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While college students often receive letters of recommendation from faculty for graduate school applications, few can say the school president wrote one on their behalf. An exception was Joshua Gordon-Blake, who got to know President Stephen Schutt through his involvement in Student Government and committee work. This illustrated just one of the ways Lake Forest College gave Joshua access to important relationships that helped him succeed after college.
With additional support from Assistant Professor of Politics Debra Levis, who also boosted Joshua’s law school applications with a letter of recommendation, a review of his personal statement, and connections to graduate school faculty, the economics major and politics minor entered the University of Chicago Law School after graduation before working at the international law firm Mayer Brown LLP and a social entrepreneurial start-up aimed at launching a convenient, less expensive money transfer platform.
Access to Lake Forest faculty enhanced his education in other ways. Through his coursework, Joshua developed a solid foundation in economics that aided his entry to a school that emphasizes the use of economic tools to interpret the law. “My background in economics was a huge factor in getting into the University of Chicago and in my success at the law school,” he said.
He also credited the close dynamic between faculty and students for strengthening his knowledge in different ways. For example, Associate Professor of Economics and Business Robert Lemke asked students if they would take a graduate-school level course in advanced econometrics and then offered the class. Conversely, Joshua asked Professor of Economics and Business Robert Baade to teach a class on his widely published sports economics research, and he agreed. As a teaching assistant for Assistant Professor of Economics and Business Kent Grote, Joshua had the opportunity to guest teach a course, an experience that proved valuable in law school, where students must come to class thoroughly prepared to explain the reading material.
“There’s opportunity at Lake Forest College,” he said. “You can go to any graduate school you want and get a better education because you get top-notch teaching that is tailored to you.”