The Graduate and Professional Student Council elected Katherine Duch, a public policy Ph.D. candidate, to Young Trustee Tuesday.
Steven Bao / The Chronicle
The Graduate and Professional Student Council elected Katherine Duch, a public policy Ph.D. candidate, to Young Trustee Tuesday.

The Graduate and Professional Student Council elected Katherine Duch as the next graduate Young Trustee Tuesday.

Duch, a fourth-year candidate for a Ph.D in public policy, won against Andrew Barnhill, a third-year student in religion and law and Christopher Marsicano, a second-year master’s candidate in public policy.

“I am thrilled to have been selected,” Duch said. “I look forward to bringing graduate and professional student perspectives to the Board of Trustees.”

She currently serves on the Board’s Institutional Advancement Committee as a representative for GPSC, and she has additional experience from her undergraduate career at Cornell University, during which she was a student representative for its board of trustees.

“My two-year term at Cornell provided a firsthand learning experience, which shaped my understanding of the challenges that confront higher education institutions and my approach to improving postsecondary education for students,” Duch noted.

She also cited her knowledge of higher education in an academic context—Duch’s dissertation focuses on legislative support for the funding of colleges and universities.

Duch noted that Duke is one of a few universities to offer designated positions on a governing board to recent graduates. She aims to increase interaction with current graduate students as a Young Trustee by regularly updating GPSC, convening meetings with GPSC representatives and graduate Young Trustees and holding office hours for any graduate students to share their thoughts.

The graduate Young Trustee serves for three years, just as its undergraduate counterpart does. Although the undergraduate position is elected by the student body, the graduate position is determined through an election among representatives of the GPSC general assembly. Of the 105 representatives, only 45 were eligible to vote this year—voting privileges are revoked if representatives have not attended at least three general assembly meetings this school year, said Christopher Rowland, communications chair of the GPSC executive board.

Shannon O’Connor, GPSC executive board vice president, noted in an email that each candidate gave a five-minute presentation, followed by a three-minute question and answer session before GPSC deliberated.

“I was obviously disappointed with the result, but I’m confident that Kate’s experience will make her a very effective Trustee,” Barnhill said.

Marsicano added that Duch will be an advocate for the interests of graduate and professional students, noting that her experience at Cornell would help prepare her for the role.