Dr. Nicholas Carnes — Honored in 2023
Olathe South High School Class of 2002
(June 5, 1984 — )
Nick’s career as a professor of Public Policy at Duke University began at Olathe South High School in his debate, forensics, newspaper, and AP English classes. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Tulsa and a doctorate from Princeton. Since then, Nick has worked as a professor at Duke, where his introductory public policy class is one of the largest courses at the university. An Olathe South teacher noted that Nick understands the impact his own teachers had on his life and tries to pay it forward. At Duke, students have called him a “rock star” instructor, and he has won numerous teaching awards. Nick has published a variety of academic articles and books as well as op-eds in outlets like the New York Times and Vox. In 2021, he became the first political scientist to win the National Science Foundation’s Alan Waterman Award, the United States’ highest honorary scientific award for researchers under 40. Nick and his wife Keri are the proud biological, foster, and adoptive parents of five great kids, and Nick organizes groups for Duke employees connected to the foster care system.