My name is Madeline Valladao and I am from Phoenix, Arizona. I grew up going to a
school where I had a cousin in every grade, and I was surrounded by people who all were
homogeneous in culture and beliefs. I came to Duke to allow a space for my intellectual curiosity
to grow while surrounded by people who were as passionate and driven as myself but whose
beliefs were widespread.
I am pursuing a Public Policy major with an Economics minor and a certificate in
Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I have always been passionate about Public Policy and the
growing field of policy related to the tech world. I thought I would not be able to fully
understanding the impacts of policy without also studying economics. Finally, since my policy
interest is in such a quickly growing field I wanted to be able to learn the skills to think creatively
using Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I believe my course work in Innovation and
Entrepreneurship make me a faster paced thinker to keep up with the changing technological
At Duke I spend my time in German Club, PASH, Project Waves, and the The Chronicle
where I am currently working on the marketing team. I help with marketing for the fairly new
section called “The Blue Dirt” which is a weekly email blast similar to “The Skimm” to inform
Duke students with what is happening around Duke’s campus. I used the tools I learned in my
Social Innovation for Entrepreneurs class to strategize effectively. Through this position I have
also assisted in redesigning the website, NearDuke.com to make it more accessible for
My favorite artistic interest is musicals, I have never personally been involved in musical
theatre, but I grew up listening to all of the soundtracks. I try to see as many shows as I can and
stay up to date with the new soundtracks. I even took a Legal Issues of the Performing Arts
class to dive deeper into understanding the theatre world.
One thing people should know about me is I am passionate about non-profits, and I
spent all of my summers the past five years volunteering at a non-profit leadership camp. This is
not a field people at Duke talk about often, and while I don’t necessarily plan on pursuing it
professionally, it is on my radar. I hope to use some of the things I learned about leadership
from my summers in my future careers and find a way to give back.
I hope to impact the world in a few ways. In a seemingly miniscule way I hope to
positively impact the people I surround myself with and push them to be the best version of
themselves. On a larger scale, I hope to one day create policy that makes the lives of others
more equitable and easier.