AGS Student Council

The AGS Council is a select group of undergraduates who help advise the Director about programming, curriculum, and assist by coordinating events such as career nights, activities fairs, and other mentoring opportunities.

Max Labaton

AGS Council Co-Chair

Max Labaton, Class of 2020, is a public policy major from Washington D.C and is interested in politics, history, and foreign policy. On campus, he is the AGS Council Co-Chair, a managing editor of The Chronicle's opinion section, and a research assistant to Professor Simon Miles in the Sanford School of Public Policy. Max spent last summer in Jordan, where he taught English to Syrian refugees. He has interned on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he worked in the office of the Ranking Member, Senator Ben Cardin. He previously worked on the Clinton campaign at Brooklyn headquarters. He has also worked as a voting rights intern for The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an NGO committed to protecting civil rights. After college, Max hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in public service. He is proficient in Spanish. 

Sebastian Borda

Sebastian Borda, Class of 2020, is a political science major from Houston, Texas. Within the political sphere, he is particularly interested in diplomacy, foreign relations, and political theory. At Duke, Sebastian serves on the CRU leadership team and the AGS council, while participating in Duke College Republicans and a host of intramural sporting competitions. During his summers, he works as a campsite coordinator and staffer for Camp Allen in Texas. Before attending Duke, Sebastian interned with Hauser Private Equity in Los Angeles, which spiked his interest in strategic investment models and the world of finance. Outside of Duke, he is an avid traveler, having been to over 40 states and Colombia, Austria, and Fiji among many other nations. In Spring 2018, Sebastian will seek an in-depth look at the global Cold War through a diplomatic perspective. He speaks French, Spanish and conversational German.

Bo Carlson

Bo Carlson, Class of 2020, is an economics and political science major from Charlotte, NC. He is interested in Latin America, economic development, and multilateral institutions. In addition to his role on the AGS Council, Bo is president of Duke Conversations and serves as a research assistant in development economics under Professor Duncan Thomas. In his free time, Bo enjoys listening to Broadway soundtracks, spending time with the Ethics Living Learning Community, and having long conversations with friends. During the summer of 2018, Bo interned at the Latin America Working Group, a Washington-based NGO that advocates for human rights in US foreign policy. He speaks Spanish and studied abroad for five months in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Isabel Ivanescu

Isabel Ivanescu, Class of 2020, is a political science major from Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Her principal interests lie in the political and military aspects of foreign policy, as well as in constitutional law. On campus, Isabel is Travel Team Captain of Duke Moot Court and competes with Duke Debate; she is also part of the Visions of Freedom Living-Learning Community. Last summer, Isabel participated in educational programs hosted by the Salvatori Center at Claremont-McKenna and the Hertog Foundation. Through AGS, Isabel participated in the 2016 Staff Ride to Vietnam and is a student-leader of the 2017 Staff Ride to Belgium and France. After graduation, Isabel is considering attending law school, joining the Foreign Service, or working in government in DC. She speaks Romanian and French.

Justin Sherman

Cyber Team & Cyber Club Chair

Justin Sherman, Class of 2020, is double-majoring in computer science and political science. At Duke, he is the Co-Founder and President of the Duke Cyber Club and the Duke Cyber Team, edits the AGS Cyber Blog, is a research assistant for Dr. Ken Rogerson, and is the Co-Founder and Vice President of nonpartisan initiative Ethical Tech. Along with Inés Jordan-Zoob, he created and taught Duke's half-credit "Cyber and Global Security" seminar. Justin is also a Fellow at Interact, a Fellow at the Duke Center on Law & Technology, and a Cybersecurity Policy Fellow at New America. He has written extensively on the intersection of technology, ethics, and international security, from Slate to Defense One to the Council on Foreign Relations, and he's been quoted/cited in major outlets like POLITICO, Forbes, and The Hill. While not worrying about the next technological catastrophe, you can find him running or talking film.

Ketan Gupta

Ketan Gupta, Class of 2020, is from New Delhi, India and majoring in Political Science and Public Policy Studies with a minor in Economics. He is interested in political economy, security policy, and the intersection of financial and capital markets with policymaking. On campus, Ketan is involved with the Duke Debate Society and serves as a Research Assistant to Dr. Anirudh Krishna in the Sanford School of Public Policy. During past summers, he has had the opportunity to work at the Brookings Institution's India Centre and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the New Delhi office. He has also co-authored and published a paper focusing on India's export strategy during his time at Brookings. Ketan hopes to eventually return to India to pursue a career in policymaking and electoral politics.

Akanksha Ray

Akanksha Ray, Class of 2020, is a public policy and economics double major from Cary, North Carolina. At Duke, Akanksha is a captain of Duke Dhamaka, an Indian folk bhangra team, works as a financial advocate at the Community Empowerment Fund, where she is working to bring awareness to local poverty and homelessness in Durham. She is also part of the Kenan Institute of Ethics Refugee Project, where she tutors local refugee women in English and Math. Last summer, Akanksha worked on women's legal rights at a law advocacy non profit: Legal Momentum. She speaks Hindi and French. Her policy interests center on foreign policy and international development, specific to South Asia and the Middle East. Akanksha hopes to have a career in diplomacy or economic development in her future. 

Default headshot of a woman

Angela Zhou

Angela Zhou, Class of 2020, is an environmental science major from Seattle, Washington. She attended an international school in Beijing, China, and is particularly interested in the intersection between conflict and the environment. On campus, Angela is an active member of the Alexander Hamilton Society, Duke Association for Business Oriented Women, Smart Woman Securities, and Duke Business Society. This past summer, Angela interned at an environmental business association in Jordan as part of her Duke Engage experience. Summer of 2018 she will be interning in the financial services industry in New York. Angela has traveled to 25 countries, plays the Guzheng – a traditional Chinese instrument – and speaks Mandarin.

Cecilia Wu

Cecilia Wu, Class of 2020, is a political science and economics double major from Shanghai, China. She is passionate about foreign policy, U.S.-China relations and Chinese politics. On campus, Cecilia is the Co-President of Duke East Asia Nexus and a Research Assistant to Professor Melanie Manion. She is also a rider in Duke Equestrian Team and an actress in Duke Chinese Theater. In Spring 2018, she interned with International Business-Government Counsellors as part of the Duke in DC program. Cecilia speaks Mandarin and currently learns Russian. In her spare time, she loves traveling, writing poetry, and playing guqin (a Chinese instrument with more than 2000 years of history).


Carter Forinash

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.

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.

Miranda Wolford

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.

Spencer Kaplan

AGS Council Co-Chair; Social Media Chair

Spencer M. Kaplan, Class of 2021, is a public policy and political science major from Rye Brook, New York. Specifically, he is interested in national security policy, conflict resolution, and international development. On campus, he is the President of Randolph House Council and a columnist for the Duke Political Review. Spencer has worked on campaigns in several municipal and county elections in New York and has experience lobbying in Washington. In the summer of 2015, Spencer spent time in rural Vietnam building houses for the needy and interviewing former Viet Cong combatants. When he travels, he enjoys photography and videography and his work has been published in the New York Times. Outside of the political realm, Spencer served as a Youth Chair of the Westchester-Fairfield chapter of VisionWalk, the fundraising arm of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. He is proficient in Spanish.

Ethan Astrachan

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.

Eren Bagis

Eren E. Bagis, Class of 2021, is a prospective political science major and a Turkish-American living in Istanbul, Turkey, and he has boarded at Wellington College, UK, throughout high school. His interests generally include international security & cooperation issues as well as sub-state violence. Geographically and historically, Eren is oriented toward the Middle East. At Duke, Eren writes for the Duke Chronicle and Duke Political Review, and is also an officer in the Duke chapter of the Alexander Hamilton Society as well as a member of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club. Eren has interned at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has previously contributed pieces to the Daily Sabah, the online English wing of Turkey’s Sabah newspaper. In the summer of 2018, Eren intends to spend time in Jordan or Oman in order to supplement taking Arabic at Duke. He speaks fluent Turkish.

Reiss Becker

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

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.

Victoria Sorhegui

AGS Council Co-Chair

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.

James Toscano

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.

Rahul Krishnaswamy 

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.

Default headshot of a woman

Anna Klingensmith

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.

Nicholas DeParle

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

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

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. 

Kamran Kara-Pabani

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.

Emma Dries

Emma Dries, Class of 2022, is a prospective Public Policy and Global Health major 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 Duke Chronicle photographer and a staff member on the Duke Model United Nations program.  In the summer of 2018, Emma studied Game Theory and the politics of World War II at the John Locke Institute in Normandy, France. She also worked as an assistant photographer in the tri-state area. Emma is fluent in Spanish and hopes to become proficient in French in the upcoming year.  In her free time, Emma enjoys running, cooking, and hiking.

Hanna Rumsey

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 Zheng

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.