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Student Success

Miami junior earns prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Society honor

Mollie Duffy is one of 20 students nationwide named as a Key into Public Service Scholar

Student Success

Miami junior earns prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Society honor

Mollie Duffy
Mollie Duffy, a junior at Miami University, was selected as a Key into Public Service Scholar by the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Mollie Duffy has a full agenda heading into her senior year at Miami University. 

Duffy, an advocate for civic engagement, will begin a new role as secretary of governmental relations for Associated Student Government in the 2024-2025 academic year. She’ll also focus on voter rights and education in anticipation of this fall’s election. 

First, though, the Public Administration major will have a trip to Washington, D.C., in June for an education conference as one of 20 students selected nationwide as a Key into Public Service Scholar by the Phi Beta Kappa Society. 

The Key into Public Service Scholar program honors a select group of liberal arts and sciences students who display an interest in careers in local, state, and federal government. 

Duffy will pair with a mentor during the conference, held June 19-23. 

“I’m definitely excited for it,” Duffy said. “That’s the best part – not just meeting other students who are interested in public service, but meeting mentors and engaging with people who have careers in public service.” 

The Buffalo Grove, Illinois, native first gained a drive for civic engagement while she was at Stevenson High School. Her time at Miami has increased that passion. She was the first Miami student to join Oxford’s League of Women Voters, interned for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and serves as a fellow for the Transformative Justice Coalition. 

Duffy also organized the Democracy Bus, a project that helped Miami students vote early at the Butler County Board of Elections. For her efforts, Duffy was profiled in a German documentary about democracy in America, which aired on ARD, a public-service broadcaster. She recently committed to a summer internship with the Democratic National Convention Committee in Chicago, as well as an internship with the ACLU of Ohio as a campus action team intern.

“She has become quite renowned nationwide and even internationally for the work she is doing,” said Zeb Baker, executive director of Miami’s Honor College. “Mollie is very involved in the component of a liberal arts education of applying what she’s learning in the classroom to the world beyond the classroom.” 

Baker said Duffy is the first Miami student to earn the Key into Public Service Scholar award. 

“Mollie has been an extraordinary leader while she’s been here,” Baker said. “She truly believes in providing the widest possible opportunities for everyone to participate in the democratic process.” 

Each honoree receives a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship. Scholars were selected from over 700 applications. 

A 2023- 2024 Humanities Center Geoffrion Family Undergraduate Fellow, Duffy also is a tireless advocate for voter rights. 

“It’s important for people to not only have the resources to get out and vote but to understand what they are voting on,” Duffy said. 

For her Key into Public Service Scholar application, Duffy wrote an essay on Pete Buttigieg, the United States secretary of transportation who motivated Duffy to seek an internship with the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

“Pete Buttigieg’s journey into public service starting at the local level was really inspiring for me,” Duffy said. “I’m excited to learn more about what a career in public service could look like for me and how I could bring the knowledge from the upcoming conference back to Miami and implement it in my work for next year.”