Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Catherine Joseph


Catherine Joseph

I earned my bachelor’s degree from Duke in structural engineering in 2012.  I am now a graduate student in the Master of Architecture Program at Cornell University. Although my professional goal is to design and build affordable and sustainable housing, my goal each day is to make a decision that will change my life or make someone else’s life easier or better. After all, “When we strive to be better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” (The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho) My parents and the women of the Alice M. Baldwin Scholars program taught me that my life is more valuable when lived this way.

The magnificent women of the Baldwin program have reinforced all that I believe about the good and true things that I can now accomplish as an alumna of Duke and the program. The Baldwin Scholars program focused my independence and ambition, challenged my courage, strengthened my leadership and confidence, and allowed me to fully understand the lessons taught by the ambitious, but wise, seagull in one of my favorite stories: “The trick, Fletcher, is that we are trying to overcome our limitations in order, patiently. We don’t tackle flying through rock until a little later in the program.” (Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach)

Beyond academic and professional endeavors, friends, books and the outdoors are my greatest enjoyments.   Phone calls, video chats, and hand-written postcards from the friends I made at Duke never fail to put a grin on my face.  A morning engrossed in a good story, a hike up to a splendid vista, or an afternoon spent competing in a wetsuit-worthy (cold!) open water race (my new obsession) are all worthy investments of my time. So is connecting with someone who has an interest in becoming involved in the Baldwin Scholars program as a student, a mentor, or a friend. You can find me at: catherine.joseph@alumni.duke.edu