Alumni Profiles

Jake Sheridan

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Charlotte, NC
High School: Charlotte Catholic High School

Academic interests:

My primary academic interests are journalism and political science. Everything else stems from there. Within journalism, I focus on writing and audio, with particular attention to reporting local news and politics. Within political science, I focus on political behavior, with particular attention to whiteness as a politically salient identity.

Extracurriculars / Hobbies

Outside of the classroom, you can find me reporting and editing for the Chronicle (Duke’s independent student newspaper) or the 9th Street Journal (Duke’s Durham-focused journalism department paper). I’ve worked on campus politics — from reform movements to student government to Young Trustee races. I’m also a member of Wayne Manor.

Here’s a short list of hobbies: listening to music (disco at the moment… Donna Summer of course), journaling, playing basketball, playing Mario Strikers, overusing Twitter, pilates, thrift shopping, making tea, making bad jokes.

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

I actually had already decided to go to Duke when I was given this scholarship… lucky me! I was an alternate at the time. So, I think my mom would argue that her prayers drew me to the program.

The cohort of passionate people, access to two incredible and complimentary schools, summer opportunities and staff support would draw me back to this program again, though.

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

This community has been the most important part of my college experience. My scholarship has allowed me to pursue my passion as work. My fellow Robbies are many of my best friends.  My core beliefs have been shaped by the challenge and thought the program has confronted me with. I’ve been transformed by this program.

Many of my most important work experiences — documenting the history of the Blues and Civil Rights in the Mississippi Delta, covering the 2020 Democratic presidential primary for the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, documenting the grassroots European refugee aid movement, and reporting local news for the Los Angeles Times — were made possible by the Robertson program. More broadly, the life I live would not be possible without the Robertson program.

What has been your favorite Robertson moment so far?

During my community summer, I worked in the Mississippi Delta. There, I did documentary work for the Delta Center for Culture and Learning. As I helped run and document a conference on the incredible local Blues and Civil Rights tradition, I interviewed Wheeler Parker, a cousin of Emmett Till who was with Emmett the night he was abducted. After we talked, I took a portrait of Wheeler sitting in the judge’s chair at the Tallahatchie County Courthouse, where Emmett’s murderers were unjustly acquitted. That moment I shared with Wheeler is my favorite Robertson moment. It made me fall in love with story telling and bearing witness. The Robertson program placed me in that job — I would never have worked in that role, nor probably come within 100 miles of the wonderful Mississippi Delta if it weren’t for the program.



Robertson Scholars, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, at Duke University’s Smith Warehouse in Durham, N.C.  

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