Career Series – Young Alumni

Lucy Wooldridge is a 2018 Duke alumna, currently living in the Bay Area pursuing her MBA and Master’s of Public Health concurrently in a dual degree program at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and the Haas School of Business. Prior to graduate school, Lucy worked at American Institutes for Research as an analyst and project manager for health program improvement projects. She specialized in reproductive and maternal health projects, including efforts to expand abortion access, improve postpartum maternal home visiting programs, and understand policy impacts on racial disparities in maternal mortality rates. Her interest in maternal health started at Duke, where she majored in public policy, minored in gender sexuality and feminist studies, and was a work study student at the Center for Child and Family Policy.

This speaker series is for Duke students who want to learn more about careers in child and family policy. Meetings are designed to help students explore the wide range of job opportunities and careers available in the field of child and family policy while creating a network of students who share their professional interests.

Representatives from NCDPI’s Office of Learning Recovery & Acceleration, the North Carolina Office of Strategic Partnerships, the NC Ed Futures Initiative at UNC, and the NC Longitudinal Data System (NCLDS) at NCDIT will share details about opportunities for helping North Carolina answer programmatic and policy questions.

Presenters will be:
Jeni Corn, Director of Research & Evaluation, Office of Learning Recovery & Acceleration, NCDPI
Jenni Owen, Director, North Carolina Office of Strategic Partnerships
Matt Springer, NC Education Futures Initiative
Trip Stallings, Executive Director, NC Longitudinal Data System, NCDIT

Shantel Meek, a professor of practice and the founding director of the Children’s Equity Project (CEP) at Arizona State University, will join us via Zoom to talk about her career in both research and the federal government.

The Children’s Equity Project works to close opportunity gaps and dismantle systemic racism in learning settings to ensure that children reach their full potential. Meek started her career as a clinical researcher focused on autism; she then served as a policy advisor in the White House and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as a consultant to the Bipartisan Policy Center before launching CEP. We will ask Shantel how she got started, the twists and turns her career has taken, and her advice for students just starting their careers.

Derek Rhodes, PPS ’15, founder and executive director of Durham Success Summit, will join us to discuss why he quit corporate America, after leadership positions at Google, Microsoft, and the Miami Heat, to start his own nonprofit. In his own words, “I wanted to improve the lives of local, young, black men. Men just like me. Thus, the Durham Success Summit (DSS) was born.” We are going to hear what drove Derek to pursue a different path than the one he had set out on, the values that have guided him, and how he is building a career based on moral purpose.

As the founder and executive director of Durham Success Summit, Rhodes works to “increase access to business education, mentorship, and professional networking opportunities for young Black men between 16 and 24 years old in Durham.” The organization hosts both a business incubator program, which provides entrepreneurial training, mentorship, and seed funding to aspiring full-time entrepreneurs with an idea, and a 12-week accelerator program, which builds practical networking skills and provides scholars access to employers, professional mentors, and opportunities. Prior to founding Durham Success Summit, in addition to corporate experience, Rhodes worked at The Obama Foundation and interned at The White House and the Department of Justice. He holds a B.A. in public policy studies from Duke University and a certificate in disruptive strategy from Harvard Business School Online.

This speaker series is for Duke students who want to learn more about careers in child and family policy. Meetings are designed to help students explore the wide range of job opportunities and careers available in the field of child and family policy while creating a network of students who share their professional interests.

This week we will talk about what advocacy work looks like with Morgan Forrester Ray, director of the EarlyWell Initiative at NC Child, and Morgan Wittman Gramann, executive director at North Carolina Alliance for Health. They work to improve the health and well-being of children and families in North Carolina through advocating for early childhood mental health and policies that reduce health disparities, prevent chronic disease, and promote health, respectively.

As the director of NC Child’s EarlyWell Initiative, Morgan Forrester Ray works to build a robust, evidence-based, and accessible early childhood mental health system in North Carolina. Prior to her work at NC Child, Ray worked at NCCARE360, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the N.C. Partnership for Children, and as a case manager/service coordinator for Early Intervention Services. She earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BA in social work from the University of Louisville. She recently completed a fellowship with Zero to Three.

Morgan Wittman Gramann leads the North Carolina Alliance for Health (NCAH), which convenes, mobilizes, supports and empowers partners to advance equitable policies that reduce health disparities, prevent chronic disease, and promote health. In addition to her role as executive director, she also serves as one of NCAH’s registered lobbyists. Passionate about healthy equity and policy change, Gramann has been an advocate for public health since 2006, when she began advocating for commercial tobacco use prevention and cessation policies. She earned her JD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law and her BA in anthropology from American University in Washington, DC. She is an active member of the North Carolina State Bar.

This speaker series is for Duke students who want to learn more about careers in child and family policy. Meetings are designed to help students explore the wide range of job opportunities and careers available in the field of child and family policy while creating a network of students who share their professional interests.

Calvin Allen, Trinity ’92, senior program director for Rural Forward at MDC, and Cate Elander, Durham County Early Childhood Coordinator, will join us to talk about their careers in community development. They have focused on economic development and strategies for breaking intergenerational poverty. We will hear how they got started, the twists and turns their careers have taken, and what they enjoy most about the work they do.

As the founding and senior program director for Rural Forward, Allen and his team work to identify, strengthen, and network rural N.C. leaders toward healthier and more thriving communities. In this role, he also works to connect leaders across rural county lines on specific issues, advance employment equity in rural N.C., investigate barriers to EITC uptake, and improve health access for the most vulnerable North Carolinians. Prior to Rural Forward, Allen worked at the Golden LEAF Foundation, the National Community Forestry Service Center, the Southern Rural Development Initiative, Public Allies North Carolina and the Dispute Settlement Center. Calvin holds a B.A. in English/literature and a certificate in nonprofit management, both from Duke University.

In her current role, Cate Elander works to improve coordination and alignment between county and community partners to strengthen Durham’s early childhood systems. Prior to this role, Elander worked at MDC, an organization focused on fostering equity and opportunity in communities throughout the South, and at the Durham Children’s Initiative. She also has experience working as a community organizer in Durham, Delaware, and Queens, and had a stint as the founder of an organization promoting socially-responsible volunteer tourism. Elander holds a B.A. in American studies and creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in urban affairs and public policy with a focus in community development from the University of Delaware.

This speaker series is for Duke students who want to learn more about careers in child and family policy. Meetings are designed to help students explore the wide range of job opportunities and careers available in the field of child and family policy while creating a network of students who share their professional interests.