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Robbie Barker ’16

Robbie Barker ’16, an East Coaster, was looking for a small college in another part of the country when he hit on Lake Forest, the town where his grandparents lived—and his grandfather served a term as mayor.

At first glance, there was a lot Barker liked about the College and its location. The environmental studies major and entrepreneurship minor is a Forester you should know.

Q: What drew you to Lake Forest College?

A: “I’m from New York City originally and I went to high school in Connecticut, so I really wanted to try another part of the country. Chicago was a big draw. I also have some family nearby. Prior to coming to Lake Forest, I knew there was a strong environmental studies program, which I wanted to pursue, and achievable opportunities for leadership roles in a smaller school environment. The combination of these five reasons made Lake Forest College my top choice.”

Q: Have you had experiences here—besides your classes—that have helped prepare you for your future?

A: “My proudest achievement was becoming the Vice President of Student Government. Though I was never interested in politics, the Vice President role taught me how to be a responsible leader of many, and a helpful team player of a few. I was also the treasurer of LEAP—the environmental group on campus, a member of the Delta Chi fraternity, a Student Ambassador, a Forester Orientation Guide, a member of the Senior 25, and the chair of the College Life Committee, an advisory board to the Dean of Students. These experiences, along with studying abroad on Semester at Sea and having a marketing internship with the Greater Waukegan Development Coalition, have all shaped who I am today. These opportunities taught me how to be resilient, and the importance of achieving my goals, all with a smile on my face. Because of Lake Forest College, I feel prepared for what the future holds.”  

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: “I love to explore Chicago and the Lake County region. I am frequently trying new restaurants in Chicago’s vast food scene, visiting various downtown attractions, or exploring through Lake Forest’s native prairies.” 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: “I plan to move back to the East Coast, most likely Boston, and pursue a career in either marketing or sales—something in a business or entrepreneurial capacity.”

Q: Any advice?

A: “To incoming students, I would say, don’t be scared of a smaller school because you’ll find there are a lot more opportunities you can take advantage of here versus at a big school. For me, it’s easier to thrive in a smaller environment. To current students, find ways to get involved. Eventually, when you’re applying for internships and jobs, they’ll want to see that you really made your mark and took steps in leadership positions.”

Q: Parting words?

A: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable. You grow from those uncomfortable situations.”