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Alumni Spotlight | Jaron Wharton

Alumni Spotlight | Jaron Wharton ’17 & ’19


Graduation Year: 2017 and 2019
Degree: MA in Public Policy and PhD in Public Policy
Other Activities While at Duke: 
Volunteer at Emily Krzyzewski Center

Q. Tell us a little about yourself…what you do now, what you’ve done since graduating.

A. I am an active duty infantry officer in the U.S. Army and will command a cavalry squadron in the 101st Airborne Division beginning next summer. During my third year of doctoral work, I took a one-year assignment at the National Security Council as a Deputy Executive Secretary, and later, Chief of Staff to the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy.

Q. Did you meet anyone during your time at AGS who deeply inspired you? Tell us about them and what about their life impacted you.

A. I cannot say that there was any one person. Professor Peter Feaver has put together an incredible program unlike any I have seen across institutions. Many “centers” or “programs” are usually virtual, and that is the extent. AGS is very different in that it is full of tangible life experiences. It is truly a beacon of goodness at the university. For example, I was most impressed by the many talented undergraduate students, most of whom hope to serve the public good. Having the opportunity to regularly interact with them was a highlight of my time at Duke.

Q. Do you have advice or inspiration to offer current AGS students?

A. I would strongly encourage students to get and stay involved in AGS activities. This program not only challenges students to think critically in a fun, rewarding environment, but they often find a niche that leads to employment in the public sector in the near term.