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: Co-Founder of Bridge the Divide, Shareholder at Campus Enterprises, Dukes and Duchesses, Student Organization Financing Committee, Ski Team

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 true. I grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, a small city in the foothills of the state’s expansive mountain ranges. It has become an inseparable part of my being, playing a fundamental role in who I am today. Its tight-knit communities instilled a profound respect for others. Its familiar and sometimes homogenous society ignited an ambition to extend beyond and diverge from the ordinary. Its untouched nature sparked a love and appreciation for the my natural surroundings.

My interests in politics and business undoubtedly stem from interactions and involvement with local politicians and small businesses offered by the intimate size of my hometown. Though it has not always been easy growing up in West Virginia, I would trade it for nothing and will remember it forever, regardless of where my life takes me.

What drew you to the Robertson Program?

When I look back on my years growing up in West Virginia, I find that the times I grew and learned most were those that were 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