Robertson Scholars Alumni

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  • Zack Beasley Program Year: 2005
  • Zack Beasley

    UNC, Class of 2005
    Hometown: Columbia, SC
    High School: A.C. Flora High School
    Area of Study: History, Political Science

    Zack Beasley spent his first Robertson Summer working with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department in Columbia, South Carolina. He worked with school resource officers to hold character education and leadership camps for rising sixth graders in the county’s school districts. During his second Robertson Summer, Zack volunteered as a soccer coach with Sports Coaches’ Outreach in Cape Town, South Africa, where he worked with kids of all ages in townships surrounding the city.

    During his time at the University of North Carolina, Zack developed an interest in Eastern European history. He pursued this interest during his third Robertson Summer when he went to Prague and conducted an oral history project examining the role of Radio Free Europe in the former Czechoslovakia during the Cold War. Upon returning to UNC, Zack wrote an honors thesis on the effects of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and other international incidents on the American presidential election of that year.

    After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, Zack attended law school at the University of Texas in Austin. There, he was an editor of the Texas Law Review and graduated with high honors in 2008. Upon graduation, Zack accepted a one-year clerkship in Jackson, Mississippi with a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Zack is currently a senior associate in the Securities Department and a member of the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Practice Group at WilmerHale in Washington, DC.

  • Christopher Scoville Program Year: 2005
  • Christopher Scoville

    Duke, Class of 2005
    Hometown: Kansas City, MO
    High School: Red Cross Nordic United World College
    Area of Study: Public Policy, Women’s Studies

    With the support of the Robertson Scholars Program, Christopher spent three summers working at nonprofit organizations across three different continents. In his first summer, he interned at StandUpForKids, an organization that provides outreach and support to homeless youth in Atlanta. He moved on from Georgia to Cape Town, South Africa for his second Robertson summer, where he worked in communications, research, and program development for Triangle Project, an LGBT advocacy group. He returned to Cape Town to study abroad during the academic year and to continue his internship with the organization. For his final Robertson summer, Christopher worked in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he produced the country’s first research on the impact of HIV/AID education policies in minoritized communities for the Malaysian AIDS Council.

    While at Duke, Christopher co-founded Common Ground, an immensely popular and successful student-led diversity immersion retreat program dedicated to exploring human relations in personal and powerful ways. He successfully lobbied for the creation of the LGBT Liaison position in the Admissions Office and served as the undergraduate representative on the University Presidential Taskforce for LGBT Matters. Christopher also wrote a biweekly column, Topher’s Parade, for Duke’s daily student newspaper, The Chronicle. In his sophomore year, he was selected as a Point Scholar by the Point Foundation, the nation’s largest LGBT scholarship program, for which he later served on the Selections Committee and Board of Trustees as an alumnus. In his senior year at Duke, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated magna cum laude and received the William J. Griffith University Service Award for outstanding service to the University.

    Since graduation, Christopher has worked at a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, a regional public policy organization. He later completed the One Year MBA Program at Drexel University on a LeBow Alumni Fellowship. He currently works for the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue and remains involved with other organizations as a volunteer, consultant, and board member.

    The Robertson Program solidified Christopher’s desire to pursue a career working with mission-driven organizations and helped him sharpen the leadership, service, and other global competencies needed to succeed in today’s world. He remains grateful for the opportunities and experiences afforded him by his participation in the program.

  • Melissa Anderson Program Year: 2005
  • Melissa Anderson

    UNC, Class of 2005
    Hometown: Charlotte, NC
    High School: Myers Park High School
    Academic Interests: International Studies and Business

    Melissa began to develop her passion for both the community and the business world during her four years at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, particularly the experiences of the Robertson Scholars Program. She began to engage with both local and international communities during her first two years by spending a semester studying Mandarin in Beijing, working with LKLP Community Action Council in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and teaching at Christel House in Cape Town, South Africa.

    This passion for community merged with the business world in her junior and senior years, when Melissa matriculated in the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC. She spent her final Robertson Summer traveling in East and Southeast Asia with the business school and working on her honors thesis in Taiwan on Taiwanese investment in mainland China. As a member of the planning committee for the Undergraduate Business Symposium her senior year, she was able to help integrate socially responsible business into the focus of the symposium, helping to bring Jerry Greenfield from Ben & Jerry’s to campus.

    After graduating from UNC in 2005, Melissa spent three years working in Strategy & Operations Consulting at Deloitte Consulting in Atlanta, Georgia, where she also served as a member of the Community Involvement Council and as Coordinator for Analyst Community Involvement. Melissa received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2010, spending the summer between the two years of her graduate program working with Teach For America’s Greater Boston regional team through Education Pioneers.  While at HBS, she also served as the Co-President of the Volunteers Club and a Board Fellow for the United Way of Mass. Bay and Merrimack Valley.  She is currently serving as a manager of Strategy & Operations for Deloitte Consulting in McLean, VA advising regional, national and international Financial Services institutions on strategic transformation issues.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?

    My experience in the Robertson Program was transformational in a number of ways.  First and foremost, I gained an ability to enter new situations and quickly learn and adapt to unfamiliar surroundings.  This skill has been invaluable in allowing me to take chances in my career to push myself beyond my boundaries.  In addition, my experience in both the non-profit and business realms continues to drive me to find opportunities at the intersection of these two worlds.  That passion was heavily shaped by my summer and classroom experiences in the Program, but also by continuing to connect with Robertson alumni across these sectors as I progress in my career.


  • Daniel Houghton Program Year: 2009
  • Daniel Houghton

    Duke, Class of 2009
    Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand
    High School: Auckland Grammar School
    Area of Study: Economics

    Daniel Houghton is an “old boy” of Auckland Grammar School in Auckland, New Zealand. His long-standing interest in the field of economics was piqued by the opportunities allowed to him through his Robertson summers. This involved traveling to South Africa to research cellphone banking, working with the New Zealand Institute to determine long-term infrastructure aspirations for his home country, and spending time in Vietnam with public-private partnerships in the telecommunications sector. These experiences led Daniel to write his Economics senior thesis on the impact of telecommunications on economic development, earning him Honors with High Distinction at graduation.

    His passions also lie outside the classroom – throughout his four years Daniel was fully involved with the Duke University Rugby Club, captaining them on the field while also serving in the club’s executive. His first summer was spent with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans, where he spent time swinging hammers to rebuild homes after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. In his senior year, he also helped to manage Rival Magazine, a joint Duke-UNC publication.

    Having always been business-oriented, Daniel took up an internship at Bain & Company, a management consulting firm, after returning from Vietnam in his final summer. Having thoroughly enjoyed the challenges this experience offered, he accepted a full-time job with the firm. Daniel currently lives in San Francisco and works as an Engagement Manager at Quid, Inc, a private computer software company.

  • The Robertson Program took me down a journey of gathering more experiences in 4 years than I could have ever imagined. I co-led a team researching poverty in India, I taught science in New Orleans, I studied product design in Sweden, I took courses in economics, creative writing and jazz at UNC. The Robertson Program propelled me towards four years of garnering dots all over the globe. Many connections have already been made and I know that many more are yet to come.

  • Andrew Sugrue Program Year: 2012
  • Andrew Sugrue

    Andrew is an Analyst in the Mergers and Acquisitions group at Peter J. Solomon Company in New York City. In July of 2014, Andrew will join Catterton Partners, a consumer-focused private equity fund in Greenwich, CT, as an Associate. Andrew previously interned at Barclays Capital in their Global Mergers and Acquisitions group in New York City and Investcorp, the global private equity firm, in their Gulf Growth Capital unit based in Manama, Bahrain.

    Andrew serves on the Advisory Council for the McCain Institute’s Next Generation Leaders Program and is a member of the Foreign Policy Initiative’s New York Leaders Program. From August 2011 to November 2012, Andrew served as a foreign policy adviser to Governor Romney’s presidential campaign on the Human Rights and Africa working groups. Andrew is Chairman of the East African Children’s Education Fund, Inc. (EACEF), a nonprofit organization he founded in 2007 that works with primary education in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

    As a Robertson Scholar, Andrew received a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science from the Honors Program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master in Management Studies from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?

    The Robertson Program gave me a global perspective with funding that allowed me to visit 15 countries on four continents during my four years at Carolina and Duke. I received mentorship that nurtured my ideas and feedback that helped me course correct if I was ever off-track.

    When I came to Chapel Hill, the organization I had started in high school, EACEF, was a small initiative that had raised $70,000 for two schools in Kenya – through the Robertson accelerator, we received funding to incorporate the organization as a 501(c)3 and build the organization into a $350,000 organization working in three countries in East Africa.

    When I decided I wanted to experience a summer in the for-profit world, the Robertson helped arrange an internship in Bahrain with Investcorp, one of the world’s leading private equity firms, which exposed me to my continuing passion for investing in the emerging markets.

    I can say without a doubt that my life has been forever changed by my four years as a Robertson Scholar.

  • Paul Hiatt Program Year: 2011
  • Paul Hiatt

    UNC, Class of 2011
    Hometown: Loveland, CO
    High School: Loveland High School
    Area of Study: Environmental Health Science, Chemistry

    The Robertson Program shaped Paul Hiatt’s career path by enabling him to explore a diverse set of disciplines outside of his curriculum while still in school. Outside the classroom Paul had the freedom, financial capability and encouragement to explore learning activities that ultimately provided him with a foundational skill set he can now use in virtually any context. A direct example is this is his recent role of  leading the technical side of an early stage company despite graduating from a field almost completely unrelated to computer science.

    After studying health-related sciences at UNC and Duke, Paul shifted into early stage technology ventures to explore opportunities at the forefront of computing, data and mass media. Paul is currently using his expertise in web development to run a young data-mining and analytics company based in Durham, NC. While his immediate goal is the success of his company, he intends to pursue further education in a technology or energy-related engineering field and to continue solving social issues with high-leverage, knowledge-based solutions.

  • Sarah Pickle Program Year: 2005
  • Sarah Pickle

    UNC Class of 2005
    Hometown: Temple, TX
    High School: Temple High School
    Area of Study: Comparative Literature, Germanic Studies

    Applying to colleges in 2000, Sarah already knew that she would study literature once she enrolled the following fall. It was, however, a seminar in her first semester at UNC-Chapel Hill and the fantastic opportunities made possible by the Robertson Scholars Program that helped her discover an interest in particular regions of the world that had been obscure for her while growing up in Central Texas. Even after the Cold War had ended, Sarah sensed that much of the world was still a mystery behind the lingering shadow of the Iron Curtain.

    Now, several years after graduation, she can see clearly how a first-year seminar on Eastern European literature, countless other courses at UNC and Duke on the philosophy and history of socialism, and her Robertson Summers in Cuba and the former East Germany were foundational experiences for her continuing intellectual engagement with socialism and the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

    The seminar on literature from Eastern Europe was taught by Dr. Ivana Vuletić in the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department, and it wasn’t long before Sarah realized how lucky she was to find in Dr. Vuletić not only a professor who inspired her personally and piqued her academic interest in subjects previously unknown to her, but also a mentor in numerous discussions about everything from the politics of literary criticism in the Soviet Union to the state of women in academia.

    While she was involved in various organizations around UNC throughout her four years (including the Campaign Finance Reform Alliance; the campus radio station, WXYC; and the University Center for International Studies K-12 Outreach), Sarah realized early on that the work that was most significant for her would come from pursuing her academic interests into graduate school and, hopefully, beyond. Chief among the lessons she learned from talking with Dr. Vuletić and from the two and a half years she worked as an assistant to Dr. Kaya Finkler (Anthropology) were the responsibility of research and service of teaching.

    As an early test of her wish to stay in academia, Sarah chose to write a senior thesis which was, in many ways, less the culmination of her work as an undergraduate than that of her experiences as a Robertson Scholar; it built off of the seeds of interests planted in that first seminar, but was cultivated throughout her four years at UNC, Duke, and her time abroad. Though the materials she worked with were printed in books, the questions she posed about navigating everyday life under socialism were inspired by her Robertson Summers. After her sophomore year, she worked in Havana, Cuba with fellow Robertson Scholar Rachel Thompson in the music department at the cultural research organization Casa de las Am?ricas. Sifting through the archives and helping to arrange concerts, it was there Sarah first became aware of just how deeply and richly art can penetrate and be an expression of one’s daily life. She spent the following summer in Germany, motivated in particular by the mostly underground hip-hop music scene she had learned about in Havana and the quotidian forms of dissent both implicit and explicit in the actions and words of its participants. In Berlin, Sarah researched the punk poets of former East Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district and combed through dusty bookshops in search of their printed work.

    Sarah earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from Cornell University, and she currently works as an analyst in strategy and research for Ithaka, a higher education non-profit in New York.

  • Catarina Rivera Program Year: 2007
  • Catarina Rivera

    Duke, Class of 2007
    Hometown: Bowie, Maryland
    High School: Eleanor Roosevelt High School
    Area of Study: Psychology

    Catarina has been developing herself as a change agent throughout her life. While at Duke, she co-founded Unidos Por Durham, a social entrepreneurship project connecting Duke students to the Durham Latino community. She led a family literacy program called Turning the Page that partnered with E.K. Powe Elementary School. She also served as Co-President of Mi Gente, Duke University’s Latino students association. In her senior year, she received the William J. Griffith University Service Award. After graduating in 2007, Catarina joined Teach for America and taught bilingual education in the Bronx. She has also taught at Harlem Success Academy. While teaching, Catarina became passionate about creating healthier communities and discovering the best ways to create that change. In 2011, she founded a nonprofit program called Healthy Kids in the Heights. The mission of Healthy Kids in the Heights is to improve the health and nutrition of Latino families. The organization has offered a variety of community wellness programs in Washington Heights and the Bronx. Currently, she is a health coordinator for Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit organization. She leads an obesity prevention and intervention initiative at an after school program for middle school students. Catarina has twice been a speaker at the national Latinos in Tech Innovation and Social Media (LATISM) conference.

    She holds a Masters Degree in Dual Language/Bilingual Education from Bank Street College. She is now pursuing a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from Hunter College, where she was awarded a Grove Foundation scholarship.

    Catarina has Usher Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder affecting both hearing and vision. She shares her perspective on her blog ( and works to increase awareness of disability issues. She hopes to inspire others to pursue their passions in the face of any challenge. Catarina is engaged to be married in August 2014.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?

    My experience with the Robertson Program helped me to discover that I wanted a career that had a social impact. Through my summer experiences, I was able become part of different communities around the world and develop greater compassion. The Robertson Program reinforced my goal of becoming a transformative leader. I will always be grateful for the opportunity and for the wonderful fellow scholars I have met.

  • Maital Guttman Program Year: 2005
  • Maital Guttman

    Duke, Class of 2005
    Hometown: Greensboro, NC
    High School: Grimsley High School
    Area of Study:  International Area Studies, Business Administration

    Maital Guttman was born in Israel and grew up in North Carolina since the age of 12.  She was part of the Inaugural Robertson Class, graduating from Duke in 2005.  After graduation, she founded a documentary film production company, Dewdrop Films LLC.  Dewdrop Films produced films that inspire hope and empower people and have been screened around the world.  She received an MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School in 2013 with a concentration in consulting and sustainable enterprise.  She works at McKinsey & Company in Atlanta, where she has focused on topics around economic development, innovation, strategy and talent management.  She is currently serving as McKinsey’s Diversity Manager, working specifically with the LGBTQ and the Hispanic and Latino communities for recruitment and retention. She lives with her wife, son and golden doodle in Atlanta.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?  The Robertson Program empowered me to take chances and pursue my dreams. It gave me wonderful experiences in college that also paved the way for more opportunities after graduation. Without a doubt, it was one of the most significant opportunities of my life.

  • Dan Kimberg Program Year: 2007
  • Dan Kimberg

    Duke, Class of 2007
    Hometown: Hartsdale, NY
    High School: Ardsley High School
    Area of Study: Program II: Advocating Reform in Education Policy & Practice through Communication

    Following his freshman year at Duke, Dan Kimberg worked as a fifth-grade English teacher in New Orleans for his first Robertson Summer. He and his students drew upon Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches to study aspects of the English language. As a final project, all students wrote their own I Have a Dream speeches based on a problem in the world that they were passionate about solving. During the program’s final celebration, Dan’s students stood in front of an auditorium filled with 500 parents, guests, and community members, and shared their dreams. After each child unfolded a new hope for the world, the audience was stunned, remaining silent for three full minutes after the last speech.

    It was at this moment that Dan realized the power young people possess. When challenged in a supportive environment, all children have the ability to light up the world as his students lit up the auditorium. Dan’s belief in the potential of all children grounded with his knowledge that, unfortunately, many never have the opportunity to reach this potential, inspired him to begin the journey of launching Student U. During those three minutes of silence, Dan decided it was his responsibility to create a program which allowed hundreds of students to walk up on a stage and change the world.

    Dan returned to Durham with his own dreams, his own hopes, his own vision of the future. During his last two years at Duke, with the great support of the Robertson Scholars Program, Dan collaborated with Mary Williams (UNC Robertson ’07) and Amanda Dorsey (Duke ’08) to launch Student U, a program designed to empower middle school students and college students in the Triangle area.

    Student U is a college-access organization that believes all students in Durham have the ability to succeed.  In order to make this dream a reality, Student U creates a pipeline of services to support students through middle and high school.  By providing direct services during out of school time in the summer and after-school, and advocating for students and families within schools, we ensure that our students develop the academic skills and personal well-being needed to beat the statistics and succeed in college.

    Currently, Dan serves as the Executive Director of Student U, sits on the boards of 3DWomen and Book Harvest, and is a member of the Advisory Board for UNC’s APPLES Service Learning Program. This year, Dan is piloting the new Durham-Duke Fellowship sponsored by Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs. As a Durham-Duke Fellow, Dan is studying the concept of a “Beloved Community” through interviews with community leaders and readings.


  • Amir Mehr Program Year: 2012
  • Amir Mehr

    Duke, Class of 2012
    Hometown: Hamilton, New Zealand
    High School: Hamilton’s Fraser High School
    Area of Study: Physics; Italian and European Studies at Duke

    Amir Mehr is a member of the Duke and Robertson Scholars class of 2012. Amir – who is from New Zealand by way of Iran – majored in Physics, and Italian while at Duke.

    Since graduating in May of 2012, Amir has worked as an associate at a Private Equity firm with interests in the healthcare, technology, and real estate sectors. Amir’s career goal is to start his own Venture Capital firm with a primary focus on renewable energy technologies.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path? The Robertson Scholars program was critical to developing a solid, yet malleable plan for my future. Through my experiences as a Robertson Scholar, I gained not only an excellent and well-rounded education, but I also garnered numerous tangible real world skills through my numerous internships and program sponsored leadership courses – tangible skills that have proved invaluable in my post graduate life and career.

  • Toni Helbling Program Year: 2009
  • Toni Helbling

    Duke, Class of 2009
    Hometown: San Antonio, TX
    High School: St. Mary’s Hall
    Academic Interests: Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry Minor

    At Duke, Toni served as vice-chair of the Undergraduate Judicial Board, secretary for the Engineering World Health club, and was active in the Pratt Fellows Research Scholars program and the Honor Council. These pursuits further developed her commitment to improving the quality and accessibility of healthcare and her interest in ethics. She taught a house course on ethics, wrote a bilingual and pictorial user’s manual for ECG testers used in developing world hospitals, founded and published an ethics magazine (The Gadfly), and presented at the Orthopedic Research Society’s and Engineering World Health’s international conferences.

    During her college summers, Toni immersed herself in healthcare delivery and development at the Good Samaritan Health Center in Atlanta, the Hospital San Bernardo in Argentina, and the Center for the Intrepid amputee rehabilitation and research hospital in San Antonio, TX.

    Toni graduated magna cum laude with Departmental Distinction from Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering in 2009. She majored in Biomedical Engineering with a Chemistry minor, and was selected to Tau Beta Pi. In her senior year, she received the Student Affairs Distinguished Leadership and Service Award for Demonstration of Integrity at Duke and was named a Public Service Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill. Toni now attends medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX.

  • John Wulsin Program Year: 2009
  • John Wulsin

    UNC, Class of 2009
    Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
    High School: Armand Hammer United World College of the American West
    Area of Study: Economics

    Ever since John’s first teaching experience, with Breakthrough Collaborative in 2003 teaching 6th Grade Math, John has been committed to understanding schools, how they’re run, and possibilities for educational reform. In high school, John graduated from the United World College in New Mexico in 2005. From his first semester at UNC, John found opportunities to engage the local community, teaching 4th Grade Spanish at a charter school in Durham with Gabriella Miyares (UNC Robertson’09).

    John spent the summer of 2006 in New Orleans, helping local farmers and shrimpers develop new markets for their products in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. During John’s second Robertson summer, he and Nick Anderson (UNC Robertson’09) lived and taught at a rural boarding school in the Andes of Argentina. Committed to the idea that schools serve as more than just academic institutions, John and Nick worked closely with local engineers and international NGOs to raise funds, design and install an innovative solar power system. Building on his work in New Orleans, John also worked on the school farm, constructing a new roof for the green house and preparing the fields for harvest.

    John worked with Teach For America during his junior and senior years at UNC, helping identify and recruit top undergraduates to commit to teaching after graduating. To build on his passion for teaching and education, in the spring of his junior year John began working with Student U, a Durham-based program designed to empower middle school students and college students in the Triangle area, which was started by Dan Kimberg (Duke Robertson’07), Mary Williams (UNC Robertson ’07) and Amanda Dorsey (Duke ’08). John continues to work for Student U, serving as Associate Director.

    John majored in Economics with a minor in Philosophy, Politics & Economics. His undergraduate thesis on the capitalization of school quality in housing prices in Durham Public Schools was awarded Highest Honors. John is currently an Associate Systems Analyst at Possible Worldwide, a digital marketing and advertising company.

  • Parker Woltz Mackie Program Year: 2008
  • Parker Woltz Mackie

    UNC, Class of 2008
    Hometown: Mount Airy, NC
    High School: Episcopal High School
    Area of Study: Business Administration, Creative Writing (Fiction)

    As a Robertson Scholar, Parker crafted a unique educational experience that combined international work and study experiences in the US, Argentina, China, and South Africa with on-campus learning at both UNC-CH and Duke University.  Upon her graduation in 2008, Parker joined the Strategy and Operations practice of Deloitte Consulting.  As a Business Analyst and Consultant, she worked with clients in diverse industries on some of their toughest business issues.  Outside of client work, Parker pursued her passion for education by launching an initiative that connects Deloitte practitioners across the country with at risk high school students.

    In 2011, Parker joined Pencils of Promise, a high growth non-profit that creates educational opportunities for underserved students in the developing world.  As a Strategy Fellow, Parker led the organization’s expansion efforts into Nicaragua.

    Parker matriculated at Harvard Business School in August 2011.  While at HBS, Parker discovered her passion for advancing female leaders.  She was selected as a Rock Fellow to support a summer internship experience with a female-led start-up company.  In this capacity, Parker helped the CEO and Founder to define her target market and orient the company toward effectively serving the consumer.

    In her second year at HBS, Parker was elected President of the Women’s Student Association.  She led the 600 member organization during the school’s celebration of 50 years of women in the full time MBA program.  Parker graduated as a Baker Scholar and received the Dean’s Award for leadership in service of the school and society.  Parker is currently a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting, and serves on the HBS Women’s Student Association Alumnae Board.

  • Annalee Bloomfield Program Year: 2009
  • Annalee Bloomfield

    UNC, Class of 2009
    Hometown: Raleigh, NC
    High School: Enloe High School
    Area of Study: Economics, Chinese

    Annalee Bloomfield, a 2009 UNC-CH alumna and Robertson Scholar, graduated with Honors, double-majoring in Economics and in Chinese language. After leaving UNC and Duke, she was hired as a research analyst in Global Investment Research, at Goldman Sachs. Annalee recently left Goldman to co-found a new company, Great Bridge Group, located in NYC. In her free time, Annalee volunteers with Music for Autism and is Treasurer of the charity’s Junior Board.

    Annalee attests that the Robertson Program was completely transformational. The Program not only helped shape her studies and interests at school, but has had an even greater impact on her life since she graduated. She says she would never have met her current business partner without the Robertson network, and is also lucky to have been able to hire a fellow ’09 Robertson Scholar (and very close friend) to work with her as well. The Robertson community was an amazingly supportive and interesting one while she was at Carolina and Duke, but Annalee believes that the program became an even more important part of her life post graduation and throughout her time thus far in New York City.

  • Emmie Granbery Chen Program Year: 2007
  • Emmie Granbery Chen

    UNC, Class of 2007
    Hometown: Nashville, TN
    High School: Harpeth Hall
    Area of Study: Environmental Science, Mathematics, Environmental Engineering

    After graduating from Harpeth Hall in 2003, Emmie attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Duke University as a Robertson Scholar. She graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Mathematics from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2007. Following graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill, Emmie attended the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, Georgia where she received a M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering in May 2009. Since her graduation from Georgia Tech, Emmie has worked for Geosyntec Consultants, an international engineering consulting firm with over 900 employees, as an environmental engineer in Geosyntec’s Atlanta, Georgia office. Emmie works with both private and public sector clients to help them address a wide variety of complex environmental problems. The majority of her work has focused on the characterization and remediation of large contaminated sites regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?  The Robertson Program gave me the opportunities to travel to several developing countries and see first-hand the effects that environmental degradation can have on the communities that depend on local natural resources for survival. While I entered college knowing that I wanted a career in engineering, it was these experiences abroad that led me to pursue a career in environmental engineering.

  • What does being a Robertson mean to you? It means I'm supposed to act on my passions and rise to the challenge of doing good / impacting the lives of others along the way. Being a Robertson has trained me to make "doing good" a natural part of my life, not something that seems like a task or obligation.

  • Adam Yoffie Program Year: 2006
  • Adam Yoffie

    Duke, Class of 2006
    Hometown: Westfield, NJ
    High School: Westfield High School
    Area of Study: Political Science, Oral History Certificate

    Adam Yoffie entered Duke as a Robertson Scholar in the fall of 2002. Growing up in a committed Jewish home with strong ties to Israel, he was eager to get involved in Israeli advocacy on campus and joined the recently founded student group Duke Friends of Israel (DFI). Adam served as vice president for political affairs during his sophomore year, working with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington to help build a stronger pro-Israel presence on campus. He also navigated the group through Duke Student Government’s charter process, which enabled DFI to become an officially recognized student organization with a university-funded budget. He was elected president during his junior year and spearheaded the student response to the Palestinian Solidarity Movement’s Fall 2005 National Conference held at Duke. His activities, including writing op-ed articles, appearing on the radio, and bringing speakers to campus, combined with his passion for politics and commitment to Israel, turned DFI into an activist force on campus.

    In the summer between junior and senior year, Adam interned at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, North Carolina. Adam worked with the non-profit, post-conviction law firm on its political campaign for a two-year moratorium on executions. With a desire to share some of what he learned with the Duke community, Adam brought an exonerated death row inmate to campus to speak to students, faculty, and religious leaders about his experiences with the North Carolina judicial system.

    During his senior year, Adam turned his focus to the Chronicle, Duke’s daily student newspaper. Working as a bi-weekly student columnist, he covered topics ranging from student politics and academic advising to fraternity life and the Duke lacrosse scandal.
    Adam graduated summa cum laude in May 2006 and won a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Israel. He moved to Jerusalem and entered an intensive Hebrew language program at Hebrew University’s Mt. Scopus campus. Following the completion of the ulpan, he divided his time between Hadassah’s Braun School of Public Health and the Jerusalem Open House (JOH). Adam conducted research for Dr. Ronny Shtarkshall on the knowledge and attitudes of primary care physicians in East and West Jerusalem towards the health needs of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered (LGBT) Community. He also wrote proposals and secured grants for JOH to open Jerusalem’s first LGBT health clinic and directed a support group for English-speaking LGBT immigrants to Israel.

    Adam spent a year in Israel on a Fulbright fellowship followed by a year on Capitol Hill. He then attended Yale Law School and has spent the past two years clerking for federal judges in Philadelphia and Trenton. He will be starting as a third-year associate at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. in fall 2013.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path? The Robertson Program summer internships introduced me to innovative social service and law programs that have continued to shape me in my development as a young lawyer.

  • Nikhil Taneja Program Year: 2011
  • Nikhil Taneja

    Duke, Class of 2011
    Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
    High School: Indian Hill High School
    Area of Study: Economics, Public Policy

    Nikhil Taneja entered Duke as a Robertson Scholar in Fall 2007. After completing his freshman year, Nikhil spent the summer working for Breakthrough Collaborative, a nonprofit organization addressing educational inequalities across the country. As a 7th grade U.S. History and English teacher in New Orleans, he had the opportunity to work with high-potential students from low-income families, many of whom were highly impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

    The following summer Nikhil interned at eNews, South Africa’s first independent 24-hour news television channel. This internship allowed Nikhil to see South Africa from many different angles as he covered a variety of stories each week. Nikhil spent the latter half of the summer taking a Political Economy course at The London School of Economics.

    Nikhil spent his third summer interning at Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm. He enjoyed this exposure to business strategy and joined the company in a full-time role upon graduation.

    At Duke, Nikhil was on the editorial board of the campus newspaper, president of the club golf team, and a member of the parliamentary debate team. He graduated with a double major in Economics and Public Policy. Nikhil is currently attending a web development program in Colorado to pursue his interests in technology and entrepreneurship.

  • Madeline Walter Program Year: 2007
  • Madeline Walter

    UNC, Class of 2007
    Hometown: Maplewood, NJ
    High School: Columbia High School
    Area of Study: English, Folklore

    Madeline has always been a drama queen. She spent her childhood and high school years obsessed with theatre, always on stage in a play. She came to college and vowed to engage in more “serious” things, studying public policy.

    Even these interests brought her back to the arts. She became interested in documentary filmmaking, spending her first Robertson Summer working at Appalshop, a media arts center in Southeastern Kentucky. There, she made a short documentary film about the coal mining industry, which is still used by the grassroots group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and was screened at several film festivals back in Durham. Madeline also worked with Students of the World, a campus documentary organization, to produce Insight, a joint Duke/UNC Student Documentary Festival. She also traveled internationally with Students of the World to document the rising HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    Madeline missed theater, however and she missed her former academic passion, English- so, going into her junior year of college, Madeline made the decision to change her major to English and reinvest in the theatre. She discovered that theatre is more relevant than she thought, participating first in The Vagina Monologues and then in an original group piece about water democracy in the developing world.

    Madeline went on to work on several plays in the Dramatic Art Department at UNC and to write her own original play, Mary Brigit Poppleton Is Writing a Memoir. This play won UNC’s prestigious Sam Selden Award for playwriting, and went on to be produced at UNC her senior year. After graduating in 2007, Madeline went on to produce Mary Brigit in the New York International Fringe Festival in New York City. It was one of twelve plays selected to move onto the Fringe Encore Festival, and most recently, it was performed at the Community College of Rhode Island.

    In 2007-2008, Madeline served as a Robertson Fellow, working primarily in selection for the Robertson Scholars Program. She loved working “behind the scenes” at the Program, and was so thankful for the opportunity to give back in a small way to the program that empowered her to be a leader of her own life. She also had the opportunity to take on some exciting personal projects, such as collaborating with a group of women at Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abuse (TROSA) to write and perform their own play, as well as assisting director Raelle Myrick Hodges in a production of Topdog/Underdog at the Playmakers Repertory Theater.

    Madeline is currently an actress, writer, and comedian living in Los Angeles. She performs improv regularly at the famed United Citizens Brigade Theatre. Her original solo show, “I’m Doing Great!” ran for 6 months at the UCB Theatre and was performed at the Comedy Central Stage and the San Francisco Sketchfest. Madeline can also be seen on episodes of Showtime’s Weeds, CBS’s The Defenders, and Fox Sports/Fuel TV’s The Daily Habit.

  • Lauren McAlee Program Year: 2006
  • Lauren McAlee

    UNC, Class of 2006
    Hometown: Warren, NJ
    High School: Watchung Hills Regional High School
    Area of Study: Philosophy, Public Policy Analysis (Education Policy)

    Lauren fell in love with education policy in high school as the voting student member of the Maryland State Board of Education. Immersed in decisions like whether to reconstitute low-performing schools to how to prevent harassment of LGBTQ students, she got a taste of issues too interesting and important to forget. Once at UNC, she stayed connected to education policy in and out of the classroom, majoring in Education Policy, tutoring low-income students in Chapel Hill, lobbying the university through the UNC Honors Program Student Executive Board, and initiating a series of multi-disciplinary workshops for high schoolers in the Durham Scholars Program. The Robertson Program also allowed her access to excellent education policy work at Duke University, where she assisted with research for the Center for Child and Family Policy.

    The Robertson staff and programs pushed Lauren to explore education in unfamiliar forms and locales. After her freshman year, she planned and executed a summer enrichment program for young girls in the Mississippi Delta. The next summer, she ventured to India, where she taught English to young women in the foothills of the Himalayas. Finally, inspired by her first Robertson summer, she received a Burch Fellowship to return to Mississippi for a full semester, where she founded a successful youth advocacy program for high school students.

    Meanwhile, back at UNC, Lauren had met a second love – philosophy. After taking an introductory ethics class, Lauren became interested in a central question of moral psychology, pursuing classes that allowed her to explore and write about this idea from various angles. Although she had no idea how moral philosophy could fit in with education policy, the Robertson Program enabled her to discover intersections between her two interests. In her third summer, Lauren journeyed to seven very different places to interview individuals ranging from artists on a commune in West Virginia to high school students in the Colorado Rockies to a sadhu in Rishikesh, India. All of these people lived dramatically different lives, but had found things which fulfilled them deeply. Lauren probed for commonalities in their experiences, which allowed her to write a piece of original philosophy as her senior thesis. To some, it may seem this journey took her a long way from education. To Lauren, it seems like a powerful starting place for a career in education – a deep understanding of the kind of lives we want students to lead.

    Since graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 2006, Lauren has worked towards education reform on several fronts. As an intern for Teaching for Change, she helped ensure access to high-quality, multi-cultural children’s books. Through teaching in dramatically different settings, including an alternative high school in Camden, New Jersey, a private pre-school, and an economically and ethnically diverse public school in Georgetown, As a kindergarten teacher in D. C. Public Schools, she led her school’s Vertical Alignment Team, wrote district curriculum and assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards for the Common Core Reading Corps and the D. C. Collaborative for Change, and facilitated Professional Development for teachers across the district. Lauren has been recognized as a Highly Effective teacher under D.C.’s rigorous IMPACT Evaluation System, and was named as a Distinguished Teacher, the highest stage available on the District’s LIFT Career Ladder in 2012. She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from George Mason University and received a Truman Scholarship for exceptional leadership potential.

    She now works as a Literacy Coordinator for the District of Columbia Public Schools supporting Common Core aligned curriculum and professional development. Outside of the classroom, she loves conscious dance, connecting with family and friends, and tending her small farm in the Allegheny Mountains.

  • Andy Cunningham Program Year: 2008
  • Andy Cunningham

    Duke, Class of 2008
    Hometown: Rutland, VT
    High School: Rutland High School
    Academic Interests: International and Comparative Studies, Chinese

    Until his sophomore year of high school, Andy wanted to be a weatherman. But after witnessing the decrepit conditions of a rural school in southern China as a participant of the Experiment in International Living Program, he returned to his native Vermont wanting to learn more about children’s rights and education at home and abroad.

    Andy enrolled at Duke University as a Robertson Scholar to explore this idea of “translational learning” – taking what students learn in the classroom and applying it to the real world. Whether it was teaching 6th grade students as part of Breakthrough Collaborative in New Orleans during his first Robertson Summer, or volunteering as an English teacher at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity orphanage in Calcutta during his second Robertson Summer, Andy began to realize the power of educational movements starting from the ground up rather than from the top down.

    After completing a class assignment at Duke where Andy co-authored a textbook about gender and education in Kenya, he was invited by his professor to present his work with her colleague at Egerton University in Kenya, Dr. Rose Odhiambo. After presenting, Dr. Odhiambo invited Andy to her home village, Muhuru Bay. There, Andy learned that in the last 20 years, no girl from the existing coeducational secondary school had passed the college entrance exam, while boys do so each year. After building a community partnership, two years of fundraising, and countless hours of strategic planning, Andy co-founded the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research (WISER) in 2006 as the first all-girls secondary boarding school and community center in Muhuru Bay, Kenya. While living out of a mud hut in rural Kenya, he served as WISER’s inaugural Executive Director until 2010. Andy has since been asked to serve as an international education consultant with the World Bank, World Learning, UNICEF, the Education Venture Fund in Cameroon, Tanzania and Kenya.

    He is the recipient of the Truman Scholarship and the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Award and was named one of the 100 ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ at St. Gallen’s Symposium in Switzerland in 2012. He has been featured at the UN Youth Assembly, Global Issues Network in Geneva and as a commencement speaker at Rutland High School and the International School of Luxembourg. He is currently a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University pursuing his PhD in Comparative International Education, studying school-based participatory assessments of quality education in Kenya through the use of mobile phone-based technologies. In his spare time, he loves eating Ben and Jerry’s, rowing (and coxing) at Oxford, and mountain biking.

  • Paula Kweskin Program Year: 2006
  • Paula Kweskin

    UNC, Class of 2006
    Hometown: Charlotte, NC
    High School: Providence High School
    Area of Study: Political Science, Spanish

    When Paula Kweskin was eight, she saw the Broadway musical Evita. When the final curtain dropped, she sat motionless, stunned by the story, the music, and the culture presented on stage. Later on, when she spent two summers in Buenos Aires (as a result of the Robertson Scholars Program), and surprised locals would asked her why she picked Argentina, she just winked and mentioned the famous first lady (and to this day, she still loves Broadway).

    Of course, that wasn’t entirely true. At UNC, she studied Spanish and Political Science, and the intersection of the two led her to learn about the fascinating political history of the entire continent. She pursued once-in-a-lifetime projects in the porteno capital during each summer: volunteering at a domestic violence shelter and a study of micro-credit in the wake of the financial crisis. She also had an opportunity to discover the historic and multi-faceted Jewish community.

    In college, Paula studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and volunteered in Bolivar County in the Mississippi Delta following her freshman year of college.

    After graduation, she went back to Buenos Aires to work as a sustainability consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. She enjoyed the intersection of public interest and corporate (Latin) America, and decided to return to school, earning her JD from UNC in 2010. She is currently working in Jerusalem as an associate film producer at the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit organization in New York that produces and distributes films about what it sees as radical Islam’s effect on society.

  • Travis Crayton Program Year: 2013
  • Travis Crayton

    UNC, Class of 2013
    Hometown: Mt. Pleasant, NC
    High School: Mt. Pleasant High School
    Area of Study: Political Science, Pubic Policy, History

    Travis Crayton holds a B.A. in public policy and political science from UNC-Chapel Hill. He currently works at the Duke Clinical Research Institute with a group of health services researchers studying the quality, costs, and ethics of health care delivery. He has personal and professional interests in many areas of public policy and is especially interested in the intersection of public health and urban planning. In his spare time, he serves as an editor for, a local political blog covering municipal politics and policy in Orange County, North Carolina.

  • Christopher Edelman Program Year: 2011
  • Christopher Edelman

    Duke, Class of 2011
    Hometown: Deerfield, IL
    High School: Deerfield High School
    Area of Study:  Decision Science, Latin American Studies

    Originally from a suburb of Chicago, Christopher Edelman graduated from Duke University with a BA in Decision Science and a certificate in Latin American Studies. During this time, with the support of the Robertson Scholars Program, he conducted research in Latin America on the causes of political violence in the region. Chris then went on to complete a master’s degree (MPhil) in International Relations at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. His dissertation investigated how governments and terrorist groups can interact and negotiate more effectively, specifically focusing on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

    After graduating, Chris was awarded a Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) fellowship and Amy Adina Schulman Fund grant to work with the Arias Foundation—a non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO)—in San José, Costa Rica. At the Foundation, Chris advocated for international regulation of the movement of weapons across borders and served as a delegate of Costa Rica’s delegation to the United Nations Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2013.

    Chris now attends Stanford Law School, where he intends to focus on public sector international law. He will also be helping to provide a broad range of pro bono legal services through the Volunteer Attorney Program. He hopes to use legal advocacy to support the development of the rule of law in transitional and post-conflict societies in Latin America.

    In his free time, Chris enjoys playing tennis, Latin dancing, and traveling throughout the world. He is also a recreational pianist and amateur baseball umpire.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?  It is impossible to overestimate the positive impact that the Robertson Program has had on my life and career. Coming into college, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but that was the extent of my ambitions. The Robertson Program helped me to realize that we each have a duty to give back something of ourselves to the world and, more importantly, that the way we each will do that is entirely unique and that is exactly as it should be. While some will provide medical services in Niger and others will educate impoverished youth right here in the U.S., the Robertson Program helped me to discover the way that I now anticipate I will contribute: by practicing law in a way that expands access to the legal system and helps bring the rule of law to communities emerging from times of conflict. The Program has instilled in me a lifelong commitment to the service of others and helped me to discern what that means to me, personally.

    Furthermore, by providing funding and resources (both to take classes at UNC and to work and live abroad over the summers), the Robertson Program fomented my love and fascination with Latin America. Had it not been for a “History of Latin America Since Independence” class that I took at UNC during my sophomore year and the opportunity I was given to work for an NGO in Argentina the following summer, I would have never realized how much Latin America had to offer me and how much I could offer to Latin America, much less become fluent in Spanish.

  • Alpha Tessema Program Year: 2013
  • Alpha Tessema

    Duke, Class of 2013
    Hometown: Portland, OR
    High School: Jesuit High School
    Area of Study: Theatre Studies

    Alpha Tessema has a passion for creative communication through the different mediums of film, live performance, oral histories, prose and poetry. This led him to pursue a degree in Theatre Studies and Film at Duke University. During his time at Duke, Alpha also volunteered as a college mentor to high school students in Durham Public Schools, produced and acted in student films, performed in plays and was a member of Duke University Improv. He spent his community summer in New Orleans working as a Media Communications intern at Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools. His exploration summer was spent as a production intern at eTV in Durban, South Africa. And for his synthesis summer, Alpha studied film in Arezzo, Italy through a joint program between Duke Arts of the Moving Image and the Accademia dell’Arte.

    Upon graduating in May of 2013, Alpha received the Benenson Arts Grant to study improvisation and comedy writing at The Second City Training Center in Chicago, IL. Alpha plans to pursue a career in theatre/film/television while continuing to serve as a mentor to young people in pursuit of higher education.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?  The Robertson Program enabled me to discover and cultivate all of my talents through encouragement and support from the program staff, the summer experiences and the meaningful relationships I was able to develop with fellow scholars and alumni.


  • Jagir Patel Program Year: 2013
  • Jagir Patel

    UNC, Class of 2013
    Hometown: Delray Beach, Florida
    High School: Atlantic Community High School
    Area of Study: Religious Studies, Education

    Jagir Patel is currently a graduate student at Harvard Graduate School of Education (Ed.M. ’14, Education Policy and Management) engaged in a multi-disciplinary approach to examine contemporary issues in public education. He graduated with highest honors and highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor of arts in religious studies and from Duke University with a minor in education and teaching license in May 2013. He hails from Boynton Beach, Florida and currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is a proud Tar Devil and avid admirer of Carolina blue.

    At UNC-Chapel Hill, Jagir was passionate about helping organizations convey their social justice missions in creative and meaningful ways, particularly in his role as co-president of the Campus Y, UNC’s center for social justice. In college, he also served as a Resident Advisor in Cobb Residence Hall, as a counselor for Carolina Kickoff, as the director of UNC’s Holi Moli, as a co-chair for the Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Outreach committee of UNC’s Executive Branch of Student Government, and as a member of the UNC Undergraduate Honor Court.

    Jagir’s academic focuses range from religious studies to education policy to journalism and media studies. He spent his Robertson summers teaching in the Mississippi Delta, learning more about participatory and sustainable community development in rural Sierra Leone, and interning with Al Jazeera English in Washington, DC.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?  My Robertson experience has exponentially enhanced my leadership ability and furthered my management potential. Through the Robertson Program, I have developed my moral compass and ability to be an active social change agent. I am indebted to the Robertson community for fostering my understanding of positive impact in the context of teaching and learning.

  • Daniel Hall Program Year: 2013
  • Daniel Hall

    UNC, Class of 2013
    Hometown: Mt. Pleasant, NC
    High School: South Mecklenburg High School
    Area of Study: Psychology, Social and Economic Justice

    Born in the North but raised in the South, Daniel graduated in 2009 from UNC. He was a research assistant in the UNC School of Nursing’s Managing Uncertainty in Illness lab, where for three years he worked on an intervention involving younger breast cancer survivors. He was also a research supervisor at El Futuro, a community mental health center for Latinos in Carrboro, NC. For two summers, Daniel lived in Argentina and volunteered with abused children. He is currently attending the University of Miami, where he is earning a PhD in Health-Clinical Psychology. He is currently receiving clinical training at Mt. Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center and the VA Hospital in Miami, FL.

    How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path?  The Robertson Scholars Program afforded me a world-class education, immeasurable personal growth, and access to top-ranked faculty whose research mentorship paved the way for my successful graduate career.

  • Paul Sarker Program Year: 2006
  • Paul Sarker

    Duke, Class of 2006
    Hometown: Collegeville, Pennsylvania
    High School: Malvern Prepatory
    Area of Study: Economics

    Since entering Duke as a Robertson Scholar in 2002, Paul’s goals have been constantly progressing. When he arrived at Duke, he sought exposure to people from different backgrounds and hoped to find his niche. He was surprised to see that many of his fellow Scholars already had well-defined goals. He felt behind the curve, but former Program Director Dr. Eric Mlyn encouraged him to remain open-minded and curious. Although he knew that he had great leadership potential, he lacked direction and focus. Paul found valuable guidance through interactions with Scholars and participation in Robertson summers and courses.

    Paul spent his first Robertson Summer working as a marketing intern for Global Health Action in Atlanta, where he revamped and maintained the organization’s website and wrote for its newsletter. His second Robertson Summer in Belize brought significantly greater challenges and rewards. Paul entered a foreign culture and thrived as he and fellow Scholar Kim Hayez created a video about HIV/AIDS for rural youth unaware of the consequences of unsafe sexual behavior. He met many wonderful and dedicated students eager for opportunity, and through this experience, he began to appreciate how much he and his classmates took for granted.

    During Paul’s junior and senior years, he took an active approach to capitalizing on his time left on campus. His interest in business led him to expand opportunities for venture capital for undergraduates. He founded The Duke Entrepreneur, an organization committed to developing undergraduate business plans, allowing for collaboration, and providing undergraduates exposure to leaders in the field.

    Paul found his calling when the Robertson Foundation began to raise awareness for climate change. As he learned about the causes and consequences of climate change, Paul identified climate change mitigation — the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent global warming — as society’s most important issue.

    Paul chose to attend New York University Law School to build his analytical skill set and understand the legal structure governing society. In the process, he joined the Environmental Law Journal and studied potential legal solutions to the problem of carbon emissions. He believes that widespread awareness of the causes and consequences of climate change and proper economic incentives are necessary elements of any potential progress. As a Summer Associate for Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP, he gained legal skills and a foundation to enter the media world.

  • Eli Wolfe Program Year: 2007
  • Eli Wolfe

    Duke, Class of 2007
    Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
    High School: Chestnut Hill Academy
    Area of Study: Psychology, Biological Anthropology & Anatomy

    Eli was born and raised in Philadelphia and, upon graduating from Duke, returned to the city to work for Accenture. After two years in management consulting he enrolled in a JD/MBA program at Temple University and is expected to complete those degrees in May 2014. He has accepted a full-time offer from the law firm Cozen O’Connor, beginning in September of 2014. He and his wife, KC, are expecting their first child, a boy, this coming October.

  • Jake Thomson Program Year: 2008
  • Jake Thomson

    Duke, Class of 2008
    Hometown: Morristown, New Jersey
    High School: Delbarton School
    Area of Study: Public Policy, Spanish, Markets and Management Studies

    When Jake Thomson arrived at Duke in 2004, he was immediately drawn to the Sanford Institute of Public Policy. Intrigued by the interdisciplinary nature of the major, he became increasingly aware of how policy affects our daily lives both at home and as part of our interconnected global economy. During his four years as a Robertson Scholar, Jake pursued his many academic interests both in the classroom and extracurricularly, but was continually attracted to the domestic and international questions surrounding healthcare equality and the world’s energy outlook.

    Jake was particularly fascinated by ways in which the public sector and private enterprise could be merged to provide equitable solutions to these questions without stifling growth. As a Robertson Scholar, Jake pursued this interest by supplementing his public policy coursework at Duke with honors courses in the political science, economics, and public health departments at the University of North Carolina.

    Jake’s summer experiences as a Robertson were also critical to the formation of his passions, and he sees each one of these undertakings as a major part of his personal and professional development. Jake spent his first Robertson summer in Cleveland, Mississippi, helping to develop recreational camps for children of migrant laborers, and also volunteered to translate at free medical clinics for the Spanish-speaking community. In his second Robertson summer, Jake lived with other scholars in Cape Town, South Africa, where he chose to dedicate his time to researching and working toward renewable and localized energy strategies in South African municipalities with a Cape Town-based NGO, Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA). For his third Robertson summer in Nashville, Tennessee, Jake drew on his experiences in rural Mississippi, his public policy coursework, his firsthand knowledge of the energy parallels between South Africa and the United States, and the inequalities in education he had witnessed domestically and abroad. Jake worked for the Research and Planning Division of Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development. There, he provided research and analysis skills in several areas, including heavy industry, healthcare, energy, and education, with a focus on facilitating small business growth, augmenting external investment in Tennessee, and promoting improved quality of life for Tennessee citizens.

    Jake’s experiences within the Robertson Scholars Program, with its commitment to collaboration, helped him discover that real solutions to policy questions are best generated through collaborative work between interested parties in all sectors. For this reason, Jake considers his development of the DeltAIDS philanthropy project his greatest achievement during his tenure at Duke University. As a founding father and active member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity on Duke’s campus, Jake took on the role of philanthropy chair with the goal of converting his predecessor’s vision of a collaborative Duke HIV/AIDS initiative into a sustainable practice. In the following years, Jake created a network of several on-campus groups, including four Greek organizations, to raise HIV/AIDS awareness on campus and support a 501(c)3 DeltAIDS Foundation with a mission statement of funding Duke and Durham community initiatives in the battle against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. While raising the seed money for such an organization proved to be a challenge, DeltAIDS continues to grow today, and in 2008 helped fund three students committed to separate projects on the African continent. Jake remains involved in the long-term development of DeltAIDS at Duke University.

    After graduating in 2008 with an undergraduate degree in Public Policy Studies, with a certificate in Markets and Management Studies and a minor in Spanish, Jake began work as an Implementation Consultant for Epic Systems in Madison, Wisconsin, where he currently helps major healthcare organizations install and manage the development of electronic health record (EHR) systems. He continues to seek challenging opportunities as he goes forward, and remains grateful for the fantastic undergraduate experience afforded to him by the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program.

  • Kristin Hill Program Year: 2009
  • Kristin Hill

    UNC, Class of 2009
    Hometown: Charlotte, NC
    High School: South Mecklenburg High School
    Area of Study: Journalism & Mass Communication

    Kristin Hill graduated from South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, NC in 2005. After high school, her passion for music and entertainment continued to grow. At UNC, she served as chair of the Music & Media committee of the Carolina Union Activities Board where she worked to bring internationally acclaimed artists to the university. In her first year, Kristin got involved with the founding of Small Town Records, Duke University’s student-run record label and recording studio. After three years of sound engineering, Kristin joined the label’s administration as the Director of Marketing.

    Dedicated to service and student life, Kristin also was very involved in student government throughout her collegiate career. She was co-president of the Freshman Focus Council, served as an Executive Assistant, ran for Student Body President as a junior, while also serving on a number of other student government committees. Her summers were spent working with high school students and teachers in the Mississippi Delta, teaching seminars on the dangers of drugs and alcohol in Argentina, working at Muzak and working at AIDS orphanages in Kenya.

    In her junior year, Kristin began working in college marketing for Warner Music Group in the Triangle. By her senior year her territory included the Carolinas and parts of Virginia. After joining Ignite Social Media as an intern in the spring, she leveraged her knowledge of online communities to ease the burden of covering such a large territory. After graduating from with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, Kristin went on to work for MTV Networks as a Summer Associate in New York City.

    Kristin was a Robertson Fellow for a year, then formed UpHill Media in 2010, which provided marketing and digital consultative services to Cisco Systems, PBS’ hit concert television series “Live from the Artists Den,” and Y-Combinator start-up The Fridge (acquired by Google in July 2011).

  • To me, being a Robertson means having that point of connection--there's some immediate spark there because you both know that, on a bigger level, you're about the same things. It feels amazing to be part of a network of motivated people that stretches across the globe.

  • Tanisha Palvia Program Year: 2008
  • Tanisha Palvia

    UNC, Class of 2008
    Hometown: Greensboro, NC
    High School: Grimsley High School
    Area of Study: Psychology

    During her time at UNC-Chapel Hill, Tanisha was very much involved with campus activities. She held various leadership positions in many organizations, including with the Student Programming and Advisory Committee (SPAC) of the Robertson Scholars Program as well as Sangam, UNC’s South Asian organization. Since high school, she has been very involved in community service and remained active at UNC and graduated as a Public Service Scholar.

    Though she entered on the pre-med path, her interests changed as began to take advantage of the many opportunities presented by the Robertson Scholars Program. Tanisha spent her first summer in Clarkston, Georgia at Refugee Family Services as a camp counselor and mentor for refugee children. Her second summer was spent in Argentina interning at San Bernardo Hospital, where she and a fellow Robertson implemented a program to refer to patients by name instead of number; her time in Argentina was also critical in improving her Spanish. Her final summer was spent in India, where she taught English to over 140 Hindi-speaking twelfth-grade girls. Tanisha realized that public service must remain a big part of her future regardless of where her professional life will lead her. While studying abroad in Italy, Tanisha also found a passion for writing, publishing articles in various Italian magazines. Upon returning, her interest in journalism grew stronger through her experiences with The Daily Tar Heel.

    Combining her experiences with public service and writing, Tanisha decided that public interest law would be the ideal field in which to channel her respective passions. She is attended Emory Law School in Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently a Civil and Criminal Litigation Attorney at Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP in.