Matt Mohn

Senior to major in Public Policy at Duke University


courtesy of Matt Mohn

Senior Matt Mohn rides a ferry in New York City. Mohn will be attending Duke university and majoring in Public Policy. “I thought they had a great program for Public Policy,” Mohn said.

Yoonsoo (Seth) Choi, Staff Writer

After attending Duke TIP summer camp the summer before his sophomore year, senior Matt Mohn fell in love with the university’s people, culture and campus. Last fall, he applied to Duke and was accepted. 

Mohn will be majoring in Public Policy at Duke. Public policy looks at how governments implement laws and regulations to solve problems like crime, healthcare, and inequality. 

“I know that when I was taking US history with Ms. Postlethwaite,” Mohn said. “She did a really great job of summarizing through all American history the role people have played in making change happen. That is kind of inspiring because you’re probably not going to become a president or someone really important that is going to be talked about in history class, but you can look at the little people who have worked throughout American history and still had majorly outsize impacts because they were inspired to make change in their communities.”

Mohn served as co-president of Model UN during his junior and senior year, and it taught him about Public Policy. 

“Model UN is very similar to public policy,” Mohn said. “You’re evaluating the pros and cons of a specific policy. For Model UN this year we talked about vaping. Should that be regulated? Should it be promoted? You look into the data and evaluate what we’ve seen happen in the past. You look at what is the best answer that I can draw from the information I have available for the problem that we are currently facing. That is exactly the same kind of stuff you’re going to be doing in public policy where you’re examining a policy and trying to think about whether this is actually going to be beneficial, who is it going to benefit and what might be the downsides and just being able to make good decisions from what you know. Model UN is very similar to debate.”

Mohn was captain of the debate team during his senior year and competed in Public Forum Debate. Public Forum topics include charter schools, nuclear energy and universal basic income. 

“Cinco has a really good PF(Public Forum) program because it has been worked on for a number of years by a lot of people,” Mohn said. “I am still trying to contribute to that so we can keep it going. Something I can really point at is expanding our recruitment in PF and bringing more novices into the club. I just wanted to make sure there is a steady flow of people who are really committed and like PF to give that program stability in the long run. I think we have three or four really good PF teams that are still going to go next year.” 

In Public Forum, teams of two debate current event topics by presenting cases and engaging in rebuttal, refutation and crossfire. Mohn’s partner was Alex Dial. 

“Also, having a partner is so much more reliable in debate,” Mohn said. “because it gives you someone who will have skills that complement yours and in some instances you can help them out. It boosts the strength either of you have. I know with Alex there are some things that he is really good at and things that I’m good at and when we can split that workload and maximize what we’re best at that means we’re more confident coming into our round. I also think it is better when you have a partner that can be there for you, and Alex has been a great partner over three years.” 

Mohn excelled academically as well. He was selected as a semifinalist for the national merit program, nominated for the presidential scholar award, and ranked in the top four for his GPA, which means he will have special honors at graduation.

“I think we’re all ready to kick back and celebrate,” Mohn said.