Benjamin N. Duke Scholar, Class of 1995
Damon Wilson graduated from Duke in 1995 as a Benjamin N. Duke Scholar majoring in Political Science. Following graduation, Wilson was awarded the first Hart Leadership Fellowship, working in Rwanda with Save the Children’s Children and War Program. Wilson then received his master’s degree from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1998. He was selected for a Presidential Management Fellowship and worked on the State Department’s China desk and at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Next, he worked in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of European Security and Political Affairs, where he was responsible for cooperation with NATO allies on missile defense, nuclear policy, and preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. From 2001-2004, Wilson served in Brussels as Deputy Director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General and was a major part of the successful effort to avert civil war in Macedonia. Wilson then worked at the National Security Council as the Director for Central, Eastern, and Northern European affairs from 2004-2006 before serving at the US Embassy in Baghdad as the Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff, where he helped manage one of the largest U.S. embassies and played a key role in overseeing the embassy’s effort to design and implement a civilian surge throughout Iraq. From 2007-2009, Wilson served as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and Senior Director of European Affairs at the National Security Council. Mr. Wilson is now the Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council, a DC-based think tank, serving as both a thought leader and manager. His work is committed to advancing a Europe whole, free and at peace to include Europe’s East, the Western Balkans, and the Black Sea region; to strengthening the NATO Alliance; and to fostering a transatlantic partnership capable of tackling global challenges and promoting its common values. Wilson speaks French and has been decorated by the Presidents of Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, and Poland for his efforts to advance transatlantic relations.
Angier B. Duke Scholar, Class of 1994
Lisa Ferri graduated from Duke in 1994 as an Angier B. Duke Scholar majoring in Biology. Following graduation, she worked as a Risk Analyst at Marsh, Inc. and then as a writer for the Monitor Group for several years. In 2004, Lisa graduated with highest honors from the Graduate School of Journlism at Columbia University. While at Columbia, she served as a Teaching Assistant for NBC News President Dick Wald and then as a Communications Director launching marketing campaigns and ghostwriting speeches. Following her work at Columbia, Lisa moved to ABC News. First, she worked as a Control Room Writer and then as Editorial Producer/Writer for Good Morning America. She also served as a Writer/Producer for ABC News before moving into her position as Writer/Producer of World News. Currently, Lisa is the Senior Editorial Producer at ABC News and the Head Writer/Coordinating Producer at World News with Diane Sawyer. In 2007, Lisa won a Daytime Emmy award, along with the rest of the ABC News team, for her work on Good Morning America. In 2013, she won a Writers Guild of America Award for her World News story "Tragedy in Colorado: The Movie Theater Massacre," and in February 2014 Lisa won another Writers Guild Award for her work on her World News story "Tragedy at Newtown: Special Edition."
Ferri just won a Writers Guild of America award on February 1, 2014! See press release here.
University Scholar, Class of 2007
Jimmy Soni graduated from Duke in 2007 as a Univeristy Scholar. He finished with honors and was awarded a WIlliam J. Griffith Award for campus leadership. While at Duke, he created his own major focused on ethics, helped create the Duke Political Union, chaired the Honor Council, co-chaired the undergraduate judicial board, volunteered in Durham Public Schools and wrote columns for The Chronicle. He also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs for Duke Student Government. Upon graduating, Jimmy was one of 12 Americans awarded the George J. Mitchell Scholarship for graduate study in Ireland. He then began his career at the management consultancy McKinsey & Company, where, among other projects, he worked with the firm's internal think tank, the McKinsey Global Institute. He also worked as a speechwriter and policy aide for the Mayor of Washington, DC and served as Chief of Staff for Ariana Huffington, the President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post. Jimmy is now the Managing Editor of The Huffington Post, a position he assumed at the age of 26. In 2012, he co-authored a new biography of Cato the Younger, Julius Caesar's arch nemesis, titled Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, the first such biography of this ancient Roman Senator. Jimmy's writing and commentary have appeared in The Atlantic and NPR, among other outlets.
VOGUE India featured Soni in their December 2013 issue! Read the article here.
Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholar, Class of 2000
Danielle Gray graduated from Duke in 2000 as a Reginaldo Howard Memorial Scholar. She majored in Economics and Public Policy as an undergraduate at Duke before receiving her J.D. From Harvard Law School where she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Currently, Ms. Gray is Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary in the White House. She serves as President Obama's primary liaison to the Cabinet departments and agencies, helping to coordinate policy and communications strategy across the Administration. Prior to this, Ms. Gray served as Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, where she focused on labor, education, and training issues. She also served as Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division and as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel to the President providing legal advice on a wide range of domestic and economic policy issues. Before joining the Administration, Ms. Gray served as Deputy National Policy Director for Obama for America and prior to that, she was an associate with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York. Earlier in her career she served as a Law Clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and also worked on the policy and research staff of the President's 2004 US Senate campaign. To learn more about Danielle Gray's outstanding career, visit The White House Blog for her full bio.
Newsweek featured Gray in their September 13, 2013 issue! Read the article here.
MSNBC named Gray a "Woman of Value" earlier this year: Read more.
Angier B. Duke Scholar, Class of 1996
Eric Greitens graduated from Duke in 1996 as an Angier B. Duke Scholar. He was selected as a Rhodes and Truman Scholar and attended the University of Oxford where he earned his master's degree and Ph.D. Eric is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer and was deployed four times during the Global War on Terrorism serving as Commander of several operations including an al Qaeda Targeting Cell. In 2005, he was appointed by the President to serve as a White House Fellow and has received numerous military awards. After returning from Iraq, Eric donated his combat pay to found The Mission Continues, a national nonprofit organization that challenges veterans to serve and inspire in communities across America. As CEO, Eric has been recognized as one of the most innovative leaders in America and was named to TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list in 2013. Eric has authored three books and has worked as a humanitarian volunteer, documentary photographer, and researcher in Rwanda, Cambodia, Albania, Mexico, India, Bosnia, and Bolivia.
To learn more about Eric's impressive achievements, visit his personal website at www.ericgreitens.com.