Twenty years after the first Scholars class entered the Program, our alumni community now includes over 450 Scholars. These individuals are leaders all over the word, living out the values of the Robertson Program as teachers, bankers, doctors, poets, lawyers, consultants, scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs. They remain a vibrant and committed group of individuals who make significant contributions to the communities around them.

What Does the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program mean to you?

Evans Annie 2021

Annie Evans

Campus: UNC
Hometown: Zionsville, IN
High School: Culver Academies

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

I grew up loving UNC, so when I first applied to the program, I was enticed by the ability to go there with the financial support of the Robertson Program. As I found out more about the program, the summer and school-year programming, switch semester, and other opportunities began to really excite me. However, the greatest value that I see in the Robertson Program is the people, and finalist weekend allowed me a glimpse into what that could look like. Finding interesting and interested people at finalist weekend confirmed that this was the place for me.

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

In the spring of the first year of the Robertson program, everyone takes a course called "Colloquium," which is an applied ethics course, taught by a philosophy professor. This class convinced me that I needed to study more philosophy, eventually leading to a philosophy major. Not only did the Robertson Program help me find my major, they also provided support for the summer opportunities that allowed me to explore my options for after graduation. I was able to work in voting rights advocacy in Virginia during the summer of 2019, which fueled my interest in the field. The support of the Robertson has allowed me to explore and take risks in ways that I would not have otherwise considered.

What has been your favorite Robertson moment so far?

I have loved a lot of moments in my time with the Robertson, so choosing a favorite is very difficult. However, community summer was an incredibly formative experience for me. I was able to live with the most incredible people, who taught me so much about being a friend, a leader, and a passionate person in the world. I think about the nights that I spent talking with my Robertson peers, grateful for them and their perspectives on life.

King Zoe 2021

Zoe King

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
High School: Roseville College

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

The Robertson Program has challenged me to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and that is what drew me to the Program while applying to college. All of the programming that Robertson provides encourages scholars to try a wide variety of new experiences. From the NOLS trip, to community summer, to switching campuses, the Robertson Program has challenged me to think outside the box, which was why I was so excited to join the Program.

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

The summer experiences with the Robertson Program were very influential in helping me to find my academic passion. During my exploration summer, I worked as a research associate at Johns Hopkins studying the treatment of opioid use disorder for pregnant incarcerated people. It was only through the financial support of the Robertson was I able to participate in this internship and this experience helped me to recognize that public health research is what I want to pursue after graduation.

What has been your favorite Robertson moment so far?

My favourite Robertson moment was during community summer when all of the Scholars came to work with us at Habitat for Humanity for a day. The two of us working at Habitat that summer would always come back to our house each day and describe how difficult our work was, especially in the New Orleans heat. It was only when the other scholars joined us for a day did we see how much we had improved our skills in building houses but it was also so amazing to see our group of scholars work together as a team.

 

 

 

20190909 Miller Nate

Nate Miller

Campus: UNC
Hometown: Centennial, CO
High School: Cherry Creek High School

While most fourth graders spend their allowance on baseball cards and video games, I bought shares of Jamba Juice and Dick’s Sporting Goods stock. Years later, I remain fascinated by the stock market and economy. After taking marketing, macroeconomics, and microeconomics in high school, I decided to study business in college. During my junior year, I joined DECA, a business club, and participated in regional and state role play competitions. Through these competitions, I realized that I am motivated by problem solving in business scenarios. Another high school class that shaped my college focus was Environmental Science. I am most interested in energy, specifically sustainable energy. I hope to combine my problem-solving skills with finance, business, economics, and environmental science courses to work on sustainable energy solutions. I am confident with the resources offered at both UNC and Duke, I will develop an education path and career that I am passionate about.

Two things that have always been important to me are sports and helping other people. I’ve played many different sports throughout my life, but the one that stuck with me has been lacrosse. I was a two-year captain of my high school lacrosse team and we won the state championship twice. As captain, I learned many valuable lessons about leadership, cooperation, and creating cohesiveness and the results that follow. The sport of lacrosse also led me to co-found a non-profit group with a few of my high school teammates called Unified Lacrosse Colorado. Unified Lacrosse provides skills camps, scrimmages, and lacrosse events to special needs athletes in my community. With the help of many high school volunteers, we grew the Unified Lacrosse team to over 40 athletes and 40 partner athletes and our group played at half-time events at professional and college lacrosse games in Colorado. I plan to continue working with special needs athletes at UNC and take an active role with Special Olympics in North Carolina.

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

I initially applied to the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program because of the impressive reputation, campus switch, and scholarship. When I stepped into Graham Memorial at UNC for finalist weekend, I was immediately drawn to the community. The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program is full of students and faculty who are incredibly driven, compassionate, and aware of the world around them, and this includes alumni as well. As a competitive individual, I am attracted to groups that will push me to become the best I can be. I have no doubt that this community of scholars and program will allow me to grow into a better student, leader, and member of society.

Cameron Beach

Cameron Beach

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Glenview, IL
High School: Glenbrook South High School

Academic Interests: Documentary studies, women's rights, criminal justice, African and African American studies, political economy, service-learning, international conflict studies.

Extracurriculars/Hobbies: Duke Mock Trial, Durham Giving Project instructor, Chronicle op-ed columnist, Duke Women on the Ballot co-founder, Community Empowerment Fund advocate

Background: As the eldest sibling to a very young sister, I've always been interested in the way young girls' education impact future women's lives-- I've seen my sister grow from a toddler to a fourth grader, and the interactions she's had with her school, her peers and her community has shaped the way she views herself. We're only a decade apart in age, yet she's grown up in a time when young girls are being supported and pushed even more than I was-- I see the ways different programs in her school, her sports teams and even the language we use around her has affected her self-confidence and her view of the future in ways I know I didn't experience as a young girl. Throughout my four years at Duke and beyond, I'm interested in exploring the ways women from different communities interact with their political systems, their schools and their families; I hope to create documentary projects linking different groups of women in different areas to one another through these interactions, and I hope to eventually go to law school and practice in a field related to women's rights or minority rights in America.

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

The people. That is, I'd guess, the answer of many Robertson scholars, and the reason it's so ubiquitous is simple: the Robertson Program draws a diverse, driven and bold group of people together, and there is nothing more inspiring than to be surrounded by passion. Although the interests of scholars range from engineering to anthropology, the community is knit together by the intrinsic excitement and energy that we share-- watching other people relentlessly push themselves to do better keeps me motivated and empowered to do better myself.

20190909 Ryan Kyle

Kyle Ryan

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Kennebunkport, ME
High School: Kennebunk High School

When I was younger, I was always intrigued by airplanes and was sure that I wanted to be a pilot. I was fascinated by the intricate engineering necessary to lift these heavy pieces of metal into the sky. But, as I grew older my love for aerospace engineering morphed into a desire to understand the intricacies of the brain and nervous system. While I would still love to attain a pilot license at some point, I am really interested in studying the field of neuroscience. With that, I have worked in the past few years on an organization called the International Youth Neuroscience Association which strives to spread neuroscience education and knowledge to high school students around the world. Though, it was the combination of working on this organization and an increased interest in politics that has helped me find what I believe my true passion to be: public policy. I want to affect change in the way that our society works and lives. I am most interested in public health policy though, in relation not only to healthcare but also looking at agriculture and environmental policy. At the same time I have become interested in international policy and how we as a country can interact differently with other nations to make waves on the global level. Needless to say, I am still a little lost in terms of what I will do, but I am excited to embark on this journey at Duke as a part of the Robertson program.

While in high school, I became very involved in activities involving problem solving and public speaking. My interests included model UN, mock trial, theatre and helping to create a crisis club in my school. I hope to pursue mock trial or model UN at Duke. I also really love music, not only listening to groups like Pentatonix or the Beatles, but also playing the button accordion. Coming from Ireland, traditional music was a big part of my upbringing. I hope I can bring that to Duke, and continue playing the upbeat, unifying music that is at home in Ireland. In any spare time I have, I enjoy cooking, exploring, jogging and am looking forward to continuing that at Duke.

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

I first found the Robertson Program when I was looking through the internet at various college programs during my Sophomore year. I immediately bookmarked the page promising myself that I would come back when the time was right. What made me so excited about this program was the community of incredible scholars that it brings together. This was further cemented through my experience during finalist weekend when, in meeting other finalists and past scholars, I knew that this was unlike any other program out there. Everyone has a passion to make a significant difference in our global society, and I knew that being around these people would be perfect for me and would transform the way that I act and lead in this world. The mission of this program exemplifies exactly what I think if needed today, and the enrichment opportunities and travel just make the program that much better, and unlike anything else I have found. I can not wait to get started!

20190909 Ives Lawton

Lawton Ives

Campus: UNC
Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

High School: NC School of Science and Math

Academic Interests: Statistics & Analytics (major), Energy & the Environment (certificate)

Extracurriculars/Hobbies:  Politics, Student Government, Venture Capital, Running, Hiking, Skiing, Cycling

Growing up in London, England and Chapel Hill, NC I was lucky enough to be exposed to a wide variety of directions I could take my future.  Many of my most formative experiences have come in the outdoors.  Whether learning how to mountain bike in the mountains of western North Carolina, hiking sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, or trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, challenges presented by nature have helped me make some of my best friends and taught me how to accomplish other more meaningful goals.   I am not certain of the direction that I will ultimately take my life, but I am particularly interested in the intersection between public service and private enterprise. In my first year at UNC, I have worked to build the budding Institute of Politics on campus and laid the groundwork for a new angel-investing network.

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

I chose to come to Carolina because of the wide range of opportunities available at such a big, thriving institution.  Applying to the Robertson Program as a first-year was a phenomenal way to make this range of opportunities even bigger. The flexibility to pursue interesting summer opportunities and the chance to join a community of other driven students on both campuses is unbeatable.

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

As someone who came into college with broad academic and personal goals, Robertson has given me the perfect set opportunities to explore academically and leave college with a strong set of personal and professional goals.  Summers in the Mississippi Delta and Yellowstone National Park pushed me out of my comfort zone in ways that would not have been possible without the financial support.  Being a “dual citizen” of both universities has allowed me to take a unique combination of classes that has given me a detailed knowledge of energy and environmental-related issues.  Most importantly, the Robertson values of purposeful leadership, intellectual curiosity, strength of character, and collaborative spirit are ever-present in scholar programming and guide my moral compass.

What has been your favorite Robertson moment so far? 

During my campus switch semester in the spring of 2019, I “tented” with a group of Duke students and attended the Duke-UNC basketball game in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  I will never forget quietly willing the Tar Heels to victory alongside another UNC scholar.  President Obama was just a few feet away.  I like to think he was quietly cheering on the Heels just like us!

Melissa Goldberg

Melissa Anderson Goldberg

What Does the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program mean to you?

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. Steve Jobs says that leadership and creativity are about connecting the dots: the more dots you have, the easier it is to connect them and that you can only connect the dots looking backwards, never forwards. 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.

Kenny Haisfield Founder Kenny Flowers

Kenny Haisfield

What Does the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program 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.

Tom Wanty

Thomas Wanty

Campus: Duke
Hometown: London, England
High School: St. Paul's School

Academic Interests:  Economics major (Finance concentration)

Extracurriculars / Hobbies: My extracurricular activities include Campus Enterprises, Community Empowerment Fund, Club Soccer and Delta Sigma Phi. I also love talking about English football, movies and philosophy.

What drew you to the Robertson Program? Being able to reap the benefits of two outstanding universities is something that can’t be reached by any other means. It allows me to take classes, meet new people and take advantage of all the activities offered by both Duke and UNC. The summer opportunities provide me with a unique chance to push my limits of comfort and to experience new places around the world. The Robertson Program creates a group of like-minded individuals that really want to make a difference and the emphasis put on the cultivation of leadership is one that will prepare me well for post-university life. 

How has your experience with the Robertson Program shaped your goals and career path? The Robertson Program constantly strives to push you out of your comfort zone, be it in the Rethink classroom, studying at the sister campus, or through a summer experience. It doesn't let you narrow down your interests and experiences, but instead encourage you to explore possible paths that you had never even thought of. The Robertson network is filled with highly impressive individuals that are more than happy to mentor you, or even sit down for a coffee to talk about a similar interest. Through this combination of summer opportunities and Robertson mentorship, I was able to work for Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans during my freshman summer and at Indochina Capital in Vietnam my sophomore summer, so I look forward to seeing what the next year brings!

Favorite Robertson moment: My favorite Robertson moment was the NOLS retreat we did before going into freshman year. It gave us the opportunity to meet thirty other extremely interested and talented individuals in an environment which nurtured fun and friendship through outdoor experiences. I will always remember the experience as the first time I realised the true value of the Robertson Program: the people that it consists of.

Iragavarapu I

Meghana Iragavarapu

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Summerfield, NC
High School: The Early College at Guilford

Uncovering hidden truths, representing the underrepresented, challenging norms, and bridging increasingly polarized realities. These action-based themes drive me.

In October of 2013, I founded SAI, Service Awareness and Integration, my high school’s first student club focused on engaging youth to combat and raise awareness for the issues plaguing our communities. Our service was diverse – from leading SAI members to serve over 6,000 meals in food deserts to producing a documentary about chronic hunger (Greensboro leads the nation in food insecurity). Our service was global – from learning that India has the highest concentration of blindness to raising $37,000 to sponsor 1,200 sight-restoring surgeries.

SAI fostered my interests in food access and medical disparities as one dimension of a broader interest in health inequities, locally and globally. My academic interests lie in public and global health to study the social determinants of health to improve access to medical care and quality of life.

Using that same passion to understand differing realities, I engage in spiritual and religious discussion as a human values instructor and explore my culture through Carnatic singing and Hindustani-style harmonium.

What drew you to the Robertson Program? “Show me your company, I’ll tell you who you are.”

My mom began saying this quote to me in kindergarten to help me choose my friends. Now, that same message drew me to the Robertson Scholars community. A dedicated program staff charged with the belief that there is no growth without discomfort. A group of scholars defined by informed action, powered by an unwavering belief in change for the good. Two universities with an unparalleled emphasis on undergraduate success and basketball.

I could not be more thankful for the company and connections I will have for the next four years and beyond.

Alumni by Class

Click on the class years below to view a complete list of Robertson Alumni graduates from each class.