Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Elizabeth Tobierre


Elizabeth Tobierre

“Life must be something more than dilettante speculation.”- Anna Julia Cooper

Hello! A great few called me Queen and I accepted this royal calling with my royal heart, mind, and soul! I am Elizabeth Tobierre, a senior and a deep blue-Blue Devil!

If you asked me how I have come to envision my place in the world, I would quickly and confidently reply “growing up in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands created my vision.” To put it simply, my cultural heritage has been the foundation for the values I freely put my trust in to guide me in my lifelong journey. One of these values is change. From a very early age, I learned that complaining about a problem was not enough nor is speculating about how to solve it. Rather, my parents, teachers, and those who provided encouraging words always emphasized that I should strive to transform the reality I was dissatisfied with in order to accomplish the one I wanted to live in. Thus, the words of Anna Julia Cooper, one of the most visionary women of the 20th century, capture my vision for my academic, leadership, and career pursuits.


My four years at Duke have provided me with invaluable opportunities to learn while simultaneously connecting my education to the real world. As a Howard Hughes Fellow, I performed environmental toxicology research to supplement knowledge on environmental justice in an industrial community in Virginia while the discussions I had in my American public education course inspired me to become a Teach for America Rising Leader Fellow. Similarly, the tedious Spanish grammar and vocabulary I learned at Duke took me to Alicante, Spain and the history I learned through Duke Immerse gave me comparative insight into the anti-apartheid movement and U.S. civil rights movement. I have lived two decades of this sweet life and I have been able to connect my experiences as a West Indian woman to those freedom fighters who have shared with me their own visions of the world. Global citizenship has been my passport into the world of engaged, renaissance learning and my commitment to service. Isn't it reasonable that to whom much is given, much is expected?


I am a history major and I am currently writing a senior thesis on freedom politics in the Northern Student Movement, a 1960s civil rights organization. Additionally, I am in the process of getting my post-grad life together and hopefully will be attending law school next fall. Every day I add a wish to my “Life To Dos” but it is my greatest hope that in a couple years, I will significantly influence legal reform and international policy.


In my first Baldwin profile in 2010, I wrote, “I am so happy to be a member of the Baldwin Class of 2014. The 17 other young ladies are simply amazing, and after spending the weekend with them at our freshman retreat and listening to them speak in class, I am convinced that we will all have positive influences on the surrounding Duke community and the world with our courage and expression of the female spirit.” The Queen spoke prophetically. The women I have come to love, cherish, and walked with to get breakfast, dinner, and late night snacks have been integral to my development and growth as a woman leader and scholar. They do not live their lives of dilettante speculation but rather as genuinely engaged, outspoken, and confident leaders. I have nostalgia and May has not arrived yet!


If you have any questions about the Baldwin Scholars or anything you have read here, feel free to contact me at ert12@duke.edu. It is always a pleasure to share my experiences and learn from others. This is what we have been tasked to do.


B-the change you have been waiting for,
Queen Elizabeth