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9 Graduate Students Receive Forever Duke Awards

Nine Graduate School students and recent graduates have received the Duke Alumni Association's 2024 Forever Duke Student Leadership Award. The award recognizes graduating students who embody the “Forever Duke” spirit in their service to the university.

Recipients are individuals of high integrity who have done great things not only at Duke, but for Duke, and who exhibit qualities worthy of the award, including being strong advocates for the Duke community, embodying Duke’s guiding principle of “knowledge in the service to society,” and leaving Duke a better place than they found it.

Headshots of recipients

In Their Words

We asked the recipients to share a bit about what receiving this award means to them. 


Joshua Crittenden

Ph.D.’23, The Graduate School

"My love and appreciation for Duke stems from numerous meaningful experiences with the campus community throughout the years. It is an honor to receive the Forever Duke Award! As an alumnus, I hope to continue to serve the Duke University community."

Nathan Drapela

Ph.D.’24, The Graduate School

“I'm very honored to be recognized for this award but mostly I'm just happy if my work has been able to support other graduate students.”

Catherine Ehrhart

Ph.D.’24, School of Medicine & The Graduate School

“Receiving this award symbolizes my commitment to serving Duke's international community. Throughout my time at Duke, I strived to provide guidance, support, and structure to countless international students, many of whom became lifelong friends. Serving as an international guide for DISC (Duke International Student Center) has enriched my life in unexpected ways by challenging me to develop empathy, cultural understanding, and leadership skills. My involvement in various leadership positions within DISC and GPSG (Graduate and Professional Student Government) allowed me to gain a unique insight into Duke's resources and support systems, enabling me to enrich both the social and academic life of fellow students. As I reflect on my time at Duke, I hope to have made a lasting impression on this institution and I take pride in the positive impact I have had on my peers' lives and in the meaningful connections I have established. I am sincerely grateful for this recognition, which reflects the growth and contributions I have made during my Duke experience.

Brittany Forniotis

Ph.D.’24, The Graduate School 

“I’m honored that I’ve been able to make an impact at a campus I love!”

Bonnie Hepler

ABSN’18, Ph.D.’23, School of Nursing

“Receiving the Forever Duke award is a privilege which I am only able to be here for because I existed within an institution that exemplifies a collective spirit of community and resilience. As a student here and a parent during the pandemic, I witnessed the power of collective care and support. It was a time when taking care of each other meant showing up for other students, the young families of our students and our broader community while simultaneously holding grace for oneself. This award is a testament to the strength of our Duke community, and I am humbled and grateful to be a part of it. I am looking forward to rejoining the Duke community as a professor in the School of Nursing this year.”

Jessica Lalonde

Ph.D.’24, The Graduate School 

“I have truly cherished the opportunity to be a part of the Duke community and help it grow over time. As my time here comes to a close, I look forward to the opportunity to continue to make a positive difference in the world. This award truly means so much to me to show that not only have the people of Duke made me a better person, but I've been able to give back in return."

SaeHim Park

Ph.D.’24, The Graduate School 

“I am honored to receive the Forever Duke Award and am excited to continue its legacy in the next chapter.”

John "Jack" Parker

MS’24,Pratt School of Engineering 

“Receiving the Forever Duke Award inspires me to make sure my life's work always stays pointed directly toward being of service to others.”

Meredith Schmehl

Ph.D.’24, The Graduate School 

“My experience at Duke has allowed me not only to create new knowledge in my field, but also to bring this knowledge out into the world. I am thrilled to receive the Forever Duke Student Leadership Award as a reflection of my ongoing mission to connect science and society for the benefit of all.”