AGS Student Council
We are a group of undergraduates who support the mission of AGS by helping to advise the leadership about programming, assist in event execution, and coordinate mentoring opportunities, activities, and other series to support students in the larger Duke community. We provide a student perspective to help AGS create a space for all students to learn, engage, and collaborate.
What We Do
- Assist with advertising events and marketing other programming and curriculum
- Support events through attendance, written after-event reports, and during-event social media broadcasting
- Advise AGS leadership with programming, curriculum, and community engagement
- Provide published or publishable material for the AGS website and social media
- Manage the Council recruitment process
- Create opportunities for mentoring and community engagement
- Support AGS leadership with miscellaneous tasks
We value inclusiveness, celebrating the diverse strengths, experiences, backgrounds, interests, beliefs, perspectives, and voices of all members of our community. We value open-mindedness and treat others with respect. We honor intellectual curiosity through active engagement within our community, programming, and curriculum. We hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of integrity, scholarship, acceptance, and professionalism, and we value collaboration with the student body to continually grow and evolve. For more information on our commitments to these values, please read here.
Student Council Bios
James (Jimmy) Toscano, Class of 2021, is a public policy major from Orlando, Florida. In terms of grand strategy, Jimmy is interested in the foreign service and international law. On campus, he is a research assistant in the Duke Center for International Development and a Teaching Assistant for two graduate-level Public Policy classes. Jimmy is also one of the student leaders for the 2019 AGS International Staff Ride, which will be focused on studying Operation Torch over Spring Break in Morocco. Outside of international relations, he is involved in Mock Trial, Duke Political Union, and Camp Kesem. He also works as a Spanish Translator at the Compass Center for Women and Families. After Duke, he plans to pursue a career in the Foreign Service or apply to law school.
Victoria Sorhegui, Class of 2021, is a political science major (security, peace, and conflict focus) and history minor from Naples, FL. Her principal interests lie in international relations and affairs, as well as US national security in regard to our efforts toward counterterrorism. On campus, Victoria works for the Duke Women’s Center as a gender violence intern, advocating for the empowerment of women in positions of power and against gender-based violence. She is also an executive member of Duke’s premier Latin dance group, Sabrosura. This past summer, Victoria studied abroad in Alicante, Spain to experience Spanish language immersion and was on staff for Duke’s arts related pre-orientation program. In her free time, Victoria enjoys travelling, spending time with her friends, and keeping up to date with the latest global news. After college, Victoria hopes to attend law school and eventually work in Washington D.C.. She is proficient in Spanish.
William Tiancheng Chang
William Tiancheng Chang, Class of 2021, is a sophomore at Duke University double majoring in Economics and Public Policy. His interests include International Security, Political Economy and East Asia studies. In summer 2018, William interned with International Crisis Group’s Northeast Asia office and focused on conflict resolutions in the Korean Peninsula and South China Sea. Previously, he interned with Amnesty International and fundraised for Liberty in North Korea. At Duke, William is the co-president for Duke East Asia Nexus, head of research for Duke-UNC China Leadership Summit and an analyst for Duke Impact Investing Group.
Carter Forinash, Class of 2021, is a Public Policy major with a focus on U.S. Foreign Policy from Arlington, Virginia. Having also lived in Paris, France, he is particularly interested in U.S.-European relations, as well as international conservation treaties. On campus, he is involved with the Chronicle as a staff writer. Before attending Duke, Carter interned with the U.S. Forest Service International Programs office. He has spent the last two summers working with Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, focusing on local government and environmental work. Carter speaks fluent French.
Spencer M. Kaplan, Class of 2021, is a public policy and political science major from Rye Brook, New York. Specifically, he is interested in the intersection of national security and space. In addition to his duties as an AGS Co-Chair, Spencer is a research assistant for Professors Peter Feaver and Jonathan Wiener. In the past, he worked on a NASA research study on next-generation power systems, wrote for the Duke Political Review, and served as the President of Randolph Dormitory. Last summer, Spencer studied biogeography in Australia and researched policy related to the Mission to Mars for Professor Wiener. In the spring, Spencer will be studying in Washington D.C. and interning at The Charles Group, a national security consulting firm. In his free time, Spencer runs a weekly newsletter called News of the Jews which aims to simplify complicated Jewish and Israeli news. He also raises money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and is a passionate fan of Star Trek.
Ethan Astrachan, Class of 2021, is a political science major from Durham, North Carolina. His interests include international security and conflict resolution. He plans to potentially minor in computer science. Outside of political science he is interested in philosophy, Christopher Nolan movies, and has a healthy obsession with sports, particularly Duke Basketball. On campus, Ethan is involved as a member of Camp Kesem, works with Habitat for Humanity, is on Duke’s team to the 2018 Atlantic Cyber Challenge and the AGS Council. In High School, he spent time working with Roy Cooper’s Campaign for Governor. He speaks proficient Spanish and is currently learning Arabic, and plans to spend his summer reinforcing previous Spanish language experience.
Anna Klingensmith, Class of 2021, is a public policy and Arabic double major from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She specializes in US foreign policy in the Middle East and US security policy, and is interested in countering violent extremism efforts and international diplomacy. On campus, Anna writes for AGS Council’s publication, STRATAGEM, enjoys volunteering for INJAZ, and tutoring Arabic speaking refugees in Durham. She is a member of the Women in Politics Club, and the Duke Association for the Middle East. During summer 2018 Anna participated in Duke in the Arab World in Morocco, where she studied governance and citizenship in the Arab World, and Moroccan dialect Arabic. In Spring 2019, Anna is participating in Duke in DC as well as interning with Congressman David Price. In Fall 2019 she is planning to study abroad in Amman, Jordan. Anna speaks Spanish and Arabic.
Reiss Becker, Class of 2021, is majoring in Political Science with a Certificate in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics and a Minor in English. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and is a third generation Angeleno. During his time at Duke Reiss has dabbled in a wide variety of extracurriculars including being a member of Duke University Improv, a council member of Duke Rotaract, an executive board member of Duke College Republicans, and a Columnist for the Duke Chronicle. Reiss is also a proud Eagle Scout. Post graduation, Reiss hopes to do Teach for America and pursue a graduate degree in Law. He is primarily interested in Constitutional law, political economy, and, of course, foreign policy.
Phil Ma, Class of 2021, is from Beijing, China, although he has also lived in Missouri and Idaho. He plans to major in political science and mathematics with a certificate in philosophy, politics, and economics. He is interested in international solutions to collective action problems, especially climate change, as well as East Asia relations and constitutional law. On campus, he is involved with the Duke International Relations Association and plays violin in the Duke Symphonic Orchestra. Last summer, he interned with the Duke in D.C. Office of Government Relations as part of the DukeEngage D.C. program, helping frame science research and policy more comprehensive and relevant to Duke. In his free time, Phil enjoys napping, swimming, and reading biographies of highly controversial political figures. After graduation, he hopes to attend law school and later a career in politics. He speaks Mandarin and is studying German.
Miranda Wolford, Class of 2021, is from Southern California and plans to major in politcal science. She is interested in the intersection between international development policies and security crises. As a first-year, she has been involved with the Alliance for AIDS Services as a consultant, Business-Oriented Women, TAMID as a global consultant for Israeli youth startups, and AGS Council. Prior to Duke, Miranda interned at the Tom Lantos Institute for Human Rights in Budapest, conducting research on issues such as Dalit rights in India and writing articles for various international human rights publications. From 2015 to 2017, she worked as the Chief Executive Officer of Kids Helping Kids, a youth-run nonprofit empowering disadvantaged youth to overcome poverty through education. Miranda is also an avid fly fisherwoman and hiker. She speaks proficient French and Thai.
AGS Council Co-Chair
Emma Dries, Class of 2022, is a Public Policy major and Spanish minor from Princeton, New Jersey. She is broadly interested in United States and Latin American relations as well as photojournalism. On campus, Emma is involved as a Chronicle Photographer and a staff member on the Duke Model United Nations program. In the summer of 2019, Emma interned at the John Locke Institute in Basse-Normandie, France in which she assisted professors in daily planning, implementing lesson plans, leading a discussion group after lectures, and assessing essays on economics, philosophy, and their respective theories. She also worked as an assistant photographer in the tri-state area. Emma is proficient in Spanish and hopes to become proficient in French in the upcoming year. In her free time, Emma enjoys running, cooking, and hiking.
Kamran Kara-Pabani, Class of 2022, is a prospective economics and computer science major and philosophy minor from London, UK, now residing in Philadelphia. His interests include international cooperation and national security law, especially in the emerging realms of cyber and artificial intelligence. Kam is mainly focused on conflict issues between near-equal rivals such as China and Russia. At Duke, he is involved in the Campus Enterprises Brand Ambassador program, club tennis, and DukeGive, a service providing GED tutoring to adults in the Durham area. Kam has worked as an instructor at the Horizons Institute of Technology and on his own startup ventures, continuing to pursue entrepreneurship at university. In the summer of 2019, Kam hopes to complete the DukeEngage program or work in the national security arena. He is proficient in Spanish.
Nicholas DeParle, Class of 2022, is a prospective public policy major from Washington, D.C. Nick’s interests include American political history, presidential leadership, journalism, and foreign policy. He was a 2018 intern in The Office of Barack and Michelle Obama and previously interned at J Street, a pro-Israel lobbying group that advocates a two-state solution. His essay on displaced persons in Iraq won the American Foreign Service Association’s National High School Essay Contest in 2017. Nick runs HOPE for Honduras, a project that raises money to send poor children to school in the village of La Entrada. He is proficient in Spanish.
Dora Pekec, Class of 2022, is from Chapel Hill, NC and plans to double major in Political Science and Public Policy, with a minor in French. She is interested in American political behavior and identity, conflict resolution, and European politics. In addition to AGS Council, Dora works in the Academic Initiatives Dept. of the Nasher Museum of Art, writes for the Duke Political Review, works in the Duke Political Polarization Lab, contributes in marketing and user research for a NYC-based start-up, and is involved with the Duke International Relations Association (DIRA). She previously interned with Centar M.A.R.E., a rehabilitation and education social-change NGO in Rovinj, Croatia and conducted an independent lobbying project involving statistical research concerning media and gun safety in NC. Dora loves theatre arts, speaks fluent Croatian, and currently studies French.
Elise Bousquette, Class of 2022, is from New York City, and plans to double-major in political science and Chinese. She is specifically interested in US-China relations and US national security in general. Outside of her role on AGS, Elise is an Alexander Hamilton Society office and a four-year Army ROTC scholarship winner. In the past, she has interned for her senator, Senator Schumer. She also spent a month in a Mandarin immersion program, with the goal of ultimately becoming fluent. In her free time, Elise can be found playing basketball, looking for new music or planning her next trip abroad.
Rahul Krishnaswamy, Class of 2021, is planning to major in Political Science, pursue a Science and Society Certificate, and minor in Global Health. His interest is in the confluence of politics, healthcare, and diplomacy, especially with regards to bioethics and global health policy as a form of foreign aid. On campus, apart from AGS Council, he is leading the new POLIS Cabinet (a student advisory board for POLIS), is part of the Research Scholars Program, and volunteers at the Duke University Medical Center. Rahul has served as a Page to NC Governor Roy Cooper, worked in a scientific research lab, and hopes to be a legislative intern this upcoming summer. He plans to pursue a career in law and politics, focusing on the transformation of the US Healthcare System.
Hanna Rumsey, Class of 2022, is a prospective Political Science and English major from San Francisco, California. She is broadly interested in US Military Policy and alliances, specifically NATO. Outside of her position on the AGS council, Hanna is an active member of the Duke International Relations Association and is involved in Jewish life on campus. Hanna has worked as an intern in the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein and served as a page in the United States Senate. She was also a Sunday School teacher and a peer mentor for students with learning disabilities throughout high school. After graduation, Hanna hopes to return to San Francisco to teach a course on American Foreign Policy at her high school before eventually working in government. In her free time, Hanna can be found hiking, golfing, reading Shakespeare, or planning elaborate vacations she’ll never take.
Gary (Xiangyu) Zheng, Class of 2022, is considering major in political science and economics from Guangzhou, China. His primary interests lie in Asia Pacific, forced migration, human rights, international economics, trade, political theory, and ethics. Before coming to Duke, Gary conducted research on China’s moral obligations to Syrian refugees under the mentorship of a NYU professor. At Duke, Gary is involved with Duke East Asia Nexus, represents freshmen from China at Chinese Student Association, volunteers for the Kenan Refugee Project, and serves on the student advisory board of Duke Human Rights Center. Gary also joined Professor Dirk Philipsen’s Bass Connection team. With the team he researches a more sustainable model for economic development as an alternative to the current growth-driven, market-based economy. Gary speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and German.
AGS Council Co-Chair
Kyle Melatti, Class of 2022, is a public policy and economics major from Las Vegas, NV. He is a first-generation American with Brazilian heritage. He is interested in national security, Latin American politics, and public finance. Kyle serves as a TK Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and as a Senator in Duke Student Government for Durham and Regional Affairs. He additionally serves as President of Duke Students for Education Reform and as a Research Assistant in the Sanford School. This past summer, he studied abroad in the Duke in Geneva program for International Business and Philosophy of Globalization. After graduating, Kyle plans to attend graduate school in law or public policy, with the goal of eventually running for office. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.
Alice Wu, Class of 2022, is from Cleveland, Ohio and plans to major in public policy and pursue a certificate in markets and management. She is particularly interested in the role of foreign assistance in bolstering national security, as well as the growing influence of cyber in foreign and domestic affairs. On campus, Alice is involved with the Cyber Team, Business Oriented Women, and serves as a freshman small group leader for Asian InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She is a former UNICEF National Council member and is the current Philanthropy and Intellectual Engagement Chair for Cooper SLG. Last summer, she interned with mental health nonprofits in Durham, NC and Durham, UK as a part of the DukeEngage Durham program. She is proficient in Mandarin and Spanish.
Ashil Jhaveri, class of 2022, is a Political Science and Computer Science double-major from New Jersey. His interests include international humanitarian law, cybersecurity policy, and conflict resolution. On campus, he is an editor for the Duke Political Review, serves as a Senator on the Durham & Regional Affairs committee of Duke Student Government, and is on the Club Golf team. He also tutors young adults working towards their high school equivalency diploma at the Durham Literacy Center. Last summer he completed a research project with the Union County, New Jersey Public Defender’s Office examining the effects of a 2016 cash bail reform law. He has also interned at the offices of US Senator Cory Booker and State Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker. During his free time, Ashil can be found playing basketball, listening to classic rock, reading a book, or eating ice cream.
Caroline Anderson, class of 2022, is from Ponte Vedra Florida and plans to major in Biology with a concentration in Genetics. She is interested in combining her interests in national security with epidemiology through defenses against biological and chemical warfare. Outside of her role on AGS, Caroline is a 4-year Navy ROTC scholarship winner and works on Bass connections. This past summer, she spent her time on summer cruise for Navy ROTC. She is a Hertog fellow and was accepted to the Nuclear Weapons program. In her free time, Caroline enjoys practicing Krav Maga and watching movies with friends.
AGS Council Intergroup/Outreach Liaison
Grayson Real, Class of 2022, is from Southern California, studying political and computer science. Her primary interests are in cyber warfare, national security, and foreign policy, especially in regard to counterterrorism. On campus, Grayson plans events for Duke’s Association for the Middle East, contributes to Duke’s art and culture magazine, FORM, and mentors middle school girls in the Durham community. Last summer, Grayson spent time in Morocco and Tunisia studying Arabic and the intersection of religion and politics. She also served as an ambassador for an American-Ecuadorian NGO, coordinating fundraisers and visiting the various partner organizations in Ambato, Ecuador. After graduation, Grayson hopes to pursue a graduate degree in either law or security studies. She is proficient in Spanish and plans to continue learning Arabic.
Elise-Aimee van den Hoek
Elise-Aimee van den Hoek, Class of 2022, is a Public Policy major with a minor in History and Russian. She was raised in the United Kingdom and holds Dutch and American citizenship. She is particularly interested in Cold War history, nuclear policy and cybersecurity. At Duke, Elise is a member of the AGS council and the Cyber Team, and a research assistant to Professor Simon Miles in the Sanford School of Public Policy. Last summer, Elise interned at a Public Defenders office in Hazard, Kentucky. Next summer, she plans to spend time in Russia, Israel and DC researching the Yom Kippur War. Elise plans to attend law school after graduation and pursue a career in diplomacy.
AGS Council Co-Chair
Sara Scanlan, Class of 2023, is a prospective Political Science and Public Policy major from Greenwich, Connecticut. She is broadly interested in diplomacy, national security, and political economy. On campus, Sara is involved with Women in Politics and is a member of the Duke women’s club lacrosse team. In the summers of 2018 and 2019, Sara was a sailing instructor at her local community sailing school. In the spring of 2019, she interned at a private equity firm furthering her interest in the financial sector of international affairs. Sara hopes to become proficient in Spanish while at Duke. In her free time, Sara enjoys travelling, skiing, reading, and baking.
Darren Janz, Class of 2023, is a prospective political science and public policy major from Wilmington, North Carolina. His academic and career interests include comparative politics, democratization, election monitoring, and constitutional design. Outside of AGS, Darren serves as a research assistant for the Department of Political Science, an officer for Amnesty International and the Alexander Hamilton Society, and an incoming contributor to the Duke Political Review and the Duke Undergraduate Law Magazine. He has also served as a page in the United States Senate and an intern for various local and state-level political campaigns and legislative offices. After graduating, Darren hopes to pursue further education in political science or public policy and eventually work for a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening democratic institutions in developing countries. In his free time, Darren enjoys planning road trips and spending time outdoors.
AGS Council Alumni Liaison
Brent Katz, Class of 2023, is a prospective public policy major from Port Washington, New York and is deeply fascinated by global and domestic politics, culture and food around the world, and history. At Duke, he is a new member of AGS council and is on the campus initiatives committee for the Duke Political Union. Before enrolling at Duke, Brent was an active member of his diverse community in New York, peer tutoring, facilitating a platform for political discourse, and raising money for America’s veterans. He spent his last two summers researching the relationship between immigrant legal status and mobility, interning for the Bezos Family Foundation, advocating with the American Jewish Committee, and organizing mentors to help low-income peers manage the college application process. After college, Brent will likely attend law school and pursue a career in government and policy. He is proficient in Spanish and plans to study Japanese.
AGS Council Social Media Coordinator
Peter Connolly, Class of 2023, is a prospective Political Science or Public Policy major from Boston, Massachusetts with a strong interest in international politics and national security. On campus, Peter is involved with the Men’s Club Baseball Team and the Alexander Hamilton Society. Peter served as a Congressional Intern for Congressman Joe Kennedy III, which solidified his interest in politics and taught him the inner workings of a district office. In his free time, Peter manages his blog for millennials, millennialpolitics2k.com, where he writes and edits opinions articles on U.S. politics and international affairs. Peter hopes to become fluent in Spanish by the time he graduates, with a possible minor in Spanish. He also enjoys skiing, spending time with family and travelling.
Alexander Glick, Class of 2023, is a prospective public policy major from Manhasset, New York. Alex is interested in the preservation of civil liberties, environmental policy, and foreign relations with an emphasis on the Middle East. He was one of the first two interns on the Max Rose for Congress campaign in NY-11, interned for Changing the Conversation Together, which is a non-profit promoting civility and tolerance in political discourse, and was a co-sponsor of a Rosen for Nevada event in New York City, directly leading to the raising of over $25,000. Alex also attended the 2017 ACLU Advocacy Summer Institute. He hopes to work in foreign policy areas in the future.
Daniel Billings, Class of 2023, is a prospective History and Political Science major from London, England. He is broadly interested in European Union and the trans-Atlantic alliance. On campus, Daniel is involved in club tennis and is a research assistant to both Drew Shindell and Elizabeth Losos on environmental policy. After graduation, Daniel plans to pursue a Masters in European politics or attend law school either in Europe or the US. In his free time, he can be found watching the BBC, learning a new language, attending the Globe theatre or spending time with his brothers.
Former Student Council Members by Class Year:
2020: Sebastian Borda, Bo Carlson, Ketan Gupta, Isabel Ivanescu, Max Labaton, Akanksha Ray, Cecilia Wu, Angela Zhou
2019: Paul Forrester, Henry Kistler, Sabriyya Pate, Asa Royal, Sarah Sibley, Elle Winfield, Ines Jordan Zoob
2018: Sanjeev Dasgupta, Blair Horner, Aateeb Khan, Matthew T. King, Amy Kramer, Aron Rimanyi, Dejana Saric, Akshaya Trivedi
2017: Hannah Barton, Mark Botterill, Sean Callan, Tyler Coe, Gautam Hathi, Adam Lemon, Dana Raphael