year term (term begins immediately upon election and ends December 31, 2023)*
3. Executive board members are expected to attend weekly meetings with the Executive Board and/or the Polis team.

*Exceptions allowed if the elected student is graduating or studying abroad after one semester

Join us on the evening of Thursday, February 16, 2023 for the first official PSC meeting of the Spring Semester, which will include dinner and the Polis Executive Board elections! Candidates will have the opportunity to offer a brief (2-3 minutes) campaign speech, and then we will vote for this year’s slate of officers.

Note: Candidates must attend the election to be considered. Please email polis@duke.edu if you are unable to attend due to class.

Spring '23 Activities

Polis Holds a Reception Welcoming Congressman Price Back to Duke University, January 19

On Thursday, January 19, 2023, Polis: Center for Politics was delighted to host a reception for Congressman David Price, celebrating his return to Duke as a Polis Distinguished Fellow. Additionally, the former Congressman joins Duke University as a professor of Political Science and Public Policy Studies, a position which he held prior to his election to the House of Representatives in 1987. Price served as representative for North Carolina’s 4th District from 1987-1995 and 1997-2023. Polis Student Committee members were invited to the reception and able to meet Congressman Price.

Polis Student Committee Member Laurel Holley (’24) wrote an event recap on the reception:

“Congressman Price rounded out the evening, expressing his enthusiasm to be back at Duke, “having the interactions around campus that [he] believes [the community] can have.” He highlighted his excitement for the work that Polis is doing. He relayed that he always believed the Sanford School needed an “institute within the institute,” like Polis, to connect the academic world with elected officials, journalists, and other members of the public.”

Laurel is majoring in Public Policy and International Comparative Studies with a focus on China & East Asia. She is a Polis Student Committee member.

Click here to read the full recap

Fall '22 Activities

Press Briefing on '22 Midterm Election, November 9

Directly following a Duke faculty Midterm Election briefing, 6 Polis Student Committee (PSC) members were interviewed by international journalists through the organization of the State Department.

PSC panelists included Chloe Decker (PPS ‘25) of the NC Young People’s Alliance; James Gao (PPS ’24) of Duke Dem’s; Pilar Kelly (PPS ’24) of Duke Votes; Ishanvi Malayanil (PPS ‘26) a women’s rights activist who has spoken at UN Women; Jaquell Sneed-Adams (MPP ‘23), Research Assistant for Polis / PolicyLab Fellows Duke Political History Project; and Jordan Wilson (MPP ‘24) of Policy in Living Color.

Young people represent the largest voting bloc in America but are historically absent as voters. The student panelists highlighted both optimistic and pessimistic outlooks on the youth vote, major policy issues, and the future of democracy.

Click here for the full recap!

Midterm Election Reflections, November 8

PSC Dinner & Discussion on the North Carolina Midterm Election, November 3

On November 3rd, Polis Student Committee members joined a panel of four students and two professors to discuss the upcoming North Carolina midterm elections, their motivations in voter mobilization, and the importance of the youth voice in politics.

Speaking at the panel were Chloe Decker (’25) of NC Young People’s Alliance; James Gao (’24), President of Duke Dem’s; Kunal Khaware (’26) host of the New Voting Project; and Kelly Padalino (’25) Intern for Cheri Beasley. The student speakers were joined by Professor Deondra Rose, Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor of Public Policy & Director of POLIS, and Professor Mac McCorkle, Professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy. The event was moderated by Jaquell Sneed-Adams, a Master of Public Policy student at the Sanford School of Public Policy and a North Carolina native.

Click here to read more about the discussion!

Durham Civil Rights Walking Tour, October 29

Members of the Polis Student Committee went on a Durham Civil Rights walking tour with Preservation Durham. Students learned about the 1957 sit-in boycott of the Royal Ice Cream parlor, the Hayti community and Black Wall Street on Parrish Street, protests following MLK’s assassination and the South Carolina Orangeburg Massacre, as well as important civil rights leaders Ann Atwater, Pauli Murray, and others.

The PSC Kick-Off, October 13

Winners of Polis Bingo were Senou, Kunal, Riya & Miran! Students were tasked with finding PSC members that matched various descriptions including “Voted in the 2016 Presidential Election,” “Wants to be a politician,” and more!

Winners of the PSC Political Trivia were the “Quizzards of Oz” team! After 3 grueling rounds of trivia they proved triumphant! The team included Muhammed, Abhi, Jocelyn, Rosa, and Sam!

NHK Interview, October 6

Polis Student Committee members were interviewed by the NHK, a Japanese public broadcaster on the upcoming midterm elections. Students talked about threats to democracy, polarization, and bridging the gap between those with different political values.

About the PSC

High-profile guest speakers
Political discussions (with free food!)
Access to workshops and training events
Opportunities to connect with guest speakers in smaller settings
Connecting with faculty
Research opportunities
Mentoring opportunities
Special trips/travel opportunities
Being featured on Polis media channels
The opportunity to work on a Polis project team (e.g., events team, social media team, etc.)
Volunteering at Polis Events
Pathway to Polis Director’s Fellows

Position Requirements
PSC Members regularly attend Polis events and activities and are committed to building an inclusive community that is characterized by mutual respect and support, authenticity, open-mindedness, and an orientation toward growth.

All current Duke undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with an interest in politics, democracy, and public service are eligible to apply. This includes incoming first-year students, DKU students, and transfer students. (Note: All students are welcome and encouraged to apply—regardless of level of political knowledge, experience, or course of study!)

If you have questions about the Polis Student Committee, please email polis@duke.edu