Distinguished Alumni Award
Every year, Duke TIP honors alumni who have contributed greatly to their professional fields and society. These honorees receive TIP’s Distinguished Alumni Award and are recognized at the Grand Recognition Ceremony held each year at Duke University. They also serve as inspirational role models for TIP’s current talent search and educational programs participants. Candidates are selected based on achievements in their field.
2020 Distinguished Alumni
Mary Louise Kelly
Mary Louise Kelly is co-host of “All Things Considered,” NPR’s award-winning evening newsmagazine, and a contributing editor at The Atlantic. Her recent interviews range from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Hollywood stars Jane Fonda and Matt Damon.
Previously, Kelly served as national security correspondent for NPR News, reporting on the CIA, the NSA, and other spy agencies, terrorism, wars, and rising nuclear powers. Her assignments have included North Korea, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and beyond. Kelly’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, POLITICO, Newsweek, and others. She is also the author of two novels, Anonymous Sources and The Bullet, which has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
TIP Courses: American History: Fads and Fading Dreams, 1986
Dr. Meyers, a board-certified family physician and nationally recognized leader in primary care research and policy, serves as the Deputy Director and Chief Medical Officer of the federal Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). He was an A.B. Duke Scholar at Duke University where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in cultural anthropology. He received his medical degree with honors from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997.
Before joining AHRQ in 2004, he completed a fellowship in health policy and research at Georgetown University, practiced family medicine, and was a faculty member at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. At AHRQ, he has led primary care research programs, developed early digital health initiatives, worked in health care emergency preparedness, and served as the scientific director for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Dr. Meyers was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2019.
David met his wife while they were both teaching at what would become Summer Studies at Duke’s East Campus. Their son attended Summer Studies at both Davidson University and East Campus.
TIP courses: Precalculus Mathematics, 1981; Computer Science, 1982; Physics/Chemistry, 1983; Unraveling the Mystery of Statistics, 1984
Kinohi Nishikawa is an assistant professor of English and African American studies at Princeton University. He earned his PhD in literature and certificate in feminist studies from Duke University, where he was awarded the inaugural Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2010. Nishikawa went on to serve as a postdoctoral fellow in African American studies at Northwestern University and then taught for two years in the English department at the University of Notre Dame before starting at Princeton in 2014.
As a scholar, Nishikawa specializes in modern African American literature. His first book, Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2018. He is currently working on a new project, a history of African American literature and book design. Nishikawa’s writings have appeared in peer-reviewed journals, several edited collections, and in publications such as Slate, Public Books, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
TIP Courses: Philosophy, 1995
Early Achievement Award
Sahithi Pingali is a second-year student at Stanford University studying Environmental Systems Engineering. She is the founder and CEO of WaterInsights, an environmental non-profit that uses citizen science to increase environmental awareness and gather large-scale water quality data.
Her list of awards and honors includes the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award in 2019, a gold medal at the International Sustainable World Environment-Engineering-Energy Project Olympiad in 2017, the USAID Global Development Innovation Special Award, the Arizona State University Walton Sustainability Solutions Special Award, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz Special Award for Outstanding Performance in Water Technology, the King Constantine Medal for outstanding spirit of community service in 2018, and more. In 2017 the MIT Lincoln Laboratory named a minor planet after her, for winning a Grand Award at Intel ISEF in Los Angeles – where she represented India.
Pingali was featured as a lead cast member in the documentary film “Inventing Tomorrow” by Laura Nix, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. She was also named as one of Teen Vogue’s 21 under 21 in 2019.
TIP Courses: Entrepreneurial Leadership, 2013