Reed Perry

Reed Perry

What is your previous work experience?
I started my career working for U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski where I worked for over three years. In my last position I served as a Legislative Aide helping to manage the transportation, natural resources, and energy portfolio. In between my Senate experience and coming to the Nicholas School, I worked as a Fellow for the Chesapeake Conservancy where I handled government affairs and served as the acting executive assistant to the President and CEO. 

Why did you choose the Nicholas School?
I chose the Nicholas School because I wanted to increase my knowledge and understanding of environmental policy, and because I wanted to attend a program with outstanding academics and a strong alumni network. I met many successful Nicholas School alums while working in Washington, D.C. - the strength of the alumni program and their overwhelmingly positive experiences while attending Duke demonstrated to me the incredible value of this program.

Do you have any areas of interest or special focus you will undertake during your time at the Nicholas School?
I am most interested in natural resources policy and conservation. Having worked on the federal side and for a conservation non-profit, I understand the immense importance of federal land, water, and agricultural conservation programs, but I also hope to explore conservation finance and policy measures that can enhance private investment in conservation. 

What are you looking forward to as a new Nicholas School student?
I look forward to class everyday - it has been amazing to gain new skills and knowledge that will inform my career. I am also looking forward to applying these new skills and new knowledge to the summer internship and the Master's Project. I am also looking forward to learning from my peers. Everyone I have met has a unique background and career interest, and a unique skill set. It has been great fun and rewarding to learn from Nicholas School faculty and from fellow students. 

What future plans do you have for your career after the Nicholas School?
My long term career goal is to have a lasting impact on the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. Not a small goal, I know! But after graduating, I would like to work for a conservation group, or work for the federal government or a state government on natural resources policy. 

Personal thanks:

I would like to thank all the donors who helped to create and who support the Nicholas Scholars program. I feel incredibly lucky to be supported by this program, and I plan to maximize my opportunity while here at the Nicholas School. I would like to thank, in particular, Truman Semans, who is generously supporting my education through the Nicholas Scholars program. 

Career Interests

Conservation, Natural Resources Policy, Government Affairs, Public Policy
Employment Sought:


Master of Environmental Management, May 2019
Nicholas School of the Environment
Duke University, Durham, NC
Environmental Economics and Policy Certificate
Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, May 2012
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
Major in Political Science with a minor in English
Member of Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society

Professional Experience

Government Relations Fellow, Chesapeake Conservancy, Annapolis, MD
Worked with congressional staff to introduce legislation that would reauthorize and fully fund the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network program. Led federal appropriations request process, wrote letters to congressional offices, wrote press releases. Served as acting executive assistant to President and CEO; managed scheduling and meeting preparation. March 2017-August 2017
Legislative Aide, United States Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Washington, D.C.
Researched and wrote legislative memos on environmental, energy, agricultural, and transportation policy. Communicated the Senator’s policy positions to constituents, government officials, and interest groups. Tracked legislation, provided recommendations, and coordinated with senior Senate policy staff. Hired interns and managed the internship program to foster professional development. June 2015-December 2016
Deputy Scheduler 
Processed and coordinated hundreds of meeting and event requests for the Senator and staff each week. Liaised with senior staff members for staffing the Senator and meeting coordination. September 2014-June 2015
Staff Assistant 
Communicated policy positions to constituents, staffed the front office, and coordinated group meetings. Introduced new system for managing tour requests, tracked workflow through Intranet Quorum. August 2013-September 2014

Additional Information

Duke University Graduate and Professional Student Council - Student Representative for the Nicholas School

Policy professional with 5 years of Capitol Hill and government affairs experience with an environmental focus. Skills include policy research and analysis, communication, and advocacy.


cost-benefit analysis
environmental economics
project management
water resources management

Graduation Date

May 2019

Additional Resources

Preferred Location


Preferred Sector

Federal Government
Non-profit / NGO
State / Local Government