Scholar Profiles

Joseph Touma

Campus: Duke
Hometown: Huntington, WV
High School: Huntington High School
Academic Interests: Political Science (Major), Markets and Management Studies, Arabic
Extracurriculars/Hobbies: Campus Enterprises, Dukes and Duchesses, Student Organization Financing Committee, American Eagle Youth Council

More than just a pin on a map, a person’s home offers authentic insight into who they are and who they want to be. For me, nothing could be more accurate. I grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, a small city in the foothills of the state’s expansive mountain ranges. Huntington’s tight-knit communities instilled the importance of community engagement and respecting others. Its untouched nature sparked a love and appreciation for the my natural surroundings. My interest in politics and business stems from interactions with local politicians and small businesses offered by the intimate size of my hometown. Huntington’s familiar, homogenous society also ignited an ambition to broaden my horizons, and the RSLP has allowed me to do just that, with experiences like volunteering for a summer in rural North Carolina and travelling to Scotland and Catalonia to study their independence movements

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

Throughout my life, I have found that the times I grew and learned most were those that were most challenging and uncomfortable. The Robertson Program intentionally creates this challenging and, at times, uncomfortable environment, placing scholars into new and foreign situations, from the Campus Switch to Community Summer. Knowing that I would be sharing these formative experiences with some of the most gifted and driven members of the Duke and UNC communities ultimately led me to apply. The scholars are what makes this program so incredible.

As the co-founder of a political organization that works to bridge the divide between people of different political backgrounds and cultures, applying to this program, one that bridges the divide between two of our nation’s leading institutions seemed rather fitting. The mission of the program, to “invest in young leaders who strive to make transformational contributions to society,” further sparked my interest in joining, indicating that my interest in making a change for the better in the world would be enabled, developed, and guided by this established program.

Touma Joseph 2021